Westworld Review: The Bicameral Mind

Westworld is an expensive series. A very expensive series. The budget for the first season was $ 100 million. That’s 10 million per episode. With the knowledge that Game of Thrones will be wrapping up soon HBO needed a new breakout hit. Many were hoping for it to be Westworld. After episode 1 I said that I wasn’t sure that the drama series about androids in a park and the humans that abuse them would be that hit. And now that the season has ended it’s clear that Westworld is doing well. Very well even. Well enough for the series to be renewed for a second season. Internationally it’s doing fine as well but it’s never going to reach the levels of HBO juggernaut Game of Thrones. And that’s okay. GoT is such a crazy phenomenon. Especially internationally. It’s going to be nearly impossible for another serie to achieve or surpass that. I do foresee Westworld steadily growing to an international sensation and I’m pretty sure that HBO will let the series ride out the 5 seasons that the showrunners have planned.

Overall season 1 of Westworld was very good. I highly enjoyed it and it’s already one of the best tv series out there. The only disappointment I have is that I thought it was going to be more than very good. I thought it was going to be great at least. Maybe even perfect. I still think Westworld can be. Will be even. Season 1 was in many ways a long set up for the actual beginning of the show. A 10 hour long opening sequence. Some of the cast members have mentioned that Westworld will finally begin in season 2. That’s a risky way of storytelling but if the rest of the show is going to be as good as I think it can be then it’s going to be more than worth it.

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What happened

The Man in Black and Dolores arrive at a graveyard. Dolores thinks that it’s the centre of the maze but when the MIB asked her what it means she can’t tell him. The MIB loses his patience and starts beating Dolores. This prompts her to mention William. The MIB reveals that he is in fact William, aged by the years and we’re shown how his search for Dolores all those years ago led him to killing all the host who had been in contact with her and who had hurt her and he found that he actually enjoyed the killing. It turned him into the MIB. Teddy rescues Dolores and takes her away.

Maeve enlists Hector and Armistice and with the help of Felix they escape. They kill all the humans who try to stop them. When do arrive at the cold storage to set the host free they sport Bernard. Maeve has Felix repair him. Bernard tells Maeve that someone has programmed her to try to escape but she refused to believe this and moves on. They lose Armistice along the way and Maeve doesn’t let Hector join her. When Maeve gets on the train she changes her mind and goes back to the park.

Charlotte informs Ford that the board has unanimously voted him out and asks him to announce his retirement after the presentation of his new narrative. Ford later reveals to Dolores and Bernard that he made a mistake for not believing Arnold when he told him that Dolores was conscious. He was the one who was behind the changes made to the hosts and he helps Dolores remember that she killed Arnold. That helps Dolores finally understand and finally become sentient.

At the presentation after the new narrative has been presented Ford holds a speech before the board and guests. After this Dolores kills him and starts shooting all humans she can see. A group of hosts also arrive and one shoots the MIB in his arm.

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What I liked

This was one of the best episodes of the season. Let me start with praising Ramin Djawadi once more. He has again done such a wonderful job. He is one of the best. I’m listening to the Westworld season 1 soundtrack is I’m writing this. Throughout the season I wasn’t entirely sure about Dolores’ story arc and especially where Teddy was involved but in the last few episodes it picked up again and this was the perfect ending to her arc for season 1 and it puts her entire arc in new light. I even liked the scenes with poor Teddy. The MIB was also great and his reaction to finally being shot by a host was perfect!

But maybe the best realization of this episode came with the role of Ford. Wow. He’s not a villain after all. Not purely or solely anyway. I mean. He had no issue with inflicting cruelty on host nor with killing humans but he spent 35 years making up for a mistake he made. Anthony Hopkins was an absolute delight and Ford one of the best characters I have seen. I was also happy with Bernard being repaired. And wow. Jeffrey Wright. The way he plays Arnold is different from the way he plays Bernard. It’s about nuance but it was so great to see.

Maeve’s escape was thrilling and funny in some ways. In a way I was disappointed that she went back but it’s good to have her right in the middle of things because shit is going down and the hosts will probably need her come season 2.

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What I didn’t like

Great episode overall. Nothing to dislike. Other than that we have to wait till 2018 for season 2. Boooooo!!!

What I’m looking forward to

The year 2018! Damnit! I want to see what Dolores is going to do now that she is fully conscious. What is going to happen in the park? I truly can’t wait.

4.5/5

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Observations

Ford was quite the character. I wonder what his intention were in regards to Maeve. And did he really have to have Elsie killed?

I love the concept of Bicameralism and it was expertly used for Westworld The way Dolores finds out what she has to do. What the center of the maze is. Wow!

I didn’t see it coming that Dolores is Wyatt. What a twist!

I love reading comments from other people about shows that I love but the risk with all the theorizing is that people who deconstruct every episode frame by frame are on to things I’m not. Or not fully. So the William reveal was no surprise . It would have been nice of it was.

There are different parks. Awesome. I can’t wait to see more of that next season.

HBO loves torturing me. Game of Thrones is starting later than usual next season and Westworld is only starting in 2018. No fair!

I hope you all enjoyed my reviews of Westworld season 1. I will write a season review soon. Don’t be afraid to comment and thanks for reading!

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