Westworld plays with fire in an episode showing its best and worst selves.
offers the best and worst of Westworld in one convenient package. It includes compelling mysteries, horrifying thoughts on the future of sentient beings on earth, and some solid action beats — all within a 71-minute running time, at least 20 to 30 minutes of which are spent on things the show has not sufficiently convinced me I should care about.
By this point, you’ve either made your peace with Westworld being this way or you’ve just stopped watching. But try though the show might, it simply cannot get me invested in the Man in Black’s quest, or the lengthy philosophical rambles he engages in with various Hosts and others he comes across in the park.
So much of this season is centered on Ford’s latest “game,” which is maybe a Host uprising and maybe just another way to make the park more atmospheric and maybe both. And when the show turns its gaze to Bernard and William, the two characters with the most investment in whatever Ford was up to, as it does in this episode, the series starts being about what happens when these men try to chase a ghost.
Yet “The Riddle of the Sphinx” is so good in its other sequences that I almost don’t care about its weak points. In particular, the sequences centered on the mystery of James Delos are some of the best things the series has ever done, bolstered by an incredible guest performance.
So let’s take a look at the four winners and three losers of “The Riddle of the Sphinx.”