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HBO's "Westworld" thread; spoilers allowed, with warnings

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Yeah, spoliers...

 

 

 

Ep 3 is much more of a slow-burner, but there's some great and subtle exposition that answers a lot of questions from the first two eps and also explores the main themes more deeply, one of which is, "When I discover who I am, I'll be free." There's an existential line for ya. Westworld ain't afraid of the big questions.

It also attempts to round off a few of the sharp edges of some of the human characters and - well, humanize them a bit. Some of this is a bit clumsy: Bernard lost a son (and his ex is Gina Torres! You lucky bastard! Or, just 'bastard' if you're cheating on her with Sidse Babette Knudsen, who even now I still think of as the prime minister of Norway after Borgen, sorry). Yes, sorry, I'm supposed to be feeling for Bernard's loss, which, he tells us, is pain he carries with him every moment, unsurprisingly. But this does lend his conversations with Dolores a greater depth, even if we don't yet know why he's doing it.

Other humans Elsie and Ashley go on a trek to find a rogue host woodsman who is carving maps of the stars into his art - whoa! Like ancient humans who pondered their place in the universe - and when their ends seemed sure, i realized I couldn't care less about either of them and awaited their deaths like they were characters on a TV show. But then, at the last moment, the writers upend that scenario and make it far more interesting. I look forward to the character development as they analyze their own near-deaths next week. The best and most convincing bit of character exposition in this ep was seeing relationship between William and his buddy Logan clarified - William is marrying Logan's sister which explains both the antipathy and the bond between them. So far, William is the only human I even obliquely care about, but this of course may be entirely deliberate. I am prepared to go with that.

Because the other humans really are mostly reprehensible.  Or, at least, the characters we think of as human are. What's William's missus-to-be like, as Logan mentioned her as also enjoying the pleasures of WW the previous week? Is this trip some sort of stag do?

More questions: what's the purpose of Dolores and Teddy being on their own and going through their characters' motions when there are no guests present? Why has Ford introduced an even nastier story into the overall park narrative when he vetoed Simon Quarterman's one last episode? This new one is really horrible - a death cult whose members aren't affected by WW bullets, so they can chop Teddy to bits. Are the hosts, or are they guests? They emit a supernatural sounding scary howl, either way.  If they're guests, this is a new level of depravity, along with the casual rape that we (think we've) seen Dolores endure. Who is Arnold? Apparently he's the genius dude who can build consciousness out of code and repeated behaviors, a bit like the dead guy in HUMANS who did same.

My guess is Arnold's the true mastermind, and Hoppo's Ford is really a host, already sentient and dedicated to liberating his robot brothers and sisters. (The bit where we saw a young Hoppo/Ford was a very cool bit of CGI de-aging.) Apparently, the only way to do this is with violence. Equally, in the scenes between Bernard and Dolores, part of me finds myself believing that Dolores is actually the human, while Bernard is the synthetic humanoid, and that'll be the big end-of-season reveal.

This episode was beautifully directed - there were a couple of moments where I had the uncanny perception that I'd seen some of the framing before because it seemed both familiar enough that I'd seen it or something like it before while being immediately memorable. That's some feat. (Turns out it's the guy that did The Descent and several episodes of Game of Thrones, Neil Marshall. Okay, then.)

WW is all about layering on the mysteries. It is great, involving TV, but ep 3 left me, like ep 1, wondering whether we'll get satisfactory answers to all the mysteries, if the robots carving constellations into rocks aren't just atmospheric moments that won't, after all, play into any larger outcome... Is this all a Lost-style shaggy-dog-story puzzle? I hope not. The central explorations of memory as identity (whether for AI or human) and self-determination are essential, central meditations in all storytelling and I can't say the show isn't compelling. I still wonder what kind of society would allow something like WW to exist, but the answer is of course the most easy, cynical one - ours would. Are any of the human visitors traumatized by their experiences in this most visceral of theme parks? Because I know I f@#king would be. I would really like to see that addressed.

So if WW, the show, exists to make us ask questions of ourselves and the approaching AI singularity, and of our place in the universe, I suppose that's a good thing...?

Edited by Robin Bland

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^
An honest, in-depth analysis.  And you're quite correct in pointing out some of the issues thus far; I can't disagree really, because I understand where the criticism comes from.   I'll respond more in-depth when I'm not so tired from putting up Halloween crap... :laugh:

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Here's one for you, Sehlat...! :)

http://io9.gizmodo.com/george-r-r-martins-idea-for-a-game-of-thrones-westworl-1787988902

 

^
An honest, in-depth analysis.  And you're quite correct in pointing out some of the issues thus far; I can't disagree really, because I understand where the criticism comes from.   I'll respond more in-depth when I'm not so tired from putting up Halloween crap... :laugh:

I'm not really criticizing it, because I am enjoying it. I just don't want it to prove to be just sleight-of-hand - symbolism for the sake of it, hollow reversals and twists because drama sez you have to do that. I want them - the show's producers - to have something to say, about AI, the state of the world and technology and where we're heading. If they do, then so far, they're saying it elegantly, via mystery, via slow and careful plotting and characterization - or they're doing a damn good imitation of it. If it's the latter, and it all does prove to be just hand-waving then I will rain opprobrium down upon their overpaid heads. Because they've got an opportunity to do something really good here.

I guess I'm just at my wit's end with Hollywood introducing cool ideas and having nothing to say dramatically. This is not really a criticism you can often level at high-end pay-cable channels like HBO, but I've been stung, so I'm wary. Don't get me wrong though - so far, I like Westworld...! It caught me, so in that sense, it's done its job. Now it has to pay off dramatically for it to become a worthwhile personal investment of time...

 

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Here's one for you, Sehlat...! :)

http://io9.gizmodo.com/george-r-r-martins-idea-for-a-game-of-thrones-westworl-1787988902

 

^
An honest, in-depth analysis.  And you're quite correct in pointing out some of the issues thus far; I can't disagree really, because I understand where the criticism comes from.   I'll respond more in-depth when I'm not so tired from putting up Halloween crap... :laugh:

I'm not really criticizing it, because I am enjoying it. I just don't want it to prove to be just sleight-of-hand - symbolism for the sake of it, hollow reversals and twists because drama sez you have to do that. I want them - the show's producers - to have something to say, about AI, the state of the world and technology and where we're heading. If they do, then so far, they're saying it elegantly, via mystery, via slow and careful plotting and characterization - or they're doing a damn good imitation of it. If it's the latter, and it all does prove to be just hand-waving then I will rain opprobrium down upon their overpaid heads. Because they've got an opportunity to do something really good here.

I guess I'm just at my wit's end with Hollywood introducing cool ideas and having nothing to say dramatically. This is not really a criticism you can often level at high-end pay-cable channels like HBO, but I've been stung, so I'm wary. Don't get me wrong though - so far, I like Westworld...! It caught me, so in that sense, it's done its job. Now it has to pay off dramatically for it to become a worthwhile personal investment of time...

 

Wrong word on my part (criticism); I should've just said analysis.   But the show is very early an I suspect that you and I will get a lot more of what we're wanting to see in the forthcoming episodes.  I hope it doesn't all creatively hit a dead-end (ala "Lost"), but I suspect that given the audience expectation, they won't settle on some easy-peasy way out of it all.    And I really want (as you do) an in-depth exploration of AI and our relationship with technology. 

And yes, I like the elegant plotting and slow-burn characterization... but there ARE limits.   There has to be emotional payoff sooner or later. 

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Spoilers...

 

 

More layers to the great onion-unwrapping mystery, more languid fleshing out of characters, although this week Maeve is the only one that's really interesting. (Thandie Newton is terrific.) We're supposed to be rooting for Dolores, who is egged on by Bernard, but Maeve is busily figuring out stuff for herself and her curiosity, intellect and quest for "truth" is therefore more compelling.  

There's a couple of major cliffhangers - what's Ford building? His sinister show of power over Sidse Babette Knudsen, ruler of Denmark AKA Theresa is very, er, sinister. He's a god, make no mistake. He's got a big thing with big teeth that digs big holes and remakes the surface of the earth. Is this even Earth? Now there's an extra star in Orion's Belt, so maybe not. Wait, though - is the park underground and is the sky fake? That'd explain the extra star. "For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky." 

I think everyone is a robot - there are no humans at all in this show. Humans are long extinct, but there are different levels of AI intelligence, and the high rule over the low. Consciousness can be shifted from body to body, which is maybe what Ed Harris' MiB Deep Gamer does when he's in civvies - he saves those consciousnesses somehow. 

Which is how a place like WW is allowed to exist - we, the viewers, are making the mistake of thinking there may be some human morality at work at the center of this show, but there it isn't. Which is why you don't have to really explain it, because the canvas isn't what we think it is. That is, we've been led to believe it's a relatively near-future scenario, but I'm not convinced of that now. And if I'm wrong, then the show will be less interesting for me as a result. At this point, I want a reveal to be as daring and off-kilter as that, because anything less might play as a bit humdrum. 

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More thoughts - at some point Dolores and Maeve are going to have to compare notes. Perhaps even with Abernathy. Maybe the park is miniature, and the model relief map we see in the control room really IS the park. 

The fact that I'm still thinking about the show the morning following watching an episode is good - I'm still into the mystery of it. But I'm still perturbed by, Maeve and William aside, the lack of any characters I can really give a toss about. Even William this week has become "Billy," the denomination change perhaps now denoting an easy slide into the mayhem the park invites.  

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Spoilers...

 

 

More layers to the great onion-unwrapping mystery, more languid fleshing out of characters, although this week Maeve is the only one that's really interesting. (Thandie Newton is terrific.) We're supposed to be rooting for Dolores, who is egged on by Bernard, but Maeve is busily figuring out stuff for herself and her curiosity, intellect and quest for "truth" is therefore more compelling.  

There's a couple of major cliffhangers - what's Ford building? His sinister show of power over Sidse Babette Knudsen, ruler of Denmark AKA Theresa is very, er, sinister. He's a god, make no mistake. He's got a big thing with big teeth that digs big holes and remakes the surface of the earth. Is this even Earth? Now there's an extra star in Orion's Belt, so maybe not. Wait, though - is the park underground and is the sky fake? That'd explain the extra star. "For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky." 

I think everyone is a robot - there are no humans at all in this show. Humans are long extinct, but there are different levels of AI intelligence, and the high rule over the low. Consciousness can be shifted from body to body, which is maybe what Ed Harris' MiB Deep Gamer does when he's in civvies - he saves those consciousnesses somehow. 

Which is how a place like WW is allowed to exist - we, the viewers, are making the mistake of thinking there may be some human morality at work at the center of this show, but there it isn't. Which is why you don't have to really explain it, because the canvas isn't what we think it is. That is, we've been led to believe it's a relatively near-future scenario, but I'm not convinced of that now. And if I'm wrong, then the show will be less interesting for me as a result. At this point, I want a reveal to be as daring and off-kilter as that, because anything less might play as a bit humdrum. 

^

I've heard that fan theory before; that all the park employees are robots as well.   That kind of fits too; we never see their 'personal' lives, and Ford knows even the most seemingly insignificant details of all of their lives; why?   Why would be know (let alone care)?   I could see Ford as some kind of lonely Geppetto-type; interacting with, and marveling over, his own world; his (to quote Stevie Wonder) "castle of dreams." 

It also fits with the mythology introduced in the 1976 sequel "Futureworld"; which also had the entire park's staff (and even executives) as robots too.   Their 'plan' was to replace key individuals (including visiting heads of state) with their android doubles, built at the park and programmed to make a more 'harmonious' outside world.   I don't know if Ford's plan would be so grandiose, but it's definitely something to think about...

And yes, I wonder about the geography of the park too.   How 'big' is it?   At first I was thinking it was some kind of climate controlled 'dome' (ala "The Truman Show") but that would be logistically impossible; there is only so much planet left, and in the future (when populations will get even greater) there won't be room for such an expansive (and expensive) Westworld-type park (even for 40K a day).   I too, was thinking either underground with an artificial sky (most likely) or the robots and humans are all interacting virtually somehow (though why create robots at all, if that were the case; one could just as easily make holographic characters at less cost).

 

I did like the clue dropped about Ed Harris' Deep Gamer's true background; when the other guest began to thank him for the work his 'foundation' has done (loved Harris' reply!  Used to feel the same when people I'd met through work recognized me on the street).   I take it Deep Gamer is some kind of Bill Gates' type, perhaps?  Personally I'd rather not know (unless it becomes vitally relevant); I prefer that character to remain an enigma.

But yes, sooner or later, the show WILL have to come clean about the exact nature of the park and I suspect it will.   My only worry is that, like LOST, the density of the mythology may be too 'built up' by then for ANY explanation to feel truly adequate or even plausible.  

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Spoilers...

 

 

More layers to the great onion-unwrapping mystery, more languid fleshing out of characters, although this week Maeve is the only one that's really interesting. (Thandie Newton is terrific.) We're supposed to be rooting for Dolores, who is egged on by Bernard, but Maeve is busily figuring out stuff for herself and her curiosity, intellect and quest for "truth" is therefore more compelling.  

There's a couple of major cliffhangers - what's Ford building? His sinister show of power over Sidse Babette Knudsen, ruler of Denmark AKA Theresa is very, er, sinister. He's a god, make no mistake. He's got a big thing with big teeth that digs big holes and remakes the surface of the earth. Is this even Earth? Now there's an extra star in Orion's Belt, so maybe not. Wait, though - is the park underground and is the sky fake? That'd explain the extra star. "For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky." 

I think everyone is a robot - there are no humans at all in this show. Humans are long extinct, but there are different levels of AI intelligence, and the high rule over the low. Consciousness can be shifted from body to body, which is maybe what Ed Harris' MiB Deep Gamer does when he's in civvies - he saves those consciousnesses somehow. 

Which is how a place like WW is allowed to exist - we, the viewers, are making the mistake of thinking there may be some human morality at work at the center of this show, but there it isn't. Which is why you don't have to really explain it, because the canvas isn't what we think it is. That is, we've been led to believe it's a relatively near-future scenario, but I'm not convinced of that now. And if I'm wrong, then the show will be less interesting for me as a result. At this point, I want a reveal to be as daring and off-kilter as that, because anything less might play as a bit humdrum. 

^

I've heard that fan theory before; that all the park employees are robots as well.   That kind of fits too; we never see their 'personal' lives, and Ford knows even the most seemingly insignificant details of all of their lives; why?   Why would be know (let alone care)?   I could see Ford as some kind of lonely Geppetto-type; interacting with, and marveling over, his own world; his (to quote Stevie Wonder) "castle of dreams." 

It also fits with the mythology introduced in the 1976 sequel "Futureworld"; which also had the entire park's staff (and even executives) as robots too.   Their 'plan' was to replace key individuals (including visiting heads of state) with their android doubles, built at the park and programmed to make a more 'harmonious' outside world.   I don't know if Ford's plan would be so grandiose, but it's definitely something to think about...

And yes, I wonder about the geography of the park too.   How 'big' is it?   At first I was thinking it was some kind of climate controlled 'dome' (ala "The Truman Show") but that would be logistically impossible; there is only so much planet left, and in the future (when populations will get even greater) there won't be room for such an expansive (and expensive) Westworld-type park (even for 40K a day).   I too, was thinking either underground with an artificial sky (most likely) or the robots and humans are all interacting virtually somehow (though why create robots at all, if that were the case; one could just as easily make holographic characters at less cost).

 

I did like the clue dropped about Ed Harris' Deep Gamer's true background; when the other guest began to thank him for the work his 'foundation' has done (loved Harris' reply!  Used to feel the same when people I'd met through work recognized me on the street).   I take it Deep Gamer is some kind of Bill Gates' type, perhaps?  Personally I'd rather not know (unless it becomes vitally relevant); I prefer that character to remain an enigma.

But yes, sooner or later, the show WILL have to come clean about the exact nature of the park and I suspect it will.   My only worry is that, like LOST, the density of the mythology may be too 'built up' by then for ANY explanation to feel truly adequate or even plausible.  

Have seen Futureworld once, too many years ago for me to accurately recall it, but yeah, it's not a new idea, I guess. It just seemed too obvious a thing for them to do, but last night's ep (with Ford's godhood illuminated even more than previously) made me think that's what they were angling at. That was actually a great scene, the way the wine overflowed when everyone (everyrobot?) stopped - Theresa's fear seemed palpable, but so did the ego clash between her and Ford. Hoppo always gives great value for money when it comes to sinister. Deep Gamer's cold threat to the other guest was also a greta moment.

And, on the other hand, as soon as we let go of the idea that they're all human characters, it'll make more of its own kind of sense. We seem to be being asked to empathize with Dolores (not so much, in my case), William and Maeve, so I'll go along with that. But, beyond the appeal of these characters, there's too few rules with which to frame anything - any of the character relationships, any of the various mysteries. Even Lost - which had a great many narrative problems, fun though the journey was - occasionally had scenes set in the real world via the flashbacks and flashforwards. Eventually, it collapsed under its own weight - there was no way a final episode could satisfy or explain the many mysteries they'd set up, but even in terms of its own mythology, it was a lackluster conclusion to those who'd followed the show from beginning to end.

I'm not really looking for similar with WW, and I'll take opacity and enduring mysteries if there are satisfying character arcs and good drama. The latter is being serviced well, but the former, not so much yet, although it's building. That, with the philosophical angles and greater exploration of ideas around AI consciousness may yet make WW a classic. Here's hoping.

 

Edited by Robin Bland

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WESTWORLD Renewed For Season 2 At HBO But With A Catch

HBO has renewed Westworld for season two but the critically-acclaimed show may not return until 2018. TV viewers are a fickle lot and could potentially move on to something else in that span.

That really sucks.

This is one of my favorite shows on at the moment.   My wife is going to be pretty sad when she hears this... we've had a lot of disappointment this week.  :S

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WESTWORLD Renewed For Season 2 At HBO But With A Catch

HBO has renewed Westworld for season two but the critically-acclaimed show may not return until 2018. TV viewers are a fickle lot and could potentially move on to something else in that span.

That really sucks.

This is one of my favorite shows on at the moment.   My wife is going to be pretty sad when she hears this... we've had a lot of disappointment this week.  :S

Look on the bright side... at least it is coming back!

I'm glad it is, too. I guess I'd rather they give it the time it needs to write and make season 2 rather than rush it.

Still catching up, as I was away but eps 5 & 6 were pretty magnificent. And answered a few questions too. I'm enjoying the quality. and I'm enjoying that I find it stimulating enough to return each week.

 

 

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My wife and I, after watching  Westworld 1.7...

latest?cb=20140329055519

The show is a slow burn, but in this case it really works (for me, anyway).  

I'm so glad the events of the 1973 movie didn't just happen right off in the pilot or the 3rd episode.  It's a gradual build that allows a few neat twists (Bernard Lowe, for example) and a deeper exploration of what life for the 'hosts' is like.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; this show is to the original 1973 Michael Crichton movie what 2003's Battlestar Galactica series was to the 1978 show; a mature, refined, keel-up reimagining that takes all the chances and explores all the avenues that were (and weren't even) hinted at in the original.

This show is one of the few pure scifi offerings on television these days (and not superheroes or fantasy).

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My wife and I, after watching  Westworld 1.7...

latest?cb=20140329055519

The show is a slow burn, but in this case it really works (for me, anyway).  

I'm so glad the events of the 1973 movie didn't just happen right off in the pilot or the 3rd episode.  It's a gradual build that allows a few neat twists (Bernard Lowe, for example) and a deeper exploration of what life for the 'hosts' is like.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; this show is to the original 1973 Michael Crichton movie what 2003's Battlestar Galactica series was to the 1978 show; a mature, refined, keel-up reimagining that takes all the chances and explores all the avenues that were (and weren't even) hinted at in the original.

This show is one of the few pure scifi offerings on television these days (and not superheroes or fantasy).

WW7 was superb. Made sense of both the slow build and the character arcs, and confirmed that it's more about themes and philosophies than simple mystery and plot resolution, which is just fine by me. It really paid off on an emotional level - and also upped the ante. Suddenly, the characters fit the roles, and the story, and even Dolores in a moment that might best be described as viral existential nausea opines, "I don't want to be in a story." WTF? WW almost broke the fourth wall here, in that it made the viewer question what it is we are watching, and why, and what that makes us. It's great, because suddenly you realise actually you are invested in the characters - it's crept up on you.

And Dolores, Will and what's taking place within the park aren't even the most interesting parts of the story - all the weird corporate stuff, the talk of "assets" and power plays made by various individuals, Maeve's new adventures in self-aware consciousness - this stuff was captivating. Of course, the big reveal was edge-of-the-seat stuff. I'd guessed it, I think a lot of people had, but that didn't make it any less dramatic, in part because the acting here, by all concerned, was so good. Hoppo as Ford is terrifying, SIdse-Queen-of-Denmark as Theresa justifiably terrified and that was just a mind-blowing, masterful turn by Jeffrey Wright. Just wow. I'm just sorry we won't see more of he and Ms Babette-Knudsen's excellent double act.

I'm still not convinced that anyone we see on the show is "human" (by our standards), even though Felix says he knows that he was "born." After all, even the hosts have belly buttons, so who is to know? Could just be another implanted memory.

 

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Last night, I watched ep 9, so spoiler-ish stuff follows...

 

 

Well, here we are, penultimate episode and I'm still none the wiser to what's going on. WW likes its layers, its circular patterns, and there are plenty of them. A lot of the theories that have been aired, here and elsewhere on the Internet, have turned out to be true. More than one timeline? Check - the hosts' memories are perfect and experience them, when they remember, as real, so Dolores runs around both wounded and unwounded, past and present, in a buried and unburied town, although you're not sure if there's actually a third timeline, too. Is William a younger version of Deep Gamer/MIB? Not sure if I could give two hoots. Bernard is confirmed as Arnold in that Arnold is the basis of Bernard, whom Ford doesn't seem to be able to run the park without so he built another version of him. That must've been weird for all the staff members and the Board who thought he was dead, but WW doesn't anchor itself in reasonable assumptions which might sell the drama better; you're asked to buy this outright with no details. Maybe they just never found out he died and this ageless dude turned up one day and to them it was just a character quirk that he changed his name from Arnold to Bernard. "Staff meeting, please. Henceforth, ye shall know me as Bernard. Don't ask why, I just fancied a change of name." Whereupon Ford erases his memory. Maybe that's what happening - everyone just is a robot, and Ford erases their memories all the time. maybe the whole park is just an artificial world, because we razed this one to the ground - well, at least that's not difficult to believe. 

They finally mentioned the Turing Test in passing, too, and waved it away as a signpost on the way to true consciousness. It's all mysterious, extremely well-produced - we see (two versions of a) younger Hoppo again, which is as unsettling as it is impressive an effect, and find out he's been willingly torturing Bernard since he first "came online." Wright sells this brilliantly - he and Maeve seem to be the only characters is possible to care about now, but that's because they're incredible actors. We find out (sort of) what happened to Elsie and Deep Gamer/MIB does indeed have some say in how the park is managed which is why his permissions seem sky-high. All that other stuff about why Theresa was sending info out of the park, or who Charlotte is, is left perhaps for greater revelations next episode. Amazing that people still carry around printed photographs in this future of fully-realised, artificially intelligent androids. Wouldn't you leave it in your locker on your phone before you entered the park? (Imagine how big the memory space on your phone must be - you could record you whole life on there.) I could buy that in episode 1, but when it returns as another major revelation here, it's jarring. 

But, overall, we still have no greater insight into precisely what each character is in search of, none of the nominal humans, anyway. It's never aired, there are just oblique hints, it's all so inscrutable and at this stage in the story that's become really tiresome. This is what leaves me floundering about this show - the revelations don't mean much, because it's so difficult to care. All the interweaving plots and timelines feel, at this point, like they are just a catalog of blood and horror, pointless cruelty - for what? Because it's no longer an exploration of memory per se, of what memory makes us, it's obfuscation. The exception is Maeve's journey, which is certainly the most interesting part of the story, and what keeps me watching. (This is where I miss Sidse Babette Knudsen's Theresa too, briefly present in flashback, but again, that's what an excellent actor imbued in the role, not what was written in the script.) 

While Jeffrey Wright's tortured Bernard and Hoppo's hypnotically villainous, sociopathic Ford are the other notably superb performances here, Thandie Newton owns the episode and really, the whole show; she's magnificent, by turns sympathetic and terrifying. You root for Maeve but you wonder if, unleashed, all she's learned is cruelty and that's all there is to her. She calls backstage of the park "hell" - and maybe that's what the whole place is. An artificial hell we built for ourselves. 

 

 

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

^
I was beginning to think that maybe something was off with the way my wife and I approach "Westworld", because we sort of just 'zen out' when we watch it.   We soak it in rather than methodically try to piece it together.    The answers sort of fall out of the sky rather than reveal themselves via clues, deductions and other traditional methods.  It's not quite like most other TV shows that I follow.  I've always felt that the mysteries of this particular show are less important than the meditations on reality and the dawning of true AI.   It's a 'feel' show rather than a mystery-deduce-solve kind of thing.  It's not traditional plotting AT ALL.   There are clues to the puzzle and other bits for the observant, but if you miss them or don't place as much importance on them as you usually would, it's okay.   They're window dressing to the feeling of the show, which is paramount. 

So while I understand and even sympathize with people who are frustrated with the series?  I can't really say I feel the same.   

I'm glad you posted this, because I was beginning to feel that maybe my wife and I were just watching it wrong. :laugh:

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

^
I was beginning to think that maybe something was off with the way my wife and I approach "Westworld", because we sort of just 'zen out' when we watch it.   We soak it in rather than methodically try to piece it together.    The answers sort of fall out of the sky rather than reveal themselves via clues, deductions and other traditional methods.  It's not quite like most other TV shows that I follow.  I've always felt that the mysteries of this particular show are less important than the meditations on reality and the dawning of true AI.   It's a 'feel' show rather than a mystery-deduce-solve kind of thing.  It's not traditional plotting AT ALL.   There are clues to the puzzle and other bits for the observant, but if you miss them or don't place as much importance on them as you usually would, it's okay.   They're window dressing to the feeling of the show, which is paramount. 

So while I understand and even sympathize with people who are frustrated with the series?  I can't really say I feel the same.   

I'm glad you posted this, because I was beginning to feel that maybe my wife and I were just watching it wrong. :laugh:

Not at all. I oscillate between different states while watching this show - a sense of frustration that the characters aren't more likeable, and a deep enjoyment of all that stuff talked about above (whether it was by me or others). The fact that it's provoked such thought must mean it's doing something. It's definitely not a show that you can just lightly graze on and I'd recommend it for that reason alone.

I like Bernard, but I'm intrigued by his lack of agency more than his character. The only character i can genuinely say I'm into and am rooting for is Thandie Newton's Maeve. Themes seem to motivate character on WW far more than any recognizable human traits, which also lends credence to the idea that everyone is in fact a robot - and this probably doesn't matter in the greater philosophical exploration of narrative in the show anyway.

And, I have to say, if they upend it all and make Maeve a first-class villain for season 2, then that's a classy bit of reversal. (Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm definitely in for season 2, whatever happens in the finale.) That'll definitely make you examine your motives, as an audience member.

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

^
I was beginning to think that maybe something was off with the way my wife and I approach "Westworld", because we sort of just 'zen out' when we watch it.   We soak it in rather than methodically try to piece it together.    The answers sort of fall out of the sky rather than reveal themselves via clues, deductions and other traditional methods.  It's not quite like most other TV shows that I follow.  I've always felt that the mysteries of this particular show are less important than the meditations on reality and the dawning of true AI.   It's a 'feel' show rather than a mystery-deduce-solve kind of thing.  It's not traditional plotting AT ALL.   There are clues to the puzzle and other bits for the observant, but if you miss them or don't place as much importance on them as you usually would, it's okay.   They're window dressing to the feeling of the show, which is paramount. 

So while I understand and even sympathize with people who are frustrated with the series?  I can't really say I feel the same.   

I'm glad you posted this, because I was beginning to feel that maybe my wife and I were just watching it wrong. :laugh:

Not at all. I oscillate between different states while watching this show - a sense of frustration that the characters aren't more likeable, and a deep enjoyment of all that stuff talked about above (whether it was by me or others). The fact that it's provoked such thought must mean it's doing something. It's definitely not a show that you can just lightly graze on and I'd recommend it for that reason alone.

I like Bernard, but I'm intrigued by his lack of agency more than his character. The only character i can genuinely say I'm into and am rooting for is Thandie Newton's Maeve. Themes seem to motivate character on WW far more than any recognizable human traits, which also lends credence to the idea that everyone is in fact a robot - and this probably doesn't matter in the greater philosophical exploration of narrative in the show anyway.

And, I have to say, if they upend it all and make Maeve a first-class villain for season 2, then that's a classy bit of reversal. (Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm definitely in for season 2, whatever happens in the finale.) That'll definitely make you examine your motives, as an audience member.

Maeve is definitely the anti-hero in the story; she's doing the right things (understanding herself, and trying to free herself from the lie that is her world), even if she does so with the bloodthirsty means programmed into (or rather programmed over) who she is. 

And Thandie Newton is just extraordinary.   The role is so completely HERS that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing it (hard to believe the role of 1973's Westworld madame was originally played by ST's own Majel Barrett!).

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

^
I was beginning to think that maybe something was off with the way my wife and I approach "Westworld", because we sort of just 'zen out' when we watch it.   We soak it in rather than methodically try to piece it together.    The answers sort of fall out of the sky rather than reveal themselves via clues, deductions and other traditional methods.  It's not quite like most other TV shows that I follow.  I've always felt that the mysteries of this particular show are less important than the meditations on reality and the dawning of true AI.   It's a 'feel' show rather than a mystery-deduce-solve kind of thing.  It's not traditional plotting AT ALL.   There are clues to the puzzle and other bits for the observant, but if you miss them or don't place as much importance on them as you usually would, it's okay.   They're window dressing to the feeling of the show, which is paramount. 

So while I understand and even sympathize with people who are frustrated with the series?  I can't really say I feel the same.   

I'm glad you posted this, because I was beginning to feel that maybe my wife and I were just watching it wrong. :laugh:

Not at all. I oscillate between different states while watching this show - a sense of frustration that the characters aren't more likeable, and a deep enjoyment of all that stuff talked about above (whether it was by me or others). The fact that it's provoked such thought must mean it's doing something. It's definitely not a show that you can just lightly graze on and I'd recommend it for that reason alone.

I like Bernard, but I'm intrigued by his lack of agency more than his character. The only character i can genuinely say I'm into and am rooting for is Thandie Newton's Maeve. Themes seem to motivate character on WW far more than any recognizable human traits, which also lends credence to the idea that everyone is in fact a robot - and this probably doesn't matter in the greater philosophical exploration of narrative in the show anyway.

And, I have to say, if they upend it all and make Maeve a first-class villain for season 2, then that's a classy bit of reversal. (Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm definitely in for season 2, whatever happens in the finale.) That'll definitely make you examine your motives, as an audience member.

Maeve is definitely the anti-hero in the story; she's doing the right things (understanding herself, and trying to free herself from the lie that is her world), even if she does so with the bloodthirsty means programmed into (or rather programmed over) who she is. 

And Thandie Newton is just extraordinary.   The role is so completely HERS that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing it (hard to believe the role of 1973's Westworld madame was originally played by ST's own Majel Barrett!).

Everybody in it is good. You expect Hoppo to be superb - he absolutely is - and actors of the caliber of Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babette Knudsen and Ed Harris. But Newton's frakking extraordinary. She is mesmeric. She practically pulls you into the screen with those fractional moments of expression that she registers - from curiosity to pain to the coldest rage in nanoseconds. She's taken that character's voyage of discovery to a whole other level. Emmy, methinks?

WW is definitely not something you experience only at the time you watch an episode - it's something cumulative that builds. It's impressionistic in what it leaves you with, more ideas than memorable moments or characters (Maeve excepted). If I sound as if I'm vacillating between liking it and not, the fact that I've expended this much energy thinking about it is pretty bloody good. Not many shows or movies manage to do that for me anymore. 

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

^
I was beginning to think that maybe something was off with the way my wife and I approach "Westworld", because we sort of just 'zen out' when we watch it.   We soak it in rather than methodically try to piece it together.    The answers sort of fall out of the sky rather than reveal themselves via clues, deductions and other traditional methods.  It's not quite like most other TV shows that I follow.  I've always felt that the mysteries of this particular show are less important than the meditations on reality and the dawning of true AI.   It's a 'feel' show rather than a mystery-deduce-solve kind of thing.  It's not traditional plotting AT ALL.   There are clues to the puzzle and other bits for the observant, but if you miss them or don't place as much importance on them as you usually would, it's okay.   They're window dressing to the feeling of the show, which is paramount. 

So while I understand and even sympathize with people who are frustrated with the series?  I can't really say I feel the same.   

I'm glad you posted this, because I was beginning to feel that maybe my wife and I were just watching it wrong. :laugh:

Not at all. I oscillate between different states while watching this show - a sense of frustration that the characters aren't more likeable, and a deep enjoyment of all that stuff talked about above (whether it was by me or others). The fact that it's provoked such thought must mean it's doing something. It's definitely not a show that you can just lightly graze on and I'd recommend it for that reason alone.

I like Bernard, but I'm intrigued by his lack of agency more than his character. The only character i can genuinely say I'm into and am rooting for is Thandie Newton's Maeve. Themes seem to motivate character on WW far more than any recognizable human traits, which also lends credence to the idea that everyone is in fact a robot - and this probably doesn't matter in the greater philosophical exploration of narrative in the show anyway.

And, I have to say, if they upend it all and make Maeve a first-class villain for season 2, then that's a classy bit of reversal. (Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm definitely in for season 2, whatever happens in the finale.) That'll definitely make you examine your motives, as an audience member.

Maeve is definitely the anti-hero in the story; she's doing the right things (understanding herself, and trying to free herself from the lie that is her world), even if she does so with the bloodthirsty means programmed into (or rather programmed over) who she is. 

And Thandie Newton is just extraordinary.   The role is so completely HERS that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing it (hard to believe the role of 1973's Westworld madame was originally played by ST's own Majel Barrett!).

Everybody in it is good. You expect Hoppo to be superb - he absolutely is - and actors of the caliber of Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babette Knudsen and Ed Harris. But Newton's frakking extraordinary. She is mesmeric. She practically pulls you into the screen with those fractional moments of expression that she registers - from curiosity to pain to the coldest rage in nanoseconds. She's taken that character's voyage of discovery to a whole other level. Emmy, methinks?

She certainly would have MY vote.   Honestly Thandie Newton's Maeve runs such a gamut every episode she is in.    She is never dull, and I can't imagine her ever being so. 

 

WW is definitely not something you experience only at the time you watch an episode - it's something cumulative that builds. It's impressionistic in what it leaves you with, more ideas than memorable moments or characters (Maeve excepted). If I sound as if I'm vacillating between liking it and not, the fact that I've expended this much energy thinking about it is pretty bloody good. Not many shows or movies manage to do that for me anymore. 

  

WW is like modern art that way; it's designed to spur thought and discussion.   And to make the audience feel something.  It evokes and provokes.  Arguably it even deliberately antagonizes sometimes, but that's good too.   Even if someone finds it enigmatic and hard to get a handle on, it's hard to forget.   So for me?  I kind of gave up trying to figure out the mechanics of the story and character histories, etc after about two episodes; now I just kind of experience the show.   Almost as if I were one of the tourists at Westworld.   I let the park and the characters work their magic on me.   So far, I'm really digging it, too! :thumbup:

My wife and I usually discuss each episode for about 15 minutes or more afterward.   Sometimes we speculate on what's going to happen or not, knowing full well that any one of our theories will very likely blow up in our faces at any moment (although we were both right about Bernard).   I can't remember the last time a show did that for us.   Maybe "Battlestar Galactica", but not too many.   Usually most shows give it all to you.   They leave little to nothing left at the end to speculate/fixate upon.  WW is all about that.   I suspect there are bigger answers and revelations down the road, but I'm also perfectly content to allow the show to reveal things in its own good time.    It's a slow burn (patience-taxing for newbie viewers, I'd imagine) but so far it's been worth the wait. 

 

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OK, I can feel a huge Westworld post coming on... but it'll have to wait.

Me, waiting... :P

giphy.gif

 

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

^
I was beginning to think that maybe something was off with the way my wife and I approach "Westworld", because we sort of just 'zen out' when we watch it.   We soak it in rather than methodically try to piece it together.    The answers sort of fall out of the sky rather than reveal themselves via clues, deductions and other traditional methods.  It's not quite like most other TV shows that I follow.  I've always felt that the mysteries of this particular show are less important than the meditations on reality and the dawning of true AI.   It's a 'feel' show rather than a mystery-deduce-solve kind of thing.  It's not traditional plotting AT ALL.   There are clues to the puzzle and other bits for the observant, but if you miss them or don't place as much importance on them as you usually would, it's okay.   They're window dressing to the feeling of the show, which is paramount. 

So while I understand and even sympathize with people who are frustrated with the series?  I can't really say I feel the same.   

I'm glad you posted this, because I was beginning to feel that maybe my wife and I were just watching it wrong. :laugh:

I've been watching it the same way you do, Sehlat (I've seen the first five episodes so far). I soak it in and enjoy the effect it has on me, rather than speculating too much about the mysteries. There are so many possible future mind f---s, it appears rather pointless to me to speculate, because the clues are ultimately too vague (or I'm missing them). I wait, see and enjoy.

What I'm immensely enjoying, though are the themes about what makes sentience (just memories? Loved that hint at "bicameral mind theory" about ancient humans thinking their thoughts are the voices of gods :thumbup:... and several other nice thrown in ideas), and the -- only hinted at -- breaking of the 4th Wall: Okay, I, a real life person sitting in front of a tv set, goes into a "Westworld" for entertainment by watching the show? But those are really not coherent thoughts I have, more bits and pieces of realization here and there. Ultimately, my short time memory is too unrealiable these days to really see patterns in all the clues and details, if there are any.

I'm glad though, after having started watching the show, that it isn't just symbolism for the sake of it (like much of David Lynch's stuff IMO) that is totally resistant to making sense of in rational terms -- even though there are heavy mysteries, the show does not confuse me, so far.

And yeah, as you guys have mentioned already, the actors and production values are superb. So on this level, it's gorgeous anyway.

SaveSave

Edited by Sehlat Vie
Edited for language. Careful, Sim...

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Don't worry, Robin of the past, it's Robin of the future here, with answers. You were right all along - the point is not the mysteries, or even the characters, but all the rich thematic stuff. So says io9, so it must be true, 'cause they're rilly klevah:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/if-youre-focused-on-solving-westworlds-mysteries-youre-1789616674

You were only ever talking to yourself on this thread, anyway. And what is a narrative, a story, if not culture's way of talking to itself...?

^
I was beginning to think that maybe something was off with the way my wife and I approach "Westworld", because we sort of just 'zen out' when we watch it.   We soak it in rather than methodically try to piece it together.    The answers sort of fall out of the sky rather than reveal themselves via clues, deductions and other traditional methods.  It's not quite like most other TV shows that I follow.  I've always felt that the mysteries of this particular show are less important than the meditations on reality and the dawning of true AI.   It's a 'feel' show rather than a mystery-deduce-solve kind of thing.  It's not traditional plotting AT ALL.   There are clues to the puzzle and other bits for the observant, but if you miss them or don't place as much importance on them as you usually would, it's okay.   They're window dressing to the feeling of the show, which is paramount. 

So while I understand and even sympathize with people who are frustrated with the series?  I can't really say I feel the same.   

I'm glad you posted this, because I was beginning to feel that maybe my wife and I were just watching it wrong. :laugh:

I've been watching it the same way you do, Sehlat (I've seen the first five episodes so far). I soak it in and enjoy the effect it has on me, rather than speculating too much about the mysteries. There are so many possible future mind f---s, it appears rather pointless to me to speculate, because the clues are ultimately too vague (or I'm missing them). I wait, see and enjoy.

What I'm immensely enjoying, though are the themes about what makes sentience (just memories? Loved that hint at "bicameral mind theory" about ancient humans thinking their thoughts are the voices of gods :thumbup:... and several other nice thrown in ideas), and the -- only hinted at -- breaking of the 4th Wall: Okay, I, a real life person sitting in front of a tv set, goes into a "Westworld" for entertainment by watching the show? But those are really not coherent thoughts I have, more bits and pieces of realization here and there. Ultimately, my short time memory is too unrealiable these days to really see patterns in all the clues and details, if there are any.

I'm glad though, after having started watching the show, that it isn't just symbolism for the sake of it (like much of David Lynch's stuff IMO) that is totally resistant to making sense of in rational terms -- even though there are heavy mysteries, the show does not confuse me, so far.

And yeah, as you guys have mentioned already, the actors and production values are superb. So on this level, it's gorgeous anyway.

SaveSave

And the symbolism is very important, but I didn't find it necessary to take notes while I was watching; I found that my 'soak it all in' approach worked just fine.   
At first, there were times when I was worried that the show was trying too hard to be artsy-fartsy, but I was actually enjoying the slow-burn mood and feel rather than rolling my eyes at any pretentiousness.  

And because it's HBO instead of regular network television, it has the time/budget/resources to take its sweet loving time.  Frankly, I can't remember the last time I saw a genuine scifi series (not a space fantasy, but REAL scifi) that truly took the time to do that; it's more like reading a science fiction novel than watching a television show, at times.

I do agree with Robin Bland that the similarly-themed show "Humans" (which I also love) is a much scrappier, gloves-off version of emerging AI.   "Humans" feels like "Blade Runner" without the opulence and more to the point.  And yes, there are times when I think WW could trim a little fat off its bones here and there, but I also think "Hey... isn't it great that we have BOTH options?"   It is, as I've heard said recently, "an embarrassment of riches."   What a wonderful time to be a scifi TV fan; we have multiple series dealing with emergent AI (!).  

When I was a kid, the breadth of new science fiction on TV was pretty much "Buck Rogers" "Mork & Mindy" and "The Incredible Hulk."   Oh, and "Doctor Who" on Saturdays, if you lived near a PBS station.

The fact that we have so many wonderful genre options these days (so many that I can't even watch them all), is pure awesomeness.

So we now have the leaner, scrappier "Humans" and the bigger, slow-burning and more opulent "Westworld."   

I say, watch both of 'em.  ;)

IP73r.gif

 

 

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Finished the first season and I want to say... wow!

The answers provided were really satisfying, IMO. Though I think I have to watch the season a second time, to let it all really sink in.

The revelation about Gunslinger/William's identity was something I had suspected for quite a while. And I wonder if we'll get to see more of Anthony Hopkins after all?

Only thing that -- slightly, just slightly -- bothered me, was that I feel that all this deliberate fuss, the deliberate obfuscation and interlaced storytelling during most of the season didn't really serve a purpose, except straining after effect for the sake of it. The story would have been just as good, perhaps even better, if they hadn't obscured all their clues so much, and instead focused on the characters more. Perhaps I'd even be able to *like* one of the characters by the end of the season, if they hadn't avoided telling too much about them, just for the purpose of not spoiling the end revelations?

But that's just nitpicking. Really loved the show! :thumbup:

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