Previously on Westworld, “The Adversary”
Westworld – S1E7 – “Trompe L’Oeil” | Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rodrigo Santoro, Simon Quarterman, Luke Hemsworth
trompe l’oeil – /trômp ˈloi/ – noun: visual illusion in art, especially as used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.” – The Mad Hatter
This week, we learned definitively what many of us had suspected: Bernard is a Host. In fact, it’s possible that Bernard is Ford’s ultimate trompe l’oeil. No matter how real they look, the guests know the Hosts are not human. The Man in Black once said that after you visit the park enough, you begin to see the cracks. Yet, Bernard was able to fool an entire company that he was human for many years. The fact that he was also sleeping with the head of QA, whose job it is to make sure nothing is wrong with the Hosts, adds a whole new layer of duplicity.
In fact, “Trompe L’oeil” was filled with backstabbing and machinations. Hale takes time out from having sex with Hector to explain to Theresa what the board wants: the code to making the Hosts. Ford has kept it locked up tight in his mind, refusing to backup the data offsite. Whether or not Westworld the theme park remains open means little; they have plans for the intellectual property, not the real estate. She tasks Theresa with helping her create a situation in which Ford would be forced to make new Hosts (and I’m assuming they’d steal the data like they did with the Woodcutter), and then they’d ask him to retire. They have to show the Hosts can be dangerous. And that will require a sacrifice of one.
As this point, the collective audience probably shouted at their televisions, “No, not Maeve!” And there was further cause to worry when the “Shades” freeze the hosts in The Mariposa to retrieve “the one at the bar.” Maeve stands still at the bar after snatching a knife. Seeing as how moments before she’d slammed the piano shut and went off-script in questioning Clementine about her dreams, it was a fair assumption that Maeve had been busted. Thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on how you feel about Clementine), it’s Maeve’s employee they want – not Maeve.
Clementine is used in a demonstration designed by Hale, Theresa, and Stubbs. She’s brutally beaten by another Host, has her memory wiped, and then proceeds to kill the Host who attacked her. Theresa and Hale claim the fault lies in the reverie code in the latest update. As Bernard received concerns from his Behavioral team about the Hosts possibly “holding grudges” and did nothing, he’s fired. Clementine is decommissioned as a heartbroken Maeve, having convinced Felix to bring her, watches from the hall. Later, she tells Sylvester and Felix that she’ll kill them if they don’t help her get out of the park.
Wanting to tell Theresa everything he knows about Ford’s secret work before leaving the company, Bernard takes her to the house previously holding Ford’s Host family. They’re gone, but Theresa sees a door; a door Bernard does not. They head into the basement where Ford is using a remote lab to make a new Host. Theresa thinks they have enough to get Ford removed. As she thumbs through early sketches of Hosts, she finds one that looks like Bernard. He gazes at the paper for a moment and then says, “It doesn’t look like anything to me.”
Ford appears and puts the confused and agitated Bernard in a temporary sleep mode so he can gloat a bit. He implies this is all part of a dance he has with the board every now and again. And even though he’s shown to have the most raging god complex ever, he says what the board has in mind for his design would really be playing God. Then, with a simple request that Bernard help the weary Theresa, Ford stares across the room as Bernard beats Theresa to death.
If we are still assuming that William and Dolores’ adventure is taking place 30 years in the past, and that William is also the Man in Black, it’s fair to say that being played for a fool in love might be his main reason for turning to the dark side. He could be seeing depth in Dolores that simply isn’t there.
After telling Dolores about his fiancee (Logan’s sister) waiting at home, William has sex with Dolores and claims he doesn’t regret it the next morning. They part ways with Lawrence after narrowly escaping Confederados and the Ghost Nation. Dolores finds the spot she recently painted out of nowhere and thinks she’s close to where she needs to be. William, just wanting to be with Dolores, agrees.
Stray Observations and Questions
- I’m even more convinced that Bernard was made in Arnold’s image, possibly with his consciousness or memories. I think those scenes with Dolores in a remote lab (very much like the one we see in the basement in this episode) are with the actual Arnold, and we witnessed when he was just beginning to meet with her regularly and explore whether or not she was gaining consciousness.
- However, Dolores with William (presumably in the past) is not gaining consciousness. It’s highly possible she’s just following her loop of taking a Host on some romantic and thrilling quest. Or, perhaps Logan was right and Delores was sent out there to engage Logan since he works for Delos (presumably).
- Hale refers to the board’s “research project” and Ford hints that the board wants to use his code to play God. Are they wanting to experiment with uploading consciousness to Hosts in an effort to prolong life?
- Sidse Babett Knudsen was fantastic this week. I’m going to miss Theresa.
- Writer and executive producer Lisa Joy confirmed that Ford knew to use the “blood sacrifice” line before having Theresa killed because he heard it through Hector (paused on Hale’s bed) when Hale said it to Theresa. So, how much more can he see or hear through the Hosts? The thought of him watching Bernard and Theresa made me shudder.
- Was Ford making a Theresa Host to cover up his crime? I don’t think so. I think he’s calling the board’s bluff.
- Another thing that points to two different parts (three if you believe some of Bernard’s interactions with Dolores were before she met William) of time: In episode 2, Logan said, “Fuck you, Grizzly Adams.” That always felt like an odd reference to me when I assumed the show was taking place far into the future. But if he’s in, say, 2016, it’s not such a far out reference. This week, Ford talks about great works of art and includes The Empire State Building with the works of Mozart and Michelangelo. If he’s speaking in 2050 or later, it makes more sense that he would include a building constructed in the late ’20s/early ’30s with art made centuries ago.
- Maeve (a.k.a Baeve) demands that Felix and Sylvester help her leave the park. In response, Sylvester says everything in the park, including the skin on her back, is designed to keep her there.” Is it possible the Hosts can’t “survive” outside of the park due to something biological or even computerized in their system?
What did you think of this week’s episode? If you’re a Premium podcast subscriber, head over to Patreon to share your thoughts and we’ll read them on the podcast tonight.