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The Westworld Thread - Full of Spoilers! - Season 2!


#1223

Damn. You covered the important points and you did it in a paragraph!

I feel like we all tried too hard here! :wink:


#1224

I came into the thread and saw it had 1000+ posts and thought “I’m sure they’ve all missed the really important insights”, so just went right for it.


#1225

A couple funny Max Landis commentaries on WestWorld. The suspension of disbelief is pretty obvious, but in the second video, he does make some good points about the confused question regarding free will in the androids.


#1226

The question poised by the second video is exactly what I’ve been saying.

Ew. I thought the same thing as Max Landis.


#1227

One question brought up in the second video is “Is Delores really free at the end?”

I think she isn’t, but I don’t think the fight is for her conciousness. I think she’s supposed to be a puppet in a grand scheme to try to spur the sentience of Bernard or Teddy.


#1228

I say she has sentience, but not free will.
Which…I don’t think I even remember how to get back into.

I agree with the Teddy and/or Bernard being the driving AIs though.


#1229

Landis has an awfully smug face for someone who missed the point of the final episode.


#1230

A lot of detail is up for grabs but thematically, you can either go with the show or not.

Dolores is definitely manipulated, but so is the Delos board, they’re still sentient beings with free will, no one is suggesting they were programmed to come and get gunned down at the party, but there they are, fish in a barrel.

Ford’s plan could fail a million ways, but in the context of the show, it worked. Is that believable?

That’s up to each viewer to decide.


#1231

Right. I left the show primarily because its stakes weren’t compelling. For me, the metafictional element of the show pretty much ruined any chance of investment in it. It made clear that everything in it could be or could not be manipulation. At heart, every story is manipulated and the trick is to convince the audience it is really “happening” in front of them. The show constantly pointed out to me that it was all a magic trick. Often quite literally saying that.

Like when Ford turned down Sizemore’s proposal for a new narrative. He said that people are looking for the things they believe that only they’ve found. Then the show itself proceeds to give us an overly dramatic Odyssey brimming with sensational sex and violence that was no better than Sizemore’s idea. Even in the context of the show, I was wondering how this Wyatt storyline was any better than the Red River narrative Ford turned down. And every element of the story was highlighted so that nothing really personal could be found in it.

All of the characters are “hosts” for the viewers and though Dolores may have escaped the maze of manipulation and found her voice in the context within the show, none of the characters ever finally came to life for me in the end.


#1232

So um… how did HR never notice that Bernard didn’t have a social security number or previous employment?


#1233

HR are all secret hosts?


#1234

I think the more likely answer is that, just like nearly everyone else working at Westeorld, they’re terrible at their job.


#1235

In all honesty, HR might not even know Bernard is there.


#1236

Good point, does a man who never leaves the mesa facility actually get paid? I mean real money he can spend anywhere? Did he mail order from future Amazon etc.?


#1237

I agree :slight_smile:


#1238

#1239

I finally finished watching Westworld season one last night. I ended up with very mixed feelings on the series as a whole - in some ways it was brilliant, with some smart exploration of interesting ideas, and an excellent final few episodes that paid off a lot of the build-up very well. And the production looked wonderful throughout.

Also, the quality of the acting was mostly very good - all-round to be honest, although having Hopkins and Harris bringing their best to a TV series like this felt like a particular treat, and the show instantly became 87% more engaging (approximately) whenever they were on screen.

But honestly, despite having so much going for it, I found the early sections of the season to be a slog. It often gave you so little to invest in - in terms of the characters and their motivations - that I came close to giving up on it altogether around halfway through.

(It’s been interesting to go over threads and reviews from when the show was airing (here and elsewhere) and see people’s reactions as they went along, and how much the show relied on speculation to fill the void that was created by the show giving us so little information about what we were actually watching.)

It was reassuring to see pieces start to really fall into place around the episode 7/8 mark though - I’m guessing the production break halfway through the season really helped them nail down their vision for what the larger story was, because it felt like there was far more focus and momentum towards the back end of the season.

While that’s partly due to us gaining a lot more information about the characters and their true roots and motivations towards the end, it’s also due to the way these later episodes were constructed: far more coherent than the early episodes, which often felt a bit aimless and drifting, even while they were setting out some very interesting details about the world of the show and how it worked.

The reveals towards the end were very well-handled though, and the strong final few episodes left me feeling much more enthused about the series than I was in the early stages.

But I’m still not sure the lengthy, opaque build-up was fully-justified: this wasn’t a story like (say) Memento or The Sixth Sense where you thought you were watching one compelling story and then the twists revealed that you were actually watching something quite different; it was a show where so many characters were unknown quantities and enigmas that it was impossible to really properly understand what was happening until you were given some key pieces of information, quite late in the story. And while the reveals did make sense of it all, I’m not sure they made up for the lack of story (or at least, the unclear nature of much of the story) in those early episodes.

Hitchcock famously used to say “never confuse an audience - a confused audience is not emoting”, and that’s how I felt about Westworld’s early stages.

That said, without those relatively plot-light early episodes, I don’t know if we would have had so much time to get stuck into some of the ideas about consciousness, narrative and interactive storytelling that ended up providing so much intellectual meat, and which I thought were handled very well indeed.

It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here, anyway - in some respects I think the first season tells a story that is satisfying in its own right and doesn’t really demand continuation, but in others I’m interested to see where the story takes us. In particular, it will be interesting to see whether the show introduces new mysteries to tease out slowly again, or whether the storytelling style becomes more immediate and direct now that the revolution has begun.


#1240

I think the big difficulty for them early on was balancing world building laced with a bit of storytelling mystery. They had to set the stage and create a compelling and reasonable fictional world, while still finding some way to bring the audience back next week. Did I think the way they handled that was the right way? Not really, but I did enjoy my viewing.

I did however appreciate that the major reveals started happening within 5 episodes, unlike many shows that lace in a mystery with no reveal until season 2 or 3 (coughLostcough). While things were confusing early on, I enjoyed getting a thorough view of Westworld and business as usual.


#1241

I was rarely confused, usually intrigued.

Right now ‘Legion’ is doing the opposite for me. Mileage really varies with these things.


#1242

I mean confused in the sense of not having an idea of how things fit together, to the extent that it was very difficult to invest in certain characters or their motivations - because we simply didn’t know who or what they were.

I don’t think anyone would pretend they had a good handle on a lot of those elements until the late stages of the season. At best, you could make a guess how a lot of it fit together.