Westworld - Hopkins, robots, six-guns


#843

I am going to agree with Tom here. The only reason that I am sticking with this show is Thandie Newton, and anything her character does. Her character, and story arc through the first 2 seasons is great. I especially loved the ending, where she makes a choice that saves her daughter.

I love the ideas on this show, I love the whole humans vs robots dynamic that is forming. Where you have robots making other robots, and deciding that they are more human than you man. I think it could be really interesting going forward.

I also don’t know how this show continues? It was clear that we are going back to the park, as we had some shots of the techs and hosts at the end. But are we going to have 2 storylines then? One in the park and one outside the park?

I also agree that the issue with this season is that we had 9 episodes of preamble, and one episode of action. I really dislike the mystery box storytelling in shows like this. Also, the multiple timelines nonsense just made things more confusing. My wife said to me, “You can watch season 3 if you want to, I am done”

I am a sucker for Sci-fi, so I am super interested where this show goes, but man are the show-runners of this going a bit crazy up their own asses with the way they put together the show.

Shows like this make me appreciate “The Leftovers” so much more. Where there is a direct rebuttal of the mystery box format. And you can just “Let the Mystery Be”.

I will watch season 3, but only because I like Jeffery Wright and Thandie Newton so much.


#844

Broadly speaking, I think Westworld misunderstands the appeal and potential of almost every character and relationship they give us, all the while fumbling the storytelling with framing gimmicks that could work in a tightly focused movie, but undermine a sprawling episodic show.

It’s badly made television.

I understand, for example, why telling the first half of Bernard’s story (the events leading up to his first visit to the forge and decision to scramble his memories) at the same time as the second half of his story (awaking with mixed up memories and his journey back to the forge) could be a cool way to reveal a story to the audience about memory (gosh, almost like Memento!). The simultaneous culmination of those two sequential arcs is neat, watching Bernard in the past make a decision at the same time Bernard later realizes his decision as it comes to fruition was cool.

But it affects the pacing and the engagement we have with every other character and story in the show as we’re trying to figure out if there’s a significance to the narrative time skipping for them too.

It’s like they remade Memento, but instead of the secondary characters just revealing more about Leonard’s situation, they’re also having a whole Game of Thrones show all around Leonard.

And as an example of misunderstanding the appeal of their characters, exhibit A: everything to do with William. He was a thin sketch of a character in season one, and in season two, it looks like they just pivoted him into a different thin sketch of a character. There’s barely any reason for him to do anything he does, there’s no reason at all for anyone else to treat him the way they do.

All that said, as best as possible in this mess of a show, this finale takes everything they’ve set in motion—for better or worse—and gives it about as good a conclusion as it could. I wish the show was just ending. I thought season two had promise for the first few episodes as it set the stage, but then I completely checked out on almost everyone’s stories and ultimately don’t like this season at all, but the finale is surprisingly effective at bringing it all together.


#845

I’ll have to re-watch the episode because by the end I was struggling to stay awake, but I was unclear on…

Summary

whether Maeve made it into The Sublime (the “virtual Eden”). Did she pass her personality to the other Host mother somehow? Also, was there still an Evan Rachel Wood version of Dolores by the end as well (maybe I missed that due to drowsiness) who made it out into the real world?


#846

Ambiguous as to the first thing, or at least I wasn’t clear on it either. As to the second, Dolores went to Arnold’s house and printed her old body.


#847

My comment during the middle of the finale.

Oh hey, here are those characters who were with Maeve! We haven’t seen them in like 3 full episodes of the show.

This is the big problem I have with the show, it is telling 5 storylines that only end up connecting lightly at some points. It got a bit messy, and the pacing suffered horribly.

  1. Dolores and the rise of the machines
  2. Maeve: Daughterquest in the year 3000!
  3. Man in Black: Bad Dad does bad
  4. Convoluted corporate takeover plot
  5. Bernard’s stand alone complex
  6. Ghost Nation episode: Dances with robo-wolves.

Oops I miscounted.


#848

I think I’m done with this show. I love most if the main actors and the imagery, but this show does nothing engaging with it. The showrunners are content to wallow in the mystery box.

The revelation by Lisa Joy that the coda with William is a scene from some far-off future timeline that we may not even explore next season is some hot BS. I just can’t deal with it anymore.


#849

With my broad, “balanced” opinions out of the way, there’s a lot to complain about in just about every facet of this season. So here’s where I complain about Maeve.

She was compelling in season one as she began to remember her past stories and was almost driven mad with grief at what had been done to her and her daughter. Season one was about discovering that abuse and positioning herself to set out and do something about it. All good stuff. With no disrespect to Thandie Newton, she was a drag for this entire season because they never figured out anything interesting to do from where season one left her.

A big part of the problem wasn’t limited to her, the whole season struggled with reconciling the hosts memories of their stories with their “enlightenment”. The finale really leans on the idea that ultimately, humans are the “passengers”, locked into their lives by simple, powerful drives, and what makes the hosts (potentially) superior is that they can truly change. But up until the finale, this season was leaning heavily the other way—on the pathos and drama of Dolores (sorta), Teddy, Maeve, and Akecheta righting the wrongs of their stories, getting their revenge, doing exactly what the last minute pivot suggests is a very human limitation.

Akecheta’s tale fully embraces the redemption of his past life, giving him a reunion with his lost love. Teddy takes a darker turn, but is ultimately rejecting his enlightenment as well as he opts to kill himself because he doesn’t like what he’s become. Dolores’ arc is the only one in line with the finale, she starts very strongly driven by concern for her “father” but slowly moves past that attachment, embracing the freedom she’s discovered and driven ultimately just to secure and spread that freedom.

Maeve’s is just this wishy-washy middle ground, but with a whole bunch of screen time. She’s never able to move past her past, but it’s never resolved in a satisfying way (like Akecheta), and it drags out much longer than Akecheta or Teddy’s stories. She spends the whole season in pursuit of her daughter (or pursuing her daughter’s safety), but she knows it’s not really her daughter, but she’s still determined to “save” her, but then it’s not always clear from what. And sometimes Maeve seems like a force of nature who will not be stopped by any power of host or human, and sometimes Maeve seems tragically resigned to inaction, and it’s never clear why (never mind the hazily defined powers she has that seem to ebb and flow with the potential for a threat to be milked for drama).

So in the end, she gets this little girl host into The Sublime, but they try to make it like some heroic connection, when it’s never really clear that the “daughter” feels anything toward Maeve—does she love her new mother? Does she remember Maeve as powerfully as Maeve remembers her? Maeve telling her she will be with her rings hollow—does this girl even care, or is she just happy this crazy lady held off the zombies long enough for her to escape?

They’d better have a hell of a justification and compelling, focused story to tell if they bring back Thandie Newton for season 3. Given her profile on the show, I’m almost certain she’ll be back, and given the writing of season 2, I’m almost certain it’s going to suck again.


#850

I thought that was what made that sacrifice so great. She had no way of knowing that her daughter would remember her, and she didn’t care, as long as she was safe. To her it didn’t matter.

I also really liked the british(?) writer guy reciting the speech he wrote for handsome-beard-bandit guy to a hail of gunfire (The fact that I don’t remember these character’s names is also a flaw with this season)


#851

I don’t think this season was quite as good as the first but I still thought it was largely great. I’ve been really baffled by how negative the reception has been here - to the show as a whole, really.

That said, I think the finale was probably my least favorite episode. It does resolve the various plotlines and solve a lot of the outstanding mysteries, but I felt like there were some really bad lines of dialogue, especially early in the episode, and the way it resolves some of those plotlines made them feel retroactively a bit pointless to me.


#852

That could’ve been compelling if they’d artfully made me more certain that was the idea. Like if Maeve never even got close to the girl, but just witnessed her escape from a distance. Or if they wanted even more of a gut punch, get them together but make it clear the girl doesn’t remember her, and Maeve still sacrifices all for her.

But instead of showing us Maeve putting the girls’ freedom above her own connection, we get Maeve giving her this final “reassurance” that she will be with her, which just makes Maeve seen more misguided than noble.

He was a good example of a perfectly good little b-plot that was stretched and diluted by the structure of the season. And I guess I should acknowledge those kind of complaints aren’t all specifically because of Bernard’s time-skipping, that shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. We see the same problems in Game of Thrones—do you devote your episodes to a little bit of a lot of stories, or do you focus on one at a time, and how do you move back and forth?


#853

Except that Game of Thrones, generally, has events happen in order. Some flashbacks here or there, but you don’t have an entire season showing the aftermath of the red wedding episode one, and the event happening in episode 10. That is really shitty, and is the worst part of Westworld.

It is like rather than making a story and characters compelling, they also need to use narrative devices to compel viewers to keep watching.

I will disagree with you on Maeve, only because I felt like they did the good version of this you mention. That girl never acknowledges Maeve, no hint of any sort of memory from her. And Maeve saw that, and it didn’t matter to her. I don’t know if that is what the creator’s intention was, but that is what I interpreted it as, and I suppose they are at fault for making that more ambiguous than it should have been.

Also,

I was like 80% right here?


#854

I was just adding that as sort of an afterthought, and to clarify: jumping around in time for Bernard made things more confusing and affected the overall structure and pacing of the season, and not for the better. I agree that was a problem.

But as I was thinking about it, there’s no guarantee that telling all the stories more or less in order would’ve fixed things, for the same reason Game of Thrones’ pacing and plotting sometimes struggles. A lot of main characters off on separate journeys presents a challenge when deciding how long to spend with each one and how often to come back for updates as you try to move the entire world along to keep everyone roughly aligned for when stories intersect again.


#855

William was never a robot in the main time line of the show. The post credits scene was a whole different thing that we have no current context for.


#856

Which makes zero sense without the showrunner’s explanation in an interview.


#857

Also zero sense with the showrunner’s explanation! Win-win!


#858

True! “We wanted drop this future turd on the end of the season, but we’re probably not going to explore it next season anyway!” Master level audience trolling.


#859

She said they would be exploring it, just it wouldn’t be the main focus of the season. Which I for one would not want it to be.


#860

Guys, it’s not a bug, it is a feature

Brett Lovejoy spends about eight to 10 hours a week watching “Westworld.”
Watching, in this instance, doesn’t simply refer to sitting in front of a television screen. He’ll replay the episode once or twice, but mostly the 27-year-old West Virginia native spends that time reading through and contributing to online forums dedicated to dissecting every sequence of the show for hidden meaning.

Fans, they’re not like us.

“That’s what mystery is: purposely withholding information,” Carter said. “I saw someone tweet that they don’t need to do this whole time-moving-around thing. It’s an unnecessary gimmick. But that’s like saying, ‘Why does Shakespeare need this iambic pentameter gimmick?’ It’s fundamental to what the show is. If you don’t like it, maybe it’s not for you.”

Ah yes, master of writing gimmicks, the Bard himself

The approach, though, may have a potential downside. Hubbard, who calls the show “Sudoku for people with art degrees,” worries that future showrunners might see the community around “Westworld” and try to emulate it.

“If this continues, I’m worried we’re going to have bad art and filmmaking just to preserve the mystery box,” he said.

Already there.

I also like that this is a put down for people with art degrees and people with science degrees.


#861

Of course it won’t be a main feature. I doubt they even know how it fits into their own story other than it being a gotcha epilogue.


#862

My conclusions: I could have used these 90 minutes to watch not one but two The Terror episodes, and not this self-indulgent, convoluted, almost irremediable mess that didn’t know when to end, full of idiot balls (both literal and metaphorical), cartoony villains, deus ex machinas, and more.