Westworld 02.04 ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’ recap


“The Riddle of the Sphinx” picks up where last week left off with William tells Lawrence about his dead wife and his daughter. Bernard discovers that the park is logging host experiences and DNA, more hints about the secret purpose of Westworld. Robert Ford talks about the possibility of resurrecting the dead through their technology.

Delos goes through his daily routine, but something seems wrong when he can’t hold the milk steady to pour into his coffee. William comes to visit with whiskey in “The Riddle of the Sphinx”. It’s unclear how long Delos has been in this place and what it’s all about, but William tells him that the observation period is almost over and that he needs to conduct a baseline interview.

Delos jokes about how he owns a biotech company and he’s dying of disease whose research he defunded 15 years ago. Figures. William asks Delos if he knows where he is and how long he’s been there. The idea is to compare the answers “afterward” to see if they have the same conversation. Delos thinks it’s a little farfetched and Williams smiles and hands him some papers. My idea is that Delos is already in the “afterward” stage, that this might already be the second interview.

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During the host rebellion, William is still traveling with Lawrence when he comes across railroad construction heading West toward Las Mudas where Lawrence has a family. The railroad is supposed to go North, leading William to believe that Ford’s game has multiple contenders. In “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” hosts are being used as materials to construct this new railway.

Clementine drags Bernard to a cave where he finds Elsie Hughes alive and chained up. He frees her, but she is understandably distrustful of him since he’s the one who betrayed her under Ford’s commands. Bernard explains that she knew too much and that Ford couldn’t risk her stopping him from putting his game in motion – a game he wrote that they’re all playing. Bernard starts shutting down again, revealing to Elise that he’s really a host. She puts him in safe mode while she runs diagnostics during “The Riddle of the Sphinx”. He has extensive cortical damage. She programs him to ignore the damage for now, but ultimately he needs cortical fluid to survive. Elsie wants to leave to find help but Bernard tells her no one is coming, that Delos won’t send anyone for them until they know their work – until Abernathy – is safe. Maybe Abernathy is James Delos underneath all the coding? Or maybe he’s someone else, another human consciousness.

Bernard remembers there’s a secret facility in the cave, a hidden part of their project. He thinks Ford had Clementine bring him there for a reason. He finds a secret door but doesn’t remember where it goes. There’s a trashed lab down there with murdered technicians and drone hosts that have been watching the guests. What happened here?

Grace is brought to the Ghost Nation camp in “The Riddle of the Sphinx” where Stubbs is already being held captive. He said her best bet is to wait for first responders if she wants to get out of the park, but she says she doesn’t want to get out.

William and Lawrence arrive in Las Mudas and are captured by Craddock and the remaining Confederados. Craddock tells William they were double-crossed by a bitch named Wyatt. William nods admiringly and says good for her. The Confederados are keeping the town hostage in the church, along with Lawrence’s family. They know the townspeople are rebels and that they have ammunition and weapons hidden somewhere. Lawrence remembers William telling him that he had a daughter, which is surprising to William. Lawrence isn’t supposed to have memories of their adventures before. William makes a deal with the Confederados to take them to Glory, revealing to them where the weapons are hidden.

Meanwhile, I was right about Delos. The whole routine repeats in “The Riddle of the Sphinx”, with William bringing whiskey and conducting the baseline interview. They’ve been trying to put Delos’s mind into a host body but he keeps degenerating. It’s been seven years since his death and there’s no knowing how many times they’ve already done this. He made it to-day seven this time before degenerating. It is revealed that Delos has been living in a controlled environment, under observation at all times from a lab just outside his door. William has him terminated.

Craddock and his men are cruel to the townspeople, messing with the bartender by making him balance a shot of nitro on his hand while walking twelve paces and shooting it off anyway when he makes it. William seems to find it distasteful, which is odd for someone who goes around shooting hosts without a second thought. I suppose he’s not a naturally cruel man – at least he didn’t start out that way – and he’s beginning to see that the hosts are becoming something more than toys.

Grace escapes the Ghost Nation as they prepare some kind of ritual – maybe involving sacrifice. Stubbs has a knife held to his throat  and is told: “You live only as long as the last person who remembers you.” The knifeman leaves him alive and when Stubbs looks around everyone is gone.

Elsie fixes Bernard up and shows him the data she’s been able to salvage from the ruined computers in “The Riddle of the Sphinx”. It’s the same encryption that Bernard found in Abernathy. It protects some huge database bigger than anything related to the park. His memories are fuzzy, but he thinks Ford sent him to the lab before. His memories aren’t addressed, they’re all just floating around in his head and he has no way of knowing what order they’re meant to be in. He remembers that the technicians weren’t building hosts, same hardware but different code – not even really a code. Sounds like it might be the Delos project.

Craddock talks about meeting death while he torments Lawrence and his family. William is annoyed about the wasted time, but really he seems bothered by the cruelty. Eventually, William decides to kill off Craddock and the Confederados and saves Lawrence and the townspeople.

Delos goes through his routine again but this time its Ed Harris’s William who comes to call. They’ve been trying to make this work for quite a while. This is their 149th attempt to get Delos’s mind to take but he keeps reaching what they call a “cognitive plateau,” where is mind starts to degenerate. William basically tells him that he’s a terrible person and he doesn’t really deserve to live forever, that no one does. The world is better off without Delos, maybe without William too. Instead of terminating the experiment this time he lets him sit with his own growing insanity. What happened that broke William’s dedication to this project? Was it Juliet’s death?

It’s this insane Delos that Elsie and Bernard find in the cave lab. Bernard protects Elsie from Delos’s crazed violence, which earns some trust back for him. They terminate Delos, put him out of his misery. Elsie wants to get to the Mesa, contact the mainland. Bernard remembers he printed a control unit for another human but he can’t remember who – maybe whoever’s consciousness might be inside Peter Abernathy? He needs to know what he was doing here, so he asks to go with her. He promises since Ford died he’s in control now, he wants the chance to decide who he wants to be. They agree no more lies and they take off together. Unfortunately, Bernard remembers that he is the one who killed all the technicians and trashed the lab, but he doesn’t tell Elsie.

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William takes off with Lawrence and some backup from the town. Ford talks to William through Lawrence’s daughter. One good deed doesn’t change who William is. William claims he’s just playing Ford’s game to the bone. Ford says William still doesn’t understand the game he’s playing. If he’s looking forward he’s looking in the wrong direction. William and company meet another rider coming towards them. Its Grace, and the moment you realize it’s her you realize exactly who she is. She’s William’s daughter.