Westworld, S1 Ep8 – Trace Decay

Only two episodes left in the first season of Westworld and the burning questions we have are on the brink of getting some answers. This episode showed us more of Maeve taking charge, Dolores remembering the past, and Ford putting all the pieces in place for his mysterious plan.

After last week’s major revelation, another prevailing fan theory was confirmed this week: Westworld has multiple timelines. In this episode alone, we saw characters in various stages of their stories (I hesitate to write “life” since that is such a debatable topic in this show.) Dolores got flashbacks of her previous life as one of the first hosts of the park, even as she revisited the original location of the park, and the center of Ford’s big storyline. Maeve continued to be plagued by her own painful memories, and because she remembered everything so vividly, her mind seemed to switch between one timeline and the next, causing catastrophes in the present. And the Man in Black finally revealed more about himself, and of the monstrous acts he committed that pushed him to seek the answers of the maze.

Westworld, S1 Ep8 – Trace DecayTheresa’s death was cleverly covered up and all of Bernard’s memories of his part in it were effectively erased by Ford. A quick flashback also showed that Bernard had done away with Elsie as well. Ford wants complete control and will get rid of anyone who stands in his way. Even as Charlotte and Lee Sizemore are scheming to store data in a host and smuggle it out of the park, there’s no telling if their plan will succeed.

Ford and Bernard also had some intriguing conversations about the nature of consciousness. The best dialogue of the episode was this exchange:

Bernard: Lifelike, but not alive. Pain always exists in the mind; it’s always imagined. So what’s the difference between my pain and yours, between you and me?

Ford: This was the very question that consumed Arnold, filled him with guilt, eventually drove him mad. The answer always seemed obvious to me. There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, no inflection point at which we become fully alive. We can’t define consciousness because consciousness does not exist. Humans fancy that there’s something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops, as tight and as closed as the hosts do, seldom questioning our choices, content, for the most part, to be told what to do next. No, my friend, you’re not missing anything at all.”

Meanwhile, Maeve continued to take charge of her story by controlling Sylvester and Felix into giving her more upgrades. And she shows how ruthless she is by slitting Sylvester’s throat when he tries to betray her and then having Felix fix him up with some magical Westworld healing device. Maeve now has administrative rights and she’s not afraid to use them. She’s come a long way from the distraught host that Ford had to recondition by playing Claude Debussy’s “Reverie”. She is now able to actively alter the narrative, making it serve her purposes. And she has begun her plans to recruit an army and perhaps start some major chaos in Westworld. I can’t help but wonder how much Ford is aware of Maeve’s erratic behavior but he may be also be preoccupied with other matters.

Dolores and William continue their journey to finding the place in Dolores’ dreams. They stumble upon it and she has flashbacks of massacring an entire town. Like Maeve, the line between memory and reality blurs for her and she is unsteady on her feet. And later on, Logan catches up with them both and trouble is definitely in store.

Westworld, S1 Ep8 – Trace DecayAnd Teddy remembered some things as well, particularly the Man in Black taking Dolores away for some unpleasantness. The Man in Black reveals much about his past to Teddy, how he was a philanthropist and a “titan of industry” but who had an unhappy domestic life. His wife killed herself and it is suggested that he did not treat her well. He certainly unleashed his less than pleasant tendencies by killing Maeve (when she was still a homesteader) and whatever he did to Dolores. He became obsessed with solving the maze of Westworld and he says that he has limited time to fulfill this wish. But one of the hosts they “rescued” murders Teddy and summons Wyatt’s men so it looks like the Man in Black is about to face the grisliest part of Westworld yet.

So, will Maeve build her army and overthrow the humans? Will Ford finish his new storyline and what will this bring about? Who really was Arnold? What will happen to Dolores? These are the open storylines that seem to be heading towards some closure even while leaving enough intriguing threads for Westworld season 2.

Tags: ,