Westworld Recap: Trace Decay

Season: 1 / Episode: 8 / HBO

**Spoilers collecting Workman’s Comp & Life Insurance**

Previously on Westworld:
They killed Clementine, Bernard is a Host, he killed Theresa, Maeve is ready to bounce, THEY KILLED CLEMENTINE, and y’all give the rest of these trash ass Westworld employees too much credit…

I still say it’s Employee Incompetence but I guess I’m in the minority…whatever, y’all. We pick up with Ford doing an assessment with Host!Bernard. At least you get to keep your clothes on, bruh. Turns out Ford built Bernard to program the Hosts with more heart. Probably not the best idea, Ford, but I don’t want him to make it to season 2 anyway. But Bernard isn’t having it, he’s ready to burn all this shit down. Ford tells him to bury all evidence of Theresa’s murder and he’ll make him forget Theresa. Maeve surveys the plethora of fuck shit happening at the Mariposa while the player piano plunks out a discordant “House of the Rising Sun”. She overhears Clementine’s opening pick-up line but when she looks over it’s some blonde Becky and not our Clem. Maeve, I’m with you girl.

Maeve flashes back suddenly to the prairie house and her daughter as everything slows and the music warps. She comes to in repairs with Felix and Sylvester wanting to know why she was reassigned. Sike, she doesn’t care because all of these relationships are fake and she’s getting the fuck out. Sylvester still thinks he can one-up Maeve (boi, you keep trying her). She’ll need to remove the explosive charge in her spine and gather an army to escape Westworld. Maeve’s like bet, give me the ability to reprogram other Hosts. Westworld, you in danger girl.

Back on William and Dolores’ honeymoon tour, they get to the river and a bunch of Confederado bodies. One kid’s still alive though. Dolores is ready to help him but William is 100% like fuck this guy. Dolores sees her own dead body in the water and almost freaks out. By the time she races back up to William and our little Confederado, dude is dead and William’s like “Oh well, ready to go yet?”. Dolores feels some feels.


In Westworld HQ, they’ve brought Theresa’s body to the morgue (y’all got a morgue tho? See, y’all already knew shit was fucked up.). Head of Security shows her body to Ford and Charlotte. He gives the story that she slipped and fell while trying to transmit park information. Instantly the jig is up and Charlotte knows what happened. Ford gives a full Iago-level “how could this have happened????” performance and announces from now on he’ll handle all Host related programming in the park until a new Quality Assurance team can be assembled. With Bernard, who’ll be getting his job back.


Sylvester freaks out about whatever has upper management losing their shit (they killing folk, bruh and upper management is a HOST.) and is over Maeve’s escape plans. Maeve notices certain older aspects of her programming are dormant and asks about Arnold. Sylvester, who clearly doesn’t get paid enough to deal with this shit, refuses to help sneak her up to Behavior to be reprogrammed. Sylvester wants to break her while she’s deactivated for repairs but Felix is a little more hesitant.

Teddy and Man in Black make it to Wyatt’s territory. MiB tells Teddy he’s destined to catch all the Ls and Teddy flashes back to him saying the same thing to him in Episode 1. They find a massacre with one woman left alive before a rep from The Knights Who Say Ni comes running out of the undergrowth. MiB takes him down with a rope around the neck and Teddy remembers our boy dragging off Dolores in a very similar way back in Episode 1. Teddy finally puts an ax in the Knight’s head before pistol whipping the consciousness out of MiB.

Maeve gets Felix and Sylvester to sneak her up to Behavior during a shift change so she can switch around her programming. Felix shuts her system down and, just to fuck with Sylvester’s scary ass, she goes offline staring dead in Sylvester’s face. Sylvester’s ready to “break this bitch” and be done with the whole thing.

Lee, who somehow still has his job, is programming a cannibal with some mediocre ass dialogue. How does this dude still work here?? Charlotte drops by because she knows she can manipulate his low-tier ass. She shits all over his perceived importance and gets him to become her new inside man.

Sylvester shames Felix for giving in to Maeve and says they had to deactivate her. But sike, Felix reprogrammed Maeve’s core code and homegirl slits Sylvester’s throat! Sylvester bleeds out on the floor until Maeve asks Felix to cauterize the wound. Ouch. Felix is still totally turned on though.

Maeve pops back into the park to the lovely piano strains of “Back to Black”. The bartender tries to get Maeve to pay off her tab but she reprograms him on the fly to her deep satisfaction. A little girl and her mother walk past the saloon and send Maeve spiraling into another flashback to the Man in Black busting into her home and stabbing her in the stomach. She sends Not!Clem and the rest of the girls over to give some Newcomers a free ride. Then Hector and his crew rides into town to the elegant strains of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Maeve walks around reprogramming mofos to give Hector and his riders the advantage and basically just fucking with the storylines.


Ford has another heart-to-heart with Host!Bernard about resuming work on the new narratives. And it turns out Host!Bernard is a little more perceptive than Ford should be comfortable with. Ford treats it like some grand experiment and things get dumb meta. Apparently, the lines between human and Host got a little too blurred for Arnold. This isn’t looking very good. Bernard asks if Ford ever ordered him to hurt anyone before. Ford’s like, nah. Then Host!Bernard remembers choking out Elsie. Guess Bernard has that Arnold hookup too…

The Honeymooners finally make it to the place Dolores has been searching for, it looks like the original park land or training area. A random Black technician (we need more info on her) teaches everyone how to dance then Lawrence’s daughter pops up to ask if Dolores found what she was looking for. The Dolores watches everyone get shot and prepares to blow her own brains out. William stops her and she freaks all the way out. What’s real? What’s not? Dolores starts to remember like Arnold wants, but William’s like let’s go. They leave their horse and walk out into the dark where they meet up with fuckboi king himself, Logan.

Charlotte takes Lee to the Host graveyard and uploads 35 years of park data into Original Abernathy. Lee’s job is to reprogram him and sneak him and the data out of the park. I’m not too confident about this.

Head of Security, Ashley, goes to comfort Bernard about Theresa’s death because he knows Bernard was smashing. But Bernard doesn’t remember that part thanks to Ford. Ashley is mad confused and asks about Elsie. Bernard’s like, she good, and rolls out. Security is still suspicious.


Man in Black comes to sitting around a fire with Teddy and that girl they picked up. Then we get MiB backstory that only kinda tells us who he is. He’s a billionaire businessman whose wife committed suicide. Turns out his daughter and wife were tired of the monster that they knew he was and just couldn’t take it anymore. So he came to the park, hunted down Maeve and her daughter, stabbed Maeve, and shot her daughter. Just to see if he could. And it turns out his daughter was right, he is absolute scum of the earth because he felt nothing while he did it. But Maeve’s a fucking G. She pulls the knife out of her stomach, slices the MiB’s throat, and drags her daughter out of the house before dying on a dirt sketch of The Maze logo. The lady tells Teddy to kill MiB but, of course, he can’t do it. She stabs Teddy in the shoulder with an arrow, turns out she’s part of Wyatt’s gang. Then the rest of the Knights Who Say Ni creep out of the forest.

In the Mariposa, Maeve’s had enough and tells Not!Clem that she’s bouncing. Not!Clem just won’t let shit go and follows Maeve out before some gunshots trigger her PTSD. She slits Not!Clem’s throat without realizing it. Park security tries to intercept her but she escapes to her room where she remembers her diagnostic session with Ford and Bernard after MiB murdered her daughter. No one can get her to calm down until Ford plays some music (some failsafe Arnold must’ve put in). Maeve asks that Ford not make her forget about her daughter because the pain is all that she has left of her child. Ford does it anyway and Maeve stabs herself in the neck. Back in the present, the retrieval team shows up and Maeve pretends to deactivate.

Maeve has too much power now. Game over man, Ford’s been too worried about Dolores when Maeve is the real one! Two more episodes left this season and, as always, this park is fucked.

See y’all for Episode 9: The Well-Tempered Clavier. Tweet with us Sundays at 9pm on #SetsInTheWest

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  • Brittany N. Williams is a writer, actress, unimpressed Shakespearean Blerd, keeper of 90s theme songs, future Lord of the Fire Nation, and & New Orleanian by way of Baltimore, DC, Hong Kong, London, and NYC. Catch her laying waste to all challengers in Soul Calibur or slinging literary fire across the interwebs.

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