This recap of “The Riddle of the Sphinx” from season two, episode four of Westworld contains spoilers.
Desmond, is that you?
The opening for episode four of Westworld’s second season felt a great deal like the scene in ABC’s Lost when the viewers first meet Desmond, a man whose life is on a monotonous loop. He’s a guinea pig in a lab. In the Westworld version, the man is not a man at all. He’s a host. And this host, who is a reborn version of James Delos, is not performing some great act like Desmond, who is saving humanity by resetting a clock (or so he thinks). Delos is the subject for a self-interested act that defies humanity and mortality — he’s working on a form of immortality.
Delos’ host is putting a new meaning into host — it is playing host to the memories and soul of Delos. William (or MiB) is using his father-in-law to attempt to help people get reborn into hosts by uploading their memories and reforming a consciousness. But it’s not working, hence the loop.
The looping storyline in this episode provided a handful of exciting reveals with action-packed plot development. But the opening images of Delos’ chambers were telling:
- The sands of time spilled in a glass.
- A goldfish swam, trapped in its tank.
- The copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Sirens of Titan” lay on the bed.
The sands of time are an allusion to a feeling that time is standing still for us as viewers, because we, like Delos, are trapped in this time warp. The goldfish serves as a metaphor for Delos, who is trapped in his own tank and has the memory of, well, a goldfish. The viewers can’t help but relate with no sense of time or place, as we are also trapped in this tank with Delos and the goldfish. And finally, the book, “Sirens of Titan” is about free will, omniscience and humanity struggling against forces they cannot overcome (see: death). Just like Delos, we are hardly omniscient in this story, and we’re struggling to come to grips with William’s reality. (Am I the only one who also thought my cognitive function had plateaued, like Delos?)
With that in mind, here are the winners and losers from the episode.