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TV Review: Westworld (Season 2, Episode 7)

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Les Écorchés, Westworld’s seventh episode of the second season, finally delivers in plain terms what Delos’s plans for the theme parks are, in a brilliant turn-around of what is usually expected in sci-fi shows that feature robots and questions about humanity.

This episode functions mostly as a flashback as Charlotte sits down with Bernard, and tries to separate his memories from the attack on the Cradle and the ones that have been implanted on him.

As Dolores carries out her brutal attack on the Cradle, Bernard is stuck in a philosophical conversation with Ford, who finally confirms what the parks are all about – studying the humans, rather than offering a simple service.

Stuck in their loops, hosts are actually the testing ground where the guests can show their true colours. In turn, what Delos does is collect data about their behaviours, all in effort to break down the mystery of the human psyche. Beyond the ‘death as an investment’ idea that had Ford stuck in the Cradle, Delos also hopes to be able to replicate particular humans.  

Which is also why Dolores’s aim isn’t to take over the Cradle, but rather, more simply so, to destroy it. The Cradle, with all the backups and data collected there, is what makes the parks so valuable to Delos, and thus what chains them to the company.

 She knows that from her time in the outside world. Having the host who welcomes everyone into Westworld blow herself up alongside with the soldier and the backups is only symbolic.

But before the blowing up of the Cradle, Bernard has somehow absorbed the essence of Ford into himself. That is the original reason why he has been malfunctioning and his memory has been jogged.

Elsewhere, William as the Man in Black faces the First Nations, and after that Maeve in a dramatic and wonderfully choreographed duel. Since she knows she can’t face him in a struggle of brute strength, she goes about it as she usually does – with cunning and intelligence.

Using her godly voice, she sends host after host to shoot at him and while each shot takes its toll, William proves sturdier than he looks. It’s the unfortunate timing when has the human relief team arriving that cuts the duel short, a surprisingly disappointing moment.

New episodes of Westworld arrive weekly on HBO in the US. Sky Atlantic simultaneously airs Westworld for UK audiences every Sunday at 2am, with repeat airings on Mondays from 9pm, and episodes available on NOW TV.

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