Episode 7 starts with a cold open and a pretty jarring one at that. It doesn’t pick up where ‘Phase Space’ left off, it takes us to another place entirely. Stubbs and Bernard (Arnold?) are taken by Strand to where Teresa was killed (in Season 1). After a quick interrogation, Strand and Charlotte Hale (who was already there) stumble upon a room full of other Bernards. This cold open is probably the most interesting one we’ve seen so far, mainly because of the reveal. It is also incredibly confusing. I’m confused as to which timeline all of this is taking place and how it connects to the overall story. I’m also thrown off by the multiple Bernards. I’ve heard this as speculation but seeing it now just adds another element to the story, making it all the more confusing.
From there we go back to the timeline where we left off: Dolores’ attack on the Mesa and Bernard in the cradle with Ford. The latter is where we found out more about the cradle. We already knew that it functions as a backup for the hosts, but it also seems to be where they stored Ford’s chestnut (his consciousness). Exactly why it’s being stored there is unclear. He says that it’s to prevent him for deteriorating and going crazy, like James Delos. That can’t be the only reason because at the end of the episode the cradle is destroyed, which would mean that Ford’s consciousness is also destroyed. Overall, the cradle’s function is still confusing to me, especially now with it being destroyed.
We also catch up with Maeve this episode in a sequence that, for me, is by far the most compelling thing that happened in her story this season. William shows up in a way that he has clearly shown up before but this time Maeve gets her revenge. She shoots him and turns other hosts on him, including Lawerence. William doesn’t die here (he probably should have) but it appears as if Lawerence does. Sizemore shows up with some Delos men and they shoot Lawerence and Maeve. Maeve watches as her daughter is taken by Ghost Nation, which is the exact thing she was trying to prevent. That is exactly what made this sequence so compelling. William appears to be on a redemption tour in Ford’s new game and he walked right into another opportunity and before we can find out if he will do the right thing Maeve gets her own redemption (or vengeance). Both of their storylines crossed in a way that was unexpected but beautifully built up. It is all the more interesting that it appears that neither of them got what they wanted. Even though the emotional moment fell flat, the rest worked really well.
Delores is attacking the Mesa which seems to be close to the current timeline. This appears to be what Sizemore and Maeve see at the beginning of the season. But the end of this scene has them meet Sizemore and Maeve which makes it seem like it wasn’t close to that timeline. Honestly, I don’t know what is happening when. In a show that is full of confusion and questions, this is by far the most confusing. This is also how the cradle is destroyed. Delores wants it destroyed because she says that the backups are their “chains” and now they can be truly free. She also appears to cut he dad’s head open and take the very thing that Delos had been searching for. There was another emotional moment here between Delores and her dad. Even though I am more connected to Delores, this moment still fell flat, especially because I knew what she was about to do to him. Which begs the question, is this love real? For Delores everything seems to be a means to an end, her revolution is more important than anything else. She is willing to sacrifice her own kind, Teddy and now her dad. Is this a story of her doing what she deemed necessary and making sacrifices? Delores’ story is still the most compelling to me and all of these additional layers make it all the more interesting.
Questions from episode 7 ‘Les Ecorches’
- Why are there so many Bernards? Do they all have or at one point had Arnold’s consciousness? Are there different Bernards on each timeline?
- We find out from Ford that he arranged the testing of Bernard by Delores that we saw last episode. Was that something that was needed for the other Bernards or just that one chestnut? Who tested Delores? Does Delores have someone else’s consciousness?
- How does Ford get out of the cradle? It seems like his consciousness wasn’t destroyed when the cradle was, how? What is his plan now that he is out and apparently running Bernard?
- What happens to Maeve? Is Lawerence dead? What is William’s next move?
- Now that the cradle is destroyed and Ford was able to get out just in time, was that apart of his plan? If so, what is his end game? Also, what is next for Delores? Is she doing what Ford has programmed her to do? If not, why cut her dad’s head open? What is she going to do with it?