westworld soundtrack

Can We Dwell on the Music For a Moment?

Ramin Djawadi’s music for Westworld has always been good, with his eerie opening titles setting the perfect mood and his piano-driven covers of modern pop and rock songs providing amusing (and often important) commentary on a given scene. However, his work in “Trace Decay” goes above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to two more saloon piano covers (“House of the Rising Sun” and “Back to Black,” the latter of which is used quite cheekily), Djawadi introduces a new theme: a synth track that creeps into key scenes, atmospheric and icy and giving certain dramatic scenes an electronic heartbeat. Djawadi’s score is a computer emulating life, instruments that exist and ones and zeroes doing the work of human hands and fingers. This music acts like the Hosts themselves – an “imitation” of something can fully transform into whatever it’s imitating if you push it too far.

westworld episode 8 Charlotte Hale

How Long Until Lee Sizemore Bites the Dust?

Last week proved that Westworld isn’t above killing off members of its human cast, so “Trace Decay” quietly asks a very important question: how long does head writer Lee Sizemore have to live now that Charlotte Hale has pulled him into her web? After all, he’s not as mild-mannered or as intelligent as his late boss… but he could be just dim enough, just underestimated enough, to escape the gaze of a genius like Robert Ford.

As Sizemore, Simon Quarterman has always been a source of comic relief (with some humor bits landing better than others) and that continues here, with him pacing around his office, dictating lines of dialogue to a new cannibalistic villain who is casually dining on a severed human leg. Naturally, he cannot see through his own bluster and it takes a visit from Tessa Thompson’s Charlotte Hale to help him see the truth. He’s not working on a key villain for Dr. Ford’s new narrative. He’s being kept busy in his own little corner while his boss does all of the real work. And Charlotte, now fresh out of inside operatives following the “accidental” death of Theresa, convinces him to take on an extra duty. He will do what the late operations leader failed to do – he will smuggle data out of the park. Since the plan to use a stray Host equipped with the necessary components to communicate with a satellite failed so miserably, Charlotte has a more direct approach. Sizemore will download Westworld’s stolen code to the mind of a Host, convincingly write that Host to be an actual human, and help it leave the park with all the data the Delos board so desperately wants.

This means a return to cold storage and, more importantly, a return to Peter Abernathy, the Host who once played Dolores’ father before he became the first victim of Dr. Ford’s “reveries” update. Much like how you don’t reveal a gun in the first act unless you plan for it to go off later in the story, you don’t put a vengeful robot in cold storage in episode one unless you plan for him to return at a later date. Sizemore is, in so many words, totally fucked: if committing corporate espionage for a boss who doesn’t care about his personal safety doesn’t get him killed, then awakening and tinkering with a Host who was remembering his past programming as a murderous psychopath the last time we saw him will get the job done.

westworld episode 8 william dolores

What Did Dolores Find in the Center of the Maze?

Hey! Dolores and William made it to the center of the Maze! Finally! So many secrets to uncover!

Or not. The discovery of the center of the Maze, the area characters have been seeking for eight episodes now, raised more questions without providing too many answers. This is the Westworld way.

But those questions are certainly intriguing. While Dolores didn’t stumble across hard evidence of anything at all, she did encounter a slew of telling hallucinations. If her flashes of memory are to be trusted (and Westworld has made it clear that the Hosts have perfect memories when they’re not being tampered with), the center of the Maze used to be home to small town. And within this small town, Hosts go about their business while park technicians look on, guiding them back into proper positions and helping them rehearse the illusion of life. And while she may not know anything about it, Dolores knows that this small town is “home.”

Although “Trace Decay” stays mum on exactly what’s going on here, this certainly looks like some kind of Host testing ground, a place where the first Hosts were field tested and perfected for their final use. Dolores, being the oldest Host in the park, may have been “raised” here before it was dismantled, leaving behind only a single church steeple…the same church steeple that somehow plays a role in Dr. Ford’s new narrative. Whatever this steeple means, whatever the Maze represents, they both seem to represent the earliest days of the park, where the original Hosts learned to simulate humanity.

Naturally, the only person more frustrated than Westworld viewers by the lack of concrete answers in this sequence is Dolores herself, who cannot understand why the voice in her bicameral mind (courtesy of Arnold?) has led her all the way out here, only to toss her into more hallucinations/flashbacks/flashforwards. These glimpses of something are surely/hopefully going to pay off in the next few episodes. After all, Jimmi Simpson himself has promised no “bullshit cliffhangers” this season.

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