Westworld Episode 8 Review: “Trace Decay”

Westworld Episode 8 Review: "Trace Decay"
Westworld Episode 8 Review: "Trace Decay"

Westworld Episode 8 Review: “Trace Decay”

Instead of bringing Westworld fans together, the answers we got in Episode 8, “Trace Decay,” have driven wedges between schools of Westworld thought. Does the Man in Black’s backstory confirm he’s William or make it less likely? Is Bernard a born killer or newly tainted puppet? Is Dolores already in The Maze, or is she being fed memories to advance a narrative?

If all these questions are causing you more pain than the shaft jammed in Teddy’s chest, you’ll want to catch this fiery episode of the Westworld Deep Dive from Shat On TV.

Westworld Episode 8 Summary:
“Trace Decay” Ford has Bernard stage Theresa’s death to look like an accident. Then, Ford wipes Bernard’s memories after Bernard has a vision of himself attacking Elsie. Stubbs becomes suspicious of Bernard’s behavior. Hale recruits Sizemore for her cause. Maeve convinces Felix to give her the ability to control other hosts, and slits Sylvester’s throat for attempting to kill her; though she has Felix save him. Maeve then suffers more visions of her past life with her daughter and reflexively kills another host, prompting the park staff to retrieve her for a diagnostic. William and Dolores finally reach their destination, Ford’s church, where Dolores has more disturbing visions and realizes that Arnold wants her to remember something before they are captured by a band of Confederados led by Logan. Teddy receives a flashback of the Man in Black attacking Dolores and interrogates him. The Man in Black explains he started searching for the maze to find purpose after his wife’s suicide. Teddy is wounded by a female host before they are captured by Wyatt’s cultists.

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9 Responses

  1. Zelbinian says:

    A 1-second, muted expression of concern is overacting? Huh.

    I sort of hated MiB’s speech. They literally had a character say it in the episode: “Show, don’t tell.” I don’t get how you put that metanarrative instruction in the episode and then still wind up with a bullshit expositional monologue. (In general, telling and not showing is the show’s most frequent – if still relatively uncommon – weakness.) Don’t get me wrong. I loved what was revealed. But it landed like an “… oh, cool” instead of a “holy shit.” I think slowly revealing that stuff over the first couple of seasons (especially if they tie it in with the origin story reveal) would have packed more of a punch. On the plus side, Ed Harris acted the shit out of it.

    Oh, and idea about your podcast post Ep 10: you should do retrospectives on the season, each episode viewing it from different angles. E.g., one episode could tackle the show’s philosophical musings, another one could look at the metafiction, show-behind-the-show aspects, another one from the point of view of games and gamers, etc.

    • Gene Lyons says:

      It was more than a second, and it was bonkers weird. Ed Harris was straight-up making Archie Bunker faces.

      Totally agree on “Westworld” telling too much instead of showing, but this instance could just be MiB lying to Teddy.

  2. mtilford says:

    Why I Think Stubbs and the Tech Cats are not Hosts

    In a word, Ford. I think Ford uses the hosts to keep an eye on things and eavesdrop. I think he used Bernard to spy on Theresa. Of course the most glaring example of this was Ford repeating Charlotte’s words about blood sacrifice to Theresa. Practically verbatim. Words uttered privately, but for the presence of Hector, obligingly turned ‘off’. But maybe not off to Ford.

    So if Felix and Sylvester are hosts, one would think Ford would have more knowledge of Maeve’s plans. She became problematic long before she could have gotten supervisory control of them. The only thing that seems hostlike to me is their names, frankly. Like a bad joke Sizemore would make. Speaking of Sizemore, bets on Abernathy pulping him INSTANTLY when he come back online with terabytes of trauma stuffed into him? I would say that might be a safe bet.

    Likewise Stubbs problem with Bernard’s behavior would be noted by Ford and dealt with. Not that the hosts are the Borg, just that they should, in general, be in lockstep with Ford’s needs.

  3. John G. says:

    No, she’s not addressing MIB in that scene. The scene is a tight shot of her looking down. Both MIB and Teddy are on the ground. After she stabs Teddy with the arrow, it cuts to MIB’s shocked reaction, because they need the shocked reaction right there. Then it cuts to her monologuing about how they need Theodore to remember and that Wyatt will need him. Then they cut to Teddy on the ground. She’s facing Teddy. It’s just that brief cut to MIB, because we need to show he’s shocked by this, that made you think she was facing him. I just watched it a bunch of times. her monologuing shot is from below, and we just saw MIB’s face, so you can mistake that she’s speaking to him. But c’mon. There’s someone else on the ground who we know is named theodore. She’s talking to him.

  1. December 2, 2016

    […] said that here is a short term prediction which I’d like to hear you guys speculate on. In Trace Decay we see Maeve control hosts with her voice and at the end of the episode we see her about to be […]

  2. December 2, 2016

    […] the podcast and while I usually stay away from the tinfoil side of things, something hit me during Trace Decay so thought I would send it over the telegraph for what it is […]

  3. December 3, 2016

    […] Trace Decay, when Dolores snaps out of her flashback, she is with William with the town long dead and buried, […]

  4. December 4, 2016

    […] I have some theories based on the Trace Decay episode. […]

  5. December 4, 2016

    […] time listener first-time emailer! After all of the revelations after “Trace Decay, “ I figured I should throw my tin foil hat into the cattle drive with everyone […]

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