“Doesn’t Look Like Anything To Leigh ... And Bill” is HuffPost’s weekly recap in which we break down the craziest thing you might have missed on “Westworld.” This week: Season 2, Episode 7, “Les Écorchés.”
Freeze all motor functions. (Thank you.) The latest episode of “Westworld” gave us almost all the answers we’ve been looking for, but somehow left fans even more confused than before.
In the long run, the goal of the show is most likely to examine human consciousness, prompting viewers to ponder life’s heaviest questions: What does it mean to be human? What is morality? Is a hotdog a sandwich? You know, the big stuff.
But at this moment in Season 2, it just has everyone wondering what the heck is going on. Don’t worry, though. We’ve entered analysis mode, and we’re here to decode plot points from one of the season’s info-heaviest episodes so far:
The park is copying guests.
Who needs robots when there are human beings to decode? Turns out the Delos master plan is to copy the minds and actions of guests, something fans have suspected since the James Delos (Peter Mullan) resurrection shenanigans were introduced in Season 2, Episode 4.
Ford (Anthony Hopkins) sort of explains this to Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) while they’re inside the Cradle, a virtual simulation that tests Westworld park storylines. The Cradle also happened to be playing home to physically deceased Ford; a version of his mind had apparently been living in its code since before Dolores shot him in the Season 1 finale.
“The humans are playing at resurrection,” he said. “They want to live forever. They don’t want you to become them, they want to become you.”
So it seems as though the park has been using the host story loops to help Delos understand the behavior of the guests and essentially harness the data necessary to copy human minds. We don’t know for sure yet if this copying is voluntary or if Delos is using it for their own self-serving purposes unbeknownst to the guests.
But we might guess it’s more of the latter, considering how Jimmi Simpson’s character William pitched the idea of investing in Westworld to James Delos in Season 2, Episode 2.
“Half of your marketing budget goes to trying to figure out what people want. Because they don’t know. But here, they’re free. Nobody’s watching. Nobody’s judging,” he said. “At least that’s what we tell them.”
Perhaps Delos is trying to sell immortality to consumers, or maybe it has more dubious goals, like replacing public figures with robots or something equally sinister. Who knows?
Bernard is now Ford.
As many speculated, the control unit ― or that little marble-looking brain ball ― Bernard was shown printing earlier this season was, in fact, for Ford. (Remember when we saw him slip the unit into his pocket in Season 2, Episode 4?)
In Episode 6, “Phase Space,” Bernard entered the Cradle to try to uncover why exactly so many wacky things are happening around the park and why security can’t regain control of the systems. It turns out it’s all because of Ford. He appears to have had Bernard deliver his consciousness into the Cradle before all the chaos went down. He’s been living there, supposedly interfering when anyone tries to gain control of the park, ever since.
“Every time these idiots upload a new hack, [the Cradle] is responding in, like, a totally different way,” says Elsie (Shannon Woodward) in “Phase Space.”
In Episode 7, Ford revealed that, much like we saw James Delos deteriorate and go mad when his consciousness was implanted into a bot by itself, he wouldn’t last on his own in the real world. So he hitched a ride inside Bernard before he exited the Cradle. It was weirdly good timing, since the Cradle was later destroyed by host Angela (Talulah Riley).
Bottom line: We know Ford was living inside Bernard at one point and has the power to control him. For example, he made Bernard pick up a gun and shoot Delos employees.
So is Ford still in there? Probably.
In “present time,” another Delos employee mentioned how Bernard’s “system is under siege” and that he might be trying to “debug his own head.” This could be because Ford continues to control him. Since waking up on the beach, Bernard has been having trouble remembering certain actions he’s taken. This could all be because of, you guessed it, Ford.
Ford used Dolores to bring back Arnold as Bernard.
Ever wonder how Bernard became Bernard? Well, we finally got that answer when Ford revealed that some of those talks between Dolores and Bernarnold were all actually about making Bernard more like his predecessor.
Basically, Dolores and Ford reverse-engineered her creator, Arnold.
There was no secret Delos human-to-droid project around when Arnold died, so Ford had to use Dolores’ memories of Arnold, as well as his own, to shape Bernard into the intelligent, lovable and, at times, murderous man-bot he is today.
“She knew Arnold better than anyone, so she could verify whether my personality was faithful to his,” Bernard said when he learned that he and Dolores had spent “many years” together cracking his code.
A lot of the failed Bernard attempts are the reason Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and the rest of the Delos team were able to discover that Bernard is actually a host.
They came across a bunch of Bernard copies at Ford’s secret facility, the one where he had Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) killed.
Lawrence shot up the Man in Black, so friendship is dead.
It’s not looking good for the Man in Black right now.
After Maeve (Thandie Newton) ran into the MIB (Ed Harris) and got his android buddy Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) to remember all the crappy things he’d done to him in the past ― because she’s a Jedi superbot, of course ― William’s sidekick opened fire on his “master.” Let’s be real, the MIB only has himself to blame.
Lawrence actor Collins previously told HuffPost he believed there was a change in his character in Episode 4 when the MIB let him shoot the Confederado threatening his family (Jonathan Tucker).
“He’s allowing me to be a man and avenge things that have happened to my family. He’s allowing me to live part of my life, whatever my existence may be in Westworld,” Collins said. “He’s allowing me to have some accountability for my manhood and I think that’s something that may be triggering or allowing me to have some sort of consciousness, if you will, the birthing of consciousness.”
Curiously, the MIB’s taken a lot of bullets and still keeps on ticking. Unfortunately, Lawrence seems to have a more finite shelf life; he was shot down by security right after putting a bullet in the MIB, so his consciousness might now be gone for good.
We might also have seen the last of Peter Abernathy.
In Episode 7, we learn Peter Abernathy’s (Louis Herthum) head had been holding a key to some mysterious data Delos wanted to get its hands on. Dolores is aware of this too, and she wants the key for herself.
After the Cradle is (seemingly) destroyed, she shared an emotional moment with her father before she cut his head right open. Nothing like the love between a dad and daughter, right?
So Dolores has the key now, but she’s out a dad. Peter Abernathy himself thinks it’s the end of his road. Actor Herthum told HuffPost, “It sure did feel like a goodbye. And I have no idea what is to come, if anything.”
One last thing to keep in mind.
This is “Westworld.” It’s a show that’s built on confusion and mysteries, so don’t worry if you’re lost.
Like, did anyone notice Charlotte Hale kind of had a weird moment when she whispered to Bernard before the rest of the Delos team came in? What was that about? Does Charlotte have other plans beyond recovering the brain ball of Peter Abernathy?
We don’t know. Because while we found it strange, a lot of other viewers were probably like, “It doesn’t look like anything to me.”
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.