Warning: this post contains spoilers through Westworld's eighth episode, "Trace Decay." Head to our hub Westworld World for more recaps, theories, interviews, and deep dives.
General George Patton once said, "Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way." In Westworld's eighth episode, "Trace Decay," our favorite brothel madam Maeve shows she might just be an undercover fan of Old Blood and Guts.
Like a Kasparov-ian chess master or a sleazy Edward Norton in Rounders, Maeve is several steps ahead of the game. And yes, you could argue that, thanks to her augmented system, of course this would make sense. But the host has always possessed an innate ability to suss out the deeper game being played, even if she couldn't consciously determine what it was.
We see this during the Man in Black's flashback; he reveals that a year ago, he randomly sought out Maeve in her previous narrative, and killed her and her daughter just to see how it made him feel. In the lab after her death, she is so overcome with emotion that Ford couldn't control her using voice commands, and when he erased her memory, she defiantly stood up and attempted to kill herself. The point: even when she didn't possess enhanced powers (thanks, Felix), she sensed that there was a bigger outcome below the surface and reacted in protest to her inability to alter it.
But now, in the present, Maeve has this power. So rather than being overwhelmed by the gravity of her entire universe being altered beyond her comprehension, Maeve sees that, in order to follow the path to total free will and control, she must treat her situation like a game with levels to master before moving onto the next.