Westworld Season 2 Episode 7 “Les Écorchés” Recap

All our story lines come together in a violently explosive episode.

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Last week’s episode of Westworld was building toward a major confrontation. This week we witness the startling violence that occurs when our various story lines intersect.

Every single one of our main plot threads is involved in a major event in what was the most action-packed episode of the season.

Maeve and the Man in Black

Maeve is still in a dangerous situation. She’d finally found her daughter only to be attacked by the Ghost Nation tribe. She and her daughter flee toward a house as she sees flashbacks to when the Man in Black brutally invaded and killed them in a previous scenario.

Speak of the devil. The Man in Black, having escaped his own grown-up daughter in the dead of night, is also under attack by Ghost Nation. Purely by coincidence he ends up hiding out in the same room, which Maeve is absolutely not having. They exchange pithy remarks, and then she shoots him!

MIB is caught off guard, particularly when Maeve uses her neural code-speak powers to take over his own forces, forcing them to shoot him instead of help. MIB is shot up good before Lawrence arrives to put Maeve at gun point.

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Maeve knows that her code-speak doesn’t work against hosts who have been fully awakened, as is the case with Lawrence. Instead, she switches tactics, and simply talks to him, telling him to remember all the horrible things that the Man in Black did to him and his family in previous iterations of the park.

It works, and Lawrence turns his gun on MIB, who’s looking real bad at this point. Before he can execute him, a pair of four-wheelers filled with Delos security show up, shooting a hail of bullets at both Lawrence and Maeve.

It’s the group Lee called at the end of last week’s episode. They grab the injured Maeve and take her with them. Clearly Lee has some plans for her, as otherwise it would’ve behooved him to simply use the team as a form of personal extraction.

Man in Black, meanwhile, hides. He’s still alive but he had to have been shot half a dozen times, and he’s not exactly a spring chicken. Is this his downfall?

Bernard, Delores, and Hale

When Lee and Maeve are escorted back to the underground facility beneath the park, it’s already a warzone. Delores has arrived with her own army, violently infiltrating the facility and cutting a path towards Hale, Stubbs, and her captive father.

Hale is hell-bent on retrieving the data from Peter Abernathy – data used to create human digital imprints, which can be unloaded to the Cradle, and put in hosts bodies (with the caveat that they break down after a few days or weeks).

Ashley Stubbs is the dubious voice of reason. Like Elsie he’s bewildered and angry at the secretive corporate underpinnings to what should be a straightforward security meltdown. He even threatens to blow Peter’s brains out in trying to get Hale to admit what she’s doing.

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He doesn’t get the chance, as Delores and company show up. Credit to Hale for remaining cocky and haughty all the way until Delores goes to violently remove her own brain in retaliation for what’s she’s done (or plans to do) to her father.

Delores sends her subordinates out to deal with the Delos security forces, and we’re treated to more crazy action sequences. A modern-clothed Teddy takes out several men before brutally killing Coughlin by punching his face into the concrete repeatedly.

Clementine gets her own epic action moments, killing several human guards until she finally goes down, still not uttering a single word. Angela, meanwhile, makes it all the way to the Cradle, where she seduces the guard who finds her until she can pull his grenade pin, destroying the entire network.

Bernard had already left by then, thankfully. As we saw last week he had jacked himself into the digital recreation of Westworld, which looks exactly like the season 1 opener with one major difference – Dr. Robert Ford! One of Ford’s last acts was to create a digital imprint of himself, and have past-Bernard upload it here.

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The show has very much missed the weighty gravitas and esoteric dialogue of Anthony Hopkins, and I was pleased to see him get a significant chunk of screen time. It’s revealed that it was Delores herself who helped Bernard reach his full potential as a host who can work on other hosts (explaining those confusing cold opens between them).

Ford explains that the park is a massive experiment designed to decode the guests into making proper imprints of them. The thing Hale is after inside Peter’s head is the summation of all that data.

Ford’s last act is to inhabit Bernard before he leaves, transferring his data into Bernard. Yay, more Anthony Hopkins! But we feel bad for Bernard, who feels so guilty about the horrible things he did under Ford, and is now literally haunted by him.

Towards the end of the episode  he shuts down the entire security system (hold on to your butts) while everyone is fighting. He’s then caught in a hallway, and Ford temporarily takes over his body, grabbing a gun and killing several guards. Brutal but effective. Poor Bernard.

In the midst of the battle, Hale and Stubbs are able to escape Delores’ clutches. But Delores has her prize – her father. They get one last emotional good-bye before she mercy-kills him, and extracts his control unit. As it the case with Teddy, Delores is definitely not above sacrificing those she loves to further her needs.

On the way out she finds Maeve laying on a gurney. It’s their second meeting, and just as icy as the first. Delores offers to kill her right there, but Maeve declines, and admonishes Delores for what she’s done to Teddy. Ultimately Delores lets her be and goes on her way, toward the Valley Beyond.

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The episode is bookended by scenes from the future, which at this point is only a few days. Stubbs tries to confide in Bernard, but they two are caught, and brought before Hale. They’re taken to the same bunker where Ford ordered Bernard to kill Theresa in season 1. They blame Stubbs, but Bernard is prepared to confess. They find a secret door and discover several empty shells of Bernard-bots. Whoops, there’s one way to discover Bernard’s massive secret!

They digitally waterboard him (ugh!) and finally get Bernard to confess where Delores has taken Peter’s control unit: the Valley Beyond. The site of our climax, and where we’ll find out just how it flooded and killed most of the hosts.

Winners

Ashley Stubbs: Stubbs got a dressing down earlier this season by Coughlin, and has been mostly left clueless as to the bigger pictures around him. He stands up to Hale before Delores arrives, and later goes to Bernard to try and help him and get more answers. He’s a solid dude who’s constantly hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Hale: Unlike Delores, Hale has been a deliciously fun villain to root against. Her singular focus to extracting and securing the data is compelling, and her facing down Delores, despite Delores having complete control of the situation, was impressive.

Losers

Bernard: Bernard, you poor bastard. You’ve spent so much of your artificial existence under Ford’s control and now you’re right back in it. Interestingly, Ford isn’t present in Bernard’s mind in those future scenes, so something must happen that expels him. It is noted that Bernard’s brain is debugging itself during the interrogation. Is that Ford?

Man in Black: MIB continues to hold onto the selfish delusion that Ford is still fucking with him in everything that happens, including finding Maeve and her daughter. It nearly gets him killed, and he’s only saved by Lee’s reinforcements arriving at the exact right time. Even still, I could see him eventually dying from his injuries by the end of this season.

Musings

  • So Delores’ plan wasn’t to secure the backups but to destroy them, seeing them as a leash. This makes the hosts vulnerable, however, and suddenly makes their deaths much more meaningful, since they cannot be restored. Which means Clementine, Anglea, and eventually Teddy are gone for good!
  • Where the hell were Maeve’s allies? Hector, Armistice, Hanaryo, Felix and Sylvester? Weren’t they chasing after her? We don’t see them at all in this episode, and I was confused why they were so far behind. Hell wouldn’t Sylvester have caught a ride with Lee?

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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