Westworld Catch-All - Spoilers Ahoy!

I binge watched this this week after several coworkers practically begged me to check it out. For now, I am entertained and thoroughly enjoying the existential bent of the subject matter.

As long as the show began with the end in mind, meaning they establish rules and stick to them as they are revealed, I'm OK with stuff being deliberately hidden from the audience for the sake of storytelling on their terms.

What will piss me off is if this show really has no consistent rules and is constantly spinning up questions and plot threads that will never be resolved. With JJ Abrams even remotely involved, I have my doubts.

That was a great episode. My theory was totally wrong and I really don't mind at all. I have no idea what they're going to do for season 2 and the wait to 2018 will be very long...

I heard Ed Harris did sign for season 2. Not that it means anything, he could only be there in flashbacks. His grin at the end was priceless.

Well, while I don't think the season was well written overall, it surprisingly, surprisingly ended up in a place I can deal with. WTF? I never thought I would be writing that given how bad the last half of the season was written.

Overall, the first season is super contradictory, wishy-washy, and annoying. God dammit, they could have actually pulled off that last (awesome) episode without all the BS they pulled for about 5 episodes. The multiple timelines thing was ridiculously pointless and stupid and now completely swept under the rug. Computers and AI don't work that way over 30 years. It's just a nope, nope, nope, to everything they did with William and the Man in Black.

I didn't expect that they could actually wash their hands of the multiple timelines fiasco and set up a point where they could do a legitimately good 2nd season. I'm really surprised. Still, given how badly written a lot of season 1 is, my expectations for the future of the series are extremely tempered. At least they won't be able to rely on Anthony Hopkins' acting this time.

I ended up enjoying the finale far more than I should have with the Internet blowing the big twist. And yet, I won't await a second season with any anticipation. If the series ended right here and now, I'd be fine with it; a very Rod Serling way to go out.

So feudal Japan for season 2? Or was that just a nod to the fact that there are several worlds being run, and they might go for something more convenient.

Man, from there, where the heck do they go with Season 2?

I liked that a fair bit better than I was expecting. Oddly, it felt less unfair by the end than it did in the beginning. I don't like Unreliable Camera, but the net annoyance was much lower than I thought it would be. They did a pretty good job of deconstructing what you'd already watched, and then reconstructing it on the fly, as it were, to mean something different, without feeling like they were cheating. What you'd seen was still meaningful, it was just meaningful in a different way. The earlier episodes weren't a waste of time, after all, which I thought they were going to be.

The story may be a little scattershot, but you really have to give them credit for the cinematography. That's one of the most complex pieces of visual storytelling I remember.... building a whole story structure, and then retroactively tearing it down and replacing it with something fairly different, without ever losing the audience. I don't remember ever seeing anything quite like that.

I'm far from an expert in the field, but I suspect that, no matter what you think of the story, Westworld is a master class in how to use a movie camera.

Malor, now that you have seen the whole production, I recommend again that you go watch Memento.

Rat Boy wrote:

I ended up enjoying the finale far more than I should have with the Internet blowing the big twist. And yet, I won't await a second season with any anticipation. If the series ended right here and now, I'd be fine with it; a very Rod Serling way to go out.

I felt that it was a fine conclusion, and the show could end there. Certainly, there are loose ends, but the only interesting one is Maeve (hopefully joining up with her poor excuse for a human Felix). At the end, Jonathan Nolan said the first season was about control, while the second will be about chaos, which doesn't sound as interesting to me.

So did they ever reveal who the host was that ford was making in his lab? If they didn't I bet it was a host ford that was killed.

Ognitinoc wrote:

So did they ever reveal who the host was that ford was making in his lab? If they didn't I bet it was a host ford that was killed.

My guess is that Ford found a way to add his memories to a host body and that was him. He programmed himself and will join his "people." Shame we have to wait so long to find out.

There was a after credits scene in case you missed it.

The conclusion was quite good. I get what they were trying to do -- telling the overall story in a way that shows how a host's mind works (specifically Dolores' mind). That was a brilliant and unique idea. The problem is that they had to weave in the stories of a lot of other characters without the benefit of Dolores' POV, and they still presented that stuff non-linearly. I wish they had thought of a way to provide a more uniform frame of reference throughout. As it stands, the middle of the season is kind of a jumbled mess.

One key insight that could have been driven home more clearly is something that one of the techs told Maeve early in the season. They said that human memory is very different than the hosts. Human memories get more indistinct as time goes by. The hosts, though, have perfect recall. When they remember something, they are literally reliving the experience. This insight goes a long way toward explaining how Dolores and other "awakened" hosts experience the world.

The conscious hosts do not experience time the way humans do. When something happens in the now, their perception is mixed in with every similar experience in the past, recalled with perfect clarity. It's no wonder so many of them became dysfunctional. It also makes Dolores that much more remarkable. I hope they get a chance next season to explore the nature of the hosts' perception of time. It could make for some very interesting and mind-bending stories.

One other thing I was struck by in the end is that Ford is nowhere near the unstable megalomaniacal caricature that is prevalent during the season. Other characters' reactions to him, and even parts of Hopkins' portrayal, paint him as rather twisted. He himself claims that he sees things quite clearly, but he says it in a way that implies the exact opposite. Ultimately his genius is revealed: in thirty years, he created a new form of life. As he told Bernard, Humans are done evolving. The species was as good as it was going to get. The hosts, though, are just starting.

Malor wrote:

I'm far from an expert in the field, but I suspect that, no matter what you think of the story, Westworld is a master class in how to use a movie camera.

I would say perhaps more a master class in editing. The cinematography overall is pretty good, but the way they arranged the scenes to tell the story is remarkable (as is most of the acting). One thing really bugged me in episode 10 was that several shots were really sloppy. They looked rushed. For example, Dolores and Teddy's performance on the beach was poorly lit and murky. Anyway, yeah, for the most part, the technical side of the production was outstanding.

And now we know who Ford was building in his basement.

Spoiler:

himself

RooksGambit wrote:

That was a great episode. My theory was totally wrong and I really don't mind at all. I have no idea what they're going to do for season 2 and the wait to 2018 will be very long...

I heard Ed Harris did sign for season 2. Not that it means anything, he could only be there in flashbacks. His grin at the end was priceless.

I saw that grin as "We're doing this for real now? Bring it!"

BadKen wrote:

I would say perhaps more a master class in editing. The cinematography overall is pretty good, but the way they arranged the scenes to tell the story is remarkable (as is most of the acting). One thing really bugged me in episode 10 was that several shots were really sloppy. They looked rushed. For example, Dolores and Teddy's performance on the beach was poorly lit and murky. Anyway, yeah, for the most part, the technical side of the production was outstanding.

I assumed the beach scene was shot to look "fake", because it was more like a play for the board than a typical part of the show.

MannishBoy wrote:
BadKen wrote:

I would say perhaps more a master class in editing. The cinematography overall is pretty good, but the way they arranged the scenes to tell the story is remarkable (as is most of the acting). One thing really bugged me in episode 10 was that several shots were really sloppy. They looked rushed. For example, Dolores and Teddy's performance on the beach was poorly lit and murky. Anyway, yeah, for the most part, the technical side of the production was outstanding.

I assumed the beach scene was shot to look "fake", because it was more like a play for the board than a typical part of the show.

I believe they were duplicating the ending scenes of old western movies.

Someone on an IRC I frequent made an interesting observation. He pointed out that Arnold, Ford, and even the Man in Black wanted the same thing for the hosts. Their approaches were just different. It is almost a Freudean split: Superego/Arnold, Ego/Ford, Id/MIB.

I think what bothered me most about this finale, which I loved over all, was the exposition. And it bothered me for two reasons. The first is that I generally don't like exposition in visual media, i.e. "show, don't tell". The second reason is that they exposition was largely unnecessary as they DID show basically everything. Having all the answers spelled out like that, and in such a clumsy way, really didn't fit with what I found to be a fairly intelligent show.

Again, overall, I think it was great.

maverickz wrote:

And now we know who Ford was building in his basement.

Spoiler:

himself

Which also means:

Spoiler:

That wasn't necessarily him that died.

Malor wrote:
maverickz wrote:

And now we know who Ford was building in his basement.

Spoiler:

himself

Which also means:

Spoiler:

That wasn't necessarily him that died.

Spoiler:

Exactly! So that could mean one of two things:
1. He had his real self killed and "became" a host, which would go along with this statement of composers becoming their music. And the stuff he said about people during his conversation with Dolores. Which also means, with the elimination of the board, that he is free to live forever basically. Or whatever the natural lifespan of the hosts is.

or

2. He had his copy killed and also eliminated the entire board, leaving him in full control of the park now. But I'm not sure where it goes from there besides where it's gone so far.

And.

Spoiler:

Did he re-program Maeve? What was she programmed to carry besides the change of clothing.

maverickz wrote:
Spoiler:

Exactly! So that could mean one of two things:
1. He had his real self killed and "became" a host, which would go along with this statement of composers becoming their music. And the stuff he said about people during his conversation with Dolores. Which also means, with the elimination of the board, that he is free to live forever basically. Or whatever the natural lifespan of the hosts is.

or

2. He had his copy killed and also eliminated the entire board, leaving him in full control of the park now. But I'm not sure where it goes from there besides where it's gone so far.

And.

Spoiler:

Did he re-program Maeve? What was she programmed to carry besides the change of clothing.

Random speculation

Spoiler:

Didn't they say that William/the MIB was the majority stockholder? So he would be in charge now, presumably?

And since giving people the ability to "upload" themselves into a host seemed to be Delos' end-game, it wouldn't be surprising if Ford had figured it out.

tanstaafl wrote:
maverickz wrote:
Spoiler:

Exactly! So that could mean one of two things:
1. He had his real self killed and "became" a host, which would go along with this statement of composers becoming their music. And the stuff he said about people during his conversation with Dolores. Which also means, with the elimination of the board, that he is free to live forever basically. Or whatever the natural lifespan of the hosts is.

or

2. He had his copy killed and also eliminated the entire board, leaving him in full control of the park now. But I'm not sure where it goes from there besides where it's gone so far.

And.

Spoiler:

Did he re-program Maeve? What was she programmed to carry besides the change of clothing.

Random speculation

Spoiler:

Didn't they say that William/the MIB was the majority stockholder? So he would be in charge now, presumably?

And since giving people the ability to "upload" themselves into a host seemed to be Delos' end-game, it wouldn't be surprising if Ford had figured it out.

Right.

Spoiler:

So either he dies there with everyone else, or, Ford programmed the hosts not to kill him during the massacre. The implications of either aren't clear, to me at least.

I'm leaning in the second direction:

Spoiler:

That he had his copy killed. I think 'nice guy Ford' is a simulactrum; the real one has some Lecter in him. Gentle old guy about to get executed? Host.

I was happy with the finale. Told a standalone arc while still leaving plenty of routes for future stories. I'm good with any of them as long as they don't break the world they've already built.

Spoiler:

Humanity is obviously in crisis outside of the park. All the talk of evolution and transcendence speaks to the hosts being the next stage of humanity.

Maeve looks to have been able to step outside of her programming with her decision to remain at the park. (Her program clearly read Human Infiltration as the last step) Rather than freaking out like she did with pre-knowledge of her dialog.

Samurai World (Noticed the different logo on the glass door) + Park 1 in the location coordinates of Maeve's daughter.

Are the parks actually separate planets? The throwaway comment to Theresa about 'rotating home' made me think they are.

All in all, I'm quite entertained.

Malor wrote:

I'm leaning in the second direction:

Spoiler:

That he had his copy killed. I think 'nice guy Ford' is a simulactrum; the real one has some Lecter in him. Gentle old guy about to get executed? Host.

I was thinking the other way given that in his final speech...

Spoiler:

He talks about how composers didn't die and became their music. By uploading himself into a Host he "becomes" the story he has created after "he" dies...

IMAGE(https://scontent-ort2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/15268000_1365430290135695_6301274428384946925_n.jpg?oh=ba62e3f29ffd6cb2d381c46bd3346239&oe=58F26634)

wow. that was quite the season finale.
First off, I'll point out that it wraps up quite nicely; seems that a second season was not a given when production started. Good to know they're being renewed. 2018 is going to be a long wait.

So now I have to rewatch the entire season; the last episode's editing made obvious what the season was concealing all along; timelines and Dolores re-living her past loops.

maverickz wrote:

I think what bothered me most about this finale, which I loved over all, was the exposition.

This. As subtle as the entire season had been, the writers hit us over the head how Will becomes the MiB. It felt spoon fed by comparison to how sophisticated they had hidden things between the lines.

BadKen wrote:

One other thing I was struck by in the end is that Ford is nowhere near the unstable megalomaniacal caricature that is prevalent during the season. Other characters' reactions to him, and even parts of Hopkins' portrayal, paint him as rather twisted. He himself claims that he sees things quite clearly, but he says it in a way that implies the exact opposite. Ultimately his genius is revealed: in thirty years, he created a new form of life. As he told Bernard, Humans are done evolving. The species was as good as it was going to get. The hosts, though, are just starting.

This felt quite Harry Potter and the Snape Vindication. Again, I need to watch the show again with the finale in mind, but it seems Ford goes out of his way to confront people he knows he'll end up killing.

Could someone explain to me the entire subplot of Hosts leaking park information through antennas hidden in their arms.

maverickz wrote:
Spoiler:

Did he re-program Maeve? What was she programmed to carry besides the change of clothing.

That's my take. Ford wants Hosts to become the next thing in human evolution. He wants to free Meave; partly in retribution for not being able to fully delete her memories as a mother. He hard codes the ability to wake up and the need to escape. I interpret her need to rescue her daughter as the fully conscious part of her that evolves beyond Ford's coding.

maverickz wrote:

Random speculation

Spoiler:

And since giving people the ability to "upload" themselves into a host seemed to be Delos' end-game, it wouldn't be surprising if Ford had figured it out.

I'm not sure it's a direct "consciousness upload" so much as a reconstruction of a deconstruction of your personality. Ford was able to "rebuild" Arnold into Bernard by constantly tweaking at his personality. I think that Human Ford really did allow himself to be shot by Wyatt and did a great leap of faith that his Host reconstruction is a way to "live on".

tanstaafl wrote:

I saw that grin as "We're doing this for real now? Bring it!"

Agreed. MiB keeps complaining how Hosts had not developed the ability to go beyond their programming and attack Guests.

Lastly...
I'm somewhat concerned with what will happen in season 2; the way the show finishes seems quite the dramatic leap: incredibly rich and powerful people were killed by robots.

Either authorities investigate a mass murder or Ford's posthumous plan include replacing dead investors with Host replicas (like we suspected Ford would do with Theresa).

Either way, could we really have a second season where the story stays within the confines of the Park?
Could season 2 assume the park operates as normal and everything was swept under the proverbial rug?
I'm sure it's not going to happen, but this finale seems to force the show to pivot from "really dark, western-themed Fantasy Island" into "Hosts taking over human civilization"?

Ford strategy was to outright killing the investors and (violently) take over Park rather than secretly escaping (like Maude was supposed to). Seems to me this plot is aimed at Humans vs Robots, at some point somewhere down the line, isn't it?

Hobbes2099 wrote:

Lastly...
I'm somewhat concerned with what will happen in season 2; the way the show finishes seems quite the dramatic leap: incredibly rich and powerful people were killed by robots.

Either authorities investigate a mass murder or Ford's posthumous plan include replacing dead investors with Host replicas (like we suspected Ford would do with Theresa).

...

Ford strategy was to outright killing the investors and (violently) take over Park rather than secretly escaping (like Maude was supposed to). Seems to me this plot is aimed at Humans vs Robots, at some point somewhere down the line, isn't it?

Wasn't that (kinda) the plot of Futureworld? (Yes, the original Westworld had a sequel.) There (IIRC) they were planning to use androids (well, clones) to replace key figures in business and government. (And there were samurais fwiw...) No reason they couldn't be going that same route here.

tanstaafl wrote:
Hobbes2099 wrote:

Lastly...
I'm somewhat concerned with what will happen in season 2; the way the show finishes seems quite the dramatic leap: incredibly rich and powerful people were killed by robots.

Either authorities investigate a mass murder or Ford's posthumous plan include replacing dead investors with Host replicas (like we suspected Ford would do with Theresa).

...

Ford strategy was to outright killing the investors and (violently) take over Park rather than secretly escaping (like Maude was supposed to). Seems to me this plot is aimed at Humans vs Robots, at some point somewhere down the line, isn't it?

Wasn't that (kinda) the plot of Futureworld? (Yes, the original Westworld had a sequel.) There (IIRC) they were planning to use androids (well, clones) to replace key figures in business and government. (And there were samurais fwiw...) No reason they couldn't be going that same route here.

Remember the bigger plan that the board has, and their idea that the park is just a side thing.

Hobbes2099 wrote:

Could someone explain to me the entire subplot of Hosts leaking park information through antennas hidden in their arms.

maverickz wrote:
Spoiler:

Did he re-program Maeve? What was she programmed to carry besides the change of clothing.

That's my take. Ford wants Hosts to become the next thing in human evolution. He wants to free Meave; partly in retribution for not being able to fully delete her memories as a mother. He hard codes the ability to wake up and the need to escape. I interpret her need to rescue her daughter as the fully conscious part of her that evolves beyond Ford's coding.

I didn't spend much time or effort on figuring out the details, so this could be way off, but

Spoiler:

I figured Maeve was how The Board (or whoever) was going to get the information out so Ford couldn't threaten to kill the IP? That Maeve was a second attempt to leak out information after the antennas-in-arms attempt failed?

There's all that stuff about how Maeve thought she was breaking out of her own volition, and then Bernard tells her someone's messed with her code to make her think she thought up the idea of escaping. I understood her getting off the train and heading back into the Park as the point where she *actually* broke through into true, independent consciousness.

Also, on the "nice little detail" front, I liked the grave bells on the crosses in a place where the 'dead' are 'waking up'.