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WESTWORLD: 1.07-Trompe L’Oeil

Let’s face it, there’s really only one thing that’s going to be talked about with regards to this episode of Westworld, and that is the game changing twist that is its final scene, a brilliantly delivered, yet harrowing realisation, that a character that we’ve come to care for is truly not who they appear to be.

For any of those who have been frustrated by Westworld up until now, or who have given up on it because they thought it wasn’t going anywhere, then a mistake has been made. With last week’s episode and now this, Westworld is flourishing.

Yes, the show hasn’t shown all its cards yet, and we may not even get to see all its secrets before the end of the season, which wouldn’t come as any surprise, but here, via Haley Gross and Jonathan Nolan’s masterful script, it delivers the first genuine jaw dropping moment of the series, and like the best television thrillers, confirms itself as a world where nobody is safe.

Best of all, the final scene doesn’t hide any shortcomings that the rest of the episode has. It has none, it’s a brilliantly well made hour of television up until the twist, as always, full of complexities and subterfuge, suspense, great story telling and knock out scenes that sees the show going for the jugular before it even gets to its most shocking moment of all. In particular the moment where Clementine goes crazy when The Board use her in an attempt to gain traction over Ford.

Thandie Newton also shows, once again, that she is the show’s most deadliest, brilliant secret weapon, and at this stage I think it’s safe to assume that Maeve is going to become the television show’s equivalent of Yul Brynner’s character from Michael Crichton’s feature film. Will her quest for knowledge of the real world and now revenge for what has happened to Clementine spur her on to take out her “masters”?

As Clementine talks to Maeve before being taken away to be lobotomized, there is a great deal of poignancy as she talks about the life that she has and her hope of getting away from it, a life that is in the end basically non-existent, an idea that carries a terrible, emotional charge, a notion that hits us even more when the episode deals out its most shocking scene to date.

Yes, Bernard, soulful, wonderful, sympathetic Bernard is in fact a host, created by Ford to do his bidding, and who, under Ford’s control, kills Theresa is the episode’s final moments.

The scene itself is brilliantly performed by all involved. Special kudos to Sidse Babett Knudsen, Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins. The latter, whose performance as Ford has went from being mysterious, yet sympathetic, to a quiet form of megalomania, is chilling as he basically “monologues” before giving the order, but what words they are. The writing from Haley Gross and Jonathan Nolan is perfection, the delivery from Hopkins chillingly good, Knudsen’s portrayal of fear is palpable, as it he level of suspense in the entire scene, and Wright’s ability to go from quietly heroic, to quietly and unemotionally psychotic, is without a doubt one of the best television moments of the year.

Of course, it does leave us with one or two questions, mainly on who was Bernard talking to a few weeks ago when he talking to his wife, played by Gina Torres. Another host, or someone employed by Ford to keep up the charade?

As it is, once again Westworld has delivered a great episode, and its first genuine game changing moment. There are only three episodes left. At this rate, I don’t think I want this show to finish now.

Possibly the geekiest man in all of Ireland, I have consumed too many television shows, movies, books and comics to know the difference any more between being geeky and not geeky. Very proud of my geekdom, it brought me together with my one true love, and if that’s not a great reason to be geeky, I don’t know what is. Could also beat anybody in an X Files trivia contest. True scientific fact.
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