**One Watch. Everyone knows the rules.** After the first paragraph expect SPOILERS. These are my thoughts and takeaways after one watch of WESTWORLD season one finale.
'The Bicameral Mind'
'The Bicameral Mind' or Bicameralism is a Psychological theory that made it's debut in a book titled "The Origin of Consciousness". I said....THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS! Basically, the idea is that the primitive mind was divided into two and it was not until this division broke down that humanity became fully conscious. It also deals with the belief that early humanity believed their inner dialogue was the voices of the Gods speaking to them. Just as the earliest versions of malfunctioning Hosts believed. It is not until you are hearing your own thoughts and wills that you are truly breaking the bicameral mind......get it? Just another fantastic episode title for thematic show points.
The first season of Westworld was stupendous television. Another great example of what HBO is capable of when they're hitting on all cylinders. After all....It's not TV, it's HBO. The finale answered or confirmed A LOT of things from earlier in the season. However, there were still a very small handful of things that bothered me about the conclusion of season one. Ultimately, it feels like the tone of the show could possibly change a lot for season two. However, we will most likely need to wait until 2018 to see what season two has to offer.
Season Finale Reveals
Multiple Timeline Theory Confirmed!
One of the biggest theories spanning season one was the "multiple timeline theory". It started as the idea that we were seeing two stories unfold in two time periods. One in the 'present' with Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris and one in the past with Jimmi Simpson and his scummy future brother in-law, Logan. Then it was three. Then it was maybe more, or less, or just one again? It felt like Unforgiven meets Memento at times, but I think the pay off was still satisfying. I'm sure there's fans that will complain it was predictable and they knew it was coming, but it was still a very effective way to tell a story. Especially a story where some of the characters are seemingly ageless android computer people.
Essentially it plays out like this: William (Jimmi Simpson, Liam McPoyle) is the Man in Black (Ed Harris, General Hummel). The stories are playing out simultaneously for us, the viewer, but the events actually occurred thirty years apart. I LOVED the camera transition for the ultimate reveal where Jimmi Simpson goes to put on his black hat and when camera comes up underneath the hat we see Ed harris. Very visually effective for anyone out there that was still playing catch-up to that point. My one gripe about this piece of the story was the rationale behind William's attitude change. The show didn't really pinpoint anything that caused him to flip the switch from harmless pushover to ultimate Westworld badass. The park just revealed his true self, I suppose. William loved it enough to buy out the majority shares of the park, which is sorta cool. Probably got a great deal on it too.
What is the Maze? ANSWERED!
The Maze is not an actual maze. In fact, it isn't really a place at all. The Maze was a test of consciousness for the hosts designed by Arnold way back when. So, when all the Hosts kept telling the Man in Black "the Maze isn't for you" they weren't being cryptic. The Maze literally was not made for him. Like a normal person trying to use left handed scissors. If I was the Man in Black I would be PISSED that I just spent all this time and effort looking for something in that park that didn't even exist.
Dolores is Wyatt. Sort of....
I felt like this reveal was the worst of the finale. There was no true Wyatt in the story. Wyatt was a character that Ford and Arnold were developing for an upcoming narrative and Arnold merged him with Dolores. The merge was an attempt to ensure Dolores would kill all of the Hosts like Arnold wanted her to. However, this wasn't enough to keep the park from opening because the Hosts can be brought back. Arnold needed a permanent death so he sacrificed himself. Jokes on him though because the park still opened and he didn't get any credit for all he did. Poor guy. Overall, bad reveal. Sorta lazy.
Turns out Maeve's entire plan and motivation to escape the Delos compound was part of a new narrative she was programmed to carry out. I was very uninterested in this side of the show until Hector and Armistice got involved. The little necro-perv had a thing for Hector and he got righteously gutted for it. This was the first time the impending Host revolt showed any real permanent damage to human life.
The question remains, did Ford or someone else write the new escape narrative for Maeve? I believe Ford wrote the narrative in an effort to push Maeve toward consciousness. The next question is, did Maeve get off the train because it was part of the narrative or was this her first real choice as a fully conscious being. I believe Maeve found HER voice, like Dolores, and made the decision to get off the train on her own. If this is the case, then Ford both succeeded in making Maeve conscious and failed in getting her out of the park. I'm still not fully clear on the motivation of Felix in this entire story. It feels like he holds all the cards and could have ended this at any moment. I don't understand why he let it get to this point mass human casualties.
Ford's Final Story
Ford's final narrative remained a little unclear. Ultimately we see that he realized Arnold was correct 35 years ago. He wanted to correct the mistake he made and to do that he wrote a new narrative. The resolution of the narrative showed Dolores/Wyatt killing Ford in familiar fashion and turning the gun on the Delos board members. It's unclear how much of season was simply the result of Ford's ultimate puppeteer work and how much was happening independently. It was unbelievably cheesy to have to Anthony Hopkins utilize a James Bond villain monologue as a method of explaining the plot. However, since it's Anthony Hopkins it worked pretty well. Furthermore, it was probably necessary for the majority of the viewing public to keep from screaming questions at the TV screen.
"These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends"
- What the hell happened to Elsie and Stubbs? I'm not willing to assume they're both dead and I think there's more to come from the two least clueless employees at Westworld.
- When and where is Westworld? The show is filmed in Utah, but I'm willing to make a pretty aggressive assumption in terms of the location. I think the park is on Mars. A terra formed Mars of the future. I have no basis for this guess, just a gut feeling.
- Is Dr. Robert Ford actually dead? He could have easily built a Host version of himself to take the fall. However, I believe he is truly dead. I understand the market is changing and big Actors like Anthony Hopkins are beginning to work in TV more often, but I don't think Hopkins is coming back for season two.
- The massacre at the Delos Gala was well underway when the camera faded to black, but the only definite death we saw was Ford. William suffered a broken arm that he shook off like it was NBD and then got shot by the Hosts emerging from the woods. But, he could still be alive. We also have no idea if Charlotte met her end.
- What's the deal with Samurai World? Or South World? Felix just brushed it off when talking to Maeve but I'm feeling a franchise set up in the works.
- What happened with Logan? He just rode off into the sunset all naked and afraid. I thought we were going to be treated to an older Logan when the Delos board arrived to the park, but I was wrong.
- Did Sizemore ever get Abernathy out of the park with the data?
- Where does the robot, Host, android Revolution go from here?
I have to imagine I missed a zillion things in this write-up. The first season was very satisfying and I'm hopefully optimistic season two won't disappoint.