TV Review: Westworld – Trompe L’Oeil

Barry Quinn

Barry Quinn is an English Language and Literature graduate and a Creative Writer MA studier. He is an aspiring creative and professional writer and is currently in the process of writing his first novel. His writing blog can be viewed here: https://barrygjquinn.wordpress.com You can follow him on Twitter at: @mrbarryquinn

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Another week, another head-scratcher of a title. I think I say this every week, but the latest episode of Westworld, titled ‘Trompe L’Oeil’, is probably its strongest to date. It all hinges upon THAT twist at the end, of course, but we’ll get to that in due course.

Firstly – WESTWORLD IS OFFICIALLY COMING BACK FOR A SECOND SEASON!

I am ridiculously ecstatic about this, having feared for the show due to HBO’s new laidback approach of waiting before renewing. The only downside is that Westworld won’t be returning to our screens until 2018, due to the extensive work that goes into plotting and creating this world. And you just know that there’s gonna be a hell of a cliffhanger at the end of episode 10!

But back to this week.

After a strong debut I’m struggling to care about Dolores now. Her awakening is taking an age to occur, and because she’s not actually live (nor is she fully aware of this yet), her blossoming romance with William is growing tiresome. I know we’re meant to care, and I know I probably will eventually, but right now… meh. It’s just taking far too long for anything to happen, and I don’t give a damn about William’s girlfriend back home.

I’m not a fan of new character Charlotte Hale, either. She’s like Lee Sizemore in that she’s brash with an ‘I don’t give a fuck attitude’, but it jars considerably with the otherwise bleak elements of Westworld. I understand that humour is needed, especially given the climax of ‘Trompe L’Oeil’, but it feels forced.

And I’m particularly not a fan of her because she lobotomised Clementine! I feel sorry for Clementine. In particular, Angela Sarafyan who plays her, because let’s face it – she’s been poorly served here. She hasn’t really had anything to do, and unfortunately she’ll only be remembered for her gruesome ending. Which is a shame because I actually liked her. Her abrupt ending was needed, however, to show how dastardly Theresa and Charlotte are. They’re both shaping up, quickly, to be bad guys.

Clementine’s death also served to give another stunning performance by Thandie Newton – undoubtedly THE star of Westworld. Maeve’s sickening realisation of what was befalling Clementine was played with sensitised horror; a few seconds later Newton was able to switch her facial expression to demand that Felix and Sylvester help her escape. Now this is more like it! This is where this episode gets juicy, because if any Host has the ability to make it, it has to be Maeve. Don’t get me wrong, she’ll probably end up decommissioned before the end of the season, which will be a MASSIVE shame, but the ride has been enjoyable. Fingers crossed, though!

But all of this has been leading to that climax. With Elsie MIA (please don’t be dead!), Bernard is sacked by Charlotte. Not one to hold grudges, he tells Theresa about his suspicions of Ford, and leads her back to Sector 17 – y’know, the place where Ford had robotic versions of his family living their lives. Only they’re not here now.

The moment Bernard failed to see the door that Theresa walked through, I knew it! I just knew it! For half a second when she was looking at the blueprints I had a suspicion that she’d actually seen a blueprint of herself – her face recognised not anger or repulsion, but rather grief. But she was actually grieving because she lay with, and perhaps fell for, a Host.

With Bernard being a Host, I have one question that I’m failing to answer. Presumably everything that Bernard has done thus far has been upon Ford’s demand – otherwise Bernard has free will that Ford is fighting so hard to control. So if that’s the case, why would Ford allow Bernard to look into questionable doings and his past with Arnold? Why would he allow Bernard to find his robotic family? What ends did these storylines serve?

Jeffrey Wright gives his best performance to date as the realisation comes over Bernard’s face. The most shocking thing about Theresa’s death wasn’t that she was killed – no, that was obviously going to happen. It was the fact that moments earlier Bernard would never have been able to do something like that. It was obvious he was devoted to her. But in him killing her, it showed once more that Hosts can, actually, harm humans, the consequences of which remain to be seen…

Theresa will be back, though, right? The machine that was midway through creating a Host is obviously going to spurt out Theresa’s face, and Ford is going to have her retake her place on the board of directors, only this time by his hand. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find that most, if not all, of the Westworld workers are robots. Maybe Ford is the only true human amongst them, and he’s decidedly monstrous at heart.

All in all, a stellar climax. Keep it up Westworld!

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