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TV Recaps

Westworld recap: Season 1, Episode 7 twist

Bernard? No, no, no. Bernard!

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John P. Johnson/HBO

Westworld

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
09/25/16
Producer:
Jonathan Nolan, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk
broadcaster:
HBO
genre:
Sci-fi

We gave it an A-

“What door?” — that was the line where I lost it.

Bernard Lowe, inside Dr. Ford’s creepy robo-family vacation getaway house, doesn’t see a door noticed by his ex-lover Theresa Cullen. Hosts are programmed to ignore certain information. This was the first direct indication in tonight’s hour that Bernard — the most humane of our backstage characters — is not human. And this revelation was only one of the dramatic events of Westworld episode 7, ““Trompe L’Oeil,” which took us down Ford’s rabbit hole into his secret mad scientist laboratory, plus had a brutal series of events for Clementine that will change her forever. I have plenty of thoughts about the Bernard reveal, the abuse of Clementine, that Dolores-William hook-up, plus several new theories as to What’s Going On.

But we start with Bernard waking up, just like we’ve seen his fellow hosts Dolores and Maeve do so many times on this show. He’s in a flashback — which we’ll later learn is an implanted memory — visiting his dying son. He’s reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to him, just like he does with Dolores, his spiritually adopted daughter. “If I had a world of my own … everything would be what it isn’t,” he reads. His son passes and Bernard wakes in his Westworld bed. He’s another host haunted by one of Ford’s cruelly effective tragic backstories.

We next see Bernard at work asking Hector in a bored voice the exact same question he should be asking himself: “And finally, have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” He runs through a few tests with Hector, making sure that scenes of modern life “don’t look like anything” to Hector, reminding us of that programmed host reply, setting up what comes later.

It seems Hector has been ordered up to provide some room service sex to corporate board member Charlotte, who has also summoned Cullen for a meeting. Cullen sits in an ultra-professional poise as the younger Charlotte condescendingly tells her, “I like you — well, not personally, but I like you for this job,” and gives us some exposition about what’s going on here: The board wants to push out Ford, the value of the park is all in the code, they’ve been smuggling data out as a back-up in case Ford tries to nuke their intellectual property on his way out the door. They don’t know what Ford’s mysterious new narrative is, and Delos also has an equally mysterious “little research project” the park is being used for that’s their true priority.

“The gods require a blood sacrifice,” Charlotte says. “We need to demonstrate just how dangerous Ford’s creations can be.”

As she says this, Cullen alarmingly glances behind her. She thinks that Hector might be sneaking up to kill her. In retrospect this is ironic because what she doesn’t realize (and it took the showrunners explaining for me to realize in this week’s post-episode Q&A) is that Ford eavesdropped on this conversation via the sex-paused Hector — that’s why Ford makes that reference to “blood sacrifice” later. So Cullen comes across in this scene like she’s being paranoid thinking Hector might be coming to throttle her. But it turns out Hector really was a threat (just not in the way she suspected) and later a host does kill her (just not the one she expected).

NEXT: Clementine’s tech-crunch

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