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Westworld: “Trace Decay”

By Ellie Wilkin-Smith on Nov 22, 2016 to Westworld

After last week’s bombshell, this week’s episode opens on Bernard coming to terms with his horrendous crime. It would seem that Ford’s control over him is a lot stronger and a lot more complex than first considered. Ford can change Bernard’s emotion and direction at the flick of a switch. When Ford brings Bernard back online, his first reaction is that of grief and guilt. He expresses new emotions, emotions associated with murdering somebody. None of the Hosts have ever killed a human being before so Bernard is feeling them for the first time. Ford, sensing his emotions are spiraling out of control, turns off the bad feelings and instructs Bernard to erase the memories from his own mind and tells him the way he will remember Theresa from now on. It was so easy, so quick. There was no fight back, no struggle or reluctance. How many other Hosts has he done that to? Did Bernard kill Elsie upon Ford’s command?

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One storyline I’m just not really getting is Maeve’s. I don’t get what she is trying to do. She realizes that everything she is remembering and every part of her life in Westworld has been fabricated by the people downstairs and she demands that from now on she is in control of her story. Now we know that she has the ability to kill and is building her own army, who knows what she is going to be capable of. Unfortunately for her, her fellow Hosts have not been tinkered with in the same why that she has so it is going to be difficult for her to get them to see what she is seeing. She starts orchestrating her own story and influencing the stories of those around her by being the voice in their heads. This playful scene shows that Maeve’s capabilities outstretch much farther than would be expected and she could quite easily have the upper hand. What I’m not understanding is why she is doing it?

The last episode didn’t feature The Man in Black and heavily focussed on Dolores, the episode before that didn’t feature Dolores and focussed heavily on The Man in Black. This week, Dolores and The Man in Black are both featured in the same episode once again. Curiously, the idea that we are watching two different timelines is broadening each episode and that The Man in Black, is in fact, William and his story and Dolores’ story are being told thirty years apart. If the Man in Black is William, then what happened between him and Dolores and what made him drag her kicking and screaming into a barn? In this week’s episode, Teddy remembers this happening and it affects his allegiance to The Man in Black, as his character is sweet on Dolores; his trust lies with her.

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I find Charlotte Hale, the executive director of the board a wholly unconvincing character. She looks about 25 years old and she holds a title like that at a world famous attraction? Nah. I’m not convinced. Her youth and her naivete are going to be her downfall as already demonstrated when Ford outsmarted her when she tried to trick him into thinking that Clementine became homicidal as a result of his updates. She isn’t very threatening, she doesn’t make sense in the role and I’m just not interested in her character.

Dolores and William reach the town that Dolores used to live in, which is completely uninhabited and unused by the Guests. She is becoming increasingly confused about what is real and what isn’t as her flashbacks are becoming increasingly real. Her memories of her old town take her back to when she lived there and she sees faces from her past and glimpses of what she thinks Arnold wants her to remember so she can find the center of the maze. William considers that the reason Dolores is becoming so confused is because she is too far away from Sweet Water so he decides to take her back. In doing so they are accosted by Logan and a gang of horse riding thugs. Considering the state that he left Logan in last time we saw him, he is probably pretty pissed.

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In a very confusing turn of events towards the end of the episode, we hear the Man in Black tell a story of when he wanted to see if he could do something truly despicable and he found a young mother, Maeve, and her daughter and he killed them both. Ford takes her pain away and erases her memory so he can re-purpose her elsewhere. The Man in Black says that in doing his despicable deed it lead him to his quest to discover the center of the maze. Maeve, who may be in a different timeline at this point, decides to leave and in doing so she attracts unwanted attention from the people downstairs who notice her straying massively from her narrative and becoming unresponsive to command.

This week’s episode was maybe the most confusing one yet and I hope we start getting some answers soon. The Man in Black revealed something about himself, about his marriage that ended 30 years ago when his wife killed herself. Was that wife Dolores? Did William bust her out of Westworld and try and live with her in the real which became too much for her to bear that she ended up killing herself? Snippets of which we have seen before in some of her flashbacks? As sophisticated as this program is, there is only so many ultra confusing episodes I can take! Maeve is obviously very central to what is happening here but her motives seem misled if the Man in Black and William are the same person, what happens to Dolores? Where is she in the Man in Black’s timeline?

Maybe a trailer for next week’s episode will provide some respite for now!

 










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