westworld

And back to ‘Westworld,’ a few days early thanks to HBO releasing the episode on Friday this week, most likely due to the Presidential Debates on Sunday night. Jumping back in after an amazing pilot there is always the possibility that that what you liked about the show might change, or something might have been altered by the time they started working on the rest of the season. Fortunately with ‘Westworld,’ that is not the case. If the first episode impressed me and got me excited for where the show was going, the second episode drove the story forward and officially made ‘Westworld’ into a new obsession of mine.

ww-deloresDelores continues her derailment from the status quo, even though no one but Bernard seems to be aware that there is anything different about her. But she is different. She is hearing voices, waking up in the middle of the night, seeing visions of past town massacres while walking around Sweetwater,  and then listening to a voice telling her where a gun is buried in her yard, a gun that might just turn out to be an actual weapon, and not one of the “props” of the park. I.E. we might just have an armed host that is capable of doing real damage to the guests now. Plus, she is spreading her virus, as she whispered the code words “These violent delights have violent ends,” (the same words her father spoke to her) to brothel owner Maeve, who is now infected as well.

ww-maeve-being-programmedMaeve’s story is downright terrifying. First, her new glitch is hurting her ability to, uh… “get a rise” out of her guests, and despite numerous programmers trying to fix her, she cannot quite get back on track. In the end though, she is repaired enough to help another girl seduce a guest, but it is not quite the same. We also learn from one of the programmers that the hosts do not “dream” as dreams are mainly memories, and they would  be in a lot of trouble if the hosts suddenly remembered the messed up things done to them. Yet Maeve has dreams, and remembers an attack by an Native American on her and her daughter, that suddenly becomes the Man in Black about to slice her head open with a knife. She awakes from the dream, and in the most uncomfortable and uneasy moments of the episode, finds herself in the middle of being operated on. She escapes and runs around the Westworld backroom facilities, naked, finding many workers hosing down dead and nude host bodies, collapsing to the ground in horror. She is eventually found by those working on her, who cover up the event so they don’t get in trouble, which might spell trouble down the road as the programmers should be aware that the hosts are capable of waking themselves up out of “sleep mode.” As the culmination of Maeve’s story for the episode, it definitely revealed how deep the “glitches” go, and what kind of traumas the hosts are going to be exacting revenge for when they revolt.

ww-new-guests-enter-the-parkOther storylines going on include two new guests entering the park, William and Logan, William being the nice guy with a wife back home, and Logan being the jerk who loves to “rape and pillage” (as Cullen put it) while in the park. They are characters that were used in the ‘Westworld’ film in the 70’s so I feel like they will be important, but so far we just know that William is not your average guest in that he seems to have a certain amount of empathy for the hosts, while Logan is a typical guest who loves letting loose in the park. The Man in Black continues his search for the Maze, kidnapping and massacring a criminal named Lawrence’s crew and wife to get the man and his daughter to reveal where the Maze is, which the little girl reveals in a  cryptic riddle “Follow the blood arrow to the place where the snake lays its eggs.” The scene is disturbing as the Man in Black is threatening Lawrence’s wife and daughter, until we remember they are only machines, and Lawrence and his “wife” are not really in love, and they are not really the parents of the child. And yet, we feel for them, because they think they are a family.
ww-lawrenceAs for the folks behind the scenes, we learn Bernard may be up to something with Delores, as he has a secret programming session with her that he orders her to delete the record of, and we also learn that he is romantically involved with Cullen, which we did not know before because they hide it from the rest of the team, which is why she can be so rude to him. Lee the writer is working double-time to unveil a new storyline called “Odyssey on the Red River” which will involved vivisection, massacres and self cannibalism, but Ford is not impressed when Lee unveils the storyline. Ford basically says the park is not about stroking the ego of a writer, and that people do not come here to become some new person involved in a highly choreographed story. They come here to revel in the little details. Later, we see Ford and Bernard approach a small black chapel looking building with a steeple, and Ford assures Bernard that he has a new story in mind, something very original.

ww-ford-goes-for-a-walkWORLD OF THEORIES:

  • Anyone else get a vibe that Ford wants to create a Christ-figure for Westworld? (hence the steeple at the end of the episode) If he is the God of this world, than it would make sense that he would try to play out the biblical story of sending some kind of son in to save his creations. It also adds to the theory that Ford is causing the glitches on purpose in order to help his hosts rebel and fight back against the company and guests that abuse them so.
  • Does Delores have a real gun? How long until we see that in use?
  • Teddy seemed much darker in this episode, and Maeve seemed to be hinting that he had a secret. What exactly is the story of Teddy’s character in the park?
  • Could Bernard be plotting something, and using Delores as some kind of test case?
  • What is this Maze the Man in Black is trying to get to? Is it like a super-secret, ultra high level of the Westworld “game?” Is it a level that only Ford knows about? Could the Man in Black actually be a host created by Ford years ago that is programmed to think he is a guest, and is allowed to kill other hosts? In which case, it would fit perfectly with the biblical theme of the world, as the Man in Black would be the Devil, attempting to get into Ford’s paradise as represented by this Maze.

ww-mib-on-his-horseI love how much is going on in the show, and I am so sad that with the episode being released early, I now have to wait over a week (!) to see the third episode. Only potential issue I see is that they keep on throwing out more mysteries in every episode, and even though I love mysteries, some audience members get very easily frustrated when answers are not found quickly and easily, and I would hate for ‘Westworld’ to have to deal with the same backlash as ‘Lost.’ (remember, I loved ‘Lost,’ so I don’t mind. But people still bitch about that show). Either way, the creative forces behind this show have clearly demonstrated they know what they’re doing, so I am just going to sit back and enjoy the ride. See you back here next week for the review of episode 3!

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Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)