In defense of Dolores in West World (after season 2, episode 5).
[There will be spoilers, if you aren’t currently watching Westworld season 2, or haven’t watched up to episode 5. You have been warned.]
First off, I’d like to admit that I could listen to Bernard and Dolores talk for days. That’s a credit to Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright and their killer performances. Tonight, after episode 5, I decided to hop on Twitter and see how people were reacting to the latest installment of Westworld. I hadn’t done so this season yet. And to my surprise, there was a lot of crap being thrown at Dolores. Like, WHAT?!
Some words I saw: boring, crazy, boring monologues, etc.
I was even surprised to see people referring to the ending of the episode as a twist between Dolores and Teddy. Really? Have you not been watching? You knew something was coming two episodes ago.
Alright, let me break some stuff down.
The last we saw Dolores and Teddy, she gave a very cold order to him to execute the remaining Confederate soldiers. I remember when I saw it, I was thinking, “Good grief, girl, dial it back.” And I was kinda feeling Teddy for a bit. And then when Teddy let them go, with Dolores watching disappointed in the shadows, I was like, “OH boy, you did not. You just disobeyed Dolores, you dead.” It was in that moment that I knew there would be some sort of repercussions or in the very least a conversation about it later. This is why I think it’s wild anyone thought tonight’s ending was a “twist” — he had something coming. She’s leading, gave an order, he disobeyed.
As soon as episode 3 ended, after Teddy had spared the confederate soldiers, I had a moment to think. Dolores had said something about how not everyone deserved to make it into the new world, and I also remembered how when they entered the large confederate fort Teddy himself referred to them as animals because of the way they treated people. And I further remembered…. THESE ARE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS. Dolores saying there is no future for the confederacy is kind of an obvious thing. Like, come on. And her choosing to wipe them out kinda made more sense. Granted, we are talking about fiction and we are talking about robots. But it made sense in that context.
In episode 4, the very next episode, we saw what became of these few lives Teddy spared. They took over a Mexican village and terrorized them. Some lost their lives. And the whole episode I kept being reminded of how everything that was happening to that village, all the horrors, was Teddy’s fault. If he’d just done what Dolores had told him to do, they wouldn’t have moved on to this village and terrorized it. Again, another point for Dolores and her foresight and vision. She knew that’s what they’d do, Teddy couldn’t see that. It’s like the difference between a leader with vision and a follower who can’t see past the end of his nose. Teddy must have a big nose, or something.
Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose. (Marry Poppins)
I’m blown away by the fact that people are giving up on Dolores, because she talks too much. Or because she’s cray-cray. And then I realized something, it’s actually not surprising at all. People are often offended when a woman leads. When a woman is harsh or bold in her command. When a woman speaks her mind. This series is full of women leaders, but they are all different characters. Dolores just happens to be managing a war, and she knows it. And she leads like she is managing a war. Nobody else can lay stake to that claim in the series. She is a leader, on the battlefield, during wartime. She’s not gonna put up with crap and she’s gonna get the job done. Sure, I don’t wanna see her become the villain by pure brute. But I think she shows us in little glimpses, that she isn’t. The conviction she has shown for her father over the past few episodes, and her love for Teddy in this latest episode as examples. She’s not crazy, and she hasn’t lost herself. Though, she has awoken and now stands up for herself and others. Before she was the damsel in distress, because she was programmed to be so.
I find it ironic that we’re supposed to feel good about the villain, played by Ed Harris, in episode 4 after he gunned down the remaining confederates we felt good about Teddy letting go. In the same way that we felt good about his character taking out those soldiers, we also should have looked back and been like, “Yeah, Dolores knew what she was doing. Curse you, Teddy!” I personally think we’ve seen a damsel in distress transform into an anti-hero, and with Harris’ character we are possibly seeing a villain transform into an anti-hero. I’m fine with her direction, but not sure I like his direction. I like him being the definitive bad guy.