'Westworld' May Have Just Claimed Its First Victim

Given that it's based on a 1973 film written by Michael Crichton that follows the basic "theme park attractions go crazy and murder the guests" plot outline the author would later use in Jurassic Park, viewers have been waiting for HBO's Westworld to reach the moment we all know is coming with the inevitability of that locomotive pulling into Sweetwater Station every morning: the moment when a robotic host murders a human guest. Have we finally reached that point? Is Elsie dead on Westworld ?

The plucky programmer got in trouble when she started investigating the "laser-based satellite uplink" she found in the stray guest's arm last week. Determined to get to the bottom of who was trying to smuggle intellectual property out of the park, she traced the uplink to the satellite it was attempting to broadcast to (an old one owned by the Delos Corporation, which also owns Westworld), which she in turn traced to a transmitter hidden in an abandoned theater inside the park.

Of course, Elsie went to snoop around this creepy, dark building by herself. It makes sense since she doesn't know who the saboteur might be and thus who she can trust, but it's also the dumbest decision in the world if you've ever seen a single horror movie. Fortunately, she was able to use the transmitter to figure out who was using the host to commit industrial espionage: quality assurance rep Theresa Cullen, Bernard's former bedmate — who he also happened to be in the room with when Elsie delivered the bad news.

Elsie also discovered that someone else was using the machine to transmit signals to various hosts inside the park. But before she could figure out who and get the heck out of dodge, someone (or something) attacked her from the shadows. So is Elsie dead? Has a host finally committed murder? Let's not jump to any conclusions just yet. The episode ended with the programmer's fate up in the air, so I think it's safe to assume that she's still alive until we see otherwise — perhaps being held captive by the second saboteur (or by a host at the saboteur's bidding) in order to prevent her from unmasking them to Bernard.

Even if Elsie isn't dead just yet, she's definitely in mortal peril… and it's clear that the stakes are rising in Westworld, and things are only going to get more and more dangerous from here on out. I just hope that Elsie — who has quickly become a fan-favorite character — won't be the first casualty of the upcoming robot revolution!

Images: John P. Johnson/HBO (2)