Westworld’s “Trompe L’Oeil” Just Changed Everything We Know About the Series

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Westworld Poster

Trompe L’Oeil Plot Summary:

Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is recruited by Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) to hatch a plan to to get both Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) out of power in Westworld. William (Jimmi Simpson) and Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) battle the Confederados, and explore their feelings. Maeve (Thandie Newton) finds out Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) has been deactivated, and it inspires her to escalate her plans.

Just to reiterate something really quick…

SPOILERS ARE COMING…COME BACK TO THIS REVIEW AFTER YOU’VE SEEN THE EPISODE.

Westworld has been an excellent series so far. Yes, there have been a few logic gaps and “womp womp” moments, but overall the highly touted sci-fi series has really lived up to the hype.

Photo Credit: HBO
Photo Credit: HBO

However, up until last night it hadn’t had a definitive moment. It’s been all world building, and unravelling the many layers of the intricate plot while interjecting nitro shots of action, violence, and sex. There hasn’t been that scene like Rick riding a horse into a zombie-filled Atlanta on The Walking Dead, or the first time we heard the phrase “Omar coming!” on The Wire, or when we saw Ned Stark’s head roll on Game of Thrones.

“Trompe L’Oeil,” delivered Westworld’s moment. It was a moment that wasn’t just shocking, but it’s a moment that makes you question everything you’ve seen so far, and will make you distrust everything going forward.

The reveal that Jeffrey Wright’s character Bernard was in fact a host was a complete shock. You can’t deny some people thought this might happen, but to me, this wasn’t something I was questioning. Like many, I was/am consumed by the questions surrounding the identity of Arnold.

The moment things went down was so brilliant done. When Bernard and Theresa enter Ford’s host house (a recreation of his childhood home) Bernard explains the reason no knew about its existence was because the hosts do all the mapping of the park, and they’ve been programmed to overlook the house.

Then came the chilling lines.

“What’s behind this door,” asks Theresa?

“What door?” responds Bernard.

Now, the way the scene is shot, it makes absolute sense that Bernard wouldn’t see the door. It’s dark, the door isn’t that noticeable at first (I didn’t see it at first..wait, does that mean…), and he actually walked by it. The thought immediately pops into the old brain space — is Bernard a host? No, he couldn’t be a host, right?

With this seed planted, we see Ford’s laboratory and some designs of hosts. While Theresa is looking through them, the tension is heaped on huge — I was hoping we wouldn’t see a Bernard drawing.

Photo Credit: HBO
Photo Credit: HBO

And then we did.

Then came the performance from Anthony Hopkins I’ve been waiting. Hopkins has been wonderfully subdued throughout the series so far. You knew at any moment he was going to reveal his true colors. In this scene of “Trompe L’Oeil” the slyly evil and devilish demagogue that we’ve seen Hopking play so well before comes out to play  (think Hannibal Lecter minus the affect). Hopkins just devours the entire scene. Every word drains you. He’s literally destroying everything you know about this show with each utterance.

The entire sequence played out brilliant, especially when Ford calls for a “blood sacrifice” — something Charlotte had mentioned earlier in the episode to Theresa. Now you’ve got to wonder how Ford knew she said this: is he listening in on everyone, or is Charlotte a host too? We literally don’t even know what’s real anymore!

If there’s one issue with this awesome moment it’s that this would’ve worked awesomely as a season finale, and not the climax of episode seven out of ten. One has to wonder what the series could possibly have up their sleeve. Can they top what they’ve done here, or did they show their hand too early and set the bar way too high?

Photo Credit: HBO
Photo Credit: HBO

The rest of the episode was solid. The continuation and *surprise* consummation of the William/Delores romance was enjoyable. It’s a bit predictable right now, but once Teddy inevitably reunites with Delores something terrible is going to happen.

The Maeve “I’m gonna run the show” arc took another turn, and it’s fine for what it is. It doesn’t make a ton of sense that the two techs she’s coerced into helping her wouldn’t just shut her down after she’s made threats against them. Why wouldn’t they just dial down her overall intelligence level, or shut her down, or put her in a situation that’d make her get recalled or shut down? Instead she’s blackmailing and barking orders at these two guys. I’m sure her escape plan will be fun to watch, but the lead up is a little flimsy.

This is a must-watch episode (if you’ve not seen it), and a must re-watch for hardcore fans of the show.

Also, the series has been renewed for a second season … what does this mean for the story? Interesting times are ahead.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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