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TV Review: Westworld, Season 1, Ep 8: Trace Decay

11.21.2016
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This recap/review of Westworld is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you've yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. SPOILERS!

EPISODE: Season 1, Episode 8: Trace Decay

PLOT: Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) try to cover their tracks, while Maeve (Thandie Newton) plans an escape.

REVIEW: If you’ve been watching “Westworld” carefully, a big clue as to what William’s (Jimmi Simpson) identity is was given away this week. When he first entered the park, William was tempted by Talulah Riley’s host. As The Man in Back (Ed Harris) and Teddy (James Marsden) make their way through the park, they stumble upon her, badly beaten, and Harris recognizes her, expressing amazement that she’s still around. Just previous to this, WIlliam and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) find a wounded host, and it’s implied that William executed him thinking he’d slow them down. So what’s the deal?

Otherwise, this is a pretty eventful episode, with Maeve getting a big boost early on by the techs. Now, she’s able to take non host lives and reprogram scenarios at will, giving her near Ford-like powers. We also learn she had a big grudge against The Man in Black, who killed her and her daughter in some of his cold-blooded adventures.

Needing allies, one of the first she’s likely to recruit is Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), and his bandit crew, who she impresses by totally reprogramming the narrative’s big heist twist, that we’ve seen done over and over, although the last scene shows her in danger of being reprogrammed by security. Meanwhile, Bernard has also become self-aware, albeit by Ford’s design, allowing him to help cover-up Teresa’s death. At first, he’s horrified and swears revenge, but this is pulled back once Ford tones down his emotions, erasing his memories completely, but not before he realizes he also killed Elsie (Shannon Woodward).

The last part of the episode mostly concerns Delores and Teddy, with her having vision of Westworld’s early-days, where we see Maeve was among the first hosts. This all seems to be part of her programming by the always mysterious Arnold, who’s still unseen. It turns out Ben Barnes’s Logan is still alive and bent on revenge. Meanwhile, Teddy starts to realize what The Man in Black has done to him in the past, but is unable to kill him due to his programming. We also learn The Man in Black’s wife killed herself, and despite being non-violent in his regular life, she knew he was a killer. It also shows him killing Maeve and her daughter, with him being stricken by her true emotion for her daughter, revealing to him the reality that exists in the park’s sub-layers.

All in all, this is another great episode, with maybe my only complaint being that the gimmick of the park’s pianos playing versions of contemporary songs being a bit distracting, and obvious with them being “House of the Rising Sun” and most predictably “Cold as Ice.” But that aside, this was a damn good episode.

Source: JoBlo.com

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