This review contains spoilers.
Episode 8 picks up in the immediate aftermath of the previous episode. It takes a slower approach, but hints at greater depth. Bernard returns to ‘normal’, Maeve begins her escape. and William and Dolores are caught by Logan.
There’s an argument to say that this episode was mostly filler; it’s clear that in terms of pacing this was a small come down from the build up of the previous few episodes, though this all seems necessary in order to ready us for the rapidly approaching finale. But in setting up the final two episodes a greater amount of exposition was needed. One of Westworld’s biggest strengths has been the way its handled exposition. Its always found ways to make interesting scenes that in lesser hands would feel boring or convoluted.
The scene with the sharpest editing was Bernard covering his tracks, it cut through montage of him taking all the necessary steps so that nobody could link him back to the murder, or so that nobody watching from their TV would complain about inconsistencies in the plot. It was necessary and they got it over with quickly, which was the best they could do. While these scenes were very clinical and practical, parts of the rest of the episode were very lyrical and dreamlike and were more interesting because of it. These scenes revolved around the vivid memories of the hosts, in particular Dolores and Maeve.
The most important line of dialogue this episode related to how hosts experience memories, they don’t see fragments, they experience them fully as if they are reliving them – it seems being superior in every respect isn’t always a positive. Dolores recalling an early memory of when the park was first starting up, was perhaps one of the most informative scenes so far about the back-story of the park, for the first time we got a glimpse into a time when Arnold was alive. It was interesting seeing the hosts looking childlike in having to learning basic motor functions.
But in true Westworld style, the moment we catch a glimpse of some explanation, they lay on a further layer of enigma, the different layers of memory seem to mesh, Dolores begins to be unsure which time she is currently in. This perhaps hints at something deeper connected to the way the timelines fit together, though there is nothing concrete to confirm this yet.
Episode 8 was a serviceable episode, at times it was great but left me feeling mildly unsatisfied. The next two episodes are looking to reveal something big, and it felt like this episode didn’t want to step on their toes. All we can do for now is wait.