Westworld Rewind: Episode 7, “Trompe L’Oeil”

What door?

Bernard and Theresa_Trompe L'Oleil

The end of Westworld’s sixth episode, “The Adversary,” sees the power that Maeve (Thandie Newton) has created for herself increase even more, and quite literally. She demands that Felix (Leonardo Nam) and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) boost up her “bulk apperception” to the highest level, and her resulting facial expression as this IQ upgrade floods her mind says it all – she is ready to break free and exact revenge.

In episode seven, “Trompe L’Oleil,” Maeve continues to concoct her plan to escape the park’s grasp, but not before she bears witness to her friend and fellow saloon mistress Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) getting lobotomized. Clementine (prior to the lobotomy) is forced into a (rigged) demonstration of just how dangerous the hosts can be with their reveries code, all in an attempt to push Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) into retirement. And Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen), well…Theresa just can’t catch a break, and her bad luck leads to her brutal death, compliments of Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), whom we learn in a shocking twist is actually a host.


Dolores and William

Dolores and William_Trompe L'Oleil

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and William’s (Jimmi Simpson) storyline this episode is nothing short of a roller coaster. We rejoin the duo and El Lazo / Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) on the train out of Pariah. William informs Dolores that he has someone back at home, Juliette, who he plans on marrying once he leaves the park. This understandably upsets Dolores, who has grown attached to her human companion as she’s progressed through her emotional journey of questioning her reality and inching towards consciousness.

It’s in this moment, as the upset Dolores runs away from William into the next train car, that William himself wakes up and realizes which life he prefers. He dashes after Dolores, and when he catches up with her, he reveals to her that he’s been pretending his whole life, and this pretending has given him the life he thinks he’s wanted. However, he no longer needs to pretend while in Westworld, and instead can act upon the hidden self that he has suppressed his entire life. He finally decides to let go, and he and Dolores solidify (wink wink) the bond that they’ve been slowly nurturing.

The next morning, William tells Dolores that his life back home, his supposed ‘real’ life, doesn’t feel so real anymore. He comes to the realization that the park “doesn’t cater to your lowest self, it reveals your deepest self. It shows you who you really are.” It sounds like William has accepted that the person he truly is is the one that resides in the park. And with this, his evolution into the Man in Black (Ed Harris) has commenced…

However, this moment of self-realization is short lived, as the train comes to a sudden halt. The Confederados have caught up to the fleeing trio, ready to exact revenge upon the people that screwed them out of their nitroglycerin. Luckily, El Lazo devises a plan to blow up the nitro in front of the group of ambushers, giving him and his companions just enough of a diversion to flee from the train on horseback. A chase ensues, and only comes to an end when members of the Ghost Nation attack the Confederados, granting William, Dolores, and El Lazo the opportunity to escape.

Canyon and River_Trompe L'Oleil

The trio eventually reaches the edge of a large canyon with a river running through it. Dolores stops and remarks that this place is what she’s been dreaming of – the place where the mountains meet the sea. This landscape also just so happens to match the drawing Dolores creates on the train earlier in the episode, much to William’s surprise. In her years of operation, Dolores has certainly been to this place before, and now she’s finally remembering it (thanks reveries!).

 

Charlotte

Charlotte Hale_Trompe L'Oleil

Delos board member Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) reveals the intricacies of her plan to secure the park’s intellectual property, and in the process to push Ford out, during a conversation she has with Theresa (and after a quick romp with Hector [Rodrigo Santoro]). Charlotte explains that she and her fellow board members don’t really care about the hosts themselves:

“Our interest in this place is entirely the intellectual property. The code […] I don’t give a rat’s ass about the hosts. It’s our little research project that Delos cares about. That’s where the real value is.”

What is this “research project” Charlotte is talking about? Could Delos be planning some type of wider-scale android rollout beyond the confines of the park, with Westworld serving as merely a lab for the company to test and refine its codes?

Charlotte then shares the concern she has about the fact that the 35 years worth of IP exists only within the park, not backed up anywhere else (“Ford has always insured that”), and because of this, it’s all the more necessary for the data to be exported out of the park and backed up. She then informs Theresa that in order to begin the process of pushing Ford to retire, they need to put on a demonstration to show how dangerous the hosts can be. But this demonstration can’t just be with any host – it has to be with one that everyone assumes wouldn’t hurt fly. Enter: Clementine.

Clementine_Trompe L'Oleil

Fresh from being plucked out of the saloon by the Delos techs in broad daylight, Clementine becomes the subject of this brutal demonstration. Gathered to witness it is Charlotte and Theresa, along with Ford, Bernard, and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) for security purposes. As Bernard later acutely points out to Theresa, this demonstration is rigged from the onset to “prove” how dangerous a seemingly harmless host can be, and it’s fairly apparent as the scene progresses. Clementine’s rage-filled reaction to the host-turned-Delos tech is far more extreme than it should be (though it did feel satisfying watching her bash the tech’s head in). Her subsequent lack of response to Stubb’s command to freeze all motor functions feels very out of place and unexpected as well.

Regardless of how fabricated the Clementine demonstration is, it proves more than enough for Charlotte to justify her immediate firing of Bernard. Theresa also reveals that concerns about the hosts holding grudges as a side effect of the reveries update were brought up to Behavior by the techs multiple times, but never acted upon. Could Ford have just wiped Bernard’s memory each time this concern was brought to his attention in order to hide the true nature of his new narrative?

 

Maeve

Maeve_Trompe_L'Oeil

Maeve isn’t heavily featured in this episode, but her couple scenes are still significant. After witnessing Sylvester lobotomizing Clementine post-demonstration, an understandably upset Maeve decides to have a discussion with Sylvester and Felix. She informs the techs that she intends on escaping Westworld, and that she expects the two men to help her do it.

Sylvester expresses concern over this plan, saying that every part of her is designed to keep her trapped in the park, and any attempt at escaping would be suicide. Her response to this, however, is nothing less than, for lack of a better term, badass: “You think I’m scared of death. I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it. How many times have you died? Because if you don’t help me, I’ll kill you.” I don’t know about you, but I would certainly shape up and follows Maeve’s orders after hearing that!

 

Theresa, Bernard, & Ford

Bernard, Theresa, and Ford_Trompe L'Oleil

Theresa and Bernard have the biggest storyline progressions during this episode, and both reach their peaks while in the lab under Ford’s off-grid cottage. After the Clementine demonstration, Bernard finds Theresa and informs her that he needs to show her something (we’re led to believe this is Bernard’s decision). Bernard takes her to the cottage, and as they enter and look around, we are given the biggest clue yet that Bernard is actually a host. In a continuous tracking shot, the camera starts by following both Bernard and Theresa as they slowly explore the cottage. To the left we see a blank wall covered in wallpaper, and nothing else. The camera then momentarily pans right to follow Bernard, then pans back left to show the wall again, but now there’s a door! Of course, Bernard still can’t see it, and in his confusion he asks one of the most noteworthy questions from the season: “What door?”

The duo then descends down into Ford’s secret lab, where they stumble upon a host being built using an older model machine. The final form of this unfinished host has been cause for much speculation. Could it be a host version of Ford himself? Or a host version of Theresa? Neither of these theories have yet been confirmed, but I’m still personally holding strong that this unfinished host turns out to be the Ford that we see get shot in the season’s final episode.

Bernard Prototype_Trompe L'Oleil

Theresa eventually finds a stack of host prototype papers, and after ruffling through a couple of them, she sees Bernard’s prototype page. When she shows the page to Bernard, he responds with the host-generated line we’ve come to know quite well: “It doesn’t look like anything to me.”

At that moment Ford appears, and after discussing the fact that he thinks the board is just trying to test him by sending Theresa to confront him, he seals Theresa’s fate by asking his loyal Bernard to perform a “blood sacrifice.” Bernard, in a completely silent and emotionless state, methodically takes off his tie and suit jacket, and proceeds to bash Theresa’s head in. Then, as if nothing ever happened, he redresses himself and walks away. To witness Bernard transform into a stone-faced killer in an instant is nothing short of unsettling.

 

What did you think of this episode? Is there anything you noticed that we didn’t cover above? Let us know!

One response to “Westworld Rewind: Episode 7, “Trompe L’Oeil””

  1. I still remember watching this episode for the first time and replaying the scene where the “dead” host explodes in slow motion to see if I could find any metal pieces (this was when we were still trying to figure out if there were multiple time periods happening). Yes, I was obsessed.

    I just love that line from Maeve. One of my favorites of the season.

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