This article contains major spoilers for "Dissonance Theory," the fourth episode of Westworld. Head over to our Westworld World hub to read interviews, recaps, and theories about the show.
More than most shows on TV, Westworld is spectacle-driven. Each episode of HBO's addictive science-fiction drama comes packed with eye-opening special effects, violent gun battles, and clue-filled setpieces -- and the newest brain teaser, "Dissonance Theory," directed by Vincenzo Natali, was no exception. But, even amid all the visual splendor, great acting can still steal the show. Luckily, acting doesn't come much greater than Sir Anthony Hopkins delivering a creepy monologue in a Mediterranean robo-restaurant.
What exactly made the scene between Hopkins' Dr. Robert Ford and Westworld operations leader Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) so effective? The performances, duh. An award-winning thespian like Hopkins brings gravitas to even the most dutiful exposition, but when he gets a big monologue? You better believe Hannibal Lecter chows down, letting the wine spill to the floor as he makes a meal of all the corporate intrigue. It's surprising Hopkins didn't lick his lips at the end.
While the speech may have been an actorly feat, it was also a nifty bit of narrative sleight of hand. In the same way Ford can stop a complex machine with a twitch of his finger, Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (along with episode co-writer Ed Brubaker) can pack a lot of information into a handful of lines. So, let's put Ford's big scene under the microscope and see what secrets it holds.