Westworld Wednesday: These Violent Delights

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THIS SHOW IS GOOD.

And on that note, I want to continue my thread from last week about trying to unpack twists being detrimental to story telling. In this episode, Ford chastises The Man In Black (WILLIAM! Who became the man in black because Delores is a robot…and he has issues.) for not looking at the story, only looking at the game, “The maze is not meant for you,” was literal, it wasn’t a clue. The maze isn’t a maze at all, but a metaphor for the discovery of consciousness that Arnold used to test the hosts. If they understood the metaphor and realized that the voices in their head were not his, but their own, they were conscious beings.

Once William decided to play the game instead of follow the story, he lost that thread, and lost the fundamental understanding of both the park, and of Delores and the other hosts.

Ford does understand them, but that doesn’t mean he can control them, and at this point, I’m not sure that he wants to. I do think that he’s alive. There was too much of a hold on that handshake between Ford and Bernard. In the first episode Ford tells Bernard that a dead giveaway of the first hosts were the hands.

If Ford built a host of himself, and if Delores/Wyatt killed that host, what comes next?

I know I said I was going to stop speculating, but it’s pretty much impossible.

Maeve is great, and she looks fab in her little black dress. I think she’s off to find her daughter, but I’m more excited about Snake Tatoo Lady and Hector going all Terminator oh AND THAT GLIMPSE WE SAW OF SAMURAI WORLD.

Let’s also talk about how we got a scene where Delores dies in a weeping Teddy’s arms, because my God, Westworld knows what I like and why I like it.

So it’s apparently going to be two years before we get more of this show…that’s a long time to not speculate. But, there’s two seasons of Game Of Thrones in there, so I can deal with it.

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Westworld Wednesday: I can’t help you

Sometimes I really hate the internet.

I’ve been doing my best not to follow Westworld theorizing, because I really enjoyed watching the twists unfold as I watched the first four episodes while catching up. I am, however, somewhat plugged in to various media sites, and thus some of the stuff seeps into my brain.

I am now almost 100% certain that William is The Man In Black and that Dolores is Wyatt. I’m curious how this all comes to a head in the final episode of the season, and what the “5 year plan” looks like and why in the hell the internet is so damn good at guessing what’s going to happen on this show!!!

Seriously, I read several threads about how Bernard is a host version of Arnold, which I dismissed immediately. (I am wrong about this show a lot…) and the only thing that I can pinpoint is that the storytelling on Westworld is very, very good.

Here’s a thing that the internet ruined. Narrative twists should not come out of nowhere, the job of a writer is not to trick their audience and blow them away with a wild out of the blue sky ending. That’s bad writing. It is also not the job of audience to dissect every inch of something to figure out the twists. It’s not the only job, I should say. It’s not the only way to enjoy a story.

I like seeing the strings sometimes, I enjoy on a second or third go round of something seeing hints to the ending, figuring out the formulas. It’s a lot of fun. But I also like seeing something unfurl, or come together, or as I’m finding in the case of Westworld, do a little bit of both.

So I’m trying to stay away from internet chatter on this show, as it seems to be dedicated exclusively to figuring out what comes next and what the secrets are. And that’s fine, but it’s not what I want.

That said, Dolores is absolutely Wyatt, and Maeve’s robot army is gonna be BALLIN.

And Elsie lives! (OK, not that last one.)

Westworld Wednesday: I Remember You

Guys! A couple of big things happened this time around.

First things first, Teddy now remembers The Man In Black and his attack on Delores. He want to kill him, but of course he can’t, which he still thinks is because of his morals not because of his being a robot. But The Man In Black is now being taken hostage by a woman who’s involved with Wyatt, who I think we’re meeting next week and who I have a creeping suspicion might be William.

Unless The Man In Black is William. But who the hell knows at this point.

Maeve is now playing the game on God Mode, and it’s amazing. She’s rewriting storylines, she’s remembering that The Man In Black killed her and her daughter, and that was the first time that she couldn’t shake a memory. This is played out beautifully, cut between Maeve, The Man in Black and Ford. Also, music is so important to this show and while Maeve subtly plays with Hector’s raid on Sweet Water, we hear music from The Nutcracker, which, if you don’t know, is a story about toys that come to life and fight their own battles.

Hmm…

Oh, also, Board Member Tessa Thompson enlists Lee Sizemore to help her foil Ford, who, probably won’t be foiled. Oh, and Other-Other-Hemsworth (Luke?) tries to be nice to Bernard, who is having a bit of a crisis, and can you blame him? But he basically brushes him off. While I’m excited to see what happens with Bernard, if it’s not helping Maeve lead the robot uprising, I barely care.

William and Delores also do a thing, and she has a vision of shooting herself in the head, and OMG THIS IS SO BORING.

Two more episodes. I hope we get some convergence soon, or at least confirmation that there are multiple time lines, other wise, bad story telling.

Westworld Wednesday: The Gods, They Demand A Blood Sacrifice

So never kick a dog,
Because he’s just a pup
You’d better run for cover when the pup grows up.
We’ll fight like 20 armies and we won’t give up.
Gavroche, “Little People” Les Miserables

While board member Tessa Thompson and Theresa set up Clementine to be violent in order to get Bernard fired, this was the first thing that sprung to my mind. To be fair, over the past week, Les Mis has been at the forefront of my mind, watching my young idealistic friends fight for the system as they believe it should be rather than as it is, but I think this verse in particular applies to Westworld well.

Oh, also, Bernard is a host, and Ford has him kill Theresa and this is why we can’t have nice things.

Also, that’s one theory that’s proved true. We’re still not sure that the whole William and Dolores story line is happening in the past and William isn’t The Man In Black (who isn’t in this episode, which also means no Teddy..BOOOO). I’m not totally sold on this idea, but I’m not ruling it out, since I thought the idea that Bernard was a host was equally nuts, but I’m still like, not sure.

Meanwhile, I am like 100% sure that Maeve is going to lead the robot insurrection. She’s immediately concerned about Clementine when she’s taken for the test, she insists that Felix take her to her, she’s thinking, continuing to demand upgrades.

Oh, also William and Dolores have sex, (BOOO) and he talks about how Westworld helps you find who you are and blah blah blah.

Mostly, though, I’m really pissed at the show for taking a narrative route that kills Theresa. She was an interesting character that we don’t get to see much and I’m particularly annoyed at her excising at the hands of men. I mean, I get it narratively but it pisses me off otherwise.

Also, I feel like Dolores has been nerfed. But Maeve remains the best.

Westworld Wednesday: There Isn’t Much Difference These Days

If you’d asked me back in episode 1, which Host was going to figure out that she was a host first, I would not have said Maeve. Hell, if you’d asked me last week, I still would have gone with Dolores.

Honestly, if you’d asked me last week, I would have said a lot of things this week would be different.

Nope everything’s fine. Everything’s normal.

Anyway, Maeve spends this episode getting her act together, re: sentience. Teddy, meanwhile is still riding around with The Man in Black yammering about Wyatt and how he’s got to get back to Dolores. Who, unless the dual timelines theory is for real, is not waiting for him, but is running around on the fringes with William robbing stage coaches, or whatever.

Poor, stupid, still stuck in his loop Teddy.

Anyway, Maeve. She gets herself to the repair shop by goading a customer to choke her hard during sex. (Ah, HBO.) While there, she basically convinces her techs, Felix, and Obnoxious Beardy Dude (I’m sorry, I’m tired and depressed and don’t feel like looking up his name. I have no patience for White Men at the moment. Y’all done fucked up big this time.) to show her around the Westworld facility. She learns about her programming and her past lives and admits that she remembers everything. She tells them that she wants an intelligence upgrade.

I’m really excited to see where this is going.

Elsie is poking around and learns that the malignant code is coming from Arnold. But how? Since he’s dead and all? Well, she shares this information with Bernard, who shares it with Theresa. Bernard also meets Ford’s robot family, and it also appears the maze is done.

I have to admit, I really love Maeve. But I also missed Delores. But Thandie Newton is incredible and I’m glad she’s getting to play this much more active role than it seemed she would initially. (Plus I love the White Girl Protagonist Trojan Horse at play here.)

You know what else I miss? Believe in the better natures of my country men.

*SIGH*

Westworld Wednesday: “I dreamed of a story where I wasn’t the damsel”

We need to talk about Dolores, we need to talk about Maeve and we need to talk about agency.

You want to know what I didn’t expect when I started watching this show? That it would probably be the most feminist show I’m watching right now. (And I’m still watching Supergirl. Plus American Housewife.) This week, both Dolores and Maeve broke their programming. As it turns out, Dolores is still hearing commands from Arnold, the mysterious co-founder of the park, and Maeve woke up to talk to her tech.

Dolores has also changed out of her pretty blue dress, and has put on the duds of a outlaw, she commits a robbery with William and Logan, and even kisses William. (BOOO) But she’s thinking for herself and breaking out of her loop. She’s also seeing visions of herself, and I’m more and more convinced that Dolores is “the woman with the white shoes” that Bill, the old bar patron that Ford speaks to, constantly toasts.

Maeve spends most of the episode unconscious being worked on, but in the end she wakes up. The paralells of these two women is fascinating and fun. I don’t think that the show has passed the Bechdel-Wallace yet, but I have no doubt that it will get there and soon.

In less crazy awesome feminist news, Teddy is now riding with The Man In Black, who has taken it upon himself to become the villain of Westworld, because he believes the game never had a good enough one. Oh, God, we all know this guy and that’s what makes him such a great character. I’ve talked to, read pieces and comments by this guy for a long time, and I’m so deeply glad to see him portrayed as a monster on a large scale.

I’m starting to get into the things on the operations side too. Elsie is a great character and the fact that she’s refusing to accept the way things are (almost getting killed by a robot will do that) is another great step forward for women characters on this show.

The robots are gaining sentience, and that leads to these characters getting agency in a way that they haven’t had before, and I’m interested in seeing how this all moves forward.

In other news, it’s my birthday! I’m 29. I’m doing OK. I’m not freaking out. You’re freaking out. (Seriously though, this has been a good year, and I’m happy with how it’s gone.)

Westworld Wednesdays: If you can’t tell, why does it matter?

I didn’t go to work yesterday, due to still barely being able to breath after monster cold and I decided to watch the four episodes of Westworld, because I realized I could no longer willfully ignore this show.

Also, I still have come up with a replacement for One Tree Hill rewatch and “Westworld Wednesday” sounds really good, and it buys me six weeks to figure out my next project. (I was serious about the witches by the way, I’m torn between Charmed and Sabrina The Teenage Witch at the moment)

Anyway, Westworld, as a show, I was skeptical about. I love the original movie, which I remember being terrified of as a child. But, I had, well, have a thing for Yul Brynner, (Shall we dance, etc, etc, etc…) and we’re a Michael Crichton house. (Jurrassic Park ER were important to us, and I’ve never seen Sphere because it is apparently an abomination of the wonderful book, this according to my father and brother.) So, I watched it anyway, quite a few times.

Also deeply heady sci-fi has never quite been my thing, the only HBO drama to ever really grab me was Game Of Thrones, (I mean, Newsroom, I guess, but that barely counts because Sorkin.) Anyway, I knew that I could no longer ignore this show. And yes that might be because The Mary Sue is covering it.

Anyway, I’m glad I watched. This show is incredible.  It’s slow and intense and bright and the performances and design are extraordinary and Anthony Hopkins is there.

But mostly the writing. Oh, I am a SLUT for this show’s writing. (If slut weren’t an inherently sexist term used to rob women of sexual agency, you know.) It plays with narrative on like six levels that I can think of at the moment. And hey, I already have an OTP that the show tells me is doomed, like by design, but I can’t stop my horrible shipping brain from rooting for them. (The ship is Dolores/Teddy, by the way, Doleddy? We’ll work on it…) Seriously, I just want those crazy robot kids to get their sentience together and run away and have robot babies. It doesn’t hurt that they’re played by Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden and there’s just so much pretty there, but I JUST WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY.

Which brings me to Westworld and it’s whole fulfill your fantasies thing. As a shipper, I feel deeply ignored by this narrative. There is no mechanism in Westworld for shippers. I feel like this is a grievous oversight. I want some overeager 20 something woman who follows Dolores and Teddy around clapping her hands and chanting “kiss, kiss, kiss” at them. Also Maeve and Hector, who are equally awesome. (I don’t actually want this, it wouldn’t fit with the show at all, but I hope you take my point…)

Anyway, let’s move on to Ed Harris as The Man In Black, a malevolent guest who’s been going to Westworld for 30 years and is specifically dressed and initially behaves like Yul Brenner in the original movie. (IS A PUZZLEMENT! Last King and I reference, at least this week…) But he’s trying to figure out WHAT IT ALL MEANS, which is great, because Ed Harris is great.

Overall, I’m invested, and I promise these posts will be less rambly and overview-ish in the future, and hey, maybe I’ll even go back and do the first four episodes one by one at some, when I miss this show a whole lot.

But first I’ll probably watch the movie again, because I haven’t seen it since I was like 12.