Westworld is a park that is as elevated by fantasy as it is grounded by rules. And in Sunday’s (Nov. 13) episode of “Westworld,” “Trompe L’Oeil” — a term which references a visual illusion in art — the cruel nature of the man behind the proverbial curtain is revealed. But while the wizard that reigned in Emerald City was merely a small man hiding behind a big facade, we’re quickly realizing the park’s biggest facade is Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) himself.
It’s a fact hosts cannot harm the park’s guests: This behavior is written in the robots’ code. So while the Man in Black (Ed Harris), Logan (Ben Barnes), William (Jimmi Simpson) and the rest can slide, dice and gun down these life-sized dolls left and right, the concept has been drilled into us time and again that “Westworld’s” hosts cannot reciprocate the horrific, no matter how brutal.
But the one thing we know, about the show and the park, is that a critical failure is coming. And with the Board of Directors aiming to push Ford towards retirement while taking the park’s IP for their own mysterious agenda, some dark secrets begin to bubble to the surface.
We learned last week that Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudson) was the one stealing park secrets, and when a disgruntled Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) — just fired from his long-standing position as Head of Programming — lead her to the part of the park he previously didn’t know existed, the reality of the situation began to take shape.
The house that held Ford’s secret host family was a shock to Theresa. But with a little digging, a bigger truth came to light: The Internet rumors are true, Bernard Lowe is a host. Not a shocking fact, but one with shocking consequences — what results shocked us deeply, and will rock “Westworld” to its foundations, moving forward.
Watching Bernard murder Theresa with just the power of his robot fist all but affirms the conclusion we’ve had for a while — Dr. Ford had Arnold killed. Theresa alluded to it, and Ford himself all but admitted to the heinous act. But if Arnold’s suicide was really a coverup to his crime, what did his old partner do to drive Ford to kill?
Are the hosts really coded against harming humans? If Bernard’s actions have anything to say for themselves, it’s that Dr. Ford’s park is one big lie. With Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) taste for freedom getting stronger and Dolores’s (Evan Rachel Wood) mission for answers growing exponentially, the concept of consciousness among Westworld’s hosts is becoming a very real threat — to both the guests and the doctor himself.
To maintain order — in his personal, professional and public life — one must assume it won’t be long before Dr. Ford takes his god complex one step too far. The rise of the machines is imminent — it’s who exactly they’ll revolt against first that is the real quandary.
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. Three episodes remain in Season 1, and HBO remains optimistic about a second-season renewal.