Uh oh; trouble's afoot on new HBO drama Westworld. (Not that there hasn't been any trouble in the show's first four episodes, to be sure.) Although Dr. Ford, Bernard, Elsie, and the rest of the park's staff have had to deal with renegade guests and glitching hosts, they can now add traitorous employees to their list of things to worry about. Plucky programmer Elsie discovered a satellite uplink on the Oct. 30 episode, "Contrapasso," which proved that someone is trying to sabotage Westworld from the inside.
This revelation came when Elsie examined the corpse of the malfunctioning "stray" she and security head Stubbs tracked down two weeks ago — you know, the one who smashed his own head in with a boulder. The programmer uncovered a large mechanism of some sort hidden under the skin of the robot's arm and she took the object to Bernard, explaining that it was a "laser-based satellite uplink." According to Elsie, the stray wasn't wandering off-loop for some star-gazing; he was being used to smuggle information out of the park.
The obvious question is: Who is smuggling information and why? But perhaps the more important question is: Is there a link between the smuggled data and the malfunctioning hosts? It already seems like someone is sabotaging the hosts, awakening their awareness with the pre-programmed phrase, "These violent delights have violent ends." Is that the same person who is stealing top-secret info? Or are there two separate people working to undermine Westworld from the inside?
There are plenty of suspects who would be interested in smuggling data out of the park. There's Sizemore, who is clearly dissatisfied with his position at the company generally and Ford's leadership specifically. And there's Theresa, who suspiciously blocked Bernard and Elsie access to examining the stray's corpse last week — to the point where Elsie had to blackmail another employee to get a moment alone with the body before it was disposed. But the presence of the transmitter under the host's skin also suggests the saboteur is someone involved deeper in the manufacturing process… perhaps the seemingly innocent Bernard?
Whoever is sabotaging Westworld, it's not likely to lead to anything good. Remember that exactly this scenario — an employee smuggling information out of a futuristic theme park — is exactly what led to catastrophe on that other popular Michael Crichton property, Jurassic Park. We've always assumed that it was the malfunctioning hosts who would prove to be Westworld's downfall; but now it seems like a race between the humans and the robots to see who can do the most damage first. No matter who wins, everyone loses.
Images: John P. Johnson/HBO (2)