“Thus the paradox of emotion is that it wants to have much more sense that it does have. Emotion that is not tied to the opening of a horizon but to some nearby object, emotion within the limits of reason offers us a compressed life. Burdened by our lost truth, the cry of emotion rises out of disorder, such as it might be imagined by the child contrasting the window of his bedroom to the depths of the night”
Georges Bataille – Cruel Practice of Art.
Oh, how I fear for Dr. Robert Ford´s demise on episode 10 of Westworld first season. That would be a move as bold as the (predictable, at least for book readers) early demise of Eddard Stark on Game of Thrones. And Ford, as a character is much more layered than Lord Stark, maybe because WW does not spread itself thin on dozens of characters. Ok, that is not GoT´s fault, the ASOIAF universe is too large and complex, and Westworld is inspired on a movie, so…
Anyway, Ford is by far my favourite character!
Episode 8, Trace Decay, gives us some material on both Ford and the Man in Black.
We learn that MiB has been visiting the park for 30 years and that he lives a completely different life in the world outside. He is a titan of industry, a God,a philanthropist, married to a beautiful woman, father to a daughter, a man who has never ever hurt or abused his family or anyone, yet his wife knew of his life in the park, and felt as if he was a start about to collapse, a bomb ready to explode, and eventually killed herself; his daughter pushed him away, and he decided to do to his soul searching within that park, to learn his true self, and that´s how he realized that the maze was real – and that´s how his story intercepts Maeve´s. Many other bloggers have dissected this in a number of recaps.
Ford does not talk about himself, the way to learn about him, is by observation. The text is fabulous, cause it feels like seduction; I am drawn to Ford, and Hopkins does a great work with his restrained acting, calculated in every detail.
When Ford and Bernard discuss about the truth of host vs human emotions, Ford concludes that it does not make any difference; there is nothing special about human conscience, we need a story to anchor our perception of ourselves, our memories help us build and reinforce the self.
Emotions and memories are connected, both Ford and MiB reckon, and whereas the good doctor seek to control the mysterious rider seek to release. Both understand the power of emotion in the making of a full human being, and memory is pivotal to that, as it is a reflection on emotions past, making us able to deal with present and future situations. Perhaps Ford reached this understanding with the Arnold affair.
I see Dr. Ford as the child pressing his nose against his bedroom window, staring at the darkness of the night outside. He knows every bush and pebble and house, and bird nest of his neighbourhood and he could walk around them blindfolded, but the knowledge of darkness casts shadows in the scene within his mind. It is fascinating, though, and he can´t stop staring at the darkness outside. The thrill of fear, the anxiety, the urge to control also to hide, all so overwhelming. What a ride!