We first got a hint that the park's seemingly benign creator was up to something in the second episode of HBO's new drama when it was revealed that Dr. Ford is creating a new Westworld narrative… and that it's going to be big. Well, we learned in tonight's episode just how big, and we also got a glimpse at a less benign, decidedly more scary side of Dr. Ford in the process that hints that he might not be the benevolent Santa Claus-esque figure he comes across as. (Which shouldn't really be all that surprising, considering he's played by the same actor who played Hannibal Lecter.)
Prior to this Sunday's episode, "Dissonance Theory," the only thing we really knew about Dr. Ford's plan was that it involved some mysterious church-like structure out in the middle of the desert. This week, quality assurance head Theresa Cullen approach Ford about his project at the behest of the board, who were concerned about the time and money the man was spending to craft his new storyline. Everything that proceeded in their interaction was designed specifically to be a display of Ford's power, essentially intimidating Theresa into going along with his plan.
First he brought her to the restaurant where she ate with her family when she first came to Westworld as a young girl. Not only that, but they sat at the same table — and she in the same chair — where she dined all those decades ago. Just like the employees know everything about their guests, it turns out Dr. Ford knows everything about his employees… including Theresa's secret relationship with Bernard.
Then, in the middle of their meal, Ford made every host around them freeze in their tracks: the waiter pouring wine at their table, the restaurant's busboys, the workers tending the plants out in the field. It was a blatant showcase of his total control over the park and all of its artificial attractions — surely a disquieting thing to see for someone who's trying to oppose him. Ford's display of both his omniscience and his omnipotence made it clear when he asked Theresa "nicely" to not get in his way that he wasn't really asking.
So what is this massive undertaking? It's still unclear, but given the church-like structure and Ford's affinity for playing god, it's perhaps a safe bet that it has something to do with religion; a dangerous gambit, to be sure, for robots that are already starting to gain self-awareness. Whatever Ford's narrative is, it clearly involves revamping large portions of the park, since the scene ended with a giant earth-mover chewing its way through a hill directly towards the field and the picturesque restaurant.
(There's also a brief mention that Westworld's "neighbors" are asking questions about all the noise — a reference to the existence of the other parks visited in the original 1973 film, Medieval World and Roman World?) There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but it's becoming more and more clear that Dr. Ford isn't a lovable eccentric but something of a benign dictator hell-bent on seeing out his grand vision, no matter what the cost… to the park or its human inhabitants.
Images: John P. Johnson/HBO (2)