Episode 8 of Westworld “Trace Decay” really opens up the lid on some questions that have been brewing up throughout the series, and some that arose last episode. Who is the Man in Black? Where is Logan now? Will Maeve kill anyone? It also leaves us with even more questions.
Teddy and the Man in Black are still on their journey to find Wyatt and the maze. As they speak, Teddy starts to have flashbacks from a previous encounter he had with the Man in Black, in which he was shot and Dolores was taken forceable away. They stumble upon an area scattered with bodies covered in arrows.
A blonde woman is alive amongst the dead bodies and Man in Black recognises her as an old host. He comments that he thought she would have been retired already. This can be taken as a hint that we are watching multiple time lines, as the host in question is the same host that welcomes William when he first arrives at Westworld. It also makes us ask, is the Man in Black William in the future?
The trio are attacked by a man in a bull’s helmet and the Teddy and MIB fight him. It’s during this scene that Teddy fully remembers MIB’s actions against Dolores and he knocks him out with his pistol. When MIB regains conciseness, Teddy demands to know who he really is. We are given his backstory.
He’s powerful and seen as a good man in the outside world. However is wife committed suicide around a year ago, and his daughter accused him of being a monster wit no feelings. He returns to Westworld and carries out a test to see if he feels anything. We learn this is the reason he killed Maeve and her daughter previously. We still don’t learn his name.
Maeve’s new powers
Maeve is still planning her escape from the park. She wants an upgrade to her system, which involves first become fully shut down. Felix and Sylvester smuggle her up to a higher floor to accomplish the update.
Sylvester wants Felix to take the opportunity whilst Maeve is shutdown to completely wipe her system and reboot her up from scratch. Felix however is unable to do it and instead gives her the updates and privileges/powers that she requested.
Once back in the park, we soon see her new skills. She is able to speak in third person, as if narrating a story, to other hosts and they then comply with what she says. This isn’t exactly the same as how humans have controlled the hosts before, but it’s clear that she is now able to control other hosts to a fairly large degree.
She narrates the story of Hector who comes to steal the safe, making it so that he is successful for the first time. However during the commotion she has flashbacks of her time with the Man in Black when he killed her and her daughter.
The flashback extends beyond what we’ve seen before. Maeve in the flashback actually cuts the Man in Black with a knife before running away carrying her child and collapsing from blood loss. Back to the present, she has reenacted the neck slashing only this time on the new Clementine host who is standing in front of her. She runs away.
William and Dolores and Logan
William and Dolores have gone off route following Dolores feelings. She comes across an old seemingly abandoned town. Dolores has flashbacks of the town filled with hosts being taught to dance. This scene is probably from when Westworld is first being created, as we know Dolores is one of the oldest hosts.
The scene then switches to the hosts being killed, and a figure approaching from behind a dust cloud. The scene is almost exactly the same as the massacre that Teddy remembers about Wyatt. However instead of Wyatt we see Dolores herself come out from the dust with a gun. She shoots the remaining hosts, before putting the gun to her own head.
She snaps out of the flashback when William takes away the gun she has again drawn to her head. William says she wasn’t responding to his calls. Dolores breaks down and questions if he is real, and states she no longer knows what is real. She also asks “When are we?” revealing that she too is stuck between different timelines.
Dolores feels she is very close to finding Arnold. However William is worried about her and takes here away from the ruined town. As they run away we see that it’s mostly buried in sand with only the rooftops visible.
They walk together between some trees in the dark and a group of riders on horseback come riding up to him. They are led by Logan who claims to have been looking for them for the past 3 days. It’s clear that he wants revenge.