‘Westworld’ Season 1 Episode 7 Recap: Trompe L’Oeil

Westworld Season 1 Episode 7
Evan Rachel Wood and Jimmi Simpson in ‘Westworld’ (Photo: John P. Johnson / HBO)

HBO’s Westworld pulled off yet another game-changer with episode seven airing on November 13, 2016. Forget what you thought you knew about the world of the hosts as episode seven titled ‘Trompe L’Oeil’ took the series an unexpected direction. The episode opened with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) dreaming about being with his young son in the hospital as he was dying. He wakes, grabbing a framed photo of his son in happier times.

At the Delos headquarters, Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) is being examined by Bernard, relating an incident in which a guest told him he wanted to take a piece of him home in his luggage. Bernard wonders if it changed his world view, and Hector assures him it didn’t. He’s unaffected when shown photos of the real world.

Bernard asks after Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and is told she just started her leave.

William (Jimmi Simpson) and Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr) play cards on the train while Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) refuses to interact with Lawrence. Lawrence apologizes for what he’s done to her family, but it’s the government’s fault – not his. Lawrence thinks William has more of an appetite for this sort of adventure than he thinks, and just then they spot heads on spikes outside the train, placed there by the Ghost Nation.

Bernard tries to reach Elsie but the computer can’t locate her, and so he heads off to a meeting with Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen). He doesn’t tell Theresa what Elsie found out, and assures her his department will be very professional during the board member’s visit and will stop second-guessing her department.

Theresa hears people having sex and finds board member Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) with Hector tied to her bed. Charlotte puts Hector on pause so she and Theresa can talk, telling Theresa the board’s worried about the host who killed himself and about Dr. Ford using half the park’s resources to build a new narrative. Charlotte reminds Theresa the board is only interested in the intellectual property, not the hosts themselves. 35 years of raw information exists only in this building with Dr. Ford, and Charlotte says the board is going to ask Dr. Ford to retire. That’s why Theresa is stealing all the code now; the Board doesn’t want Dr. Ford to delete it on his way out before they get their hands on it. And, the board needs to demonstrate how dangerous the hosts can be and it can’t be someone they expect. They also need a “blood sacrifice” to appease the board.

Maeve (with newly enhanced intelligence) heads to the saloon and turns off the player piano. Maeve (Thandie Newton) utters a line of dialogue from her programming, but then improvises to ask Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) if she ever dreams she’s someone else. She also asks her if this is the life she wants, and Clementine says her family farm is in bad shape and that’s why she’s a prostitute. Being a hooker’s a short-term solution to help her family survive. As they’re in the middle of the conversation, all of the hosts in the room freeze (Maeve doesn’t and has to pretend) as technicians walk in. The techs take Clementine away.

Back on the train, Dolores and William talk about riding a train filled with explosives through scalping territory. William wants to know how she’s sure this place she’s looking for exists, and Dolores admits she’s not sure. Still, whatever she finds, she’ll never go back. William confesses as a kid he lived in books, dreaming he was inside of them. This place reminds him of that, and he wants to know what it all means. Dolores answers, saying, “I don’t want to be in a story,” and that she just wants to be in the moment she’s in. William tells her about Julia, Logan’s sister, and that he’s marrying her when he gets home. Dolores is taken aback, but William insists he’ll still help her find what she’s looking for. She leaves the room, upset, and William follows her and finds her crying. He confesses he’s gone through life pretending but now that he’s here, he feels he no longer has to pretend. He’s alive and doesn’t want to go back to pretending. They kiss, long and passionately.

Back at headquarters, Charlotte and Theresa meet with Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Bernard. Charlotte reveals they’ve checked the last aborted updates and Theresa reports they found something quite disturbing. They wake up Clementine, setting her back to her previous update. (All the infected hosts have been rolled back to their prior builds.) They watch as another host pretending to be a guest beats her and she begs for their help. They freeze the action and reset Clementine’s memory, and put her through the event again. This time she beats the crap out of the other host. They attempt to freeze her but she keeps moving, licking blood from her fingers. She goes after Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) and he’s forced to shoot her. The malfunctioning hosts are remembering their experiences and acting on them; they’re holding grudges and responding to them. Theresa says some of the techs have also voiced these concerns, blaming this all on Bernard. Charlotte says within the next six months they must rebuild all the hosts which basically means they’ll lobotomize them. She fires Bernard, making him the scapegoat. He doesn’t believe he’s been fired, but no one stands up for him, not even Theresa.

William and Dolores apparently went further than just kissing, and Dolores wants to know if he regrets it. In answer, he kisses her again and says he doesn’t. Home feels unreal to William now and he’s figured out Westworld reveals your deepest self. He’s wanted to leave Logan behind for a long time and he’s never felt like he does now with Dolores. He notices she’s drawn something and she explains it’s a landscape of somewhere new. She imagined a place where mountains meet the sea and then drew it. She asks what he dreams of but before he can answer the train brakes to an emergency stop.

Large rocks block the tracks and a group of men with guns pull up alongside the train. It’s not the Ghost Nation; it’s the Confederales. They shoot a Gatling gun at the train and then as they’re looking at their handiwork, a man leaves the train on horseback with a white flag. He’s loaded with dynamite and Lawrence shoots him, making him blow up. It takes out some of the men but not all, and off William, Lawrence, and Dolores ride, shooting back at their pursuers. Dolores is knocked off her horse and William rescues her, staying ahead of the Confederales who are now firing the Gatling gun again from a wagon. The chase continues but now the Ghost Nation enters the fray, killing the Confederales and scalping them, allowing William, Dolores, and Lawrence to escape.

They make it to a cliff and Dolores yells for them to stop. The view is of the landscape she painted that morning, which she didn’t think was real. William can’t believe it, and Lawrence suggests they keep on riding. However, Dolores and William decide to part ways with Lawrence and head out into uncharted territory. Lawrence warns them no one has ever come back from there.

Back at Delos headquarters, a tech works with Felix (Leonardo Nam) on Maeve. Felix tells his co-worker he’ll finish up and once she leaves, Maeve says she’s there looking for Clementine. She wants him to find her now, and the computer says she’s in the body shop. Felix says they can’t go there because management is there, but Maeve won’t take no for an answer. They make their way to the room and watch from the outside as Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) and Theresa work on Clementine. He lobotomizes her as Maeve watches, obviously upset about what’s happening to her friend.

Westworld Season 1 Episode 7 Jeffrey Wright and Sidse Babett Knudsen
Jeffrey Wright and Sidse Babett Knudsen in ‘Westworld’ (Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO)

Bernard asks Theresa to step outside the room and reveals he knows the performance she and Charlotte put on was a sham. He also says he knows she was responsible for the satellite transmissions. Bernard goes on to reveal they don’t know how the hosts work but there’s definitely something wrong with them. The ability to deviate from programming is dangerous, and the hosts have been on the verge of some kind of dramatic change. Theresa says the park is always her chief concern, and then Bernard tells her he needs to show her something.

Sylvester tells Maeve he didn’t want to retire Clementine but was forced to. If he didn’t, someone else would. He also claims he did it for her, and Maeve doesn’t believe it and insists he has to do one more thing for her. She doesn’t want to be a “survivor” anymore and wants to leave. They are going to help her, she says, but Sylvester laughs. He doesn’t think she understands the company will do whatever it takes to keep her there. It’s a suicide mission to try to escape. She tells him she thought they were gods but has realized they’re just men…and she knows men. She’s not afraid of dying, however if they don’t help her, she’ll kill them.

Bernard and Theresa head into the park, and Theresa confesses she was charged with securing the company’s intellectual property. She tells him Dr. Ford would have destroyed the IP on his way out, and then she asks if he believes the company’s interests are really just about tourists playing cowboy.

Bernard takes Theresa to Dr. Ford’s secret house with the hosts who are made to look and act like his family. It’s dark inside and Bernard can’t find the hosts. Theresa spots a door and they head downstairs to a remote diagnostic facility under the cottage. The facility has newer equipment and Theresa figures out Ford’s been making his own hosts and telling no one. She finds designs on a desk, including the Dolores prototype. And then she seems upset and asks Bernard to take a look at one of the drawings. It’s of Bernard, but he can’t see the drawing. He is a host!

Dr. Ford arrives and tells Theresa Bernard is free of the burden of self-doubt. Theresa calls him a monster and Bernard’s completely confused by what’s going on, obviously unaware he’s a host. She wants to know if that’s why Bernard was intimate with her, and now Bernard’s beginning to panic thinking about his wife, his dead son, and all these things he believed were real. Dr. Ford shuts him down so he’ll stop getting worked up. Theresa looks at Dr. Ford as though she’d love to slap him while he continues to explain about the hosts. He has come to think of consciousness as a burden and a weight, and he’s spared them that along with anxiety and self-loathing. The hosts are the ones who are free and under his control. But then Theresa says Bernard isn’t under his control because he brought her there to show him the facility. Of course it turns out Dr. Ford instigated the visit, not Bernard, and Theresa threatens him with the board. She says he’s played god too long, but Dr. Ford knows the board will do nothing because he’s too valuable to them. He also knows that now the situation demands a blood sacrifice (just like Charlotte and Theresa discussed earlier).

Dr. Ford asks Theresa if she really believed he’d let her take the place from him. She wants to know what happened to his brother, Arnold, and if Bernard took him out in the woods to get rid of him. Dr. Ford doesn’t deny having Arnold killed, but it probably wasn’t Bernard that did the deed. Theresa tries using her phone but it doesn’t work as Dr. Ford leans in and whispers in her ear, ‘Like I said, I built all of this.” He tells Bernard to “help” Theresa and Bernard takes off his jacket and tie. Bernard doesn’t listen to Theresa as she begs for her life. He smashes her head in with his fist and then puts his tie and jacket back on. Dr. Ford tells him to head back because they have much work to do on the new storylines.

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