Season 1, Episode 7: “Trompe L’Oeil”
Directed by Stephen Williams
Written by Charles Yu
* For a review of the previous episode, “The Adversary” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Trace Decay” – click here
Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) wakes to the sound of his son’s voice. The boy is ill, his father reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to him doing all the voices. Sadly, followed by his stats dropping. Then Bernie wakes at home in bed by himself. He goes about his day testing robots, asking them questions. He works on Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) who had a “blacklisted” encounter with a guest. The man wanted to cut off a piece of him and bring it home. This did nothing to change Hector’s worldview. All is well. Except that Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) is nowhere to be found, and will she be found? Or did whoever sneaking up behind her in the dark last episode do something tragic?
Inside Westworld we’re back with William (Jimmi Simpson), Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood), and their latest friend Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr). It’s a tenuous friendship, but they’re together nonetheless. All three of them have reservations, problems. William mentions his friend wanting to see “what was at the end of all this.” Sounds familiar, no? Like somebody we’ve seen searching for The Maze? Either way, soon the trio on their train roll through rough Native territory and they must tread lightly.
It doesn’t take long for Bernie to start worrying about Elsie. He’s got enough going on with Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen), anything else just makes things worse. Of course there are many more concerning things happening around Westworld. I wonder how long Lowe will let his former lover sit unknowing about what he’s found. Perhaps for the best, right now.
Upstairs, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) bangs Hector, using him as a personal sex toy. She calls a meeting with Theresa. The board is mostly only concerned with the intellectual property at Westworld. Everything outside that is secondary, or nothing at all. “But the gods… they require a blood sacrifice,” Charlotte tells Theresa. The hosts need to be revealed as dangerous. Fuck.
Over at the Mariposa, Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) continues her days, as usual. Except, not like usual. She is enhanced; more intelligent, more aware. Everything feels off to her. She and Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafan) have their usual chat, but Maeve sees everything stop, she isn’t shut down like the others. In come a team of men. They’re actually there to take Clementine, so Maeve plays dumb, not moving. Now, this is an interesting little twist. If she isn’t subject to certain commands anymore this could lead to a few tricky situations.
William and Dolores talk on the train. He talks about only ever having books as a boy, getting lost in their imaginary world. He wants to “find out what it means.” Oh, man; is this heading where I think? The clues are all there to make him The Man in Black (Ed Harris), although I can’t see where that whole thread is heading ultimately. Maybe those breadcrumbs are just red herrings. Meanwhile, William must reject Dolores’ advances because he has a wife back home. But that only lasts a minute or two before they fall into each other’s arms.
In one of the labs Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Bernard meet with Charlotte and Theresa. They’ve got things to discuss. So Ms. Hale talks about the recent “reveries” of the certain hosts. In comes Clementine. They say she has issues. Then they have a man beat her, as everyone watches on. She’s reset and everyone repeated. Only the next time she’s attacked Clementine fights back, brutally. Kicking the shit out of her abuser. Hmm. They send Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) in to take care of the renegade host, but she won’t stop on command. Until Stubbs puts a bullet in her heart. Therefore, Theresa and Charlotte use this as ammunition to fire Lowe, as he won’t speak against Ford. Oh, the doctor doesn’t like that. Not one bit.
Dolores tells William she’s “not a key” and that she can’t unlock anything for him. That’s all in his own mind. He feels a bit lost now all of a sudden in the whole appeal of Westworld. I’m still unable to shake the idea that he and Black may be one in the same; not sure, not yet, there is just a strong parallel between William in this episode and stuff we’ve heard from the Man in Black. Eventually the train stops, though. Lawrence sees the Confederados have them in the sights of their machine gun. And the bullets start flying.
While the trio of buddies fight off the Confederados they wind up in Ghost Nation territory, where the Confederados get slaughtered in bloody fashion. Letting Dolores, Lawrence, and William ride off literally into the sunset, though the new lovers part on their own course soon enough.
When Maeve is out in the lab again she asks the friendly technician to find out where they took Clementine. She’s up in the Body Shop. They discover her being worked on, lobotomised. Maeve has her two bumbling technicians under a thumb: “At first I thought you and the others were gods. Then I realised, you‘re just men. And I know men.” Now she wants out. Or else people start dying.
At the same time Bernie confronts Theresa about “human intervention in the code” concerning the demonstration earlier. Moreover, he also feels there’s something wrong, worth sharing with her. He brings Theresa out where Ford’s little memory house sits in a corner of the park. There, they head downstairs to another lab where hosts are built where hosts are rendered. Theresa finds the blueprint for several hosts, including Robert, Dolores, as well as one that looks strikingly similar to Bernard. Then Ford comes upon the two in his hidden basement. “You‘re a fucking monster,” Theresa tells him.
All is clear. Jesus. WOW, I never once guessed. That’s why there are only memories of his previous life – his boy, his life as a father. Oh my god. A moment of true devastation. Ford sees it otherwise. The hosts are free; under his hand. He ordered Bernie to bring Theresa there, to kill her. One problem solved for the now very terrifying doctor.
What a quality bit of writing. I’d honestly never considered this possibility, I can only imagine what else Westworld has in store for us. The twists and turns are there, waiting to unfold. Ought to be quite intriguing where this all heads next.
The following episode is titled “Trace Decay” – what will be revealed?