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The Scene In Westworld That Went Too Far

HBO has spent decades delivering television shows meant for mature audiences. Some of their most successful shows, like "The Sopranos," "Deadwood," and "Boardwalk Empire," came with a heavy amount of violence. 

The network dialed the blood, savagery, and action up a notch with "Game of Thrones" (although the less we say about that ending, the better), and "Westworld" continued that trend. The series has never shied away from excessive violence and sex, and there's been no shortage of crazy moments on "Westworld." The series' central theme park is filled with robotic hosts designed to provide anything that guests might have a taste for — no matter how violent or depraved. It's really no surprise that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) started a revolution, is it?

The violence on the show has been brutal and unforgiving at times, including the Ghost Nation tribe's methods and their leader's tendency to scalp various hosts only to carve a maze into the underside of their skin. Even when "Westworld" Season 3 took its action out of the park and into the rest of the futuristic world, the series was still violent, compelling, and incredibly memorable. For instance, few moments were as shocking as the end of "Westworld" Season 3, which sees a bomb leave Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) crawling from her car's burning wreckage with horrific scars covering her entire body.

That said, there is almost no character on "Westworld" who has been quite as violent or boundary-pushing as the Man in Black AKA William (Ed Harris).

The Man in Black has always been a violent figure

Ever since he was introduced in the series premiere of "Westworld," Ed Harris' Man in Black has been a fiendishly violent and morally abhorrent character. The HBO drama's first episode sees the Man in Black brutally assault and murder both Dolores and her assigned companion, Teddy (James Marsden), but the character's mean streak only becomes more apparent and brutal from that moment on. "Westworld" Season 2 even sees Harris' William shoot his own daughter after he becomes convinced that she's secretly a robot that was planted in the park to manipulate him.

All of his actions in the series have simultaneously made William one of the show's most unlikeable characters and, without a doubt, one of its most compelling villains. The Man in Black's penchant for violence is also, notably, part of what made him an appealing character to Harris.

The actor said as much in a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, telling the outlet, "It's nice in 'Westworld' to play someone with some violence about him. He's still kicking and he's still very physical." In the same interview, Harris also opened up a bit about William's desire to unleash violence upon the hosts of the titular park in "Westworld," saying, "He's this very violent and unforgiving individual. It's a true part of him that he feels he needs to explore. He basically comes to the park for about a month per year to exorcise those demons."

Of course, viewers have seen William explore his violent side quite a bit over the course of the first three seasons of "Westworld." However, of all of William's violent moments, there's one scene, in particular, that took things too far without actually showing anything on-screen.

Maeve is haunted by the Man in Black's actions

Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) is one of the most enduring hosts on "Westworld" largely because she's already gone through so much heartbreak and anger in her past life as a simple homesteader. She constantly endures flashbacks of living a peaceful life in the country with her daughter (Jasmyn Rae), which was interrupted when they were attacked and killed by the Ghost Nation tribe. However, another recurring vision reveals that Ed Harris' William also attacked them. In Season 1, Episode 8 of "Westworld," titled "Trace Decay," the villainous gunslinger even recounts a tale to Teddy, explaining that his wife committed suicide in the real world over William's growing darkness because of his adventures in the park.

To truly test his capacity for evil, William hunted Maeve down before shooting her young daughter. A child's death will always shock viewers, but William's motivations make the moment so much worse. It's just a game to him — he didn't do it out of bloodlust or part of some grand scheme. He just wanted to see if he was capable of murdering someone wholly innocent. In case that wasn't sinister enough, William also reveals in "Trace Decay" that he felt nothing about killing both Maeve and her daughter.

All this is to say that, while the Man in Black is one of the most complex characters on "Westworld," killing a child just makes him irredeemable. To their credit, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy do develop his arc quite a bit in the second and third seasons of "Westworld," but this Season 1 moment nonetheless took his violence a step too far. That said, after the dramatic ending of the show's third season, it'll be interesting to see where William ends up in "Westworld" Season 4.