In terms of popularity, Westworld is perhaps second only to Game of Thrones as one of HBO’s most successful shows. Since 2016 the show has entertained fans over the course of 21 episodes. Its unique story, based on the work of Michael Crichton, has drawn in millions without fail over the past four years; with complex characters forced to navigate an already complex balance between what is real and what is artificial.
Set to continue with more seasons, Westworld’s fan base will undoubtedly be reinvigorated. Here is the best of what the show has had to offer so far.
Updated on July 30th, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: Westworld returned with its fourth season in 2022, and the quality has not lessened. While there weren’t as many episodes from the third season that impressed fans on IMDb, the fourth season has already had a couple of standouts that prove that the genius and inventive nature of the show is as strong as ever. That fourth season picked up seven years after the third ended and then time jumped again to 23 years later. This makes it interesting to see where the show ends up, as a fifth season is coming to HBO and fans are hoping that the show will stick the landing and beat out the best shows of the season so far, at least as far as IMDb fans are concerned.
15 Dissonance Theory (S1 E4) – 8.6
In the first season, things moved slowly to the point where viewers learned nothing was as it seemed. “Dissonance Theory” was the episode where Westworld showed that Dolores was getting closer to her own awareness.
However, what really makes this episode so beloved by fans is Westworld fan-favorite character, The Man in Black, and his actions here. He ends up arrested and thrown into prison, and he did it for one reason – to break out Hector Escaton. From the breakout to the showing of power by The Man in Black, “Dissonance Theory” shows why he is such a great character.
14 Contrapasso (S1 E5) – 8.6
In the first season episode “Contrapasso,” Dolores makes a big move toward her transformation. She finally loses the good girl in a crazy land personality and finally realizes something is very wrong behind the scenes of the theme park.
This was the midway point of the first season, and it included a fantastic duel between Dolores and Maeve. The series also proved it wasn’t scared to take things in very different directions, and there was no slowing down after this.
13 The Mother Of Exiles (S3 E4) – 8.7
The third season of Westworld mixed things up and many fans didn’t take the change well. Only one third season episode received a high IMDb score, and that was “The Mother of Exiles,” which was easily the best episode of the season for several reasons.
The Man in Black made his return in this episode, which likely made IMDb fans very happy. With so many new characters and new versions of old ones, bringing back William gave it a shot of adrenaline, and there was a fantastic fight between Bernard and Stubbs.
12 Vanishing Point (S2 E9) – 8.7
This episode initially revolves around Emily and William as they travel to find treatments for the latter’s injuries by Lawrence. At first, they reflect on their past and Juliet’s suicide; they both blame each other for it, Emily insisting that her mother had seen his memory card and killed herself out of disgust.
He proceeded to kill Emily, believing her to simply be a host. However, when he discovers that she had the memory card, verifying her account of his wife’s death, William contemplates how displaced he is from reality.
11 Trace Decay (S1 E8) – 8.7
Trace Decay really hits home the level of complexity that Westworld can offer with Dolores experiencing several different timelines. More central to the theme of the episode, Dr. Ford and Bernard speak much on the morality of killing Theresa and the meaning of suffering as a Host, a discussion in which Ford insists the moral issues Bernard faces are immaterial.
The Doctor expresses his philosophy that the difference between human and Host emotions is non-existent, bluntly stating that “consciousness does not exist.” Bernard, in turn, comes to the realization that the ‘merciful’ memory wipe Ford proposes had been performed on him before.
10 The Passenger (S2 E10) – 8.7
The finale of season 2 was a shocking upset to the plot. In this episode, the Valley Beyond is presented as a tangible safe haven for the Hosts to flee to. Bernard, informed that he is the key to accessing it, offers the rebellious Dolores the chance to enter the Valley.
He kills her when she refuses and attempts to destroy it and all of the guests, but then restores her within a Charlotte-modeled body after recalling that her control unit was still intact. She and Bernard are subsequently able to leave with Delos personnel into the outside world. This is implied to have apocalyptic implications in a post-credit scene, where William finds himself in a shattered future confronted by what appears to be a Host modeled after his daughter.
9 The Original (S1 E1) – 8.8
The pilot episode of Westworld did an excellent job of establishing the overall setting and basic rules of the world. Dolores and The Man in Black (William) are both introduced in this episode, the latter being an apparent guest of Westworld who malevolently interacts with the robotic Hosts of the park.
The episode also introduces the main plotline of the Host’s becoming self-aware, with the park staff scrambling to rectify ‘errors’ in the Host programming. This is punctuated by Dolores violating the Asimov-like directive to not kill living things when she nonchalantly kills an insect.
8 The Adversary (S1 E6) – 8.8
In addition to the continued journey of The Man in Black, “The Adversary” introduces a number of subplots. Dr. Ford is revealed to have maintained several first-generation Hosts within a cabin in Westworld, built to resemble the Doctor’s past family. As they are comparatively unmonitored, these Host’s trouble Bernard, who is exceptionally concerned with his inability to command these much older machines.
Meanwhile, Maeve learns the truth of her existence and the purpose of Westworld. Despite their discovery that someone had already done so, she then blackmails two technicians into increasing her intelligence.
7 The Riddle Of The Sphinx (S2 E4) – 8.9
A great deal is revealed in this episode about the motivations behind Delos. The founder of the company, James Delos, is revealed to have worked with William in the past toward the goal of transferring his consciousness to that of a host. This project was initially believed to be successful, but in the present William sees that James’ mental state has deteriorated beyond salvation.
By the end of the episode, William kills Craddock and Emily (who has escaped her supposed captivity by the Ghost Nation) reveals herself to be his daughter
6 Generation Loss (S4 E4) – 9.0
“Generation Loss” was the season four episode where things changed, and IMDb fans voted it as one of their two favorite episodes of the 2022 season. In the episode, Maeve and Caleb set off into the roaring 20s, and this was the most shocking episode of the season and one that changed everything again.
This was possibly the episode most similar to the first season than anything since then. This episode revealed that Charlotte had flies that would infect a human and allow her to control them. Maeve also faces off with William, who is a host now, and a powerful one, giving this episode The Man in Black that fans always want to see more of.
5 Zhuangzi (S4 E5) – 9.0
It seemed unlikely that “Zhuangzi” could compete with the episode that came the week before, “Generation Loss.” However, while it didn’t have the major reveals of the previous episode, with Charlotte’s plan revealed, the episode still received an equal score from IMDb voters.
What helped keep this episode highly rated for fans on IMDb was the fact that it kept things moving and didn’t deliver anyone a break. This episode shows Charlotte trying to send hosts to kill any humans she can’t control, and that is when Christina steps up as her possible nemesis, preparing viewers for the final half of the season. It also helped clear up some confusing aspects of the Westworld timeline.
4 Kiksuya (S2 E8)– 9.0
After being wounded by Lawrence in the previous episode, William is captured by Akechata. The latter intends to repay William for his copious abuses against the hosts. However, when he observes that Maeve’s daughter recognizes William from his past violent excursions, Akechata refocuses to comfort her.
He tells her that he too has memories that have survived the mental reset all hosts go through at the end of every day. His state is later revealed to correlate with Maeve’s increasing control of the Hosts, as the two are able to converse remotely.
3 The Well-Tempered Clavier (S1 E9) – 9.3
Despite having been wiped of Theresa’s murder, Bernard is surprised by Maeve while analyzing her. She is able to remind him of the fact that he is a Host before returning to further do so for Hector. After failing to capture Dolores, Logan is made to understand by William that the Hosts are not worth being attached to, as they are parts of a mere game.
These sentiments are echoed later by the Man in Black, who says as much after surviving an attempt by Wyatt to kill him. The self-aware Bernard resolves to break his captivity and tries to kill his creator but is overridden and forced by Ford to shoot himself.
2 Trompe L’Oeil (S1 E7) – 9.4
Theresa features heavily in one of the best Westworld episodes as she plots to remove Ford from his position by demonstrating that Hosts are liable to act violently on memories they shouldn’t have. To this end, she sabotages a demonstration in which Charlotte becomes hostile to a stand-in for a human visitor. Bernard, having similar aims toward Ford, helps Theresa.
Their findings lead them to a facility in which several Hosts are stored in various stages of completion. Bernard finds one of himself and learns that he is not human. Ford then appears and orders him to kill Theresa.
1 The Bicameral Mind (S1 E10) – 9.7
In the highest-rated episode and the finale of season one, the Man in Black’s identity is revealed to be that of an older William. For three decades he visited the park, hoping that Dolores would be able to remember him. Her ability to do so is revealed to be a consequence of her possessing the narrative of Wyatt as well as her own.
This had been part of a defense for certain Host’s mechanism against Ford’s memory wipes installed by Arnold. By the end of the episode, Dolores kills Ford, while Armistice and Hector revolt against the facility staff.
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