‘Westworld’ Recap ‘Trompe L’Oeil’: More Than Meets the Eye

In the latest ‘Westworld’ recap, a huge twist is revealed, Delos Corporation reveals their real agenda and Dr. Ford fights back…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It’s been a prevailing theory ever since ‘Westworld’ started that some of the humans running the park have actually been robots in disguise.

That was proven this week in a huge reveal as Bernard Lowe — lead programmer and right hand man to Dr. Robert Ford — is actually a robot and has been since his inception.

Now there have been hints that Bernard was a robot for several weeks and the constant question has always seem to revolve around whether or not it was him or Ford who were really hosts rather than humans but it’s finally been confirmed.

What’s even more chilling is how Bernard went from one of the most sympathetic characters on the show to this detached, icy killer all under the orders of Dr. Ford.

Some other writers have pegged Ford as a pure villain on ‘Westworld’, but I’m not so quick to paint him with such broad brushstrokes. In fact in a weird way, Ford may be the only true hero left because while the robots in the park ultimately serve at his pleasure, he also wants to keep this place as it was and always envisioned when first created alongside his partner Arnold.

None of that saved Theresa Cullen, who ran afoul of Ford and his puppet Bernard this week with deadly results

What we also learned this week is that Delos Corporation — the ‘Westworld’ version of Weyland-Yutani — not only wants to get rid of Dr. Ford but they want to harvest his technology as well. Of course they claim it’s so the coding behind the robots won’t be lost in case Ford decides to firebomb his own creations, but it’s easy to tell that Delos wants to use this technology for something far more sinister than a theme park where guests can plop down several thousand dollars to engage in all kinds of debauchery for a few weeks.

And finally there’s Maeve — as her awakening and curiosity continues to grow, she’s not only breaking free of the confines of the programming in her head, but she’s expanding and growing beyond what self-awareness truly offers her. Maeve doesn’t just want to be alive — she wants to be free and the only way to do that is to escape ‘Westworld’.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Westworld’ titled ‘Trompe L’Oeil’ (which translated from French means ‘deceives the eye’)…

The Journey of 1,000 Miles

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This week picks up with William and Delores on the train with Lawrence, as they travel away from Pariah with a car full of explosives bound for the war. While William plays poker with Lawrence, Delores stares out of the train window when she sees a horrific sight — decapitated heads impaled on spikes along the road. Lawrence explains that they are traveling through territory belonging to the “Ghost Nation” — a Native American tribe particularly protective over their land and anyone trying to travel through it.

It’s been a few days since William left Logan behind in Pariah so he could enjoy this adventure with Delores, but despite this role playing vacation, he decides to confess to her about his real life. As much as William is enjoying his time with Delores, he’s got a fiancée back at home and when this trip is over, he’s going home to her where he will be married.

Delores says she understands before leaving the car, clearly upset from the news, and William wastes no time giving chase. When he catches up to her, William explains how before this trip he did everything he was supposed to do — almost like he was living a robotic existence — but coming here allowed him to truly discover who he was and what he always wanted.

William explains that Westworld doesn’t allow people to live out their darkest fantasies — it allows guests to tap into the true nature of themselves. For William, this trip has not only provided him with an escape from that cookie cutter life he’s been living, but it also allowed him to be free for the first time ever and he never wants to go back to being caged again.

He kisses Delores and the two of them make love on the train.

The next morning, William wakes up and finds that Delores has drawn a gorgeous scene on a tarp with a piece of charcoal. She explains that this is just a place she’s dreamt about — perhaps a past memory coming to life inside of her — and it’s where she hopes to go one day. An escape from the person she used to be and much like William, Delores never wants to go back to being just another part of the story.

She then asks William if he regrets their night together but he answers back with a kiss and it’s clear he wants to stay here forever. This further pushes the theory that William is actually the Man in Black and this is a “flashback” to how he first discovered himself in the park and how he never wants to leave again. The Man in Black is always seemingly obsessed with Delores and that could just be further proof that he’s actually William 30 years after this story first unfolded.

Along the route to take the explosives to the war, the train gets stopped by the rogue Federal army, who Lawrence betrayed to steal the weapons in the first place. A gun battle ensues along with some horse chases as the Ghost Nation also appears while exacting revenge for all these people traveling through the territory.

When it’s all over, William, Delores and Lawrence escape unscathed but when they finally stop running, the trio arrives at a canyon. It looks just like the one from Delores’ drawing from the train. That’s a sign for the two new lovers, who bid Lawrence farewell, as they decide to venture down a new path together.

Lawrence warns them to be careful because across the river in that canyon is uncharted territory — perhaps a hint that this could be the entrance to the maze? Then again that may not be the case considering the theory that William is actually the Man in Black because he’s still searching for that maze right now. Either way, William and Delores are now on their own about to venture into an unknown world, which is fine with the both of them so long as they do it together.

Corporate Takeover

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Following the arrival of Charlotte Hale a week ago — the Delos Corporation employee, who was sent to look into the park on behalf of the board — she finally reveals her true mission at Westworld after summoning Theresa Cullen to her suite.

When Cullen first arrives, she finds that Charlotte is partaking in some enjoyment first in a sexual romp with Hector, the gun slinging outlaw from Westworld. We actually first see him in a scene with Bernard early in the episode where he’s going through a set of routine check ups to make sure he’s not showing any ill effects of the tampering that’s been going on with the older host robots in the park. Given what happens later in the episode, Bernard was clearly doing more with Hector than just testing him.

Meanwhile, inside Charlotte’s room she reveals that Cullen has been working on behalf of the board to sabotage Dr. Ford while also secretly sneaking out the code behind the hosts and sending it to the Delos Corporation. It seems Delos wants Dr. Ford out but if he won’t fade sweetly into that good night, they are afraid he might nuke the entire programming grid and destroy years of development and technology used to create this place and the robots who live there.

So Charlotte tasked Cullen with the operation to steal the technology from the part so when Dr. Ford is finally ousted, the information on the hosts and how to make them is still in tact. Now the plan requires them to up the ante because Charlotte wants a demonstration to prove just how dangerous Dr. Ford’s creations can be and the result of the experiment will be a “blood sacrifice” — in other words somebody is going to have to be a scapegoat as a result of this latest corporate espionage happening inside Westworld.

To conduct the experiment, Charlotte and Cullen choose Clementine — the demure prostitute working at Mariposa’s alongside Maeve — to use as the example of Dr. Ford’s reckless creations. It’s a rather heartbreaking bit of work, especially considering the conversation Clementine has with Maeve just before she’s snatched away.

Clementine tells Maeve how she’s only working as a prostitute to send money back home to her family, who are currently stuck living on a farm where drought has wiped out all of their crops and ability to grow any food. Of course, Maeve knows this is all just programming inside Clementine’s head but she’s saddened nonetheless because this is the torture these hosts are destined to feel. Maeve knows if Clementine is locked into this narrative loop, she’s never actually going to escape the brothel no matter how many customers she screws.

Regardless, the technicians arrive at the brothel to pick up Clementine after freezing the entire room — minus Maeve who no longer reacts to the verbal commands given from the staff — as they set up this elaborate plan to showcase Dr. Ford’s deadly creations.

The demonstration consists of Clementine being reverted back to her old programming and put into a scene where another host (programmed to display as human — that will make more sense later) grabs her and beats the hell out of her. It’s a particularly disturbing scene, but one that makes you question how much would you really care if this was happening to a robot versus a human? It’s the same quandary from the beginning of the season about the men who visit there to live out every carnal fantasy while a wife sits at home waiting for them to return — is it still cheating if it’s only a robot?

Regardless — after the vicious display where Clementine is bloodied up and beaten — Cullen then uploads the new software, complete with the reveries added by Dr. Ford in the latest update, and this time around as soon as the other host raises a hand to her, Clementine attacks and ultimately kills him.

It forces Stubbs to enter the room and shoot her dead as Clementine still looked aggressive after killing the other host. Charlotte and Cullen believe this is the only proof they need to showcase that Dr. Ford’s update was dangerous and potentially harmful to the guests at the park and when it comes time to point the finger at someone responsible for not catching this earlier, they look directly at Bernard.

Now it seems this entire plan was predicated on Bernard turning on Dr. Ford so that he could be ousted, but of course that backfires. So the “blood sacrifice” was Bernard, who is fired on the spot and told he’s out of Westworld.

Escape

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As Maeve continues to evolve while still blackmailing Felix and Sylvester, she’s becoming more and more aware that this never ending story in Westworld offers her no real chance at escape. No matter whether she’s self-aware or not, Maeve is still locked into the narrative the park runners have set up for her to enact over and over and over again.

After watching Clementine being taken away, Maeve gets herself killed again so she can end up on the slab in the operation room with Felix. There she explains how she needs to find out what happened with Clementine and what the people behind the park plan to do with her.

Felix walks Maeve upstairs where they witness Sylvester, under Cullen’s orders, insert a drill into Clementine’s head and scramble her electronic brain. After the demonstration showed how dangerous Clementine could be (of course she was programmed to react that way), it was time to reprogram her. Now Clementine has been wiped clean — and she will either be reissued under a new narrative or potentially sent to the basement with all the other defective hosts.

The horror of watching Clementine being drilled put Maeve on a new mission.

She no longer wants to just learn, adapt and evolve — the only way Maeve can truly “live” is to escape Westworld once and for all. Of course, Felix and Sylvester try to talk her out of the idea, but the way Maeve sees it, she’s got nothing to lose. She’s been trapped her for decades, living the same loops and narratives, with no real escape other than being killed and reset for the next day.

Felix and Sylvester believe this is nothing more than a suicide mission, considering how valuable each of these robots are to Westworld and the Delos Corporation, but Maeve isn’t hearing it. She wants out because even at this stage, she’s still just locked in one continuous loop even if she remembers everything that happens to her now. It’s also clear Maeve isn’t backing down, even if the end result is death.

“You think I’m scared of dying? I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it. How many times have you died? Cause if you don’t help me, I’ll kill you.”

Mr. Roboto

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There’s a brilliant scene at the opening of this episode where Bernard is dreaming about one of the last moments he shared with his son Charlie before he died. He’s reading the boy “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and in a heartbreaking twist, it happens just before Charlie went critical in his hospital bed.

Bernard wakes up — like we’ve seen Delores and Maeve do so many times in the past — and it’s yet another clue about his true identity.

Back in the park after he’s already been fired, Bernard goes to Cullen and explains that he has to show her something before he leaves. All episode long, Bernard has been searching for Elsie, who discovered Cullen as the culprit sending out company technology to a satellite owned by Delos. Elsie has gone missing, which begs the question — who actually snatched her? Bernard or Cullen?

Either way, Bernard ultimately leads Cullen to the small cottage in an unused part of the park. It’s the same house Bernard visited a week ago where Dr. Ford keeps his first generation hosts that are designed to look just like his family. Cullen is concerned to find out this place exists off the grid, especially after hearing that the place is so secretive that the other hosts in the park are programmed to ignore it even if they happen upon it while doing sweeps across Westworld.

Inside, Bernard and Cullen begin to look around when she notices a door. Now this was our first clue that Bernard was a host when he says “what door?” — a subtle hint back to what he just told her, that the robots are programmed to ignore certain aspects of the park even if it’s directly in front of them.

Cullen opens the door and ventures downstairs where she finds a small creation lab where a host is being built — at a much slower rate than the typical lab — and there she finds some blueprints. One of them says “Delores prototype” — a crude mockup of the host who would eventually become Delores. A second blueprint looks suspiciously like Bernard but when Cullen asks him about it, he says it doesn’t look like anything to him.

That’s when Dr. Ford appears out of nowhere and explains that he’s programmed the hosts to ignore anything that will harm them. In other words, Bernard is a robot and he can’t “see” the blueprint because that would reveal that he’s actually a host instead of a human.

Remember earlier when we learned that a host can “pose” as human with all the identifying markers that will make them appear to be a real person to the other robots? That’s exactly what Bernard has been this entire time. He’s one of Dr. Ford’s creations — complete with a back story that included a wife and a dead child that he dreams about every night.

When Bernard starts to realize that he’s actually a robot, Dr. Ford is forced to “pause” him as he holds a conversation with Cullen about this latest revelation. He explains to Cullen that Bernard is just one of his loyal servants just like every other robot in the park. She quickly fires back that this is all lunacy and this all but seals his fate that the board will fire him and take the park away.

Dr. Ford scoffs in the face of her suggestion, because he knows this is just another in a long line of battles he’s had with the board over the years. They test him, he fires back and the dance continues. For explains that really he created Westworld as a way to “tell his stories” and Delos are the ones who are determined to use this technology for something far more nefarious.

But sadly this latest dance with the devil won’t end without someone paying — just like Charlotte suggested when speaking to Cullen earlier in the episode. A “blood sacrifice” she called it — while not noticing that Hector the host was still sitting in her bed and reporting every word she said back to Dr. Ford. While Charlotte and Cullen thought Bernard would be the sacrificial lamb, it turns out that Dr. Ford had other ideas.

With a glance, Dr. Ford looks at Bernard and he takes off his jacket, gently removes his tie and then grabs Cullen and slams her against the wall. With one punch, Bernard kills Cullen as she slides down the wall, a blood soaked stain behind her. Without blinking, Bernard returns to put his coat and tie back on again as Dr. Ford tells him that it’s time to get back to work — they have new storylines to roll out into the park.

There was so much to unpack in that one scene but one aspect that is rather interesting – if you look at the blueprint of Bernard, we never see the name at the bottom like we do with Delores. Perhaps Bernard is actually someone else. Don’t forget, Bernard has been holding sessions with Delores all season long, making it almost appear like he’s digging into her programming to discover if she’s become self-aware. Is it possible that Bernard is actually a host living with Arnold’s consciousness inside of him?

Tune into ‘Westworld’ next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO for the start of the final three episodes of the season…

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