The Stray Recap

At the complex, Bernard brings Dolores back on line and asks if anyone has talked with her diagnostically since their last interaction. The android confirms that no one has and she hasn't told anyone about their conversations. Bernard gives her a gift: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He has her read a passage about Alice thinking that she's been changed in the night, and asks if it makes her think of anything. Dolores says that it's about change, like the other books that they've read, and Bernard suggests that people read about what they want and experience the least. Dolores asks about Bernard's son, and he says that it's nowhere that she would understand. He has her report that she asked about his son because she was initiating an ingratiating program, and has her continue reading.

The next morning, Dolores wakes up in her bed. She finds the gun that she dug up in her dresser drawer, and quickly puts it back. Dolores then looks in the memory and has a memory-flash of the Man taking her into the barn, drawing a knife, and telling her to start at the beginning. She then looks in the drawer but the gun has vanished.

In Sweetwater, William walks down the street past Clementine, and sees Teddy--now a bounty hunter--bringing Horace in. As William goes up to the sheriff's office, Horace throws the deputy out the window and then comes out and shoots him. He guns down two other hosts and a third one steps out, and Clementine is caught in the middle. Horace grabs her as a shield, and William prepares to shoot him in the back. The outlaw turns and shoots William, and Clementine pulls free and falls into the street. As Horace prepares to kill her, William recovers and shoots him dead. He helps Clementine up and she hugs him in relief.

Teddy comes over and congratulates William on his shooting, and invites him to come along and help him hunt down desperadoes. Clementine invites William into the Mariposa to thank him properly, and he turns her down. She kisses him and leaves as Logan comes over. Logan admits that the hosts can shoot, they just can't kill, and says that Clementine acted terrified so that William could feel what he's feeling. When William stops to look at a wanted poster, Logan says that he's been waiting for the good stuff and the bounty hunting is JV garbage. His friend says that he wants an adventure, grabs the poster, and walks away.

At the complex monitoring room, Theresa finds Bernard and warns that the board is uneasy about the new narrative. She says that Robert has carved out a large part of the park for his new storyline and messed up half of the existing storylines. Theresa wonders why Bernard's people are pulling hosts for follow-up after the update, and tells him to tell her if there are any problems.

Elise is questioning the Rebus host when Bernard comes in. She points out that Rebus was the last host to interact with Walter as he went off-program, and she reruns the video. Walter is apparently talking to someone who isn't there, Arnold, but Bernard says that the hosts play off of aberrant behavior. Elise then points out that the six hosts that Walter killed were all parts of storylines where they killed Walter. They receive a report that a host has gone "stray," and Bernard tells Elise to go with Stubbs and handle it while he does some more digging into the situation with Walter.

Elise goes up with Stubbs and wonders if the surveillance is so spotty that the host could leave. He checks his gun and reminds Elise that the only thing keeping the hosts from killing them is a line of code.

In Sweetwater, Teddy and his assistant Armistice approach a man, Samuel, and his two thugs. They go for their guns, and Teddy and Armistice gun down their three opponents. They handcuff Samuel to a post to make sure no one walks off with him and go into the Mariposa. Teddy apologizes to leaving a dead body outside of her saloon. As he pays her for her troubles, Maeve has a memory-flash of seeing Teddy's body in the complex. As she stares at him, Clementine offers Armistice a discount and leads her to her room.

Teddy looks out the window and sees Dolores, and goes out after her. She drops her can and Teddy picks it up, and he says that he came back like he told her he would. They ride out to the countryside and Teddy says that he's been away. Dolores says that she's considered leaving Sweetwater, and Teddy says that there's a place he's heard of down south where people can start again. He tells her that someday he'll take her and Dolores hesitates when he says "someday." She wonders if he means "never," and says that they should go now. They kiss and then Teddy says that he has some reckoning to do before he deserves a woman like her, but he's close and someday they'll have the life that they've been dreaming of.

That night, Teddy takes Dolores home and they hear gunshots. Teddy rides to the house and after a moment, Dolores follows him.

Later at the complex, Robert supervises Teddy's repair and points out that he's died a thousand times and yet it hasn't dulled his courage. Teddy says that he aspires to Dolores and hopes that someday they'll have the life they've been dreaming of. Robert tells him that he never will because his job is to keep Dolores there if the guests want to best a gunslinger and have their way with his girl. Teddy says that he has some reckoning to do before he can leave, and Robert says that they never bothered to give him anything other than a formless guilty he'll never atone for. He wonders if Teddy would like a complete backstory as part of his new narrative, and talks about his storyline is in a time of war with a villain named Wyatt. Robert uploads the narrative into Teddy's memory, and he remembers Wyatt as the face of true evil. He recites the narrative about how Wyatt is a sergeant who went missing, and thought he heard the voice of God. When he came back, he had some strange idea.

The next day, Sweetwater starts up and Dolores rides into town. Rebus and Walter approach her with a guest, and Rebus says that they wanted to introduce the guest with a rancher's daughter. Teddy comes over and says that Dolores isn't interested, and the guest complains that he wanted something easier. Rebus takes him to a saloon and Teddy takes Dolores out of town. He shows off his shooting skill and then shows her how to do it. Dolores stares at the gun in surprise and says that she can't pull the trigger, and Teddy figures that it's nerves.

Sheriff Pickett and Armistice ride up with a posse, and Armistice says that they have another bounty: Wyatt. Pickett says that Teddy is the only man who has gone up against Wyatt and lived, and Teddy tells Dolores that he has to leave. She makes him promise that he'll come back and they kiss.

Elsie and Stubbs approach a work camp where a group of cowboy hosts are caught in a loop, unable to start a fire. They freeze and Elsie says that the woodcutter host walked off and he was the only one authorized to handle the axe. They go into the woodcutter's tent and discover that he's been carving animals. A turtle shell has a pattern carved into it, and Elsie finds the same pattern on another animal.

The posse rides off and Teddy says that the men that ride with Wyatt wear masks made of human skin. They don't fear death because they figure that they've already died and gone to Hell, and Teddy tells Pickett that Wyatt was his sergeant when he was in the army... and his friend. When Wyatt came back, he claimed that the land had belonged to something yet to come, and belonged to him.

The posse comes to a tree with two rotting corpses tied to it. Teddy assures the others that he aims to kill Wyatt. When Armistice approaches one of the "corpses", it coughs and they hear something howling in the distance. Gunshots ring out, killing one posse man and then the supposed corpse. Everyone takes cover, and one of the two guests with the posse complains to the other that he didn't sign up for crazy shit and runs.

Teddy figures that Wyatt has been recruiting and there's too many of them, and Teddy says that he'll draw their fire while the others head back to town. He, Pickett, and Armistice charge forward while Foss takes the others back.

Stubbs and Elsie continue tracking the stray. Elsie studies the pattern on the carved turtle shell and Stubbs points out that it looks like the constellation Orion. Surprised, Elsie realizes that he's right.

At the complex, Bernard visits Robert. Robert talks to a technician instead, wondering why he covered over the host he was examining. He yanks off the sheet and says that the hosts don't get cold or feel ashamed, cuts its face, and says that the hosts don’t feel anything that they tell them to. Bernard then talks privately to Robert and they go to Robert's office. When Bernard suggests that they treated the symptoms instead of the disease, Robert figures that it's cognitive dissonance but Robert points out that they were talking to the same imaginary person, Arnold. He asks for the entire truth about the situation, and Robert insists that he did.

Robert explains that he and a team of engineers lived in the park for three years before a single guest arrived. Robert's partner worked with him, and the company later scrubbed him from the records. The partner's name was Arnold, and Arnold wanted to create consciousness. He built the hosts' consciousness so that they heard their programming as an internal monologue, with the hopes that in time their thoughts would take over. They abandoned the concept when the other hosts considered the bicameral hosts lunatics. To spare the hosts the pain of what they go through, they make them forget. Bernard figures the "defective" hosts are accessing parts of Arnold's code. When Bernard asks what happened to Arnold, Robert says that he died in the park when his search for consciousness consumed him. He supposedly died in an accident, but Robert figures it wasn't. Robert then tells Bernard that the update should prevent any more "voices" and asks Bernard to let him know if any other hosts display unusual behavior. Bernard agrees and as he agrees, Robert reminds him that the hosts aren't conscious and he shouldn’t make Arnold's mistake. He figures that the death of Bernard's son Charlie still weighs heavily on him, and Bernard leaves without a word.

Later, Bernard calls his ex-wife Lauren and she says that at least he has a way of forgetting. He says that he never forgets and talks about how sometimes he forgets when and where he's at, and he thinks Charlie will be next to him, between him and Lauren. Lauren wonders if their talks help or hurt, and wonders if Bernard wishes he could forget. Bernard tells her that the pain is all that he has left of their son,

As night falls on the park, Elsie tries to work out why the host would carve Orion. She goes off to urinate, and something approaches her. Elsie goes to investigate and finds the woodcutter caught in a crevasse.

As they head up into the hills, Teddy tells Armistice and Pickett to shoot at anything that moves. Armistice trips over a wire and the howling starts up again. Two masked men attack Pickett, cutting his throat, and more men come at Teddy and Armistice. They open fire but quickly run out of bullets, and Teddy tells Armistice to run while he holds them off as long as he can. He draws his revolver and fires but they quickly bring him down.

Stubbs insists on going down and removing the host's control unit. Elise calls Bernard but gets no answer, and leaves a message that they found the stray and she figures it didn't get there by accident.

Bernard visits Dolores in the lab and brings her online, and then he says that he needs her help to decide what to do with her. He thinks he made a mistake and it would be better to restore her to the way she was before. Bernard says that the place she lives in is a terrible place for her, and tells her to imagine there are two versions of herself: one that asks questions and one that is safe. He asks her which she would rather be, and Dolores says that there is only one version of herself and when she discovers who she is, she'll be free. Bernard asks her what prompted the response, and Dolores says that she doesn't know. She wonders if she's made a mistake, and Bernard says that evolution uses mistakes. He then talks about how he taught Charlie to swim by letting go of him, because that's what parents do. Dolores wonders if he wants to change her back, and Bernard says that they'll where the path leaves. She promises that she won't tell anyone and stay on her loop, and Bernard sends her back before someone misses her.

Later, Dolores is walking down the street in Sweetwater when Foss rides in. He says that Wyatt set a trap for them and Teddy stayed behind. Dolores asks if he's going to go back to look for Teddy, and Foss says that he sent for the Rangers but warns her that Teddy and the others are most likely dead already.

When Dolores rides out to her father's ranch, she hears gunshots and vaguely remembers the same thing happening before. She rides to the house and finds her father dead on the ground. Rebus grabs her, and Dolores reliving the same thing with a different father. The guests come out and tell Rebus that he can have Dolores, and Rebus drags her to the barn. Dolores realizes that she's grabbed Rebus' revolver, and aims it at Rebus. She tries to pull the trigger and can't... until she remembers the Man doing the same thing. Furious, she shoots Rebus in the neck and then runs to the house in shock. A guest sees her and shoots her in the stomach, but realizes that it's an errant memory. Unwounded, Dolores mounts horse and rides off as the guest shoots at her,

Stubbs descends into the crevasse after Elise puts the host into sleep mode. He takes out a knife and starts cutting off the woodcutter's head, but it comes back to life, knocks him down, and climbs up Stubbs' rope. Elise is unable to put it into sleep mode, and the woodcutter advances on her. It picks up a rock and holds it above its head... and the crushes its own skull in repeatedly. Stubbs climbs up just in time to see it collapse.

William and Logan make camp for the night after William convinces Logan to come along. Dolores staggers up to them and collapses.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 17, 2016