Maeve Shows Her Confidence in Trace Decay, And Dolores Clears Up A Theory.

This is my Westworld recap of season 1, episode 8 entitled “Trace Decay.” Dolores finds her home. Maeve continues her manipulations to gain control of the hosts. The Man in Black and Teddy make a unique discovery while in search for the maze. Trace Decay shows some strength as the season finale quickly approaches.

This is a reminder that all these recaps contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this episode, turn away now. We open with Bernard questioning Ford as to why he made him kill Theresa. Clearly upset and full of guilt, Bernard suffers her loss in front of Ford. The master explains that Theresa would have ultimately discovered what Ford had planned at the park, therefore Ford had to have her removed. Ford demonstrates his power of Bernard when the prodigy jumps to his master with anger. Ford never shows any fear, and with a few simple voice commands, Bernard is once again himself, calm, together, and awaiting instructions. Ford asks him to remove any trace that connects him to Theresa’s untimely death. Bernard seems to turn a page and systematically clears every trace of his involvement in her killing.

Lili Simmons as the new Clementine and Thandie Newton as Maeve

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

In town, at the Mariposa, Maeve meets the new Clementine, played by Lili Simmons. Most interesting is how Clementine is using the same narrative as her predecessor. Without saying a word, Maeve understands even more how he world is written. Maeve has a reverie of her life with her daughter, and next we find her in the backstage with Felix and Sylvester standing over her. Maeve tells her accomplices that she wants to leave Westworld. She also tells the duo that she is aware of a small explosive charge that is implanted in the spine of every host. Apparently, if any host tries to escape from the park, the charge will detonate, destroying the host.

Out in the ghost nation, we find William and Dolores on horseback. They come across a group of mostly dead hosts, who they learn were sent to ambush them. Unfortunately for the hosts, the natives got to them first and most of the hosts were killed or gravely injured. One nearly dead host spoke to Dolores of their mission to kill them, and how it failed when they were attacked by the natives. Dolores has a reverie about visiting this area before and she notices that William is no where to be found. Her reality is put into check again, as she grows more concerned that what she is experiencing is not real. Viewers will have to decide whether Dolores is the key to this entire narrative and everything she has experienced up-to this point is real.

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy and Jimmi Simpson as William

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

In the backstage we find Ford, Stubbs and Charlotte in what looks like a medical lab. On the gurney is the corpse of Theresa. Stubbs explains that he found her body out on Python Pass, with injuries consistent with a fall. Stubbs explains that he found a transmitting device with her body loaded with proprietary code. Ford explains away her death as a mission to personally smuggle stolen data out of the park. Stubbs convincingly agrees, but Charlotte is not so satisfied with their conclusions. Ford requests that given Theresa’s obvious manipulations of the truth, that Bernard be reinstated as head of behavioral. Charlotte agrees with a smirk.

Across labs, Maeve gains administrative privileges to the hosts, so she can write her own story. Felix is quick to help, but Sylvester reluctantly agrees. Apparently Maeve has learned to code, and again solicits the duo to move her up to Bernard at behavior.

Ed Harris as the Man in Black

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

Across the park, the Man in Black and Teddy continue their search for Wyatt and Dolores. The two discover an older version of Angela, played by Talulah Riley and are subsequently jumped by one of Wyatt’s men. The Man in Black and Teddy fight off and kill the attacker. Teddy has a reverie about the Man in Black dragging Dolores into the barn on her farm. Teddy punches the Man in Black and ties him up. The Man in Black explains a bit about his life outside of Westworld.

Meanwhile, in the backstage, Charlotte approaches Lee in his workshop and convinces him to assist her with discovering the details of Ford’s new narrative. The two go down below and enter cold storage. Hale uploads “35 years of data” into Peter Abernathy, the host that was shut down in the first episode. Hale explains that since his brain was empty, he would make a perfect mule to smuggle out the code. Lee questions her motives, but Hale insists it’s none of his business. She tells Lee to create a quick story for Abernathy, so they can send him out of the park on the train.

Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale and Simon Quarterman as Lee Sizemore

Images: John P. Johnson HBO

Across in the lab, Maeve is rebooted and displays her new found ability. She slices Sylvester’s throat, but then asks Felix to save him. Obvious advances in medical technology allow Felix to repair the wound in only seconds and Sylvester survives. Meave heads to the surface with her new found powers of the hosts and her unique ability to kill humans. In the Mariposa, Maeve explores her ability to control the hosts with simple verbal commands. She sends Clementine to please a group of card players. She casually reminds the bartender that her tab is clear. Then she seemingly clears the room as the usual daily narrative begins to play out. Hector and his group of bandits ride into town in their daily effort to steal the safe from the Mariposa. Things get interesting now. Maeve aids Hector and his crew to steal the safe, something that has never happened before.

In the backstage, Ford and Bernard discuss the new narrative. Ford, as promised, erases Bernard’s memory of his relationship and killing of Theresa. Bernard questions Ford and asks if he ever made him hurt anyone else. Ford denies it, but Bernard has a reverie and sees himself choking Elsie. Whether Elsie is dead or not is anyone’s guess.

Dolores discovers an empty old town, where presumably the original hosts were trained. She has a reverie about everyone in the town being killed either by her hand or someone else. William stops her as she’s about to shoot herself in the head. William convinces her that the two need to head back to Sweetwater, as Dolores is completely losing her mind. While walking back, Logan and a group of union soldiers on horseback find them.

In Sweetwater, Maeve continues her manipulations of the other hosts, but she raises the eyes of Security. Stubbs is now aware there’s a problem with Maeve and sends a team to retrieve her. Meave has a reverie about the time the Man in Black killed her daughter. At the end of Trace Decay, Angela stabs poor Teddy, because she’s clearly still in league with Wyatt. Teddy falls to the ground injured, and the Man in Black, unable to help, watches as Wyatt’s men approach.

Next week, Westworld episode 9 entitled “The Well-Tempered Clavier” debuts on Sunday, Nov 27 at 9:00 PM ET on HBO. Check out all the official Westworld Trace Decay photos in the gallery. Here’s a preview of what’s coming.