First, the title: Trace Decay. It relates to another theory about how our brains work (recall bicameral mind?). This one has to do with a Nolan favorite, our memory. As the theory goes, memories begin in your mind as a trace and unless -something- happens to lock in that memory, like rehearsing the memory or some other multi-sensory association, it will decay over time. Pieces can come back, but after a memory gets hazy, it eventually goes away. The process even starts with short term memory.
Memory, the dependability of it and to what extent it should define your current reality, is very much at the heart of Westworld. Both of our female host POV characters, Delores and Maeve, are starting to fray at the edges of their sanity. Their memories, whether they lived through it or simply had them programmed, are not only coming to them as flashbacks, but are now overlaying on top of their perception. What they see and hear is now indistinguishable from memory, making it nearly impossible for them (and us) to tell the difference.
Luckily, we have sound effects and semi-consistent camera / editing tricks we can use to look back and pick apart what we’ve been shown. Delores, being further down the path, is living through three different realities: Where she’s at, where she was 30 years ago with William, and now where she was 35 years ago in the little nameless town. Kind of reminds me of what they say in time travel stories about being in close proximity to another time period’s version of yourself: don’t do it; it causes drastic problems. Witness Delores’ freak out at the nameless / buried / ho-down hosting town for proof.
Looks like I was wrong about Stubbs and Elsie. Having Bernie taking out Elsie might tell me something about to what extent the show is willing to screw with me though. The previous episode was edited in a way to make me think Bernie was too far away from Elsie at the point she was grabbed. The only way Bernie can be in place to take out Elsie is if the show is willing to fool me by editing things to look concurrent, but they’re really not. Delores’ scenes have been edited to fool me though, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I thought the non-host timelines were safe, but as I write this, I’m realizing there -was- a host involved: Bernie. His perception of time passing is unreliable and he knew right where to go (because she told him).
Anyway, here’s our roundup for the week:
35 years ago: Someone starts shooting up the town where they have dance lessons in the street. It may be Delores and she may have gone suicidal at the end of her rampage.
30 years ago: After finding a town once known for its dance lessons now empty, Delores and William are caught by Logan and his band of sore loser Conferados.
Delores find the town buried except for the black steeple and a couple of roof peaks. Memories overlay perception like crazy and she can’t tell what’s what anymore.
William is starting to act like a dick and looks like he’s about done with his first trip to Westworld.
Logan is back with vengeance on his mind.
Maeve can now reprogram other hosts with her words, but is on the run from HQ.
Bernie has covered his tracks too well about Cullen and now Stubbs senses something wrong with him.
Teddy has taken the MIB hostage, but Wyatt’s forces have them surrounded.
MIB is tied up at Teddy’s camp. I kind of just said that. Keep up.
Hale has turned Sizemore into her latest data-mule since Cullen’s death screwed up her previous plans. She has chosen, out of an entire sub-level full of hosts, Tom Abernathy to be the vessel to carry the data. What could go wrong?
Who’s revved up for ep 9? If they follow the Game of Thrones equation, ep 9 could be the season’s “BIG” episode…