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Westworld Recap: Season 1, Episode 7 – “Trompe L’eoil”

Westworld Recap: Season 1, Episode 7 - "Trompe L'eoil"

Welcome to our official Westworld recap where every week, I’ll be writing up a synopsis of the previous episode of Westworld, complete with a storyline, puns, and bad conspiracy theories. If you missed last week’s episode, you can check out our recap of Episode 6, “The Adversary,” here. Without any further ado, let’s dive into episode 7 – “Trompe L’eoil.”

Before we get started, I Googled the episode title because I forewent French for Spanish in high school to get the easy A and needed to know what Nolan was going to pull on us this week. For those of you wondering like myself, “trompe l’eoil” translates to a visual illusion meant to trick you, so we’re definitely going to encounter Westworld’s version of “the dress” this episode (in case you were wondering, it’s white and gold). This week kicks off with Bernard waking from a dream about his son and going into the office to perform consciousness checks on the hosts. We get glimpses of words hosts shouldn’t understand, like “car” and “carry-on,” as well as modern-day images that shouldn’t register, like high-speed mass transportation and city skylines. The host under question eases Bernard’s worries as he responds with his standard programmed response, “it doesn’t look like anything to me,” so unless he’s purposefully failing a Turing test, this robot probably isn’t going to be the one to kill everyone at Delos.

Theresa goes to meet Charlotte, who, uncomfortably for us, is in the middle of screwing a host, but (surprisingly for HBO) throws on a robe and starts to ask Theresa what the hell is going on in the park with the rogue woodcutter host bashing his own head in and Ford using half of the park’s resources to build his secret new narrative. We finally find out just what interest Delos management has in the park — it’s the intellectual property, or the code making up everything at Westworld. Of course, Ford has made sure that this information remained within Ford’s own head, the hosts and nowhere else, explaining why Theresa had been working to upload some code to an outside server. Charlotte lets Theresa in on her plan to fire Ford — yeah, that’s going to go well — making it absolutely crucial that the code survives without him. Theresa learns she’s next in line for HBIC status… as long as she can demonstrate that Ford has let the robots get dangerously out of his control. Charlotte tells Theresa that a blood sacrifice is needed for the next step in her plan, and Theresa sets off, scheming just how to make this promise of a big promotion a reality.

Maeve wakes up back in Westworld just like any other morning, with one key exception — she’s now functioning at a super-human level. Before we even get a chance to identify which Radiohead song we’re getting graced with this week, Maeve slams the lid shut on the piano, letting us know today is not like every other day. She goes into her pre-programmed narrative while conversing with Clem, but as she speaks, you can see the wheels turning in her mind as she realizes that what she’s saying has been put into her head by a coded simulation. During the conversation, everyone freezes — that is, except Maeve — as workers from HQ come in to retrieve a malfunctioning host. To all of our surprise, they snag Clem instead of Maeve, but we now know that Maeve is completely immune to the freeze commands issued by humans, making her that much more dangerous.

Lawrence, William, and Dolores are continuing on their train ride to the edge of the park, and Dolores asks William just what exactly he’s looking for, making it sound like they’re about to head into the ever-dangerous “What are we?” talk. William tells Dolores that this place feels like waking up inside a storybook, and Dolores, not so cryptically, responds that she doesn’t want to live in a story anymore, but to make her own decisions in the moment. William takes this extremely inappropriate moment to break the news to Dolores that he’s engaged to Juliet and that he can’t stay in Westworld. Dolores, full of emotion, runs away, but of course William chases after her and confesses that here in Westworld, he can be his most true, most alive self, and that he doesn’t want to pretend anymore (which is exactly the kind of dialogue you want to give right before you get laid). His speech, of course, worked, and William and Dolores FINALLY hook up. Either William is dumber than we thought, Dolores is better at faking emotions than other hosts, or something screwy is going on, making it actually possible for these two to fall for each other.

Meanwhile, Charlotte summons Ford and Bernard in to discuss a problem with the reveries, and Theresa puts on a presentation with Clem, who they’d just pulled from the Mariposa. Theresa uses Clem to demonstrate the problem with the reverie codes in hosts — she rolls Clem back to her prior build and puts her in a scenario where she encounters a tech for the first time, who decides to abuse her. Here, we get an interesting bit of information: the tech we see is coded to behave like a human, so who knows who — if anyone — is actually human at Delos. Clem is reset and has her memory wiped, then is put back into a scenario with the same tech. This time, however, when the tech makes a move toward her, Clem acts defensively, brutally and viciously attacking her host-guest and subverting human commands to freeze her motor functions. Theresa explains that the grudges the hosts were holding from their reveries allowed them to override their core code, which, in turn, allows for them to harm guests. Charlotte fires Bernard for his negligence, and Ford leaves us with a creepy smile, letting us know that this isn’t exactly the end of this conversation.

Back on the train, Dolores attempts to have the awkward, post-one-night-stand conversation with William, and William lets Dolores know that he’s never felt about another woman the way he felt about her (which must really suck for Juliet… coming in second place to a robot? Ouch). William asks Dolores about the drawing she’s working on, and she says that instead of just copying the environment as she usually does, this time, she imagined something new (hint, consciousness, hint) — a place “where the land meets the sea.” Just as they’re about to have another moment, the train grinds to a halt and they encounter a trap laid by the Confederados. Lawrence sends out what the Confederados think is a passenger offering up a white flag of peace, but what’s really a nitro glycerin-filled corpse that he blows up with a subtle, “Adios, motherfuckers,” making this week’s action scene totally worth it. William, Dolores, and Lawrence attempt to escape on horseback while being chased by the Confederados, and soon, the new enemy Ghost Nation as well. In their escape, the trio discovers what Dolores thought was her imagination all along — the place where the land meets the sea from her previous drawing on the train. This tells us two things: first, that Dolores isn’t quite as conscious as she’d hoped, and second, that we might just have finally found the entrance to the elusive maze.

After another deadly injury, Maeve is back in the surgical lab so that she could figure out just what exactly happened to Clem. Felix leads her through the lab until they find Sylvester, Theresa, and Clem. Maeve stands by, completely horrified, while Clem gets lobotomized for her faulty programming, and Maeve now knows just what the stakes are if she makes a mistake. Maeve makes her final demand to Sylvester and Felix — she’s getting out of the park, no matter what, and they’re going to help her. Seriously, fully intelligent Maeve is a force to be reckoned with. Forget Dolores; let’s follow Maeve for the season’s last 180 minutes, okay?

Meanwhile, Bernard pulls Theresa out of Clem’s lobotomy, telling her that he knows that she tampered with Clem for her little demonstration and that he also knows she was the one smuggling data out of the park. Bernard takes Theresa to show her Ford’s hidden hosts in the house we encountered last week, and he explains to Theresa that it’s unmapped because Westworld uses hosts to conduct its land surveys, and the hosts were programmed to be physically incapable of seeing it. Theresa stands in the creepy corner Ford popped out of last week and asks what’s behind the door. There’s… there’s a door where there wasn’t previously a door, and when Bernard asks, “What door?” I’m freaking out. Is this… is this what I think it is? Are the Reddit fan theories coming to life? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?

Bernard and Theresa find themselves in a secret robotics construction and diagnostic lab built by — you guessed it — Ford and Arnold. Theresa picks up a pile of Ford’s robot designs, and we see young Ford, we see Dolores, and we see HOLY SHIT BERNARD’S REALLY A HOST, YOU GUYS. Ford appears again out of seemingly nowhere (does this imply another secret door that Theresa can’t see either?!?) and tells them that the hosts are unable to see the things that can hurt them. Bernard starts to have an absolute breakdown questioning the nature of his reality, making him, still, indistinguishable from a human with a backstory evolved through life. Bernard’s been under Ford’s control this entire time, and with another subtle phrase cue from Ford, Bernard erases himself of all emotion and absolutely obliterates Theresa, leaving us dangling until next Sunday night.

That’s a wrap, but as usual, I’m left with more questions than ever. What in the world happened to Elsie? How much of what we’ve seen from the hosts didn’t happen at all, but is actually pre-programmed backstory? Who’s really a host and who isn’t? Was Charlottes’s request for a blood sacrifice a hint that she’s a host under Ford’s control as well? At what point do we even care whether these “people” are human or not? What’s Ford’s new narrative about, anyway? How in the world are we going to get all of these storylines resolved in just three more episodes? I’ll meet you here next Monday where likely none of these questions will be answered and we’ll just be left with more until season 2 starts back in 2018.

Image via HBO / YouTube

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The Recruitment Chair

The Recruitment Chair is a mid-level employee with a low-level salary and six-figure taste. She realizes her expectations far exceed reality, so she spends her days pinning away Loubs she pretends are in her physical closet instead of her virtual one. Her hobbies include lounging around in leggings and an oversized sweatshirt with a bottle of $14 wine while binge-watching episodes of Game of Thrones and Mad Men, as well as....well, that's really it.

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