Westworld's 'Les Écorchés' Flayed My Brain


Last season, Westworld had a couple of really great, fast-paced puzzle episodes that focused hard on dislodging viewers from our comfortable position in a single timeframe. The result was a pleasant confusion and slight nausea, like a propeller plane doing a rapid but controlled plummet.

But on Sunday evening’s episode, titled “Les Écorchés”—meaning those sketches of a muscle-and-sinew-bound body, and the word “flayed”—felt more like that flight I was on this March, which slammed into a rough patch of air over the Rocky Mountains, forcing the plane to drop, without warning, what felt like many, many feet, and then continue to whomp down several hundred more before the pilot said, “Sorry about that, folks.”

Hello, spoilers.

On this week’s Westworld Conspiracy Corner, Jez Deputy Editor Julianne Escobedo Shepherd and I will discuss exactly how unmoored the episode made us feel, parse our many twisting and intentionally befuddling timelines, what it means when a prestige actor has invaded your brain and is now controlling your actions (as is the case with Bernard and Robert Ford, and me and Stanley Tucci), why Elsie would ever go back to dental school when she is already a highly-skilled coder (a very employable position), what Dolores will do with her dad’s brain nut, how Maeve will heal from her gut injuries, why the Man in Black/William is not immediately dead from being shot multiple times in the chest (the impenetrable armor of plot), and evaluate how good Teddy looks in SWAT gear (very).

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