A pilot has many functions. It should introduce the main characters and the premise of the show. It must tell the audience what it can expect in the episodes to come. It should show us a world that is interesting enough for us to want to visit it again every week. But most importantly, it should convince the powers that be to acquire the show for broadcast. Because of this there is always a lot going on in a series premiere. Introductions, exposition, plot twists and cliff-hangers. Anything to firstly make the network execs want to see more and later us, the audience. Especially in recent times TV pilots have had budgets exceeding some film budgets. The line between film and television has faded for a while series premieres can be like big budget films on a small screen. This is all great of course. I think no one complained when the brilliant Winter Is Coming welcome us to Game of Thrones and redefined the world of television in the process. But, there can be a little bit of a downside.
The showrunners throw everything they have and the kitchen sink when they are working on the pilot. Some of the bigger shows are in preproduction for more than a year. And when the greenlight of the television network finally comes they often have to make more than 10 episodes in the same time span. That’s tough. And not every episode can be like a series premiere. There have to be story arcs and character development. If every episode tries to be epic it gets dull real fast. It loses its impact. So in the second episode things tend to slow down a bit. The series settles more into what can be expected on a weekly basis. For this reason second episodes can be as important as the pilot. If the pilot sucks than most people won’t even bother to watch the follow up. Who can blame them? But when the pilot is amaze balls but the second episode sucks than that’s a major red flag. Usually it says that the show really ain’t that good. The show has shown its true colours.
So what’s the verdict for Westworld? Did Chestnut continue on the high level set by last weeks The Original? Not entirely. But it was a very solid episode and to be honest. Even if this episode was horse shit, Jonathan Nolan is running this so from me he gets all the time he needs to convince me if something is good. Thankfully, the man has never disappointed.
William and his douchebag co-worker Logan arrive at Westworld. Logan has been there many times before and clearly enjoys treating the hosts badly while Logan seems more reserved. He turns down the advances of the host who introduces him to Westworld and also from one of the prostitutes on the brother while Logan is having group sex. When he meets Dolores later she does seem to interest him.
Bernard and Ford discuss what’s wrong with the hosts. Both know that there is going on than a faulty update but they have kept that to themselves. Ford rejects a new narrative from Lee. Bernard reminds Ford that the board will be displeased because there are expecting a new one. Ford tells Bernard that he has been working on a new narrative of his own.
When Dolores repeats the line Peter told her to Maeve, Maeve starts behaving strangely. Her popularity has been declining and when pumping up her aggression settings doesn’t work she is scheduled to be decommissioned. During maintenance Maeve wakes and wanders through the control centre before being subdued.
The Man in Black saves a host from being hanged. He takes him to his home where he kills nearly everyone in sight. He keeps asking about the maze. He kills the host’s wife and threatens to kill his daughter too when the daughter gives him a clue about the maze. He leaves the girl behind but takes the host with him.
What I liked
Thandie Newton is a great actress so I enjoyed all of the scenes with her. Her visions were scary and intriguing and her breakdown in the control room was intense and sad. I also liked how we saw Logan and William arrive at Westworld. I didn’t know how much of the outside world we are going to see but this was a good way of showing us very little but still showing us enough for now and also letting us see what happens when Newcomers arrive.
The corporate intrigue still doesn’t interest me that much but I found the interactions between Ford and Bernard very interesting and I am curious to find out what the narrative Ford is working on entails. I still didn’t like the scenes with The Man in Black that much but the end was very interesting and it was a cool surprise to see him in Maeve’s vision.
What I didn’t like
Logan a bit too much. I mean, I’m sure that people would behave like him and worse in a park like Westworld and I’m sure we will see worse on the show. But I still didn’t care for the character. I’m also not sure what I think of Bernard’s affair with Theresa.
What I’m looking forward to
Maeve turned from a side character into a very interesting character in her own right. I want to see where that goes. Will Morgan stay true to himself or will the temptation turn him into a Logan? I am actually looking forward to see the maze and I want to know if it’s all part of the game or if he is actually on to something. And of course I want to know what Ford’s narrative is.
Lee and Logan should have a bromance. They are made for each other.
I love the underplayed acting of sir Anthony Hopkins
The performance of the week definitely goes to Thandie Newton. Wow!
I was surprised to see that the people behind the curtain are well aware of the Man in Black and what has been doing. For the most part at least.