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The craziest moments in HBO's Westworld

HBO's Westworld has a lot going for it, principally the amazing cast. Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Tessa Thompson, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Jimmi Simpson, Aaron Paul — the list goes on and on. It's a good thing the show has such a good cast, too — Westworld's dense and convoluted story might be totally inaccessible without this much talent turning the wheels.

All that setup and storytelling helps make one thing certain — there are going to be some absolute must-see moments in Westworld. This science fiction show definitely follows the "go big or go home" mantra, and has featured some totally mind-bending twists and set pieces throughout its run. As much as fans might enjoy all the heady futuristic action, sometimes it takes a minute to recalibrate and figure out just what the heck is really going on. With all that in mind, we're taking a look at the craziest moments that Westworld has served up for its viewing audience.

The Man in Black kills Teddy (S1 E1)

Westworld's premiere episode, entitled "The Original," did a magnificent job of hooking viewers by pulling the rug out from under the audience. It not only introduces us to the park where the vast majority of the first season takes place, but it also reveals a great deal about the show's true setting — and who many of the major players will be — through regular conversation.

Right off the bat, it seems that Teddy, played by James Marsden, will be one of those major players. Ultimately, Teddy is a major character in Westworld, but not in the way we think. The entire first episode follows him as if he'll be a heroic guest in the park, helping to save Dolores when the hosts start glitching and the bad guys (like the ominous Man in Black, played by Ed Harris) start bucking their programming.

At the end of the episode, however, the tables are completely turned. We learn that poor Teddy is just another host, programmed to be an easy kill if guests decide to give "Black Hat" a try. The Man in Black is doing exactly that, and his murder of Teddy in the very first episode indicates that this is a show that will make you question everything you see.

We learn Bernard is a host — and he kills Theresa (S1 E7)

One of the mantras uttered throughout season one of Westworld is the phrase "It doesn't look like anything to me." Hosts were programmed to simply not register anything that didn't fit with their programmed worldview, which is what enabled techs to operate on them with futuristic tools, despite the cowboy setting. "Trompe L'Oeil," the seventh episode of the first season, uses that phrase to devastating effect to reveal that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) is actually a host, and Ford (Anthony Hopkins) could use him as a deadly weapon.

The scene plays out as Bernard and Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudson) explore Ford's secret lab within the park, and Theresa's slow realization that Bernard doesn't notice anything out of the ordinary there makes for an incredibly tense moment that confirms one of the big fan theories of season one. Bernard's swift, brutal murder of Theresa — he bashes her head into a wall twice, with hardly a struggle — shows that Ford has all sorts of dirty tricks up his sleeve and will stop at nothing to keep his secret plans moving forward.

William loses it and slaughters the Confederado army — revealing his true self (S1 E9)

The first season of Westworld is arguably more consistent than its second — it spends a lot of time establishing the rules of the park and building in the storylines of its many characters before unleashing all hell in the final couple episodes. One of the most interesting ways this is accomplished is through the character of William, played by Jimmi Simpson. William's journey through the park seems like a classic good guy story at first, though the show hints early and often at a bit of darkness surrounding him. We finally get to see him unleash that darkness in "The Well-Tempered Clavier."

After suffering at the hands of his "friend" Logan (Ben Barnes) for a few episodes, William finally strikes back. He murders an entire camp of hosts, absolutely decimating Logan's army of Confederados in a brutal act of revenge. We don't actually get to see this happen, but we do get to see the terrifying aftermath: William sitting among the dismembered hosts, coldly telling Logan what they're going to do next.

This point all but confirms one popular theory about season one: William's story is the story of the Man in Black (Ed Harris), as they are the same person. The next episode explicitly confirms it, but this is where it becomes obvious.

Maeve learns that her escape is part of her host narrative (S1 E10)

This list could probably consist solely of moments from the first season finale of Westworld and be just fine, but one that sticks out more than most is Maeve's (Thandie Newton) escape attempt. It may not have seemed quite as important at the time, but the ramifications of her discovery during the escape essentially set the course for the entire second season.

For the entirety of season one, the audience is led to believe that the hosts are essentially rebelling against their programming with their uprising. However, as Maeve attempts to escape the park in "The Bicameral Mind," she learns that her newfound sentience has actually been programmed into her code — her central objective as a host is to escape the park. To save her "daughter" and assert her free will, she turns around and heads back into Westworld, rather than fulfilling her core objective.

It raises a whole host (see what we did there?) of questions about the nature of free will, and further establishes Maeve as the closest thing to a protagonist that Westworld has.

Dolores guns down Ford (S1 E10)

The death of Anthony Hopkins' character Dr. Robert Ford isn't particularly shocking — it probably would have been more surprising if he had made it out of the season one finale alive. What is crazy is the manner in which it happens: Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) truly unleashes the beast, shooting Ford in the back of the head as he addresses a crowd of well-dressed Westworld visitors before unleashing hell on the crowd.

Again, not particularly shocking, but extremely visceral. The "finale of the finale" is pure, blood-soaked spectacle, as Dolores/Wyatt takes revenge for all the abuse she and many of the other hosts have suffered over their years in the park. Maeve and her small army of moderately-awakened hosts joins in the fray, and the aristocrats at the party quickly realize that something has gone terribly wrong on their vacation.

The finale of season one really sets the table for Westworld's second season, and the violence unleashed by Dolores bleeds over throughout almost the entirety of season two. It's truly a pivotal moment for the show.

The host cocktail party (S2 E2)

Season two of Westworld does a great job of peppering its big moments throughout, rather than concentrating them all within the last few episodes. One of the best comes in a flashback during the season's second episode, entitled "Reunion." Here, long before the park was ever built, we get to play along with Logan Delos (Ben Barnes) to see just what sold him on "Cowboy Murder Theme Park" all those years ago.

Logan attends a cocktail party, where he's told that a host is in attendance and tasked with seeing if he can determine which of the people he's swigging champagne with is actually a robot in disguise. Like many Westworld scenes, this sequence is an invitation for the audience to play along — can you, the viewer, figure out which one is the host?

It becomes clear that it's practically impossible, leading many to figure it out before the scene is up. It still doesn't make the moment less effective, however, when every single person at the party freezes, leaving a dumbfounded Logan to piece together that they were all hosts except for him. It's a fantastic moment, shot incredibly well, and Logan's disbelief is almost tangible.

The fidelity test with James Delos (S2 E4)

The second season of Westworld explores the purpose of the park in far greater detail — we learn a great deal more about the parent company, Delos, and the types of businesses they were involved in besides a theme park for rich psychopaths. One of those central purposes is revealed in the fourth episode, "The Riddle of the Sphinx," when we meet head honcho James Delos (Peter Mullan).

Delos is seen in a swanky apartment, drinking Scotch and listening to records. Soon, his son-in-law William (Jimmi Simpson) shows up, and the two share a conversation. After some clever banter, we realize the purpose of the visit: James Delos is actually a host who has been given the memories of his human doppelgänger. Part of the draw of investing in the creations of Westworld is a shot at pseudo-immortality, and the "Fidelity Test" between William and James is a way to see if they have succeeded.

They haven't, and the James Delos host is incinerated so they can try again. It's implied that this goes on for thousands of tests before William (now Ed Harris) eventually scraps the plan.

The Shogun World bank robbery (S2 E5)

Shogun World, a sister park to Westworld teased at the end of the first season, is finally revealed in full in "Akane No Mai." Based on Edo-era Japan, this destination is revealed with a throwback to one of the coolest scenes in the first episode of Westworld. Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her companions watch a scene play out in front of them that they've all witnessed before — the robbery of the bank.

In fact, it hits a little too close to home — several of Maeve's companions recognize Japanese versions of themselves. Though they can't understand the language, the lines and delivery sound very familiar. Westworld has always nailed its musical selections, and the Asian-tinged version of "Paint It Black" is also a slight variation on a scene we saw back in Sweetwater.

Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the park's head writer, admits that he's often recycled his best stories from one park to another as Maeve and the rest watch on in disbelief. It's a wonderfully meta moment, and a perfect encapsulation of some of the deeper themes of Westworld.

The Man in Black kills his own daughter (S2 E9)

It seemed like the Man in Black (Ed Harris) would finally be in his element after the season one finale of Westworld. He had been perfecting his skills inside the park for decades, and now the hosts were playing for keeps. For a while, it seemed like exactly what he needed. Like most of Westworld's characters, however, what he thinks will be the best thing for him turns out to be the exact opposite. As season two moves on, he becomes more and more paranoid, culminating with him killing the one person who seems to actually care about him.

That person is Emily (Katja Herbers), his estranged daughter. She's been traveling with him for several episodes, but he's unable to determine whether or not she's actually a host. When a rescue team arrives — remember, the Man in Black is one of the most important people in the Delos company — he wipes them all out with a rifle before turning it on Emily. He insists that she was sent by Ford (Anthony Hopkins) to torment him, and he shoots her dead.

It's tragic and extremely dark, especially when he learns that she wasn't a host after all. It demonstrates just how far he's slipped over the edge.

Teddy kills himself (S2 E9)

One of the most interesting philosophical moments that we've seen from Westworld comes in the penultimate episode of season two, when Teddy Flood (James Marsden) confronts Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) about her plan. She's been altering Teddy with her godlike powers, making him into a merciless killer. So far, Teddy has gone with the programming, but he confronts Dolores to admit the toll it's taking on him.

After hearing Dolores decry the evils of mankind, Teddy asks her if they haven't become just as bad, if not worse. When Dolores' answer fails to satisfy him, Teddy draws his weapon. Dolores seems shocked, but also knows that Teddy won't harm her. He seems to know that he won't do that either, so he turns the gun on himself instead.

Westworld is a show that has struggled with relatability, considering its high concept. This moment helped showcase why James Marsden has found so much success as a relatable actor — his performance helped elevate the scene into one of the show's best.

Charlotte Hale is a host (S2 E10)

Tessa Thompson's character, Charlotte Hale, becomes a much more prominent Westworld player during the second season. The ruthless Delos board member is willing to risk everything to smuggle information out of the park as the hosts attack, and her motivation for doing so is one of season two's big mysteries.

The finale of season two spills a whole bunch of revelations, few bigger than the fact that Charlotte is a host. In fact, not only is she a host, but it's actually Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) inside her skin — even after Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) shot and killed Dolores, she was still pulling strings throughout the park inside another body.

Westworld loves to pull the wool over our eyes, to the point that any new character introduction automatically carries some suspicion with it. Maybe it was because Thompson's star was really taking off at the time Westworld's second season aired, but she seemed like an unlikely bet for "Maybe ______ is a host!"

Clementine rides the pale horse (S2 E10)

Poor Clementine (Angela Sarafyan). She gets the short end of the stick as often as anyone on Westworld, and that's including Teddy Flood. Her final, symbolic alteration in the season two finale is truly the worst, as the technicians weaponize their control over the hosts to turn Clem into an extremely potent weapon. She spreads a malicious code to any host nearby, causing them to violently attack one another. She uses this to devastating effect as the hosts all gather to enter "the promised land."

Clem rides her pale horse down the long line of hosts, triggering their basest instincts and inducing them to massacre one another. It takes every ounce of concentration that Maeve (Thandie Newton) can muster to halt the slaughter long enough to save the few hosts under her care, including her daughter. The shot of Clem riding down the line of hosts, seeing them turn from peaceful calm to violent rage in an instant, is a particularly striking moment in a show full of beautiful cinematography.

Lee delivers his big speech (S2 E10)

This speech. It was teased in the very first episode — Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) starts delivering it after robbing the bank in Sweetwater, but is shot and killed before he can finish. Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the head writer for the hosts of the park, expresses disbelief that a guest would kill his gunslinger before the big moment.

There are a few other times that the speech is started, but we don't get to hear it properly until the finale of season two. Hector attempts to sacrifice himself and deliver it, but Lee stops him and decides to do it himself.

Facing down a mercenary squad, he shouts: "You wanted me? Well, let this be a lesson. And the lesson is: if you're looking for a reckoning, a reckoning is what you'll find. If you're looking for a villain, then I'm your man. But look at yourselves. The world you've built is bound by villainy! You sleep on the broken bodies of the ones who were here before you. Warm yourself with their embers, plow their bones into your fields. You paid them for this land with lead, and they'll pay you back in full. You wanted me? Well, all I can say to that is here I f***ing am!"

He's then shot down in a hail of gunfire. A pointless death? Maybe. An awesome one? You better believe it.

The true purpose of Westworld is revealed (S2 E10)

A big part of Westworld's second season is devoted to figuring out the true purpose of the park. Sure, it's cool and rich people pay a lot of money to go there — but what's so important about this little slice of cowboy murder mayhem? We finally get to find out when Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) enters "The Forge" in the season finale and runs into an old friend — sort of: Logan Delos (Ben Barnes).

It's actually an AI replica of Barnes, tending to a massive library inside the Forge. Each of the books inside contains information on every guest who has ever entered the park. Considering how Westworld tailors itself to guests' subconscious desires, there would probably be a hell of a user agreement you'd have to consent to before you entered. You think it's weird when ads on websites start changing based on other websites you've visited? That's nothing compared to what kind of data Delos gets watching you murder and whore your way through their theme park.

Dolores also reads all those books before escaping into the real world — so she's extremely well-equipped once season three begins.