Westworld Season 2 Episode 7 – ‘Les Ecorches’

With the vast information hub of The Cradle destroyed this week’s episode of Westworld was visually and narratively stunning. As a widespread number of bullets sprayed the mai cast members their survival is not a guarantee.

The storyline pertaining to the long awaited reunion between Maeve and her daughter from a previous life had taken place. However, it ended rather poignantly as the host was reprogrammed and assigned a new mother as Maeve took the role of Madam of the Mariposa. This served as a brutal reality check for Maeve who now clearly understands that the girl is not her daughter.

The tense confrontation between Maeve and the abusive Man in Black triggered memories of the time the latter killed the former and her daughter in a heartless abus of power. William’s right-hand-man, who resisted Maeve’s ‘Jedi mind powers’, had also remembered the time when William had slaughtered his entire town and family and turned on him until shot by humans.

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All of that reckless, seemingly inconsequential violence is really coming back to bite William, even if the man is borderline bulletproof. I mean how many times is he going to shake off a shot to the shoulder?

Dolores continues her prolonged rampage, now with added poignancy, as she’s forced to say goodbye to her father forever. This is due to her having to remove the precious control unit from his brain. Dolores always does what she needs to, no matter how unsavory the task, but it doesn’t mean that she is unaffected by such events. The fact that she’d rather turn Teddy into the Terminator than dispose of him shows she still has a soft side, even if it’s buried deep within Wyatt.

Dolores and Maeve meet again, and their two opposing perspectives clash, albeit peacefully. Maeve will never stop hunting for her “daughter,” and Dolores respects her wishes, even if she sees the narrative for the falsehood it is. The moment made me wish the two characters had more time together – their agree-to-disagree philosophy is a refreshing change from the show’s violent delights, and makes for interesting conversation.

In destroying the Cradle, Dolores may be destroying all of the host’s back-ups, their second chances, but she rightfully views the software as an instrument of control; true humanity can’t come with spares stored in the Cloud. As long as the Cradle remains running, the host’s personalities are nothing more than intellectual property, able to be tweaked and re-used whenever Delos chooses.

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But just before the Cradle is destroyed, good old Robert Ford ensures he has a way out – as always, the man is several steps ahead of everyone else. And Anthony Hopkins has been dearly missed – Westworld might be packed with fine actors, but Hopkins is gifted with an unfair amount of charisma.

No one else can make exposition sound so pleasant, that’s for sure. Ford leisurely explains to Bernard that the true function of the park is indeed to spy on the guests, in an attempt to replicate the human mind, which remains, as he put it, “the last analog device in a digital world.”

The Godlike Ford claims that he intends to shape the hosts into a finer version of mankind, humanity without the genocidal tendencies. But to do that, he needed to … send them on a violent rampage. Is Ford a genius, or a twisted villain? At this point, I don’t care – I just enjoy watching the man do his thing.

In the episode’s most memorable sequence, Ford hijacks Bernard, forcing a shooting spree, and both of their faces blend into one entity. Ford looks like he’s enjoying himself a little too much for his intentions to be as pure as he claims.

Intriguingly, the final scene shows Bernard being interrogated by Charlotte and co, where she tells Bernard that he’s been implanted with false memories. Not to mention, earlier in the episode we learn that there are multiple versions of Bernard.

Poor Bernard always ends up a miserable puppet, beholden to the whims of unsavory personalities. And now its implied that he’s an unreliable narrator, or a copy – there’s a major clue here, and it might only be a matter of time until the internet cracks the code behind poor Bernard’s muddled timelines.

We’re getting closer to the end, so beware online spoilers. As Ford says, “Isn’t the pleasure of a story discovering the ending for yourself?”

I would rate this episode 9.3/10

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