Westworld Recap: 1×07 “Trompe L’Oeil”

Previously on Westworld: A tarot reader told Dolores to follow the maze, and she shot some people to rescue Gallant; she and Gallant hopped a train with El Lazo; Bernard found out that Ford was maintaining a creepy house full of hosts that were replicas of his childhood family; the board sent a representative to the park; Ford threatened Theresa; Elsie found out that Theresa was smuggling data out of the park, and found out that the hosts might be able to hurt humans; Maeve threatened Lutz and his obnoxious red-headed pal; and Elsie got abducted in a creepy old maintenance station in the park, after agreeing to meet Bernard in his office.

No one on the show seems to give a shit about the Elsie thing, by the way. I think that’s the funniest part of this episode, like, this woman has been kidnapped in the park after making plans to meet up with Bernard, and everyone basically forgets that she exists. This poor woman has probably had her life essence sucked out for one of Arnold’s crazy experiments, and literally no one cares! They’re probably relieved honestly… she’s sort of a pain in the neck.

Bernard wakes up in the hospital room with his son, who wants him to keep reading—from Alice in Wonderland, naturally. He promises his son he’ll beat the disease, rubbing his head. Poor little guy starts to pass out, and Bernard panics just as he wakes from his dream, in his empty bed.

Back in the lab he interrogates Hector about a conversation he had with a guest. Apparently the guest said he wanted to cut a piece of Hector to take home in his carryon. This exchange did not make Hector question anything about his world. Neither do the images that Bernard shows him of various advanced technologies and cities. Hector just says what Dolores says: “They don’t look like anything to me.” Bernard’s interrupted by someone who says Hector’s been requested by management. Bernard asks if the guy’s seen Elsie, but apparently she has “started her leave” today. Bernard is like, huh. Well, Elsie’s certainly lucky she has you looking out for you, Bernard.

On another note, you can totally see Speedo-shaped tan lines on Hector’s butt.

On the train, Lazo (now called Lawrence again, but not the Lawrence whose throat Ed slit before) and Gallant play poker. Gallant asks Dolores to play a hand, but she’s still mad at Lawrence. Lawrence takes it in stride, explaining that it wasn’t personal. He thinks this isn’t a real war, since it’s the government and Confederados against starving farmers: it’s a slaughter. Dolores isn’t impressed. But Lawrence points out that they wanted to join up with the Confederados, who are obviously assholes. Gallant blames it all on Goofus, but Lazo says that since he’s still here, he might actually like this stuff more than he thinks. Yeah, I’m sure it doesn’t have to do with Dolores’s perfect blonde hair or anything.

Just then they spot people gathering outside the train. Lawrence explains that they’re in the territory of Ghost Nation, “the most savage tribe there is.” Yet again I feel compelled to point out that there are no Native American characters to help the show differentiate between the mythologizing of Native people as noble savages and/or primitive people connected to an ancient magic, which could be part of the park’s crass commercial appeal, and the actual Native people who have those myths thrust upon them in real life. But without any Native characters, they are just stereotypes in this story. It’s … not great.

Back in the lab, Bernard asks his little tablet thing to find Elsie, but it doesn’t seem to work. He is mildly perturbed, at most. So he goes off to see Theresa asks him why he left so suddenly last night. Bernard says he actually had nothing to tell her. Um… good lie? She tells him that Hale is looking over the departments and his is behind. Bernard says they’ll be fine. Theresa starts sniping at him about how Elsie’s been second-guessing her, but Bernard says, “That’s all over.” Then he asks her if she’s OK, and she says she’s fine, though she’s wearing no eye makeup and looks tired and vulnerable.

In the hotel, Theresa approaches a closed door, and hears unmistakeable sex noises. But she knocks anyway, and Charlotte answers, totally naked. She has Hector handcuffed in bed. Theresa’s like, “Ummmm?” but Charlotte just invites her in. Hector, knowing his role in all this is to be the willing sex slave, lasciviously invites Theresa to join them. Donning a robe, Charlotte freezes Hector with a remote, sits on the couch and starts snacking, leaving Hector naked on the bed. (It’s an interesting reversal of a scene that has been enacted thousands of times on screen, perhaps especially on HBO shows: two powerful men conferring about important business matters while a sexually objectified woman waits silently in the corner, like a piece of furniture.) She tells Theresa the board was impressed by her, until the woodcutter incident, and Ford using half the park’s resources for his new narrative. Then she bums a cigarette off Theresa and reminds her, “This place, the people who work here, are nothing.”


Exposition time: According to Charlotte, all Delos (the owning company) cares about is the intellectual property—the code. Not the hosts’ minds, but “our little research project.” And because of Ford, 35 years’ worth of that information exists here, and nowhere else. Lying on the couch in her robe, she quizzes Theresa on why they need to back up all that data. It’s because even if they ask him to retire politely, he’ll have the power to snap his fingers and erase everything. So they need a back-up plan before the board asks him to do that. “I like you,” she says. “Well, not personally, but I like you for this job.” Heh. I like Theresa! Not that that’s going to save her from a very uncomfortable fate, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is, Charlotte wants Theresa to get the company a “blood sacrifice.” Something to show the company how dangerous the hosts are.

Cut to Maeve, waking up in bed. The player piano’s going again in the Mariposa as she walks through town. When she enters, she slams down the piano top, looking fierce and a little crazy. Seems like she remembers everything Lutz told her.

Then she goes to the bar, where she’s joined by Clementine. She starts in on her usual scolding of Clementine about the yawning. But she blinks softly, as if she remembers saying this before, and changes the conversation. She asks if Clementine ever dreams about being someone else. She asks Clementine if this is really the life she wants. It turns out Clementine is sending money home to her family, which has a struggling farm. Maeve looks sad. Apparently she once told Clementine to just do a couple more years of this work and then live whatever life she wants. Clementine totally believes it. Then she freezes, as does everyone else in the saloon but Maeve. Terrified, Maeve stands by the bar and pretends to be frozen, but grabs a knife in her hand. The workers in the white suits come up to her—but it’s not for her. It’s for Clementine, who reanimates and obediently leaves with them.

Out in the desert, Dolores stares out the window and notices Gallant hanging out on a nearby chair. He joins her, and asks her, what makes her so sure the place she’s looking for exists? She admits she’s not sure, but that her world now feels like a lie. They are making some MAJOR eye contact. She promises she’s never going back, then asks what he’s looking for, and why he didn’t go back. He smiles in his sort of creepily tender way, and then admits that as a child he always wanted to live inside a book because it had more meaning. So I guess he’s bought into Goofus’s dumb theory that a make-believe game has more meaning than real life. Dolores, who knows better, tears up as she says she doesn’t want to be in a story. They lean in to each other, and then Gallant recalls himself and admits he has a fiancée at home. Named Juliet, because of course. Dolores looks upset, and he hastily promises that he’ll still help her get where she’s going. She runs away to the next car, and he hesitates for a few seconds before getting up. Outside the car, he hesitates again for a split second before taking the leap to the next car. DO YOU GET IT? IT’S A METAPHOR.


Anyway, he bursts in and growls intensely that he’s been pretending all his life and now he’s not pretending. And then—shocker of all shockers—they start making out.

In one of the glass rooms in the lab, Ford, Theresa, Charlotte, and Bernard are gathered, along with Stubbs and some other anonymous employees. Charlotte announces that the board asked QA to check into the hosts with reveries, and they’ve uncovered something worrisome. The lights come up on Clementine, in a different cell with a faceless man. She tries out her “not much of a rind on you” line, and he immediately starts beating her up. She screams for help, since she can see all of them in the next cell over, and the two women—Theresa and Charlotte—look disturbed, Charlotte turning away and Theresa holding her face, even though they orchestrated the whole thing, which is an interesting touch. Stubbs freezes them; Theresa tells everyone that the supposed tech is actually a host “coded to read as human.”

They reset Clementine and wipe her memory, and she sits back down, still with blood running out of her nose, and tears in her eyes. But when they wake her up, she smiles feebly at the tech and approaches him. Only when he goes to punch her, she headbutts him and then totally beats the shit out of him, knocking his head against the window till his skull basically explodes. When Stubbs comes in, he holds a gun, nervous, and tells her that’s enough. She licks blood off her lips, looking shocked. “Freeze all motor functions,” Stubbs says, but—to everyone’s shock—Clementine ignores him and keeps going. As she approaches him, he panics and shoots her.

In the silence, Theresa announces that none of the hosts were resetting properly, and that allowed for a system failure that overrided their “primary rule set.” AKA, not hurting humans. Theresa tells Bernard that several of his techs had voiced their concerns to him, but that he put out the code anyway. “Either you didn’t write it, or you’re getting sloppy,” Theresa says. Then Charlotte snottily tells him that his negligence is “fucking breathtaking.” In other words, he has to either be fired, or turn in Ford for writing the code. But Bernard looks over at Ford, and says no, he has nothing to share. Charlotte calmly fires him. Bernard shoots a betrayed look over at Theresa, who can’t meet his eyes, and then walks out. Poor guy! Meanwhile, Ford is just smiling, totally unrepentant.

Dolores and William wake up in their train. Nervously, Dolores starts to ask if he regrets it, but he plants a big kiss on her and says he doesn’t. He says that the woman at home feels unreal now. Oh, sure. If it “feels unreal,” you can totally cheat. Also, he continues, thoroughly enjoying his ride on the Rationalization Train, it turns out this isn’t a place that reveals your lowest self, it reveals your deepest self. Um, that’s what Goofus was saying this whole time. You sure you want to start cheating on your fiance and quoting Goofus? Gallant says he loved telling Goofus off, and that he feels Dolores has unlocked something inside him. She, brilliantly, responds, “I’m not a key, William. I’m just me.”

He literally doesn’t answer her, and just changes the subject. Dolores’s quest for self-definition is apparently not quite as fascinating to him now that it’s getting in the way of all his romantic notions. He asks her about the drawing that she is working on. She says she always drew landscapes, but now she wants to draw something new. “A place where the mountains meet the sea.” He notes that everyone who comes here wants conflict, and she wants the opposite. She asks him what he dreams of, but the train crashes to a halt before he can answer.

Outside, a bunch of white guys with giant guns gather by the stopped train. Dolores and Gallant run over to join Lawrence in the fancy car, and he tells them it’s the Confederados ambushing them. The Confederados have a hand-cranked machine gun, which is just crazy. They shoot the shit out of the train, then laugh when everything goes silent. But when a few of them dismount, the door opens, and a man rides out on a horse, a white flag tied to him. The Confederados realize when it gets close that the man is just a corpse. As they stare at it in consternation, Lawrence shoots the horse and it explodes. Convenient that they were travelling with a train full of explosives!

There follows a horse chase through the desert, Confederados chasing Dolores and her companions. She shoots back at them (you go, cowgirl Dolores!) but then gets knocked off her horse. Gallant turns back, scoops her up on his horse, and rides away. They manage to escape the fire—presumably because it’s not allowed to hit Gallant. Then an arrow lodges itself in a tree—Ghost Nation is behind the Confederados. They’re all in white body paint, and they start hacking the Confederados to bits, while Dolores, Gallant, and Lawrence escape.


They ride along the rim of the canyon, and Dolores alights, looking enthralled. She stands at the edge of the cliff, looking out on the vast landscape. It’s just like what she drew. Lawrence is like, um, can we get a move on? Ghost Nation isn’t going to stop with hacking apart the Confederados. But Dolores says she’s had enough of war. So Gallant tells Lawrence that they are parting ways. Lawrence tells them that west across the river is an unclaimed territory, and they should be careful. No one has ever come back from it.

Maeve’s in the lab, and Lutz sends away the other tech who’s working on her, and warns Maeve that she has to stop dying so often. Maeve tells him he needs to find Clem. He works on his tablet briefly, but tries to lie and tell Maeve that he doesn’t know. She grabs the tablet, finds Clem’s location, and demands to be taken there despite his fear. He walks here there naked, as if she’s just a regular host under his care. They find Sylvester, the obnoxious redhead, Theresa, and some others working on Clem. Maeve watches in horror as Sylvester drills up Clementine’s nose. Clementine doesn’t react, though her eyes are open—pretty creepy. As Maeve watches and cries, Bernard pulls Theresa aside. They walk right by Maeve, not noticing her, since she’s just a host to them.

Bernard and Theresa pedeconference as Bernard tells her that her fake demonstration was embarrassingly clumsy, and Ford certainly saw through it too. “If your programmers were any good, they’d be working for me,” he says. Ugh, as a person who worked in QA for years, I can confirm that is a common, and very irritating, thing to say about QA peeps! Then he tells her that Ford’s partner wrote half the code and thus, they don’t know exactly how the hosts work. And he does suspect that the ability for hosts to deviate comes from their memory of past iterations. This includes the nonsensical line, “Out of repetition comes variation.” Theresa thinks about this briefly, then—in a highly calculated move—puts her hand on his arm and assures him she’s just concerned about the park. He tells her he wants to show her something, and brings her in the elevator.

Down in surgery, Maeve is wrapped in a blanket while Lutz and Sylvester hesitate on how to comfort her. Sylvester finally explains haltingly that they were going to retire Clem no matter what he did, and that he knew she was Maeve’s friend, but he didn’t want to come under suspicion. Maeve says slowly and almost expressionlessly that she is a survivor, but “surviving is just another loop.” She wants to get out. And they’re going to help her. They give a hell no laugh. Sylvester explains how much the company values their IP. Lutz just looks panicked and confused. Maeve tells him he’s just a man, not a god, “And I know men.” Oh my God, drop the knowing-prostitute act already. “You think I’m scared of death. I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it.” Then she promises that if Sylvester doesn’t help her, she’ll kill him. It’s a good line, but eh. Maeve’s brand of oversexualized bravado is very tiresome, in my opinion.

In the elevator, Theresa wonders why they don’t have security with them. Bernard says he doesn’t know who to trust—including her. He brings up the data uploads she was doing, and she tells him Ford could easily wipe everything, so she needed a backup. Bernard protests that he would have stopped Ford from erasing everything. Theresa explains condescendingly that the park is nothing to Delos. Bernard remarks that he’s starting to understand the hosts, but human beings confuse him. To which every fan who has signed onto the internet in the last two months probably screamed at their TV, “Because you ARE a host!”

Speaking of which, Bernard brings Theresa to Ford’s creepy cottage. Theresa has never heard of this place, and Bernard explains that the hosts who do the surveys are programmed to ignore it. Theresa asks what’s behind a nearby door, and Bernard asks, “What door?” You might think it’s because it’s so dark, but even when he holds his lantern up, he seems confused, hesitant, as he follows her.

They descend a staircase to what looks like a primitive version of the lab. Bernard immediately recognizes it as a remote diagnostic facility. Apparently it’s able to render a host in a few days. Theresa picks up some papers lying around, and finds some sketches of hosts. The first is Dolores; the next in the stack, Theresa looks at with horrified sadness. Choking back some emotion, she asks him what it is. He picks up the paper: it’s a sketch of him. “Doesn’t look like anything to me,” he says, and she gives him a surprised glance. She is probably the only person in the world who is surprised at this much-telegraphed revelation. Still, it’s a nice, dramatic moment, and the actress does a fantastic job of showing how Theresa is tamping down an immense sadness due to her unacknowledged feelings for the man she just screwed over.


Ford appears behind them and says that Bernard can’t see the things that hurt him. That’s why the hosts’ lives are blissful. Bernard says he doesn’t understand. Theresa tells Ford he’s a monster, but Ford argues that she’s the monster, who would easily destroy them all. Bernard still doesn’t get it. Theresa, suddenly almost crying, asks if it was Ford’s idea that they sleep together. She really does like him! Which makes what’s coming next all the more upsetting. But Ford reminds her the “intimacies” were her idea. Bernard, finally catching on, stutters that he can’t be a host. What about all of his memories? His son? He’s about to freak out when Ford says, “That’s enough,” and at the command, Bernard completely calms down. Theresa, who had looked sympathetic to his pain, seems to be suddenly struck by the realization that Bernard is actually a robot, under Ford’s total command. What a strange moment that must be for her.

Ford tells her that he’s read all art is an elaborate mating ritual, including Michelangelo (which he pronounces in obnoxious Italian accent). But maybe that doesn’t matter. He thinks of consciousness as a burden, and the hosts are spared it. I mean, clearly they’re not, because they all do experience pain and suffering, but whatever. Ford thinks they’re all more free under his control. Theresa points out that he’s not under Ford’s control, since he brought her here. Ford is like, OH YEAH?

Uh-oh. Theresa tells him his time running the park is over. Ford just laughs, basically. He tells her the situation demands “a blood sacrifice.” (Interesting. Does that mean Charlotte’s a host too? She parroted the same word as Ford.) Theresa, terrified, takes a step back. She fumbles for her phone, but it doesn’t have reception. Well, I guess technology hasn’t solved all of humanity’s problems. Ford asks Bernard to help their guest, who’s grown weary. Bernard takes off his glasses and his tie, coolly puts the papers down, and—as Theresa basically just stands there and waits for her death, not even trying to run—overpowers her, then quickly smashes her head against the wall, as Ford turns his back and stares out the window.

When Theresa’s quiet on the floor, Bernard stares at her for a moment, then puts his tie back on. Ford tells him to get back to work. They leave Theresa there, on the floor.

Dark! Pretty good episode, with an excellent performance from the woman playing Theresa, Sidse Babett Knudsen. The Bernard revelation wasn’t particularly surprising, but I have a feeling there will be one or two more unexpected surprises before the season’s out. For one thing, I am beginning to suspect Bernard killed Elsie, too.

See you next week!

One Comment

  1. […] Previously on Westworld: The man in the black hat was looking for a maze, with Teddy, who was looking for Dolores, who was looking for a place from her dreams, with William, the artist formerly known as Gallant. Theresa and Charlotte faked a problem with Clementine, which led to Bernard being fired; Maeve tried to force Lutz and Sylvester to help her escape; Bernard turned out to be a secret robot, and Ford had Bernard kill Theresa. Also—not that anyone cares about this—Elsie disappeared. […]



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