Westworld Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Trace Decay

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Apparently The Man in Black was just intrigued enough with Teddy's expanding memories that it was time to talk.

Or he figured since he was tied up and being beaten in the face anyway, maybe Westworld Season 1 Episode 8 was a good time to share. You know, there was a campfire and they were all cozy.

There were quite a few reveals during this hour, and I had no time to process, so be nice. I'm dancing on the edge!

Ford Is A Horror - Westworld Season 1 Episode 8

Let's start out where we left of on Westworld Season 1 Episode 7, with the death of Theresa and the confirmation Bernard is a host.

Bernard: Lifelike, but not alive. Pain always exists in the mind; it's always imagined. So what's the difference between my pain and yours, between you and me?
Ford: This was the very question that consumed Arnold, filled him with guilt, eventually drove him mad. The answer always seemed obvious to me. There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, no inflection point at which we become fully alive. We can't define consciousness because consciousness does not exist. Humans fancy that there's something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops, as tight and as closed as the hosts do, seldom questioning our choices, content, for the most part, to be told what to do next. No, my friend, you're not missing anything at all.

The differences between how both Arnold and Ford viewed the hosts and how they programmed them is still confusing to me. Not that I expect all to be clear, especially with another season on the way. Those things are tied in with the maze, and are supposed to be a bit on the mysterious side.

I found it interesting that Ford was unable to achieve the type of human emotions Bernard was displaying as he realized the horror of what he had done to Theresa, and that was the reason for his creation in the first place.

So in this case, the chicken and the egg were created at the same time! 

Because Bernard works so closely with Ford, he hasn't been experiencing the same triggers, it doesn't seem, as others out there who are doing it now or did it before. But when he asked Ford if whether he had been used to commit murder before, Ford lied and that triggered Bernard's memory of snuffing out Elsie.

It's surprising to me that Ford would put his trusted right hand man, someone who is so important to his work, into such terrible situations. Not only because of the possibility he could get caught, but because of the damage the memories could do to their relationship. I find it hard to believe Ford hasn't witnessed himself some of the changes in the hosts around the park.

Then again, maybe he's just that conceited. Playing God can probably do that to a man. He's beyond reproach in his own mind. Nobody can figure him out or make him pay for what he's done. Using the person you rely on most to do your dirty work, though, seems likely to backfire.

He also planted code onto Theresa that she was supposed to have been trying to upload to headquarters. Charlotte and the dumbass story guy then took the code and uploaded it into the worst possibly candidate to try to ship out of the park; Dolores' retired father.

I felt like we got cheated when he was retired, so if he's going to have a bigger role in Westworld Season 2 with a cranium full of everything Ford would have allowed out, and possibly something to make him a little crazy, that would be pretty cool.

Dreams vs. Reality - Westworld

The timeline in which Dolores finds herself with William is still confusing. She knows so many other stories that it seems unlikely William and The Man in Black can be the same guy. But so much other evidence points directly to yes.

Dolores going back to the town she called home encompassed two time periods in her head. One in which the town seemed like it was being rebuilt and the other when it was still lively and functioning. But when she came out of it, it was still buried as it was when we first saw it. Did we just see it from  different angle?

Is that where Ford is creating his new storyline, utilizing the church? And at one point he's talking with people down below about the new big bad named Wyatt, but at another, we already have a Wyatt. Aaack. So confusing.

A New Maeve - Westworld Season 1 Episode 8

I can't imagine what it must feel like in Dolores' head. To be honest, I imagined she'd have a more integral role in the story of The Man in Black, but I was wrong. That turned out to come from Maeve, and was a bit more recent.

Maeve is incredible. She essentially made herself into another story creator/god of the park. After she got Felix and Sylvester to do her bidding, she was able to simply speak to other hosts and they would do as she suggested. 

And what do you think about those two dudes. Are they hosts or do the same tools that heal the hosts work on humans? Didn't it seem surprising that not only could Maeve slice Sylvester's throat (I'm sure she programmed it to be so), but that the tool fixed it so easily? Something seems off there.

But holy moly. How her story weaves into The Man's is wild. 

Revealing Day - Westworld Season 1 Episode 8

We didn't get his name, but we got a taste of his life outside of the park. And while he thought he was a good man, his wife was able to see through him to the person he discovered in Westworld. He was not a good man at all. He was evil and scared the crap out of her, so much so that she committed suicide.

Teddy: You speak like you own this world.
The Man in Black: Not just this one. You want to know who I am, who I really am? I'm a god. A titan of industry. Philanthropist. Family man. Married to a beautiful woman. Father to a beautiful daughter. I'm the good guy, Teddy. Then last year, my wife took the wrong pills. Fell asleep in the bath. Tragic accident. Thirty years of marriage vanished. How do you say it? Like a deep and distant dream. Then at the funeral, I was trying to console my daughter. She pushed me away, told me that my wife's death was no accident, that she killed herself. Because of me. Emily said that every day with me had been sheer terror. At any point, I could blow up or collapse like some dark star.
Teddy: Did you hurt them to?
The Man in Black: Never. They never saw anything like the man I am in here. But she knew anyway. She said if I stacked up all my good deeds, it's just an elegant wall I built to hide what I had inside from myself and everyone.

What we've seen over and over as Maeve recalls The Man coming into her house to kill her and her child is his own story, a test he created for himself to see if he is truly evil. It was too late to change things for his wife, but maybe it would change something else.

What it did was prove to him there are the two parts of Westworld. The surface play of which Ford is so fond, and the deeper layers of which Arnold was interested. It is those deeper layers that make up the maze, which remains mysterious.

What's not mysterious is that The Man's belief that by finding the middle of the maze, it will unlock (permanently?) the hosts so that what happens in the park becomes real. The choices made by both sides then have consequences. 

It seems that The Man killing Maeve and her girl and feeling nothing made him realize the driving force coming to the park had on his life. Had it changed him so he was less interested in consequences overall? Did seeing Maeve fight through her robotic programming in an effort to protect a daughter she loved, even if it should have been impossible, make him want to set the park free?

I have no idea, actually. I'm just guessing based upon what he was saying. He said straight out he wanted to make their lives matter, so choices led to consequences. That's real life, but he's lost his verve for that, I guess. He wants to bring it to the park. I think.

What did all of you get out of it? How much closer are we to knowing what's ahead? What do you expect of Season 2 now that it's been given the green light? Hit me with your best thoughts! Comment away.

Trace Decay Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Westworld Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Oh. We've been tinkering with a little more than that. Let me show you. [she leaps up and slices Sylvester's throat]

Maeve

Bernard: Lifelike, but not alive. Pain always exists in the mind; it's always imagined. So what's the difference between my pain and yours, between you and me?
Ford: This was the very question that consumed Arnold, filled him with guilt, eventually drove him mad. The answer always seemed obvious to me. There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, no inflection point at which we become fully alive. We can't define consciousness because consciousness does not exist. Humans fancy that there's something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops, as tight and as closed as the hosts do, seldom questioning our choices, content, for the most part, to be told what to do next. No, my friend, you're not missing anything at all.