‘Westworld’ Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: ‘Trace Decay’


The episode opens with Ford bringing Bernard back online after the events of last week’s episodes. He immediately starts freaking out about killing Theresa. Ford explains Bernard’s origins: Ford built Bernard to help make the hosts capture more of human emotions. Ford also explains why he killed Theresa: Devos threatened to ruin everything. When Bernard vows to stop Ford and threatens him, Ford orders him to stand down and clean up his mess by erasing his involvement with Theresa’s disappearance. When Bernard finishes, Ford promises to erase all memory of Theresa from his system.

Maeve watches Clementine 2.0 seduce one of her customers before remembering her past life on the frontier with her daughter. She heads to the body shop to ask what’s going on with her memories, so Felix and Sylvester explain how, as a host, she has a perfect memory. Felix offers to find out what happened to her daughter, but Maeve just resolves to leave. She explains her plan: she needs to remove a charge implanted in her spine to prevent her from leaving and then will escape with the help of “allies”, but she’ll need administrative access first.

William and Dolores ride into the valley and find a number of Confederatos killed by the Ghost Nation. One of them is still alive, so William interrogates him and finds out that Logan had sent the Confederato after the train. William wants to keep moving, but Dolores says they can’t abandon someone who’s still alive. When Dolores tries to get water, she sees her own body floating in the river and hears Arnold’s voice telling her to come and find him.

Stubbs brings Theresa’s body into the headquarters and explains that she was found near where the woodcutter was killed. Stubbs speculates to Ford and Charlotte that Theresa was trying to smuggle data out of the park (as two transmitters were found nearby), but slipped and fell into the ravine. Charlotte says that Theresa’s death was unlikely, as she was very careful, but Ford explains that Theresa also faked Clementine’s outburst last week. Ford then suggests they restrict QA’s access to the core code and reinstate Bernard as head of programming until someone more “principled” can be found to replace Theresa.

Sylvester comes into the body shop and says that “something” happened upstairs and they need to finish up before someone notices. Sylvester tells Maeve that she’s probably figured out that she can’t escape, but Maeve says that her examination of her code has revealed that there seems to be two minds fighting with each other and that parts of her code are laying dormant. She asks who Arnold is, but Sylvester says that she’d need to go to Behavior to make the changes. Maeve immediately comes up with a plan to get her into Behavior. When Felix and Slyvester go outside to convene, Sylvester says they should go along with her plan until they find an opportunity to wipe her programming, but Felix seems hesitant.

Teddy and the Man in Black head into Wyatt’s territory. The Man in Black mentions that the game is rigged and that Teddy is only there to be a loser, which triggers Teddy’s memory of one of the previous times the Man in Black killed Teddy. They find a bunch of dead bodies, but find a sole survivor (the host William met when he arrived at the park). Suddenly, a dude dressed as a minotaur shows up and attacks the group. During the fight, Teddy remembers the Man in Black attacking him and Dolores. After killing the minotaur man, Teddy turns on the Man in Black and knocks him out.

Felix and Sylvester wheel Maeve into Behavior. Felix shuts Maeve down, but hesitates when it comes to wiping her system. Sizemore is trying to write a script for a cannibal host when Charlotte walks into her office. Charlotte explains that Theresa wasn’t a traitor and conscripts into helping her with his new plan.

Sylvester tries to convince Felix to shut her down, but Maeve suddenly sits up. Turns out that Maeve asked Felix to tinker with his core code and turned off her restrictions on killing humans. Picking up a scalpel, Maeve slits Sylvester’s throat and promises she’ll do worst to the guests when she gets back to the park. After Felix hurridly uses a medical tool to patch Sylvester up, Maeve says it’s time to recruit her army.

When Maeve returns to the park, she walks into her bordello waiting for Hector to arrive. When the bartender tries to make Maeve pay her tab, Maeve uses her new powers of influence to get a drink instead. When Maeve sees a girl and her mother walk past, Maeve has a flashback to the Man in Black murdering her. She then orders the girls and the bartender to get out of harm’s way right as Hector and his gang arrive. Maeve protects Hector by forcing the sheriff to either shoot each other or leave them alone, which gives them an out to stealing the safe and leaving town.

Ford thanks Bernard for helping cover up Theresa’s death. Ford asks if the things he experienced was “real”, but Bernard explains that every story needs a beginning. Ford asks Bernard what separates himself from Ford, but Ford gives a philosophical answer about how there’s no such thing as real consciousness. Bernard asks if Ford has ever ordered him to kill before, and while Ford says no, Bernard has a memory of him choking Elsie out. Ford then erases Bernard’s memories.

Dolores and William discover a town sitting on the edge of the river, complete with a church with a very familiar looking steeple. While the town is empty, Dolores seems to have memories of it full of hosts and Westworld staff. She sees Lawrence’s daughter, who asks if she found what she was looking for, before she sees herself shooting people.

William suddenly stops her from shooting herself in the head, and it turns out the entire town is an illusion. The only thing that’s left is the black steeple in the middle of the desert. Dolores can’t tell what’s real and what’s fiction and says that Arnold must want him to remember…but William says they need to get away from the park.

Charlotte takes Sizemore into cold storage and pull out Abernathy (Dolores’s original father). Charlotte fills Abernathy with all the core code and says that Sizemore needs to give Abernathy enough of a personality to get him onto the train out of the park.

Stubbs consoles Bernard about Theresa, but Bernard claims that he never had an affair with her. Stubbs seems suspicious of Bernard and asks about Elsie….who Bernard claims is just enjoying a vacation.

The Man in Black wakes up tied up. Teddy starts to beat him up. The Man in Black explains that he was a good man outside of the park…until his wife killed herself the year before. It turns out that his wife knew that the Man in Black was a monster. The next time the Man in Black came into town, she found a homesteader (Maeve) and killed her and her daughter…but Maeve came back to life and slashed the Man in Black’s throat. Maeve then tried to rescue her daughter before they both collapsed on the ground. When Maeve died, the Man in Black claims that he discovered the Maze, which cuts far deeper than one of Arnold’s storylines.

Meanwhile, Maeve tries to leave the bordello, but accidentally kills Clementine 2.0 in the process. Several of the hosts try to capture her, but Maeve uses her abilities of persuasion to escape. We then see a flashback of when Maeve first woke up after her daughter’s death, in side of programming. Ford and Bernard arrive when she loses control and wipe her memory. As Maeve remembers this, the body shop employees arrive to bring Maeve back in.

The episode ends with Teddy trying to kill the Man in Black, but his failsafes prevent it. The woman they rescued before stabs Teddy with an arrow and she reveals that she’s working for Wyatt. As she tells Teddy to rejoin the fold, Wyatt and his men come out of the shadows and surround them.