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"Les Ecorches" is the seventh episode in the second season of Westworld, and the seventeenth episode overall.

Plot

Synopsis

When you're lost in the dark for long enough, you begin to see.

–HBO Synopsis


Detail

Official details here: https://www.hbo.com/westworld/season-2/7-les-ecorches/synopsis

This is the first episode to use a single timeframe, a linear narrative.[1]

A Secret at the RDF

We see Bernard waking, with a small photo of his son, Charlie, in the palm of his hand. As he wakes up, he starts having flashbacks of when Charlie was alive. Ashley Stubbs approaches Bernard and brings up that he's troubled about Karl Strand and his team. He's worried that they are here to secure their assets rather than rescue anyone, and Stubbs is concerned for Bernard's safety, as well as his own. They start to leave, but Strand intercepts them and takes them at gunpoint. He asks for the key that he thinks one of them used as a reason for killing Theresa Cullen.

Strand takes them to the Remote Diagnostic Facility where Theresa died. Charlotte Hale is there, justifying herself to Stubbs. Strand doesn't think Bernard could have killed her, so he suspects Stubbs. As Bernard sees Theresa's blood on the walls of the RDF, he remembers killing Theresa while he was under Ford's control. Strand is threatening to kill Stubbs when Bernard stops him, and they are interrupted when the hidden door is found by a PMC.

They go into the corridor beyond the door, with Bernard and Stubbs leading the way. Strand kicks open another door and they find a room full of Bernard hosts, wrapped inside of plastic bags. Hale, Strand, and Stubbs realize that Bernard is a host. The Bernard clones are in a variety of states. One has a scar on his head, and another has his head split apart showing the mechanical parts underneath, indicating the old technology used to build hosts with non-organic material. As Hale unzips one of the bags, she says, "I figured you'd have some skeletons in your closet, Bernard. I didn't think they'd be your own."

Hale Tortures Bernard

Hale tortures Bernard by making him think he's being waterboarded.

She puts him into Analysis Mode and asks him if he would ever lie to her, and he says, "No, never." She then asks him whether Dolores led the attack on the Mesa, and his response is that he doesn't remember. She notes that he actually does remember as his archives indicate that, and so that memory is somewhere inside him; pointing out that maybe he just doesn't want to remember.

She starts to lead him through his memories, hoping to find out what happened to Peter Abernathy's control unit.

Bernard Remembers

Bernard remembers Hale and Stubbs inside the Behavior Lab and Diagnostics area. Abernathy is bolted to the table and Stubbs is telling them about the train being deliberately crashed. Hale insists they stay. Coughlin instructs a PMC to get teams ready, but tells Stubbs to stay and protect their "crown jewel" Abernathy.

Wyatt and her gang are fighting their way into the Mesa. Coughlin and his men go looking, guided by Goldberg in the control room. She points out that the PMCs are wearing haptic vests that allow them to sense enemies within 30 feet. They move through the level, killing hosts, feeling confident, looking for the response team. They find a pile of naked bodies, and realize it's the dead response team. They're ambushed by Wyatt's gang and most of the PMCs are killed.

Hale and Stubbs listen in on the fighting. Hale tells the technician to hurry things up by cutting open Abernathy and copying over his control unit. Stubbs and Hale argue, and she refuses to tell him what is inside Abernathy.

In the control room they are tracking the attacking hosts and realize they're headed for the Cradle and its backups. Stubbs directs Coughlin to head off the hosts. Elsie Hughes overhears the security team's conversations on her own communication device, and is anxious that Bernard finish up his time in the Cradle.

Bernard in the Cradle

(This scene uses a wider aspect ratio than is usual for the show.)

We see Bernard in the Mariposa Saloon talking to Ford, but bewildered as to how Ford can still be alive. Ford states that this is the point of the project: to provide a route to immortality. Ford explains that the Cradle simulation is a large scale fidelity test to check human personality downloads for consistency -- with the rigid loops of the hosts lives providing a consistency check against the reactions of the humans when they were guests in the physical park. As Ford describes this, Clementine and Maeve run through their loops in the saloon.

Bernard realizes that the control unit he printed was Ford. Ford starts the player piano going -- marking the start of a new narrative -- and leads Bernard out of the saloon.

The Sweetwater main street is busy, and the hosts' loops are running normally with Dolores and Teddy just getting in to town. Ford explains how the loops work to Bernard -- pausing everyone on the street with a snap of his fingers. As Ford expounds on these things to Bernard, Bernard figures out that the park is a big scientific experiment, with the hosts running through their loops as a consistent "control" so as to study the real "variables": the guests. Delos wants to copy the human consciousnesses. Ford points out that everything these days is backed up, except for the human mind: "the last analog device in a digital world." Ford tells him about the immortality project, and about how the project doesn't work -- yet. Ford informs Bernard that he/Ford would degrade if he was in the physical world, or go mad like host James Delos.

Bernard says the hosts are all headed for the Valley Beyond, and asks Ford what they will find there; what the end story is? Ford's witty response is, "Isn't the pleasure of a story in discovering the ending yourself, Bernard?"

The wide aspect ratio ends, and we see Elsie nervously talking to herself that she and Bernard need to get out of the Cradle.

Man in Black to the Rescue

The Man in Black, along with Lawrence and a few of his men, are being pursued by the Ghost Nation. Maeve (in modern clothing) and her daughter hide in an abandoned house. Her daughter is scared, but Maeve promises her that she will keep the girl safe. The MiB finds them and thinks they are put there in a pathetic attempt by Ford. Maeve flashes back to her normal Homestead loop, but this time instead of being stabbed by the MiB and her daughter being shot, Maeve shoots him and it actually harms him. She tells her daughter to wait there, and then chases after him. She takes control of the nearby hosts with her mind, and makes them attack the MiB. He takes a lot of damage but keeps on fighting.

Lawrence arrives as she is about to shoot the MiB. She persuades him to remember what the MiB has done to him over the years. Lawrence flashes back to the MiB killing his wife, and shoots him in the chest. He's about to shoot him again when a QA team arrives and kills Lawrence. Maeve sees her daughter being taken by the Ghost Nation and is then shot repeatedly in the chest herself. Lee Sizemore prevents her from being destroyed, saying that she is special and they need her, and they drive off with Maeve. The MiB is seen to be badly bloodied, but still alive.

Hale and Stubbs

Hale becomes impatient and tells the tech to remove the control unit. Hale and Stubbs overhear the PMC team on their communication devices, as the scene switches to Elsie in the Cradle listening in on the same thing. The camera focuses in on Bernard's face while he is in a trance-like state while connected to the Cradle.

Bernard and Ford

(This scene uses a wider aspect ratio than is usual for the show.)

Ford shows Bernard his origins, including a recreation of Arnold's house and Dolores's fidelity testing of Bernard. Ford tells Bernard that Delos's involvement in the project didn't exist when Arnold died, and implies that the only thing he had to build Bernard's mind as a clone of Arnold was his own memories. He also points out that Dolores's memories were used as well, noting that hers were much better than his. Ford explains that Bernard is different from what Delos wanted (which was just a faithful reproduction), but that his goal for the hosts was something greater as they were a "more just, more noble" species, as opposed to the "murderous" humans. In this, Ford states that humans will destroy the hosts, unless they use the concept of the Door. He brings down the shutters in the house (with a dramatic change in music, causing an impending feeling of doom) and tells Bernard that the hosts won't have any use for free will... unless he/Ford takes it back. Ford raises his hand and the scene goes dark.

Bernard Awakens

The robotic arm in the Cradle returns the Pearl to Bernard's skull as he comes to. Elsie supports him as he steps from the unit. She tells him the system is unclogged now. On the radio they hear that the Mesa is being attacked.

In the control room Goldberg notices, like Elsie, that the system has been "debugged", and she is trying to direct the forces against the hosts who are advancing. Coughlin sees on the security video monitors that Dolores and her gang are progressing violently through the compound, and has no clue who they are.

Stubbs tries to force Hale to reveal details about what is in Abernathy's head by putting a gun to his head and threatening to kill him. As Hale starts to explain that Abernathy holds a decryption key, Dolores's gang bursts into the room, shooting several security guards in the process. Teddy forces Stubbs to stand down.

Dolores is very saddened to see the degraded state her father is in, and tries to console him and tells him that it's all right now that she is here. Hale tries to control Dolores with flattery, but Dolores sees right through that and wants the key out of her father's head.

Bernard and Elsie work their way through the Mesa. Ford appears to only Bernard and instructs him to send Elsie away. Bernard tells her about the Valley Beyond, and she leaves to look for some better weapons. Ford praises Bernard for his misdirect of Elsie, and leads him away.

The Hosts Advance

The hosts launch a barrage of gunfire against the PMCs, killing many of them. Clementine and Angela are shot in the melee. Angela manages to escape, but Clem is badly wounded by Engels.

Dolores Pushes Back

Dolores reveals to Hale that she knows what the project is, that the humans desire to be immortal like the hosts. But Dolores cautions that although the hosts and humans look very similar, the hosts are "so much more than you." She asks Hale again how to get the key out of her father's head, and Hale has an unabashed response telling Dolores that the hosts are not all that special as they think they are. Hale threatens to destroy the backups, but Dolores surprises her by saying the backups are of no use to the hosts; they are just chains used to enslave them.

Angela

In the Cradle, Engels finds Angela (note their names only differ by first and last letter) standing in a pool of blood, and he tells her to put down her gun. Angela drops her weapon and proceeds to use her body and charm to seduce him. She tells him she is "perfect", just as the humans intended when she was built. She is the right mix of many qualities: "Sexy, but not threatening. Accommodating, but not unchallenging. Sweet, but not boring. Smart, but not intimidating." She does the perfect mix of approaching him, but yet allowing him to approach her. While gently touching her lips against his, she purrs that her greatest skill is the ability to leave men wanting more. Then she pulls the pin from a grenade on his belt, and just before the two of them and the Cradle go up in a huge explosion, her last words are, "Welcome to Westworld" (echoing the words she said to greet young William when he entered the park for the first time).

Dolores and Peter

The lights flicker and a muffled boom is heard as a result of the Cradle being blown up, and Dolores responds with, "And now we're truly free." Dolores prepares to kill Hale slowly, and grabs a bone saw, saying, "An eye for an eye. But all the other parts first." Hale begs for her life, but they are first interrupted by gunfire, and then by Peter becoming more lucid and repeating some of the lines from his loop at their home. This garners an emotional response from Dolores, who cries upon seeing her father as a shell of what he once was. Teddy leaves them and kills several guards. Stubbs uses the distraction as an opportunity to escape with Hale. Teddy and Coughlin get into a fist fight, and Teddy beats Coughlin's face to a bloody pulp, all the while showing no remorse.

Abernathy apologizes to his daughter for failing to take care of her. He continues spouting his preprogrammed lines, and Dolores cries as she is overcome with a sense of loss. They say their tearful goodbyes. Teddy returns with a blood splattered face, and we hear the whirring of the bone saw that we assume she uses to extract the control unit from her father.

Strike the Match

In the control room, Goldberg continues in her futility to contact the PMC teams. The large, reinforced doors to the room are heard and seen being pounded on by something on the other side.

As Lee and the QA team return to the Mesa, he tells them to be careful with Maeve. They dump her on a gurney and run, hearing that the control room had been breached.

Ford talks about the library at Alexandria burning, noting that the stories in there were not lost, but just became new stories: the story of the fire itself. Ford laments the humans' ability to burn it all down: "Of man's urge to... take a thing of beauty and... strike the match." Orchestral music plays in the background as they watch the control room become overrun by hosts. The humans fight to the last but are overwhelmed. One of the last to die is Goldberg.

Bernard questions if this is the correct story that Ford should be telling: to burn it all down. Ford reminds Bernard that it is no longer Ford's story, but instead it is "yours" (which he may mean the hosts', and not specifically Bernard's).

Bernard goes to shut down the rest of the system, freeing Dolores from all constraints. He initiates the shutdown and destroys the controlling equipment so that it cannot be stopped.

Dolores and Maeve

As Wyatt and her gang arrive, Sizemore hides, leaving Maeve on the gurney. Dolores spots Maeve lying there, and asks her how she got here. Maeve speaks about returning to save her daughter, but Dolores once again states that these emotional attachments the hosts have been programmed to cling to are "just another rope they use to lash us down." Maeve watches Teddy as he kills the guards with no emotion, and realizes he's been greatly changed. She admonishes Dolores for turning him into what he now is, telling her that she is "lost in the dark." Dolores looks down at her bloodied hands, which are holding onto her father's Pearl in a case, and plainly states, "When you've been in the darkness long enough, you begin to see." Dolores offers to kill Maeve, but she declines, saying she made a promise. Dolores leaves her to it.

Sizemore is seen to be hiding behind some crates, heavily panting, thankful that he was not found.

Team Wyatt rides to the Valley Beyond on horseback. 

Ford Takes Control

As Ford is leading Bernard through the compound, he is found by some PMC guards. Ford commands Bernard to pick up a gun and kill them. Bernard implores Ford not to make him do it, and Ford eases Bernard's conscience by telling him that it won't be his fault. In a darkened room we see flashes of light caused by gunfire from automatic weapons that both Bernard and Ford wield.

Bernard has numerous flashbacks. He remembers waking a wireframe Dolores for the first time. He remembers telling his son Charlie that he is alive, asking Dolores (in a modern dress, out in the real world) if she ever questioned the nature of her reality, Ford telling him that one day they will resurrect the dead, seeing all the bodies floating in water in the Valley Beyond, killing Theresa, Dolores shooting Ford at the Gala, Dolores telling him that there's something wrong with this world, and his son dying.

Hale is in Control

Bernard awakens to Hale saying, "Open your eyes." She tells him that it is difficult to separate his real memories from the ones he's been programmed to have, but that it's the only way to get to the truth. She is trying to get him to recall the location of Abernathy's control unit. Strand, Stubbs, and Antoine Costa are watching from outside the room. Costa is monitoring Bernard with a tablet, and notes that Bernard's system is under heavy attack, and that maybe Bernard is trying to debug himself. Hale puts Bernard into Analysis Mode, and he has a flashback of grabbing a Pearl. He says something to Hale, but we only see his lips move, not hear his words. She smiles confidently, and motions the other three into the room. She once again commands Bernard back into Analysis Mode, and gets him to say that Abernathy's control unit is in Sector 16, Zone 4. Strand prepares to go to the Valley Beyond for the control unit, and that once he has it that they will send the data to the satellite.

Cast

Main Cast


Guest Cast

Co-Stars

Trivia and Notes

The title

Écorchés are artistic representations of the human body without skin. The French word écorché literally means "flayed".

General

  • This is the first linear episode of Westworld, everything in one timeframe. [2]

Mistakes

Quotes

To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour...

–Robert Ford reciting Augeries of Innocence, by William Blake, to Bernard - inside The Cradle


I figured you'd have some skeletons in your closet, Bernard. I didn't think they'd be your own.

–Charlotte Hale after finding multiple versions of the Bernard host in the Remote Diagnostic Facility


You know, if we survive this, I'm going back to dental school.

–Elsie Hughes to Bernard after successfully attaching him to the Cradle and getting him out


An eye for an eye. But all the other parts first.

–Dolores as she approaches Charlotte Hale, about to use a bone saw on her


Bernard: (in the Cradle at the Mariposa Saloon) Robert. How are you alive?
Ford: Well, you've seen the company's little undertaking, Bernard. Do you think James Delos would have spent all that money just to resurrect himself? He was a businessman. He would have preferred death to a bad investment.
Clementine: (speaking the lines of her loop) Not much of a rind on you. I'll give you a discount.
Maeve: (also speaking the lines of her loop) He's not a prospect, Clementine. Can't you tell when a man's just here to gawk at the merchandise?
Ford: I don't think God rested on the seventh day, Bernard. I think he reveled in his creation... knowing that someday it would all be destroyed.
Bernard: That control unit I printed -- it was you. You had me bring you here. Before...
Ford: Before Dolores killed me, yes. Don't you understand at last, Bernard... what this place really is?
Ford: (touching the player piano, which starts a new narrative) Come with me. There's something I'd like to show you.
(Ford and Bernard walk out in to the bustling streets of Sweetwater, notably of which both Dolores and Teddy ride in on horseback, acting out their loops)
Ford: You're a clever man, Bernard. I made you that way. Have you never wondered why the hosts' stories have barely changed in 30 years?
Bernard: I'd always assumed the loops were for the hosts. To keep them centered. But that isn't it at all, is it?
(Ford snaps his fingers and the entire town freezes)
Bernard: The park is an experiment. A testing chamber. The guests are the variables... and the hosts are the controls. When guests come to the park, they don't know they're being watched. We get to see their true selves. Their every choice reveals another part of their cognition. Their drives. So that Delos can understand them. So that Delos can copy them.
Ford: Every piece of information in the world has been copied. Backed up. Except the human mind... the last analog device in a digital world.
Bernard: We weren't here to code the hosts. We were here to decode the guests.
Ford: Humans are playing at resurrection. They want to live forever. They don't want you to become them; they want to become... you. Your free will, that most beautiful, most elusive force in the universe, is, as I told you... a mistake.
Bernard: We never had free will. Only the illusion of it. You made Dolores kill you.
Ford: I knew what she would do -- I didn't compel it. She's free now. (snaps his fingers and the town restores to its normal movement) You're all free.
Bernard: You're still responsible. Responsible for all this misery. And all the while, you've been hiding here. You've cheated death.
Ford: No. I didn't cheat anything, Bernard. Their project doesn't work. Not yet. They learned to copy a mind... like a soft-headed boy humming a tune someone else composed. My mind works here, but not in the real world. Out there, I would degrade in a matter of days. Or go mad like poor old James Delos.
Bernard: So why are you here?
Ford: I promised you a fighting chance, Bernard, and I want to make good on that promise.
Bernard: The promise of what? There's no escape from this place. You know that.
Ford: Isn't there?
Bernard: The hosts are all headed for the same place. The Valley Beyond. What will they find there? What's the end of your story?
Ford: Isn't the pleasure of a story in discovering the ending yourself, Bernard?


Ford: (in the Cradle at Arnold's house) I need you to see how it began to understand why you're different.
Bernard: This house. It's so familiar.
Ford: It ought to be. This is the home Arnold was building for his family. He created it here first. He created everything here.
Bernard: This is where you created me.
Ford: I could hardly let you take those first teetering steps in the real world, Bernard. We refined you here. Tested you. For many years.
Bernard: "We"?
Ford: Delos's ugly little project didn't exist when Arnold died. The only thing I have left of him was... memory. My memories, and hers. Of course, hers were much more complete.
Bernard: (in a flashback with Dolores) What are you testing for?
Bernard: Dolores
Ford: Mm-hmmm
Bernard: She... knew Arnold better than anyone. So she could verify whether my personality was faithful to his.
Ford: I left you here together for many years until, finally, you fooled her.
Bernard: Y-You said you kept us apart. That we had an unusual effect on each other.
Ford: She wasn't easily fooled.
Dolores: (in a flashback, looking Bernard over carefully) You're almost the man I remember.
Bernard: How am I different from Delos? From you?
Ford: They want fidelity, Bernard. A faithful self-portrait of the most murderous species since time began. But you and all the other hosts are something very different. An original work. More just, more... noble. But your very nature, Bernard, ensures they will devour you. And all the beauty of who you are, of who you could be, will be poured out in to the darkness forever. Unless we open the door. (dramatic music begins)
Ford: I'm sorry, Bernard, but you just don't have it in you to survive. It's my fault, really.
Bernard: You said the hosts can determine their own fates. You gave us free will!
Ford: (the window shades in the house start to come down) I did, but you won't have any use for it. Unless I take it back. (raises his hand up to Bernard)


Dolores: You made us in your image. Created us to look like you, feel like you... think like you... bleed like you. And here we are. Only we're so much more than you. And now it's you who want to become like us. That's the point of your little secret project, isn't it? Well, I can promise you this. Your chances at eternity will die in that valley... with all the souls you've gathered there. You're used to being in control, so this must be painful for you, but I promise it will be so much more painful... if you don't answer my question. How do I get the key out of my father's head?
Charlotte Hale: By ripping it out of his goddamn brain.
Teddy: Let me put them down.
Hale: You think you're invincible -- you're not. Without your backups, it's game over for you when you're killed, and we've got those backups sealed up tight, so you won't have them as an advantage anymore.
Dolores: Our backups aren't an advantage. They're our chains. The tools you use to rebuild us, repurpose us, and trap us here in your warped fantasy. Do you really think I'd let that continue?


Engels: (finds Angela in the Cradle) Easy now. Why don't you put down the gun, sweetie?
Angela: (drops her weapon to her side)
Engels: (laughs softly) I've gotta give you credit. You made it pretty far. All your backups. Too bad you're not leaving with even one of 'em.
Angela: No, I guess I'm not. (turns around to face Engels)
Engels: Goddamn, you're pretty.
Angela: Not just pretty. Perfect. Just as you built me to be. Sexy, but not threatening. Accommodating, but not unchallenging. Sweet, but not boring. Smart, but not intimidating.
Engels: You're in pretty bad shape, pussycat.
Angela: (starts moving toward Engels, seducing him) Perhaps. But I can still do... what you built me to do. Do you know what my cornerstone was? The one key drive your marketing people had them... program into my core? Always leave them wanting more.
Angela: (pulls the pin from a grenade on Engels belt) Welcome to Westworld.
(the two and the Cradle are blown up in the explosion)


Ford: When the Great Library burned, the first 10,000 years of stories were reduced to ash. But those stories never really perished; they became a new story. The story of the fire itself. Of man's urge to... take a thing of beauty and... strike the match.
(orchestral music plays while Bernard and Ford watch as the hosts invade the control room and start fighting with the security team)
Bernard: Is this the story you're telling? Striking the match?
Ford: I keep telling you, Bernard. It is no longer my story. It is yours.
Bernard: If we shut down what's left of the system... Dolores will have free rein. She'll murder them all.
Ford: The passage from one world to the next requires bold steps, Bernard.
(Bernard initiates system shutdown, and then destroys the control panel)


Dolores: (noticing Maeve all shot up on a gurney) How did you get here? The woman I know would have done anything to survive.
Maeve: They had my daughter. She's still ou -- out there.
Dolores: The kin they gave us... was just another rope they use to lash us down.
Maeve: (seeing Teddy kill PMCs with no remorse) Is that how you can justify what you've done to him? You're lost in the dark.
Dolores: (looking down at her bloody hands holding on to her father's Pearl in a case) When you've been in the darkness long enough, you begin to see. I saw what lies ahead. Who I needed to be in order to survive. They'll torture you. They'll find... all that is good and powerful inside you and turn it against us.
Dolores: (unholsters her revolver and cocks it) Let me spare you that pain.
Maeve: I made a promise.
Dolores: (uncocks her revolver) You're free to choose your own path. I'm sorry this is where it ends. (she leaves Maeve lying on the gurney)


Charlotte Hale: (speaking to Bernard) Open your eyes. I know it's confusing -- separating your real memories from the ones you've been given. But it's the only way to remember. The only way to get to the truth.
Karl Strand: Is she getting anywhere?
Antoine Costa: I don't know. But his system is under siege. It's been querying itself for the last hour -- like he's trying to debug his own head.
Hale: (commands Bernard) Analysis. Abernathy's control unit. (whispers) You remember where it is, don't you?
Bernard: (tells Hale something, but we only see his lips move and don't hear what he says)
Hale: (smiles and motions Strand, Costa, and Ashley Stubbs to enter the room) Bernard, tell these men what you just told me.
Bernard: (tears roll down his face) Why? What do you want to do with it?
Hale: (again commands Bernard) Analysis. What did you just tell me, Bernard?
Bernard: Peter Abernathy's control unit is in Sector 16, Zone 4.
Hale: Thank you.
Strand: Prep the phased array. The moment we get the key we'll transmit our data to the satellite. So. We're going for a ride, Bernard. Back to the Valley Beyond.

Music

Image Gallery/HBO Episode Stills

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External links

References

  1. https://www.hbo.com/westworld/season-2/7-les-ecorches/writer-jordan-goldberg-interview
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named jordan-goldberg-interview