On Westworld, human nature is suspect, whether displayed by bots built from bolts or organic ringleaders birthed into the world the old-fashioned way. The show's first two hours raise eyebrows over the behavior of the park's robotic "hosts," who now possess tics and impulses and "memories." Is this a higher level of consciousness? The third episode, "The Stray," turns the speculative-fiction microscopes to the human characters. Specifically, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), whose tics and impulses and "memories" are as terrifying as those of any of his mechanical counterparts.
Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan introduce Dr. Ford as an enigmatic genius who works out of corporate sight. From his first whispered bit of metaphysical insight, he was catnip for sci-fi fans, a thinker, a dreamer, and a pain in the ass to the park's story-focused hacks. The second episode, "Chestnut," had him once again off the grid, ready to launch a new campaign within the walls of the park. With "The Stray," a new side of Ford's personality came forward, casting a shadow over his potential "hero" role. He is violent and quietly maniacal. He'd probably hurt a fly, then lie about it.