Westworld Season 1 Episode 8 Recap | Trace Decay

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Welcome to Westworld! Every week, Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Jo Garfein (@jopinionated) will discuss the new HBO series about an old west theme park built in a futuristic world, populated by robot hosts and human guests. Theories, analysis, and overall madness is sure to ensue.

This week, Josh and Jo talk about “Trace Decay,” the eighth episode of the series. Last week, Bernard learned a hard lesson about the nature of his reality. Now what? That’s where the episode begins, and far from where it ends. Beyond the Bernard of it all, “Trace Decay” moves Maeve and the Man in Black’s stories further along the path, in separate and interlocking ways. Josh and Jo talk about all of that, attempt to make sense of the show’s different timelines, address your feedback, and more.

Check the links below for Josh’s latest Westworld interviews published on The Hollywood Reporter:

Stephen Williams (Director)
Leonardo Nam and Ptolemy Slocum (Felix and Sylvester)

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  • dapete

    I had to laugh when Maeve started telling the other hosts what to do because it reminded me of this [nsfw – language]:


    • TarafromLI

      lol, TY for that dapete. Very funny.

  • GeekFurious

    That last question was amazing! Who was that… brilliant & handsome person?

    • TrentC

      I don’t know, but it was waaaay better than my – Who is hotter, Dolores or Maeve? – question.

      • GeekFurious

        Maeve! I mean Dolores. I mean Maeve! Damn… this one’s a thinker.

  • Buck Hondo

    I see some parallels between Westworld and The Wizard of Oz. William is seeking courage, the MIB is seeking a heart, Maeve went after brains, and Delores is just trying to go home. Teddy is just Toto. They are all making their way to Arnold, the wizard who resides at the center of the maze. In that scenario I guess Charlotte Hale would be the Wicked Witch?

  • TrentC


    Some things are right in front of our noses, thanks Jo!

  • J-me not Hi-me

    Two questions about Ford wiping all of Bernard’s memories of Teresa:

    1) Is there some reason why he didn’t want Bernard to remember the relationship, or was he showing kindness? (I prefer the latter interpretation myself, as it makes Ford that much more complicated and interesting.)

    2) Whatever his reasoning was, did we see Ford finally make a mistake? It seems like he’s always two steps ahead of the Board, but he didn’t count on Stubbs being observant.

    • Andiamo

      1) I think Ford does believe he’s being kind by taking away painful memories, but more importantly to Ford it’s also useful for him. He seems to know that intense feelings can override the hosts programming. Whatever pleasurable memories Bernard has of Theresa would heighten the pain of her death. Theresa’s death definitely takes on more meaning, and distraction, for Bernard if he remembers having feelings for her. Ford said something like he didn’t need Bernard to be a simulacrum of a broken man, he needed him to be his “real self”; someone smart, and capable of covering his tracks.

      Allowing Bernard to remember the relationship and all that he knows about Theresa could also lead to him questioning the story of her death. Even Charlotte knew that it seemed out of character for her.

      I’m also curious about the way it would interfere with his story about his son and wife. That pain is designed to always be fresh for him. They don’t have the same concept of time as humans do without having memories to act as anchor points along the way, to create a timeline. He’s been pulling out that picture of his son from his jacket pocket for 30 yrs. If he keeps a memory of his relationship with Theresa, it gives context to his other memory. It puts it in the past.

      2) It could be a major miscalculation by Ford, but whatever conversation Bernard has had, Ford is able to listen to. Also, If the William and the Man in Black stories are happening 30 yrs. apart, Stubbs is definitely a host, because he has given commands relating to both of them, and he looked the same each time. If not, Ford could be in some trouble.

  • Matt The Golem

    The Westworld storylines are not why Delos is involved. So what is the motivation for Corporate to have the money-losing theme park stay open?

    • Will Northrup

      Is it money-losing or not as profitable as it could be? I don’t honestly know, but I have a feeling Delos is worried that profits don’t continuously increase the way every corporation is obsessed with growth. If the park were truly money-losing, there would be more of a rat’s jumping ship vibe.

    • Andiamo

      Charlotte said something to the effect that it’s running as a test environment for Delos. They may have the ability to create AI in the outside world, but my guess is that they’re interested in the code that controls the hosts.

  • dryercat

    Josh and Jo, I just listed to another fabulous podcast! I wanted to point out that Angela was also in the scene when Dolores watched the hosts dancing. Angela walked by with a parasol and looked and smiled at Dolores.

    • Khania Wijaya

      Westworld season 1 episode 8 – Trace Decay



  • Andiamo

    I’m wondering what anyone makes of the scene where Dolores flashes back to the original town. Her memory is the exact same as Ford’s flashback/memory of the place. Meaning when Angela looks at the camera and smiles, both Dolores and Ford recall it as her looking at them, it’s the same perspective.

    • GeekFurious

      Could just be the typical filming thing where the show runners later decided to add that shot in editing but didn’t have the appropriate footage from either the shoot or coverage, so they decided to use a shot they were going to later use for Dolores.

      • Andiamo

        They’ve been so specific about making sure we see things from a certain perspective, that would seem way too careless. Especially since it’s such an identifiable shot.

        • GeekFurious

          Even the best productions with the most thought put into them run into shot issues. I’m not saying you’re not right, I’m just saying if it doesn’t play out that way, it’s part of the film-making (or TV) process.