‘Westworld’ Recap and Reaction: “Chestnut”

Danielle Ryan

Last week’s episode of Westworld set up the show’s in-depth universe for us. Through the viewpoints of repeat visitor Logan (Ben Barnes) and his first-timer friend William (Jimmi Simpson), viewers are able to explore Westworld a bit and see deeper into the world’s many tiny cracks.


The episode begins with William’s entry into the park, where he is assisted by a beautiful host named Angela (Taluluah Riley). She offers to help him get dressed, which he politely declines. It’s weird seeing one of the McPoyles from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia act with class, but William is quite the gentleman. Once he’s outfitted and ready to head into the park, he goes through a door into what he thinks is a room but is actually one of the train cars headed for the town. Trippy.

While William is seemingly an honest, good-hearted man, his traveling companion isn’t. The boyishly handsome Barnes is wicked as Logan, who gets tired of a host character thanking William and stabs him through the hand. The bloody results disgust William, and he doesn’t get much of a word in before Logan drags him to the brothel.

There, William turns down the advances of yet another host. This time it’s the lovely Clementine, though she offers him other choices in order to find his “perfect match”. He informs her that she is perfect, but that he has someone real waiting for him at home. “Real love is worth waiting for,” she replies, unaware as to what he truly means.

Sass incarnate, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Meanwhile, the engineers are having problems with the brothel’s madam, Maeve (Thandie Newton). She’s operating just fine, but guests just don’t seem interested in having sex with her anymore. One group of engineers tweaks her aggressiveness, making her come on a little too strong with a female guest. During routine checks, scientist Elsie notices the turned-up aggression and turns it back down, then tweaks Maeve’s intuitiveness. She also notes that Maeve is suffering from some physical discomfort and makes a note to have it checked out.

Later, we see Maeve lying on an operating table, her abdomen cut open while two “doctors” discover that she has an MRSA infection in her gut. She wakes up and threatens them with a scalpel, escaping before they finally track her down and knock her out. Later in the episode, she appears to remember these events and others where she has suffered at the hands of guests, including Ed Harris’ Man in Black. Perhaps her chance encounter with Dolores early in the episode has had some effect on her psyche…

…which is exactly what scientist Bernard and Quality Assurance head Theresa Cullen are afraid of. They fear that the incident last week with Peter Abernathy could be contagious. His discovery of the meaning of his existence could spell disaster for the park. If the hosts discover that they exist only to please guests, it could mean chaos.

Giving a little girl bullets and telling her father he gets to determine their use is pretty friggin

The only one who seems to love chaos in Westworld is the Man in Black, played with quiet malice by Ed Harris. He saves a condemned man from the noose only to drag him behind his horse to a little town in the middle of nowhere. It’s revealed that the man is from that town, and he has family there. The Man in Black waxes philosophic about the details put into Westworld, the interconnected-ness of it all. He asks the man for directions to a maze printed on the inside of a scalp. The man says he doesn’t know, and there is a bloody gunfight before his little girl speaks up and tells him where to go (vaguely, anyway.)

There’s also a short side bit with the creator of Westworld (Anthony Hopkins) going on a walk in the desert with a little boy who isn’t enjoying his vacation. Most of the scene is Hopkins talking about the nature of imagination, and while it’s neat, it’s not nearly as exciting as the rest of the episode.

Best Moments

  • The Man in Black taking out an entire posse after holstering his gun, using only his knife and his enemies’ weapons. It’s viciously violent, but a lot of fun to watch.
  • The tiny moments of interplay between Maeve and the other characters. She is the reigning queen of sass, and it’s a damn good thing she didn’t get decommissioned.
  • The reveal that Bernard and Theresa are having an affair. It came out of nowhere and offers more insight into the humans of Westworld.
Danielle Ryan
A cinephile before she could walk, Danielle comes to Fandom by way of CNN, CHUD.com, and Paste Magazine. She loves controversial cinema (especially horror) and good cinematography; her dislikes include romantic comedies and people's knees.
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