*After the first paragraph expect SPOILERS. These are my thoughts and takeaways after one watch of the above mentioned media.
Westworld is positioning it's self to be the next must watch Sunday night appointment television. I suggest getting on the 'train' (you'll get the joke if you watch the show) now or you'll be trying to find time to binge watch three seasons before you know it. Episode two brought more action, interaction, and intrigue than the first but kept the mystery of this freaky kinky theme park fully intact. Westworld has a dense cast of characters, both in and out of the park, and storylines to go with it. Much like Game of Thrones, Westworld gives you plenty of opportunity to be confused about why that guy is killing that guy. I thought he was with them?! Westworld also poses plenty of questions, alla LOST, but is already giving us some answers. I'm going to try to touch on all of the most important questions raised in the first two episodes. The questions are probably the most important aspect of the show at this point as it helps to decide how the characters traverse their storylines to answer them. It also gives us, as the audience, things to follow week to week and look forward to exploring. Expect spoilers and all my gut reactions from episode two of the HBO sci-fi series, Westworld.
This show has more storylines than you can conceivably follow with only one watch. Which becomes even more complicated in this episode as it focuses on actual storylines in the theme park, or 'narratives', and how the Hosts try to pitch theirs to the guests. This has a very similar feel to 'missions' in video games. We see different options for the guests of the park that start the moment they arrive to Westworld. Our newest new-comer, William (Jimmi Simpson), enters the park and gets a choice of clothes, gun, hat, girl. William picks the white hat, which I assume means he's the good guy to Ed Harris' villain, the Man in Black. However, stay on your toes, because appearances are deceiving in Westowrld. From there we see how they get into the park...sort of. William goes on to explore the park with his buddy, Logan, who has certainly been to the park before and has no issue using the park as his own Sodom and Gamora. Or as Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) puts it, "Their rape and pillage". For the majority of the episode William tags along being the good boy but meets Dolores when he hands her that can that she always seems to drop. Certainly a subtle 'mission pitch' but it has now had three different men on the receiving end. Teddy (James Marsden), the Man in Black, and William.
Meanwhile, back at the lab Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Elsie (Shannon Woodward) continue trying to analyze the 'glitch' and get some answers. We find out later that corporate and the decision makers at the top aren't ll too keen on this. Maeve (Thandie Newton), the head hooker with an awful name, gets all types of messed up mentally because of some old memories that they forgot to erase from a past storyline? Elsie tries to fix the issues that she can see to keep her in rotation, all while wondering if this 'glitch' is contagious or if it's somehow being passed from host to host.. One really interesting thing I caught was that Elsie notices "physical discomfort" that ends up being MRSA in Maeve's stomach. This brings on an entire new batch of questions about the make up and creation of the hosts. The same questions raised early in episode one when the group led by Ashley (Luke Hemsworth, Thor's shortest brother) comment on the bad smell in the basement because the cooling system is broken down. It's important to note that the timelines in each of the first two episodes don't line up as we are watching them. You can never safely assume that what we are seeing in the lab or in the park is happening in the order we are watching it. Watching Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) go into his own park and explore the wilderness with a young park guest was particularly interesting. On one hand, a little weird that he thinks it's totally fine to take a young boy away from his family in the middle of the wilderness, but also very cool to see him control the snake like a magician. Or is the boy a host that's like a version of Ford himself as a kid? Because I can't imagine both dads say that. And they both have an accent? Pretty pretty pretttayyy odd. One thing I think I'm going to get really tired of is Hopkins' character constantly talking like an ancient greek philosopher. Everything he says is a riddle or so extremely profound that people are left scratching their heads wondering if he even said anything real at all. With that being said, I loved the line "Everything in this world is magic, except to the magician."
Questions from the first two episodes....
- Where is Westworld? Is it even on Earth? How far in the future is this taking place? How expensive is it really to visit the park? Is inflation so extreme at this point in the future that literally everyone is a millionaire but it's not even a big deal to be a millionaire anymore? Overall, where is Westworld and when is this future?
- What are hosts really? It appears the older versions, like the one Ford is interacting with in the basement during episode one, is a robot with gears and more obvious robotic tendencies. However, are the new hosts made of organic material? Are they actually humans with more cybernetic brains that can be programed like computers? If they get get MRSA like Meave ends up with, then they must be made of actual human organic material, right? If that's the case, aren't they sort of manufacturing people???
- What is the maze the Man in Black is pursuing? How did he find out that there was "another level" to the park or a maze in the first place? How did he know he could find answers to the maze on Kissy's scalp? What is his overall plan, his endgame? He obviously has been coming there for thirty years and even says he likes Westworld more than the real world. I'm also curious if the Man in Black is actually the bad guy or just seems that way right now. Who is the Man in Black in the real world? Why does Short Thor say "that gentleman can do whatever he wishes"? Or whatever he says. Is it because he's given them so much business or is he someone more important?
- What is the corporation or the board overseeing Westworld? It appears that Rob Ford invented the park or at least his original vision invented the park. Robert Ford is to Westworld what Walt Disney is to Disney World. However, there have been numerous mentions of a board or a corporation that he answers to.
- Is Bernard getting to the bottom of something nefarious by speaking with Dolores, the oldest existing host? What is the purpose of these talks and does anyone else know about them? Along the same lines, are these glitches contagious like they suggest early in episode two? Or is Ford implanting these issues on purpose to expose something bigger?Bernard suggests the Abernathy glitch was created as a sabotage of sorts. Who could be responsible for this?
- What is Ford's new narrative that he has planned and is it related to the Maze? We know you can find the Maze where the snake lays it's eggs and Ford did come across the snake while showing that boy/young Ford robot the location of the new narrative. He later (or earlier?) shows the same church to Bernard for the narrative.
- What's up with the big plastic box where they hose down the hosts? How often do they have to do that? Everyday? Every week? How long does it take? I guess that group was the sloppy ones they mention as to why Meave got MRSA? Do they have to constantly close up bullet holes? Can the hosts get STDs?? BURNING QUESTIONS!
Stay tuned for more One Takes