Westworld S01E07 “Trompe D’Oeil” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Bernard has a nightmare about his son dying. Poor Bernard.
- When he starts work, he wonders where Elsie is, only to hear she has some leave booked. So whoever took her in the last episode managed to update her calendar to make her absence look less suspicious…
- Will, Dolores and Lawrence are still on the train. They pass through Ghost Nation territory, which is signposted by hundreds of heads stuck on poles. Nice.
- Charlotte Hale, from the Board, has a conversation with Theresa about how the Board isn’t happy with the host that dropped a rock on its head, or with Ford using half the park’s resources to create a new storyline.
- She says there needs to be a “blood sacrifice” and that Ford needs to be gently nudged into retiring, but he must turn over his codes before he does.
- However, all we can think while we watch this scene is, “She has Hector tied to her bed!” Talk about a perk of the job, eh? Calling up any host from the park to have sex with in your private room? At least Hector seems like the kind of man/host who’d enjoy it, at least. Or perhaps not – a host’s free will is the whole point of this series, of course…
- Maeve wakes up and goes to the saloon. She has a little conversation with Clementine, in which we learn about Clementine’s family and her plans for her life.
- Suddenly, everybody freezes. Maeve pretends to freeze herself, just in time, as technicians come in and take Clementine away.
- Dolores and Will finally give in to their mutual attraction and have sex. He says he’s through pretending that his life in the outside world is what he really wants. “How can I go back to pretending when I know what this feels like?” he declares. Oh, the irony.
- Theresa and Charlotte put on a display for Ford and Bernard in which they show that Clementine is malfunctioning (she isn’t really; they programmed her that way). Afterwards, Bernard is fired.
- The train is ambushed by Confedorados. For a moment all looks lost, but the guys on the train place the corpse filled with explosives on a horse with a white flag, and send him towards the soldiers. One shot from Lawrence later and KABOOM!
- The explosion causes enough of a diversion for our heroes to ride away, and a magnificent horseback gunfight and chase ensues.
- The Ghost Nation appear from nowhere and wipe out the Confedorados, allowing Will, Dolores and Lawrence to escape.
- They part ways after Dolores recognises a landscape from a sketch she drew, and realises it must mean it needs to be explored. She heads on with Will.
- Maeve gets Felix to take her to the lab to see what’s happening to Clementine. She watches in horror as Sylvester drills into poor Clementine’s brain, thus retiring her.
- Later, Maeve confronts Sylvester, and then tells the guys she wants out of the park and they’re going to help her. Otherwise? She’ll kill them.
- Bernard saw through Theresa’s Clementine trick and confronts her. He takes her to the cottage where Ford’s family live. She finds a door and goes downstairs, revealing a diagnostic facility that nobody knew was there, and a host being built.
- Then she finds plans for early hosts…
- …and one of them looks like Bernard.
- Ford appears. He confirms it.
- BERNARD IS A HOST. PSYCH!
- Theresa listens in horror as Ford tells her that she’s the “blood sacrifice”. And then Bernard kills her.
Hands up who saw the Bernard twist coming? Not us! Well, okay, perhaps we did – in that we considered, quite early on, that just about anybody on this show could be a secret host, rather like the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. But having it suddenly happen, and after we’ve seen evidence of Bernard’’s “life” (his wife a few weeks back, and the dream about his son kicking off the episode)… well, 10/10 for pulling the rug out from under us, Westworld!
And what a revelation it is, dramatically, as Theresa stands boggle-eyed listening to Ford give yet another speech about his work (this one’s about a peacock – he does love his animal metaphors, doesn’t he?). While we complained previously about how Anthony Hopkins seems to do nothing but speechify on this show, we have to admit that here it works magnificently. It also contrasts rather boldly with the fact that Ford doesn’t say a single word during the demonstration with Clementine earlier in the episode; it seemed it was beneath him, but now we realise that he had bigger plans on his mind…
So what now? Will the host we saw being created in the basement be the new Theresa? Will Bernard go back to the complex and say Theresa told him she was leaving, thus excusing her absence? Was his firing literally just a trick for Theresa’s benefit, and he’ll just go back to work like nothing happened, and everybody will forget it? Tune in next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
Elsewhere, poor Clementine’s treatment really ramps up the horror aspects of this show: it doesn’t matter that she’s an android, it’s grotesque watching her get slapped around while a group of people stare matter-of-factly. As she walks back to her chair and a tear slips from her eye, your stomach turns. All of which, of course, makes it more satisfying when she snaps and beats the snot out of her attacker. Although two wrongs don’t make a right, of course, and then Clementine is nose-drilled and (presumably) dumped, so all’s not well that ends not well.
Oh, and yet again Thandie Newton does more with her expression in one scene than some actors manage in an entire career. All the Emmies, please. Ever.
On top of this, we get the rather sweet scene between Will and Dolores, who funnily enough seems to reject most things he says without him even realising. “I don’t wanna be in a story,” she tells him, adding later, “I’m not a key.” She’s really staking out her ground as a person with her own rights, isn’t she? She doesn’t want the labels he throws at her. Good for her! Bonus points for some excellent shooting while on a galloping horse, too, although she does ruin things a bit by falling off.
And finally, Theresa made an ominous pronouncement: “Do you really think the corporation’s interests here are tourists playing cowboy?” What is Delos up to? When you think of all the bad things it could do with androids pretending to be human… well, the sky’s the limit. No wonder Ford’s protecting his park with every atom of his being. Not that we agree with his methods, of course. RIP Theresa Cullen.
- The long, slow pan in to Maeve’s face before she tells the guys that she wants to leave is wonderful. You can see the seething fury behind her eyes.
- Love her slamming the player piano shut as well. You can only listen to the same song a certain number of times before you snap!
- Lawrence is a son of a bitch, but at least he tells things as they are. “If I had to do it all again, I’d fuck you both over just as hard,” he claims. You have to respect him for that, really.
- The “exploding body” gambit was fantastic!
- Clementine’s back story is a tragic touch. Why not just programme a host to enjoy her work, rather than have dreams about leaving it and living a brand new life? That seems really cruel.
- We wonder how long Rodrigo Santoro had to spend frozen with his arms hoiked up like this during filming. Must’ve been really uncomfortable after a while.
And The Random:
- The makers of Game Of Thrones got into trouble by putting George Bush’s head on a pole in one episode. Is that Donald Trump in the middle here? Yes? No? Maybe?
- In today’s news that nobody was expecting (cough), Westworld has been given a second season. Yay!
- Best Quote: Maeve: “You think I’m scared of death? I’ve done it a million times and I’m f**king great at it.”