Previously on Westworld, “Phase Space”
Westworld doesn’t always do a cold open, but when it does, oh boy; they’re great. This week, we’re thrust into present day (or close to it) as Ashley Stubbs starts to worry that he and Bernard may be expendable once Charlotte Hale gets her hands on the data inside Abernathy. They attempt to make their way to Theresa Cullen’s office to use her SAT-phone to call for “real help,” but they’re stopped by Strand, who knows that Theresa’s death wasn’t an accident. He assumes either Stubbs or Bernard murdered her and now plan to sell the valuable data inside Abernathy. He leads them to where Theresa was killed, and, with Hale watching, threatens to kill one of them if they don’t talk. Bernard is close to confessing, but is interrupted by the discovery of a secret room. In it, they find at least a half dozen inactive Bernard hosts.
This reveal was actually teased in the “next time on” moments at the end of last week’s episode so it did soften the gut punch a bit, but watching Bernard “waterboarded” via programming immediately after provides its own shock. Hale attempts to separate Bernard’s memories of what happened during the attack on the mesa from his programmed memories, and through that and her own account of what she witnesses, we get the bulk of “Les Écorchés.”
Coughlin’s team seriously underestimated Dolores and her horde. The hosts make quick work of the PMCs while trying to make their way to the cradle and Abernathy located in one of the labs. Hale, meanwhile, rushes the tech to remove Abernathy’s control unit and tries to keep Stubbs from asking too many questions about what makes Abernathy so important.
Bernard is inside the framework reuniting with Ford, who explains to his creation what we already knew: the park was used to study and spy on the guests with the hopes of being able to recreate people as hosts. But he also drops a bit of info we didn’t know. For years, he had Bernard tested in a replica of Arnold’s home within the park. His fidelity was tested by Dolores, the one person who knew Arnold the best and whose memories were extremely vivid and precise. Ford won’t reveal how his story ends, though, because we have three more episodes. Instead, he exits the framework by hitchhiking a ride inside Bernard.
Dolores confronts Hale and demands to know how to get the data out of her father. Hale also underestimates Dolores and is visibly shaken when Dolores says she knows all about their secret project to be like the hosts. Hale also mistakenly thinks the hosts are so bold because they assume they can’t really die. Dolores views the backups as another method of control over them. It allows the humans to repurpose them for their twisted needs and desires. Dolores doesn’t care about retrieving their backups. This is proven when Angela kills herself and a PMC by blowing them up inside the cradle. Shaken, Hale prepares to meet her maker, but she and Stubbs get away when Dolores is distracted. With no other choice, Dolores has to sacrifice her father to remove the control unit.
Maeve finds herself in a familiar situation when she and her daughter hide in a home as the Ghost Nation searches for them outside. When the door opens, though, it’s the Man in Black. He mistakenly assumes Maeve is being controlled by Ford (he really has to let that go), but starts to doubt it a little when Maeve shoots him. Using her new powers of persuasion, she turns the cousins from Las Mudas against MIB and he suffers two additional gunshots as a result. When Lawrence appears to stop her, she’s able to convince him to really look at MIB, the man he’s trying to protect. He remembers all that MIB has done, including killing his wife. He shots MIB, but is gunned down by PMCs before he can finish him off. Maeve is also shot as she watches members of the Ghost Nation grab her daughter.
All roads lead to the mesa. Sizemore convinces the PMCs to save Maeve, and the two are left alone in the basement when the PMCs rush upstairs to join the fighting. Sizemore hides when Dolores arrives, and listens as she offers to put Maeve out of her misery. But Maeve made a promise to her daughter and has no intention of dying there. Dolores and her horde head for the valley beyond.
Prompted by Ford’s voice in his head, Bernard sends Elsie ahead to find a vehicle. Ford then talks Bernard into shutting down the systems making it nearly impossible for Dolores to be stopped. Then, with Ford’s assistance, Bernard guns down a PMC.
Back in present time, Bernard finally tells Hale what she wants to know: Dolores took Abernathy’s control unit to the valley beyond.
Analysis. What Prompted That Response?
- The big question (well, one of the big questions) is what will we find at the valley beyond? A world of hosts who think they’re human, based on real people in the outside world?
- Since Ford’s involved, I don’t believe for a second that Bernard telling Hale where to go wasn’t part of the plan.
- RIP, Clementine, Angela, and Lawrence.
Westworld S2E7 Review Score
Westworld – S2E7 – “Les Écorchés” | Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Rodrigo Santoro, Simon Quarterman, Luke Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Gustaf Skarsgård