Westworld: A Breakdown of Where Each Character Is Following ‘Trace Decay’
This is not a drill, folks. There are only two episodes remaining in Season 1 of HBO’s futuristic phenomena Westworld, and we still have so many unanswered questions.
Sunday night’s (November 20) episode, “Trace Decay,” chipped away at some more possibilities for the strange happenings around the Wild West amusement park, but it certainly isn’t the four-course meal of answers we desperately hunger for. So, until this coming Sunday’s penultimate episode (“The Well-Tempered Clavier”) airs, we thought it best to refresh on where all of our favorite hosts and humans left off.
Spoilers ahead for those not caught up on Episode 8, “Trace Decay.”
Now aware that he is a host created by Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins), Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) is struggling with the memory of killing Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen), though not for long. Ford wipes Bernard’s memory for him after tasking him with cleaning up the murder of his former ladyfriend. It’s unclear whether he simply removes the memory of the murder, or the recognition that Bernard is actually a host. It would seem difficult to do one and not the other, but Ford is a crafty one.
Before his memory is wiped, he asks Ford two important (and heartbreaking) questions:
1. “So what’s the difference between my pain and yours? You and me?” Oh Bernard, if we only knew. Ford claims there is no true difference really, but that it was a question that also plagued his mysterious co-creator Arnold. Yet another similarity for the online community to add to the theory that Bernard is actually a host-clone of Arnold.
2. He asks if he has had to hurt anyone else before. Ford lies and Bernard sees a quick flashback of himself strangling former colleague Elsie (Shannon Woodward). Yikes. At least this means Bernard is beginning to recover memories.
Hopkins is reigning supreme as Ford, especially in these last few episodes as he plays the sociopathic murderer we all knew he was capable of. Not only does he say some creepy things to Bernard (like his constant, “You and I have a new story to tell”), but he also goes head-to-head with Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), telling her that the display with Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) was a hoax. Oh, and he gets Bernard his old job back. Because of course.
Most likely super dead via strangulation by Bernard. What an unfortunate (and quickly tucked away) demise for an emerging favorite character. However, her body wasn’t found in the ravine with Theresa’s and the Woodcutter’s, so, maybe she’s not quite dead yet?
You didn’t think HBO would cast the third Hemsworth brother to keep him in the background, did you? Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) is taking on Elsie’s curious attitude, which probably won’t end well. He suggests Bernard should take a personal day (Can hosts have personal days?) due to the news about Theresa. Of course, Stubbs knows about Bernard and Theresa’s thing. As he says, it is his job to know these things. When Bernard adamantly denies any relationship, Stubbs is thrown off by his demeanor. Then he asks about Elsie and is even more confused. Do we have a new super sleuth on our hands for the final two episodes? Let’s hope so.
One horse, one canteen, two lovebirds. The dynamic duo stumbled upon a beach of bodies of the men who ambushed them while they were on Lawrence’s (Clifton Collins, Jr.) train. William (Jimmi Simpson) is curiously unkind to one dying host that Dolores insists on making comfortable. Maybe he’s starting to lose his empathy for them? Later on, he finally comes face-to-face with Logan (Ben Barnes) again, who of course returns as equal parts terrifying and mischievous: “Billy… I’ve been looking for you for days. Man, you two are f-cked.”
“Come find me,” Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) hears the voice in her head say as she stands by the lakeside filling their canteen. The distraction takes long enough that the soldier isn’t even alive by the time she gets back. And that isn’t the only thing that happens in her head either. Once she and William leave the beach, they stumble upon a place Dolores refers to as “home.” It’s an older area of the park that has since been torn down, but it’s fair to say that this was probably where Dolores may have started off as a host back in the day. The scene quickly changes from a peaceful town to a mass murder with Dolores at the end of the gun. In the final moments, she turns the gun on herself — but it isn’t just happening in her vision anymore, she’s also doing it in front of William, who quickly snatches it away.
A shaken Dolores asks William, “Where are we and when are we? Are you real?” We’ve got all the same questions, Dolores.
Teddy (James Marsden) is finally recovering some memories! While he traipses around looking for the Big Bad Wyatt with the Man in Black (Ed Harris) (how has Teddy not asked for his name yet?), he recalls the MiB calling him a “loser” previously. Later on, he recalls him dragging Dolores, and that memory causes him to snap and tie up his fellow traveler for a quick interrogation/beat up session. Of course, the female host they’ve picked up along the way is secretly working for Wyatt and the two encounter even more trouble.
The Man in Black
We finally get some backstory on this mysterious man. Not a name, but some past details nonetheless. He had a wife and has a daughter. His wife overdosed on pills after 30 years of marriage and his daughter blames him. He’s a “titan of industry,” and as he says to Teddy, “I’m the good guy.” Sure.
He also admits to killing Maeve and her daughter host at a low point in his life roughly a year ago after his wife had just died. “I wanted to see it if I had it in me to do something truly evil,” he claims. Apparently, that was also when he first saw the maze, and it has been his only objective since. He also delivers the most sinister warning of the episode: “There’s a deeper game here, Teddy. Arnold’s game. And that game cuts deep.”
Maeve (Thandie Newton) is officially new levels of Super Scary AI. Not only is she self-aware, but she has full knowledge of everything built inside of her, including an explosive fail-safe that would detonate should she leave the building (Isn’t an explosive fail-safe the opposite of safe?). Not only does she plan to bypass that to make her grand escape, but she also manages to pick up a new parlor trick: She can give the other hosts narratives, and orders them around by saying things like, “and then the bartender suddenly recalled he had some whiskey in the back to water down.”
Of course, her memories overtake her plan to leave when she accidentally slashed New Clementine’s throat, causing the park employees to hunt her down. It’s tragic, really, because she’s too smart to accept her current routine situation (especially with New Clementine spouting the same old lines), and honestly just really looks like she needs that drink she’s always throwing back at the bar (Can hosts get drunk?).
Side note: Maeve asking who Arnold is randomly was by far the creepiest thing she’s done.
Felix and Sylvester
Well, Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) almost died. Maeve slashed his throat and then ordered Felix (Leonardo Nam) to cauterize the would. How no one else sees it through the glass walls is miraculous. This all comes after Felix betrays Sylvester’s plan to wipe Maeve clean so she can’t escape. Tisk, tisk, Sylvester. We thought you knew better by now than to mess with his host.
Hale and Lee Sizemore
The Delos board member Hale was in cahoots with Theresa to smuggle information away from Ford and finds it extremely suspicious that someone as “careful” as the recently deceased would simply fall to her death. So, she does the logical thing and drags the alcoholic writer Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) out of his workspace to load 35+ years of data into Dolores’ old dad before sticking him on the next train out of town. Seems if you want something done around here, you have to do it yourself.
Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum)
Apparently he’s the new transmitter, so this is certainly not the last we’ll see of him. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up like the Woodcutter. It would also be interesting to see what Bernard whispered in his ear oh-so-long-ago and if that’ll have an effect on his new role.
Westworld, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO