Westworld (Season 3) Catch-All - Spoilers Ahoy!

El Lazo literally means loop or lasso.
Lawrence died strung up by a loop, was lead around with a loop and completed a loop (reset as el Lazo).

Thank you highschool Spanish.

The AV Club review is exactly where I landed with last night's episode. The gist of it is they need to stop stalling at this point. I think they should have revealed something more tangible about a character at this point. Everyone's still a big question mark. If they keep this mystery stuff up without revealing much of anything it's just going to be frustrating to watch. I'm starting to wonder if they're going to stall until the season finale and then reveal one big thing and that'll be it.

My favorite part of the episode was Maeve at the end. Her character instantly became the most interesting thing in the show because she seems to be the closest to "killer robot" status. I would have thought Delores would have been the most interesting thing in the episode, but I guess we sorta already knew that bit ahead of time given the trailers from way back when showing her in a different costume. Spending all the time on her was fine, but since we already knew she was going to transform from damsel into warrior, the impact was kinda spoiled. At least we're fairly caught up to where we know Delores's character was going to go. From now on, what they do with the character should be a surprise. It was nice to know she's in communication with some form of Arnold. That was pretty cool.

El Lazo literally means loop or lasso.

So, what you are saying is that time is a flat circle.

Toddland wrote:
El Lazo literally means loop or lasso.

So, what you are saying is that time is a flat circle.

WHY YOU LIKE THIS IT IS FANTASTIC

Well, I just caught up with Episode 5, and I am very, very impressed with this show. It has a great deal of complexity and nuance, and the acting is extremely good. I'm morally certain that some of these small details will turn out to be important, but am, of course, totally unclear on which ones. I'm actually thinking about repeating some episodes, even before the first season ends.

I don't think very much is going to be resolved, though; we're already halfway through the season, and they just keep raising new questions. The guess upthread that maybe we get one answer in Episode 10 seems pretty likely at this point.

I really enjoyed the two inflection points in this episode; the transition away from damsel was predictable, but the thoroughness and speed were unexpected. And I was particularly impressed with the cinematography; you don't actually see anything happen. The actress playing Dolores sells it purely with her body language, her stance after the supposed gunfight is over. All she actually does is holster her weapon! Yet, it's one of the most interesting things that's happened so far. That was some fine movie-making.

I gotta say, these people know what the hell they're doing. They've got a lot of balls in the air, though. It's gonna take enormous skill to keep juggling that many things at once.

I had a few more short, disconnected thoughts about the show so far.

First: Ford is likely to be a very complex character. I doubt Anthony Hopkins would have signed on if he wasn't very impressed with the script. He's not likely to be short on available work, ever, so this role probably caught his interest for good reasons.

Second: the use of the word 'host' for the androids is interesting. It could just be host in terms of hosting guests, but with the multilevel symbolism going on, they might be hosting something else.

Third: "Supervisor" mode (lacking other vocabulary for the state) on the androids is not foolproof; they can still lie. Bernard seems aware of this, but Ford hasn't shown the same knowledge. And I'm not sure Bernard is aware of the direct implication, that supervisor mode is not full root access.

One wonders if implanting a command to lie in supervisor mode is part of the process of shocking a host into true awareness.

edit to add, the next day: Had another, somewhat interesting thought. Dolores tells William she needs him, and kisses him. It just occurred to me, belatedly, that this is literally and exactly true; she's way off her storyline, and the voice is telling her she needs William because she does. If she leaves him, the park will reset her and put her back on her ranch. So she absolutely needs to keep him nearby, and hooking him as a romantic interest is one of her best tools to do this. It raises a very interesting question of authenticity, one not far removed from that of human authenticity.

That dual supervisor/run mode split in a host is not all unlike our rational/emotional split, and I rather wonder how much control supervisor mode actually has. One thing I'm sure about is that the human rational mind has one hell of a lot less control than it tells itself it does, so I can't help but wonder how much of that is also true for these constructed beings.

Can we just call supervisor mode sudo in this thread?
Sudo stop emotions.

Malor wrote:

edit to add, the next day: Had another, somewhat interesting thought. Dolores tells William she needs him, and kisses him. It just occurred to me, belatedly, that this is literally and exactly true; she's way off her storyline, and the voice is telling her she needs William because she does. If she leaves him, the park will reset her and put her back on her ranch. So she absolutely needs to keep him nearby, and hooking him as a romantic interest is one of her best tools to do this. It raises a very interesting question of authenticity, one not far removed from that of human authenticity.

Yeah, the resolution of this idea will hopefully be very interesting. Ex Machina explored this concept in great depth.

boogle wrote:

Can we just call supervisor mode sudo in this thread?
Sudo stop emotions.

That's actually a pretty good metaphor; sudo is controlled access to root-level functions, not the same as actual root. It can be limited to running just certain commands, or to running them in only specific ways.

In real life, it's usually implemented such that it's equivalent to root, but it doesn't have to be.

Sudo mode it is, at least on my part.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Yeah, the resolution of this idea will hopefully be very interesting. Ex Machina explored this concept in great depth.

I've never seen that. Is it worth tracking down?

edit: yet another thought... so far, there have been exactly two 'real' characters who have been hinted as being hosts. With Bernard, they almost slap you in the face with it, when he's in bed with Administrator Lady. He talks about hosts trying to improve their emulation of people by talking to one another, and she asks him if that's what he's doing now. His single-note backstory also supports that idea, being a very painful background that dominates his thinking to the point that they don't need much else. His session with his (ex?) wife looks a lot like the conversations that Dolores has with her father. And, I note, he follows Ford's instructions exactly, including covering for his mistakes in silence. If Ford wanted to protect himself from annoying Board meddling, putting a host in between to take the heat would seem intelligent.

Second, the QA field agent with the gun refers to himself as having a backstory when he recognizes the Orion constellation in Episode 3. That's much subtler, but I'd find it rather amusing if everyone in the show who jokes about being a host ends up being one.

Malor wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Yeah, the resolution of this idea will hopefully be very interesting. Ex Machina explored this concept in great depth.

I've never seen that. Is it worth tracking down?

Yep! It's fantastic, and that's all I will say. Amazon Prime Instant had it for awhile but not sure if that is still the case. It's well worth renting.

+1 to watching Ex Machina preferably with as little advance information as possible. The experience is a nice progression in story telling.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Malor wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Yeah, the resolution of this idea will hopefully be very interesting. Ex Machina explored this concept in great depth.

I've never seen that. Is it worth tracking down?

Yep! It's fantastic, and that's all I will say. Amazon Prime Instant had it for awhile but not sure if that is still the case. It's well worth renting.

Malor you will enjoy this film or at least the things it will make you think about. A solid anchoring performance by Oscar Isaac with gorgeous visuals accentuate an intellectual deep dive into agency and sentience.

That's one of the strongest sets of recommendations I've ever gotten for a movie. I'll definitely track it down.

edit: well, at least here on GWJ. I've gotten movie raves in RL that were about that strong.

Ex Machina is worth seeing, though I think of it more as being for people who haven't ever really done any exploration into AGI concepts. I'm guessing that circle in the Venn diagram doesn't include Malor.

Well, today's Decrypted podcast agreed with my initial thoughts on the show that it shouldn't and hopefully won't devolve into a "who's the cylon" show. The guest and host agreed that there are much more interesting themes and character development to explore not going that direction.

It was nice to get an in-depth discussion on many of the things I was attempting to say after that first episode aired. It's amazing how good that first episode is.

When Ford meets with Delores, did anyone else think that it was a VR interaction? There were no other people there, and it would seem odd for Delores to go underground while she is out and about with William. For Delores, it would be a dream, but for Ford he could be interacting in VR space.

I was pretty sure that was Ford in the parade crowd who told Dolores to go to sleep, though I'd have to rewatch that segment to be certain.

Though the possibility that at least some of these interactions are in VR is an intriguing one.

Aristophan wrote:

When Ford meets with Delores, did anyone else think that it was a VR interaction? There were no other people there, and it would seem odd for Delores to go underground while she is out and about with William. For Delores, it would be a dream, but for Ford he could be interacting in VR space.

I was wondering about how that worked, as I didn't think the bodies actually got up and walked to underground access points every night. That would be fairly noticeable. VR makes sense, especially when you consider that one of the techs in Ep4 or Ep5 mentions having a 'hot redhead in the VR tank in need of instruction'.

I think you're almost certainly right.

I also thought it was a vr room. I also think Bernard was talking to Delores when Ford left from his rundown looking VR room.

Malor wrote:
Aristophan wrote:

When Ford meets with Delores, did anyone else think that it was a VR interaction? There were no other people there, and it would seem odd for Delores to go underground while she is out and about with William. For Delores, it would be a dream, but for Ford he could be interacting in VR space.

I was wondering about how that worked, as I didn't think the bodies actually got up and walked to underground access points every night. That would be fairly noticeable. VR makes sense, especially when you consider that one of the techs in Ep4 or Ep5 mentions having a 'hot redhead in the VR tank in need of instruction'.

I think you're almost certainly right.

My take on this, is we're seeing bits of storytelling that are not running in linear time.

Lawrence was killed and strung up, then he's back as El Lazo (yes, that's Spanish for Rope, yes, that's still the world's worst nickname for anyone, ever).

Dolores and Ford's conversations might be VR, or they could be days, weeks or even years after the Man in Black's latest attempt to solve the maze.

Also, nothing is left to chance, what are the show runners trying to tell us by having Ford's conversation with a naked Dolores, versus a fully dressed one when it's Bernard doing the interviews?
Is it just symbolism? Ford gets to see her naked but it's Bernard who gets to see her for who she truly is?

Ford sees the hosts as objects - working with them naked reinforces that they are inhuman. Bernard seems to have a more respectful view of the hosts.

Hobbes2099 wrote:

Lawrence was killed and strung up, then he's back as El Lazo (yes, that's Spanish for Rope, yes, that's still the world's worst nickname for anyone, ever).

There was a sunset/sunrise cycle between the Man in Black killing him, and him being back in town. My assumption was that the MIB snagged him at the end of a story cycle, and William and Dolores grabbed him at the start.

Ford's conversation with a naked Dolores, versus a fully dressed one when it's Bernard doing the interviews?

Oh, I hadn't noticed that! Good spot.

Remember that Ford dressed down a worker (hah!) for clothing the host he was working on. That seems to be an important thing for him.

More support for the VR idea: the very first time we see Dolores being interviewed, being asked the standard questions, a fly walks over her perfectly still face, eventually walking on her eye. That strongly implies that she was 'sitting with' her interviewer in a virtual room somewhere.

So I think the other option to both of those (el lazo loop and delores/ford interactions) is timeline wonkery, but I sincerely hope that is not the case.
If William is the MiB or some silly thing then I will still watch but will be grumpy.

PSA: A mini Westworld soundtrack is available on iTunes (4.99) and Spotify and so forth. Here's the tracklisting:

1. Main Title - Westworld Theme
2. Black Hole Sun
3. Paint it, Black
4. No Surprises
5. A Forest

Also available on google play!

Malor wrote:

More support for the VR idea: the very first time we see Dolores being interviewed, being asked the standard questions, a fly walks over her perfectly still face, eventually walking on her eye. That strongly implies that she was 'sitting with' her interviewer in a virtual room somewhere.

I was under the assumption that Dolores and the other hosts could do no harm to living things and why the last shot of episode one was so striking.

Well, yes, but she was perfectly still and didn't react in any way, yet you heard her talking to an interviewer. It's the only time that's happened, and the fly strongly implies that what we see, Dolores frozen, is the real world. It's a strong hint that the interviews aren't in a real place. The fly slap is important, but for a different reason, showing us that Dolores *can* hurt living things, and is somewhat surprised by the capability.

Another little bit of trivia: they mention, somewhere in the first couple episodes, that there are about 1400 guests currently in the park. At 40K/day/head, that implies revenues of 56 million dollars a day, or about 20.4 billion a year. (assuming roughly the same guest load.) If dollars in Westworld have any kind of similar value to the ones we use, that could run a fairly sophisticated operation.

Yet, running heavy machinery like what Ford is using for his new story would represent, I suspect, a rather painful expense.

Just a nit: I don't think Dolores was surprised when she swatted the fly. I've rewatched that episode a couple times and the thing that makes it extra creepy to me is that she doesn't have any reaction at all. Because of that and the ominous background music, that shot says to me that Dolores is operating on multiple layers, and we have only scratched the surface of what or who she is.

As far as other theories go, I'm more content to take most of the series at face value as I watch it. I'm sure there will be very interesting revelations coming, but theorizing about who might be an android and who might be behind everything is just an exercise in frustration to me. I don't think Bernard or the Stubbs are androids. I take their lines at face value. Bernard seems to have a very dry sense of humor, so him joking about pretending to be human suits his character.

Same with the offhand comment by the Stubs about "maybe it's in his backstory" and joking about him being allowed to carry a weapon. It's just playful banter between him and Elsie. In their roles as programmer/designer and security, they are somewhat "natural enemies," so they make fun of that in their interactions.

I don't begrudge anyone their theorizing, though. It's fun to see the different theories people come up with.

BadKen wrote:

As far as other theories go, I'm more content to take most of the series at face value as I watch it. I'm sure there will be very interesting revelations coming, but theorizing about who might be an android and who might be behind everything is just an exercise in frustration to me. I don't think Bernard or the Stubbs are androids. I take their lines at face value. Bernard seems to have a very dry sense of humor, so him joking about pretending to be human suits his character.

Same with the offhand comment by the Stubs about "maybe it's in his backstory" and joking about him being allowed to carry a weapon. It's just playful banter between him and Elsie. In their roles as programmer/designer and security, they are somewhat "natural enemies," so they make fun of that in their interactions.

I don't begrudge anyone their theorizing, though. It's fun to see the different theories people come up with.

I think you'd appreciate this week's Decrypted podcast as I did. I also like the speculation, but it's nice to hear people agree with your viewpoint and justify it with a little more than you might have thought about.

Of course, when the show decides against my wishes to go into full on cylon hunt in season 2 we can just throw everything out the window and enjoy the insanity of junk-food-tv.