Westworld is a fantasy just few steps removed from the real world, a place where power is within your grasp and the way you exert your will is limited only by your imagination. Unless your name is James Marsden, in which case you’re a fuckpuppet put on standby until ready to be shot, sexed, or both at the same time, maybe.
Poor James Marsden, Hollywood’s perennial punching bag. He went from being shitted on in the X-Men franchise to being shitted on in 27 Dresses to being shitted on in Straw Dogs, and now he’s being shitted on in HBO’s newest hit.
The people behind the curtain hope for Westworld to be the successor to Game of Thrones, which means we might have many more years of James Marsden’s new character Teddy being shat on for our pleasure. Here’s every moment from the first season that shows Teddy’s suffering thus far. Obviously, there are spoilers ahead.
Shot by the Man in Black while trying to protect Delores
Westworld does that cute thing some pilots do where they set up a bunch of conventional staples for the genre, in this case a Western, before knocking everything down and setting the rubble on fire, ultimately revealing It Was A Robot All Along. Only they do it in the first 10 minutes.
Meet Teddy, the gunslinger with a mysterious past who’s finally returned to see the woman he loves. After the emotional reunion with Delores in the middle of town, they ride to her home only to find bandits have murdered her parents. Teddy dispatches the goons, and maybe things are on the up now.
But Teddy’s would-be heroic moment actually belongs to the introduction of the Man in Black, deftly portrayed by Ed Harris’ sentient collagen-filled lips. The subversion of archetypes and cliches makes the show’s concept crystal clear: Westworld is about control, choice, and consequence. And seeing James Marsden suffer.
Shot during the raid while trying to protect Delores
Pilot episodes are tricky in that a show has to sell the main hooks of the series without giving every secret away. Luckily, the people behind the cameras of Westworld found a way to tease a few mysteries while centralizing the show’s core concept: watching awful things happen to Teddy over and over again.
The first episode’s climax consists of a shootout in which Teddy gets shot, because of course he does. While he manages to keep Delores out of harm’s way, he still dies like a dog in the middle of the street.
Shot while toasting Maeve
Welcome to episode two. It’s almost over. Maybe you thought Teddy might escape this episode alive. Or perhaps the possibility of Teddy dying never crossed your mind at all. And with about 10 minutes left, boom, a random park-goer loses his cool and unloads a six-shooter into Teddy’s chest.
Teddy was just toasting with Maeve about their respective uncouth proclivities when the bastard shoots the glass out of his hands. He clutches for the bar in vain, then writhes with the impact of each subsequent bullet. Classic James Marsden!
Doused by a hose in a room with a ton of other carcasses while Maeve is shaken by the revelation that their lives are meaningless before being dragged off by a couple of staff workers who refer to themselves as “butchers,” just to further drive home how awful their existence is
This moment is like whipped cream on the existential-dread-filled sundae, a bonus feature. Like the creators were saying, hey, here’s more degrading shit happening to James Marsden, in case you forgot what we’re about.
The malfunctioning Maeve escapes an exam room, and finds a bunch of deactivated guests being tossed around and fucked with like rowdy teens in an abandoned mannequin factory. One room has a pile of bodies being sprayed with, well, something, and in the corner waiting his turn to be defiled sits sweet ole’ lifeless Teddy.
Surrounded and hacked by Wyatt’s goons
By this point, we’re conditioned to see Teddy’s demise on a weekly basis. Watching it has become our own storyline, a regularity which everyone grows numb to. So the production ramps up the intensity and shows the dude getting hacked to death. Poor Teddy.
By this point, maybe you’re thinking, hey, it can’t get any worse for Teddy, right?
Tied up and left for dead in the middle of the desert, only to be rescued by the Man in Black
Yes, it can!
Because the only thing worse for Teddy being abandoned and crucified is being rescued by the asshole who’s spent years (and dollars) torturing him. But now the Man in Black is driven in his quest toward the center of the maze. He doesn’t have time to play around and torture Teddy, who literally has a vulture hanging out next to him in the scene. So what heinous act could he possibly put Teddy through that would further demean his existence without killing him?
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Given dirty blood transfusion out of a leather sack
Well, gotta hand it to Westworld with this one. Just when you think they’ve dragged Teddy through the ugliest mud, debased him in the worst way, or knocked him down to a new low, they do something like kill a supporting character, drain all of his blood into a bag, then somehow put that blood back inside Teddy to save his life.
The transfusion took place off screen, leaving many fans to wonder how the hell the Man in Black got all that blood back inside Teddy to begin with. Did he drink it? Did he just pour it in the wounds? And to do all that before the creepy robot kid could return with some water? Well, maybe some of Westworld’s mysteries are best left unexplained.