'Westworld' Podcast: Welcome to The Matrix

Westworld - Les Echorches - Still 1 -Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of HBO

Westworld. Shogun World. The Raj. All critical locations within the world of the HBO drama — and now we need to make room for another plane of existence: a digital one.

Whether you want to call it the Cradle, Cradle World, Matrix World or whatever, the fact remains that Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) kicked the door down on a brand-new corner of the Westworld universe in this past week's episode, "Les Ecorches." In the episode, Ford reveals that not only has his human-host hybrid mind spent time sharpening within the digital space of the Cradle, and not only is this also the place where Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) was born, it's also the place where Arnold (also Wright!) built "everything."

Wherever else it's heading, season two of Westworld is building toward a battle between the hosts and humans, as digital immortality becomes a likelier and likelier prospect. The Valley Beyond looms as the battleground, the likely site of the Man in Black's "greatest mistake," and therefore the probable home of the digital consciousnesses of the park's various guests. 

Seeing as Bernard was able to travel to this realm and interact with Ford in a deep and meaningful way, and seeing as a version of this realm seems to be where Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and those who are still alive in her posse are headed, should viewers brace themselves for an all-out digital battle in the episodes ahead — a true deep dive into a Matrix of sorts?

That's one of the questions posed this week on "Welcome to Westworld," the podcast collaboration between Post Show Recaps and The Hollywood Reporter, hosted by Josh Wigler (THR's Westworld beat reporter) and Jo Garfein (co-founder of the non-profit Cancer Gets LOST). Other topics discussed in their conversation about "Les Ecorches" include:

• The bevy of Bernard Lowes, revealed in "the Arnoire";

• The Man in Black's last stand, and what that means for his future;

• Whether Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) can possibly survive season two;

• Some quibbles with the action scenes at the heart of the episode;

And more!

Listen to the podcast in the player below:

Make sure you don't miss an episode of Welcome to Westworld by subscribing to the show on iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice. Send in comments and questions in the field below using our feedback form or reaching out to Josh and Jo directly on Twitter. Keep checking THR.com/Westworld all season long for news, interviews, theories and more.

Welcome to Westworld and welcome to our handy guide collecting every episode of the podcast.

• Season 1 Podcasts: All found on PostShowRecaps.com
• Season 2, Episode 1: "Journey Into Night"
• Season 2, Episode 2: "Reunion"
• Season 2, Episode 3: "Virtu e Fortuna"
• Season 2, Episode 4: "The Riddle of the Sphinx"
• Season 2, Episode 5: "Akane No Mai"
Season 2, Episode 6: "Phase Space"
Season 2, Episode 7: "Les Écorchés"