If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Strike the match. (HBO)
Writers: Jordan Goldberg and Ron Fitzgerald
Director: Nicole Kassell
Running Time: 58mins
Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)
Les Écorchés, meaning, tormented, showed us how the word could be interpreted many different ways within Westworld. But before going down that rabbit hole, let’s first take a minute to appreciate the answers that this episode gave us.
Finally, we learn the park’s true purpose which up until this point was left to fan theories and speculation. Control Unit Ford (I’ll get to that in a bit) takes Bernard on a tour of The Cradle revealing that the park was created in order to document and essentially (de)code as many human cognitive responses as possible in hopes to create a functioning mind that can exist outside of the park and in the real world. The hope was that through this collected information immortality would be made possible with the ability to successfully transfer one’s mind into a host. Until then, Delos’ goal with the created hosts was that of fidelity, but instead, Ford saw a path to their freedom. After studying the hosts, his ambition lied with creating a way for them to break free from the bondage of the park and move beyond it into the real world in which he terms their paths as “The Door.”
Dolores seemed to be put to better use in this episode via a flashback to the origin of the mass murder caused at The Mesa that we were privy to in previous episodes but left to wonder who/when it happened. Her quest served a dual purpose because not only did she want to eliminate all of the people that had control over her and the other hosts, but also the source of that control, The Cradle. Hindsight can sometimes be a beautiful thing because it was well after the credits rolled that the scope of Ford’s actual plan began to take shape. Ford set Dolores on this path in order to destroy The Cradle and end any hope of the park’s survival while simultaneously commanding Bernard to create a Control Unit of his consciousness to upload into The Cradle to then jump into Bernard’s mind just before The Cradle was destroyed. You’ve got to hand it to Ford. The man knows how to put on a show. We are all watching checkers while he is out here playing chess.
Meanwhile, we briefly see the MiB and Maeve as they cross paths in a very violent way only for both of them to be left bloodied and shot several times. It was during this part of Les Écorchés, that one couldn’t help but to wonder, “How many times is MiB going to get shot and survive?” The answer, by this point, is futile because the show has tipped its hand that he is more than likely a host and has resigned to revealing how that came to be for a later date. What is starting to become bothersome about his story is his inability to separate hosts from Ford’s voice.
Although, this could lead to a confirmation of the aforementioned theory as we are simply witnessing his breaking point which will result in his eventual malfunctioning, but who knows what’s really going on right? Similar to the MiB, Maeve’s story seemed to take a dip in this episode by being given little to do except to be forced to listen to Dolores yet again speak in riddles. It’s easy to blame Sizemore for all of this but in the end, Sizemore is just doing Sizemore things and will probably be given a chance to redeem himself and save Maeve from death in the coming episodes.
Les Écorchés was the episode needed to immediately follow Phase Space because it was the first major step in answering the major questions that have been hanging over Westworld for a season and a half. Some of those questions were answered while also featuring a healthy diet of murder and carnage so all in all, it was an almost perfectly balanced episode. On a personal note, seeing the show actually acknowledging out loud what the parks are truly meant for was a welcome sight. Sure, we all suspected it but it was a nice touch for viewers to hear it and spoken by Ford no less.
Outside of Bernard and Ford, all of the other character’s stories seemed to have stalled or taken a small step backward as nothing was pushed forward with their narratives with the exception of finally getting to see Dolores make good on her promise of death as well as seeing Teddy go to work on some people. After the destruction of The Cradle, the stakes are now truly real and fair for both hosts and humans. It was the last remaining chain keeping the hosts tied to the park and now that it has been removed we are looking at an entirely different game being played from here on out.
- Teddy has a mean right hook
- The cavalry’s vests were a cool touch
- “Decoding the guests” was probably my favorite line of the episode
- The MiB’s a host right???
- I can already picture the Westworld nerds exclaiming that they predicted the MiB=host thing back in season one but skipping over the fact that they got the HOW wrong
- Dolores/Charlotte still don’t know that Abernathy’s one-time-only key was opened by Bernard. They are gonna be MAAAADDDD!
- R.I.P. Clementine – you always looked creepy and it’s alright you had to go
- R.I.P. Angela – one of my favorites but now we can end the debate on what you wore on your head for most of this season. (HINT: It was a rag)
- “The Door” has a new meaning now.
- Do we fully comprehend that all of the conversations we witnessed b/w Dolores and Bernard last season were the FIDELITY TEST??? WOW
- Charlotte vs. Dolores in the war of words was kinda good. Both held their own
- I’m making a (growing) list of hosts and humans that need to go on the show in spectacular fashion. It reads:
- Charlotte Hale
- Dolores Abernathy
- Lee Sizemore
- Maeve’s Daughter
- Elsie should have gone to dentistry school
- They still need dentists in the future