Sunday, December 18, 2016

What I’m Watching: Westworld (Season Finale)

Westworld: Season 1, Episode 10 “The Bicameral Mind” (A-)

I’m pretty impressed with myself – I managed to watch this finale almost two weeks after it aired and I didn’t have anything ruined. And there was a lot to ruin in this episode, though one thing was infinitely more impactful and transformative than the rest. I had always wondered about how Dolores kept waking up and being questioned by Dr. Ford and the technicians and then seemingly returning to the park and her same journey with William. The way in which his transformation into the Man in Black was revealed was spectacular, and I loved realizing the connection part of the way through his explanation. That twist is an indication of masterful storytelling, following two narratives happening in very different times with the same exact characters. What an awful place this park must be to be able to transform someone like William into the black-souled Man in Black. The notion of the maze being for the hosts and not the guests is interesting, and what I’m still not quite clear on is how only hosts can be hurt in the park yet both Arnold and then – quite dramatically – Dr. Ford were shot in the head by Dolores and actually died. It was so strange to see all the hosts on display with the board eagerly watching and applauding, and it quickly turned into a horror show that even Charlotte won’t be able to spin, if she makes it out alive. Maeve’s hostile takeover was brutal, employing the aid of two programmed killers to make her escape and then leaving them behind to go see the world on her own. The danger of the rise of the machine was on full display here, and what I can’t comprehend is why Felix did all that he did to assist her. I’ll assume it was out of lust or love, and Maeve’s best line was to tell him that he made a terrible human being, which was a compliment. Her deciding not to leave was a tease that will leave us waiting a while to find out if hosts actually can leave the park, and at least we got confirmation that her awakening is playing out at the same time as Dr. Ford’s death, which all but guarantees that her attempt escape will go unnoticed because everyone in Westworld has much more problematic things to deal with at the moment. This has been a superb season, and I look forward to seeing season two whenever it comes out after this show takes home a handful of deserved awards.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Thandie Newton as Maeve