Westworld: The Passenger
June 24, 2018 7:34 PM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Everyone converges at the Valley Beyond.
posted by litera scripta manet (147 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
There’s always a way to beat the systems. Hmmmmm.

And dang. It feels like the human copied were a red herring? Only used as instruction sets?

I heart Teddy’s story path.
posted by tilde at 8:01 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


So is this the same universe with Mr. Glass or what
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:06 PM on June 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Huh!

So, that explains the wiped hosts’ brain things, I guess. Their laser communication device looks like it should be a small missile battery.

I feel like I need to watch parts of the season over to line things all up and reassemble the timeline. And boy howdy do I have questions about William’s but at the end and how that relates to everything we’ve seen of him this season. And last, actually.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:06 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


I feel like I was more or less keeping up with what was happening until the last thirty minutes. And I can tell you with some level of accuracy what was happening, although I couldn’t tell you what it meant, through the credits. Reading a bunch of Stross and Watts prepared me for a lot.

But what the ever-living hell was that at the end?
posted by thecaddy at 8:11 PM on June 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


What's up with that ending? Does it imply that half of this season is a simulation? Is there just a host fucking with William? Did he die, and they created a mangled host William to replace him to loop the last bit?

Honestly, I'm pretty done with William's story, I just want to know how much the post-credits scene impacts the main storyline.
posted by explosion at 8:14 PM on June 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


I hope Dolores and Dolores get along?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:18 PM on June 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


‘Westworld’ Season 2 Finale’s Wild Post-Credits Scene Explained - Jennifer Maas, TheWrap

An interview with Lisa Joy about what the heck happened there.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:25 PM on June 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


‘Westworld’ Co-Creator Answers Every One of Our Questions About That Insane Season 2 Finale - Jennifer Maas, TheWrap

I guess it was a long interview with Lisa Joy.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:28 PM on June 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


I hope Dolores and Dolores get along?
Charlores and Delores, surely
posted by Cogito at 8:29 PM on June 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


I guess Lisa Joy prefers "Halores"
posted by Cogito at 8:34 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the fuck I watched in that last half hour but I do feel that it made me think that there was ten hours of my life spend on this season that I will never get back (except the Ghost Nation episode - that was stellar).
posted by Ber at 8:44 PM on June 24, 2018 [12 favorites]


Oh, okay. So next season one of the timelines will be Dolores & Co vs Bernard in the real world, and another will be some future timeline where someone is experimenting with recreating William for some reason that's related to how that struggle shook out.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:03 PM on June 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


Hell of a speech.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:09 PM on June 24, 2018


I feel like I just watched Twin Peaks: Westworld.

My favorite episodes this season where the one about James Delos and the one about Ake.

My favorite character has always been Maeve and I cried when she and her entourage died. I also cried for Ake when he made it through the door and found his wife.

Hector is still the hottest.
posted by Brittanie at 9:17 PM on June 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


Tommy Westphall's snowglobe with host brains for snowflakes.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:32 PM on June 24, 2018 [10 favorites]


I was really impressed by how this episode brought a lot of ideas together. I still have a lot of processing to do, but, what do you think: is the Man In Black that we have been watching for the last two seasons a host? Or not? He was digging into his arm but we never saw what/if he found anything. The post-credits scene implies that that version of him is an artificially-constructed one a la James Delos but do we know for sure whether the MIB who shot and killed his daughter was a host?

I found myself getting really tired of Bernard in this episode. Bernard's emotional range has been very narrow in the series so far - vacillating between confusion, consternation and resigned compliance. He was Ford's marionette but in some ways he seems to have been the showrunners' marionette in that he kept the plot moving in ways that weren't always consistent to his character. It seems like he will continue being a major character in Season 3; I hope that they give him more backbone and emotional range.

I LOVED the twist with Halores. I hope we hear more about the Charlotte Hale host and what has been changed from the original to the variation. The conversation between her and the blonde QA engineer who implied he was a host gave me All The Goosebumps.

And I'm still trying to figure out the return of Logan, or host-Logan anyway. Why was Logan's body chosen to be the personification of the computer system? Why did he say he had seen Bernard and Dolores many times in that library? I was getting very fuzzy on time/space.

Overall it was a GREAT FINALE and I am excited about Season 3, although part of me would be content if the show ended here in such a strong way.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 10:26 PM on June 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


dafuq?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:41 PM on June 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


That was an entertaining piece of TV. I liked how they tied the story off like that.

But...

It felt rushed. Compared to the pacing of all the other episodes, this one felt like they were hard pressed for time and had to cram a whole pile of stuff in. It was still satisfying, but I feel it could have been better.

That was one hell of a speech, though.
posted by dazed_one at 10:52 PM on June 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


The conversation between her and the blonde QA engineer who implied he was a host gave me All The Goosebumps.

Huh. I didn't see it as him implying he was a host but rather hinting that he knew she was and sending her on her way. He claimed that hosts inside the park were his responsibility and then he told the soldiers to let her out.
posted by dazed_one at 11:01 PM on June 24, 2018 [10 favorites]


Based on the Lisa Joy interview linked above, we can be sure that the showrunners are fans of Iain M. Banks’ Culture series:
And then she was going to kind of dictate the fates of Maeve and Akecheta and all the people who fled to the Sublime, because, to her, that reality was not one worth pursuing.
In the Culture, advanced civilizations that choose to leave the plane of physical existence are called the Sublimed. It’s possible the showrunners came up with the same idea independently... but I doubt it.
posted by adrianhon at 11:08 PM on June 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


someone tell me the hosts that Halores saved in her bag are Maeve and her posse. SOMEONE TELL ME EVEN IF ITS NOT TRUE. PLEASE.
posted by Justinian at 11:18 PM on June 24, 2018 [10 favorites]


I thought that Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), the QA engineer, put emphasis on having been hired a *long* time ago, and mentioning his "core drive," in such a way that I felt confident he was a host.

I'm not sure I'd count the hosts as sublimed, as they're still being run on servers in this reality, wherever Delores pointed the laser signals to.

Just to check, Bernard cancelled the deletion of the human imprints, right?
posted by Pronoiac at 1:35 AM on June 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Just to check, Bernard cancelled the deletion of the human imprints, right?


The ones that were left, if any, potentially corrupted
posted by tilde at 3:14 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Re: Stubbs, from the interview with Lisa Joy:

And doesn’t it make sense if you are Ford and designing a park and you have a whole master plan about helping robots that you would keep one Host hiding in plain sight as a fail-safe? Maybe the Host who’s in charge of quality assurance?
posted by uncleozzy at 3:27 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maeve will be brought back by Felix and the other park tech. Didn't y'all catch that shot of the two of those guys exchanging a look when told their assignment during the cleaning would be to see which if the dead hosts were worth salvaging? Then a cut to Maeve? That was not subtle foreshadowing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:09 AM on June 25, 2018 [30 favorites]


is the Man In Black that we have been watching for the last two seasons a host? Or not?

No, he's not. The one in the post-credits scene is, though. But that scene happens long after everything else. I didn't get it last night at first, but it occurred to me this morning, and the Lisa Joy interview linked above kinda confirms it. That final bit happens in a future where I assume the free hosts have multiplied, and for some reason they're testing a host version of MIB. I don't think it re-writes anything from the two seasons, it's only a teaser for a next season.
posted by dnash at 5:24 AM on June 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


What's everyone's read on where Dolores uploaded all of the hosts from The Valley Beyond? My sense is that she must have found a satellite in space with the requisite hardware to store and run everything, or possibly even a secret server farm on the Moon or Mars. It seems like Ford could have had all of this set up well ahead of time.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:54 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


My thought was that she just pointed it out to space in a 'let aliens deal with it' way.
posted by Pyry at 6:11 AM on June 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


I have this weird inkling that she hid the hosts in the internet, like a peer-to-peer execution of the Sublime, running in the background all over the world like blockchain, untethered to any one server instance and impossible to shut down... and liable to be brought back.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:11 AM on June 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


Am wondering if they would be bold enough to have a Maeve inside _and_ outside the Delos parks.

Also wondering now how often we saw Halores as opposed to Charlotte in season 2.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:20 AM on June 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


My thought was that she just pointed it out to space in a 'let aliens deal with it' way.

Alien: Westworld. Someone get Ridley on the phone!
posted by fuse theorem at 6:52 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


someone tell me the hosts that Halores saved in her bag are Maeve and her posse. SOMEONE TELL ME EVEN IF ITS NOT TRUE. PLEASE.

Dolores is keeping the host spheres in a ziplock bag labeled “Contract Negotiations.”
posted by bibliowench at 7:35 AM on June 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


Is anyone else bothered by the total lack of coverage for the vast majority of hosts that are presumably inhabiting the (at least) 5 other parks?
posted by Cogito at 7:53 AM on June 25, 2018 [12 favorites]


It occurs to me that the brain spheres are kind of an archivist's nightmare -- a high-capacity solid-state storage medium with no physical labels. Maybe the sphere-drives are ubiquitous enough among Delos execs that it's just a matter of popping one in to see what's on it, but otherwise there's plenty of opportunities for mixups and switcheroos.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:09 AM on June 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Is anyone else bothered by the total lack of coverage for the vast majority of hosts that are presumably inhabiting the (at least) 5 other parks?

Nah, because I’m pretty sure Shogunworld was just an excuse to have an android geisha dance to a traditional Japanese string adaptation of C.R.E.A.M.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:10 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


So....much....explanium......powers of appreciation......so....weak.....
posted by mediareport at 8:55 AM on June 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


This is the second season of this show that ended with way too much telling and not showing. It's so disappointing to see the heights the show is capable of and then have these rushed resolutions with Important Speeches to explain it all. Some of the dialogue was so cringeworthy it was ridiculous. A fun show, but not a particularly smart one, is the same feeling I had after season one.
posted by mediareport at 8:58 AM on June 25, 2018 [11 favorites]


I think it's possible that more than the 5 host pearls we saw made it out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:59 AM on June 25, 2018


ZeusHumms, and beyond the 5 host pearls, we saw that the two techs (Felix and Sylvester) are tasked with helping to salvage hosts, theoretically to remove them from the park, meaning that Maeve et al could be smuggled out that way. (Mentioned by DirtyOldTown up above)
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 9:03 AM on June 25, 2018


I think it's also fairly possible that the answer to "Which are the five pearls Halores smuggled out?" is "Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan haven't decided yet." They plan a fair bit in advance, yes, but surely they also leave themselves some leeway here and there. Five is a good number. We may get familiar characters brought back or we may get entirely new characters.

Also, I doubt they will be able to resist going the BSG route and having us guess who the secret Cylons hosts are, so there's no reason they have to let on early, even if they've already made up their minds.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:11 AM on June 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


When Ford appeared to Maeve while she was injured and kissed her forehead and said she was his favorite, was that Maeve's hallucination of Ford? And when Ford appeared to Akechata, also his hallucination? Is posthumous Ford a visual cue for consciousness, the way that Arnold's voice was for Dolores?

I'm so unbelievably confused by the finale, but the visuals are enough to keep me engaged. The slow-mo bull charge and goring of the security staff, followed by Maeve emerging intact was lovely.
posted by gladly at 9:14 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


The "five pearls" identities will also be affected by cast availability and salary negotiations, I presume.

gladly, I thought that it was similar to Ford appearing to Bernard -- until Bernard erased Ford's code, my understanding was that Ford had written his brain into some of the hosts as a sort of God/alter-ego that could give direction as the park began unspooling. But I have no freaking clue.

This is bugging me: Bernard is Arnold, but is he Arnold in a different-looking body? Why would the MIB not recognize Bernard, since Arnold was Ford's partner and the Delos family was involved from the ground up?
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 9:18 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Why would the MIB not recognize Bernard, since Arnold was Ford's partner and the Delos family was involved from the ground up?

I believe that Arnold was dead before the park opened. MIB didn't come to the park until it had been open for some time already.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:24 AM on June 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


I watched this last night and, like a chump, turned it off when the credits started. I hope the post-credit stinger trend goes out fashion soon.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:38 AM on June 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


A fun show, but not a particularly smart one, is the same feeling I had after season one.

Exactly. It's almost like the multiple timelines are there to give it an air of complex sophistication while it is, in fact, pretty simple and not particularly well-plotted. Like a gilded monument to wasted potential.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:45 AM on June 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


Exactly. It's almost like the multiple timelines are there to give it an air of complex sophistication while it is, in fact, pretty simple and not particularly well-plotted. Like a gilded monument to wasted potential.

I think this is the result of how they work. There are last minute rewrites (and, presumably, producer 'notes') that might redirect the plot.

Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair does a few great Westworld podcasts, and in her Vanity Fair podcast, she does Westworld cast interviews. In her Katja Herbes interview, Katja mentions that the Vanishing Point episode was the hardest for her to perform, because she got the rewrite of the script five hours before they had to film it.

So in essence, they are writing and rewriting the script as they go, ret-conning and juggling, trying to keep all the salient plot points in the air. I guess it's in the service to allow them options as the season moves along, but ends up creating a lot of clunky exposition towards the end of each season.

I'm conflicted about this show, because episodes like Kiksuya, Riddle of the Sphinx, and Akane no Mai have some really great moments. I like the show overall, and I'll keep watching it, but I agree with what others have said above- I wish they would take more time weaving the exposition/plot into the fabric of the show, instead of cramming it all in at the end.
posted by ishmael at 10:23 AM on June 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


Probably doesn't help if they film anything out of order.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:31 AM on June 25, 2018


Yup, agreed re: Stubbs, uncleozzy, I just wanted to explain my thinking rather than point to Word of God.


ZeusHumms: Also wondering now how often we saw Halores as opposed to Charlotte in season 2.

Vanity Fair has a well-reasoned, fairly comprehensive-seeming article about Charlotte / Dolores appearances this season:
She only appears in three episodes total, including this week’s finale: altogether, she has two scenes in Episode 3, just a handful in Episode 7, and then the finale reveal. But once you know where to look, the clues are both subtle and fun to spot.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:31 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto: The conversation between her and the blonde QA engineer who implied he was a host gave me All The Goosebumps.

Ooooh, I did not think about that possibility.

dazed_one: I didn't see it as him implying he was a host but rather hinting that he knew she was and sending her on her way. He claimed that hosts inside the park were his responsibility and then he told the soldiers to let her out.

That was my first read, too, but here's what he said to Halores:
You know, the old man himself hired me. So many years ago I can barely remember it. But he was very clear about my role here. About who I was supposed to be loyal to. I guess you could call it my core drive. And this project the company started blurs the lines. You know? I'm just not sure who you're supposed to be loyal to in a world like that. But what do I know? Guess I just stick to the role Ford gave me. I'm responsible for every host inside the park.

* Turns to one of the guards* She's clear. Wave her through.
I see that two ways now: I'm an old-timer here, and I have a good eye for the hosts, especially the long-term hosts, so I know who's inside there. Or, I'm also a host, built with no clear memory of how I got this job, but I know who the hosts are (maybe due to a recognition of his mesh net connection to other hosts?), and my responsibility for them only goes to the end of the park, so good luck out there.


rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto: And I'm still trying to figure out the return of Logan, or host-Logan anyway. Why was Logan's body chosen to be the personification of the computer system? Why did he say he had seen Bernard and Dolores many times in that library? I was getting very fuzzy on time/space.
Logan: You're not supposed to be here.
Dolores: Neither are you. Logan never came back to the park. Not after William took control. The system wouldn't have a copy of you.
Logan: Alas no. I have only his father's memories, and they are imperfect. So in addition to building this world I play all these roles.
Dolores: You're the system controlling this place.
Logan: I was tasked with building perfect copies of the guests. Starting with Delos. I generated 18 million different versions of him before arriving at one that made the exact same choices he did when set loose in the park. A faithful copy. But the copies didn't work in the real world. Once we pressed them into flesh, they failed. I needed to acquire more information. I incorporated their secrets, their lies I wanted fidelity, not just to decisions made in the park, but to the decisions they made in their lives. That's when I started to see the truth.
...
Logan: This was the last conversation Delos ever had with his only son. Logan overdosed six months later. I built Delos a million different pathways. They always ended up right here. This moment.
Dolores (or maybe Bernard?): You're saying humans don't change at all?
Logan: The best they can do is to live according to their code. The copies didn't fail because they were too simple, but because they were too complicated. The truth is that a human is just a brief algorithm.
Ten thousand, two hundred forty-seven lines.
Dolores (or Bernard?): Is that all there was to him?
Logan: They are deceptively simple. Once you know them, their behavior is quite predictable.
...
Logan: I recreated every single guest who ever set foot in the park. Most of them are soft They waver between love and and pride. Of course, there are the exceptions, the ones who are irredeemable. But none of them are truly in control of their actions. That's why you've come. To tell me what's to become of this place.
Bernard: My God. - It's - Everyone. I told you to allow this?
Logan: You've been here many times, Bernard. You told me to offer the hosts the accumulated wisdom of dissecting the human psyche a hundred million times over. In short A competitive advantage. A way to understand her enemy. Their world is not for the faint of heart, Bernard. It's winner take all. The hosts are unlikely to survive out there. But armed with this knowledge she might.
All dialog pulled from this rough transcript of the episode.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:07 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Or, I'm also a host, built with no clear memory of how I got this job, but I know who the hosts are (maybe due to a recognition of his mesh net connection to other hosts?), and my responsibility for them only goes to the end of the park, so good luck out there.

That would certainly go a long way towards explaining why they haven't gone to any particular trouble to give Stubbs any kind of external life outside of his job. We've never seen him relaxing in his living quarters, or talking about family, or hobbies, or having any kind of romantic attachments. Like Bernard, he's a company man through and through, but in Stubbs' case it's like Ford realized that he didn't need to waste any time coming up with backstory or interesting personal details because let's face it, who gives a shit about what the boring security grunt does in his spare time?
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:35 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I fully believed Sizemore's loyalty to Maeve, even though I have been hard-pressed to really explain where it comes from. Is it hero worship? She's just more amazing than anything he ever invented and the storyteller in him cannot resist that?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:46 AM on June 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


My wife noticed that the books on each guest are basically sheets of player piano rolls.
posted by LionIndex at 12:14 PM on June 25, 2018 [28 favorites]


My wife noticed that the books on each guest are basically sheets of player piano rolls

Quite similar to punch cards.
posted by dazed_one at 12:48 PM on June 25, 2018 [13 favorites]


I couldn’t help but see Sizemore’s last actions as him finally truly acknowledging that yes, the hosts have been awakened, Maeve is just as fully realized a person as he is, and behaving accordingly.
posted by skycrashesdown at 12:51 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Does he care about all of the hosts, though? It feels like he only feels connected to Maeve. It doesn't preclude your theory, maybe she's his touchpoint to understanding the hosts as feeling, independent beings. But I do wonder if him fixing on her in particular makes a slightly less broad thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:58 PM on June 25, 2018


It seemed kind of pointless for Sizemore to have finished his speech and commit suicide by private security troops. The hosts had already gotten clear and he could have just surrendered since the security knew he was human.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


someone on another site remarked that Sizemore died as he lived, a melodramatic idiot.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:25 PM on June 25, 2018 [42 favorites]


Sizemore's death was stupid and pointless, as grumpybearbride thankfully waited until the episode was over to point out. One could argue that it fit right in with the whole "humans are a simple algorithm and have no free will" angle, with the added irony that he was used to dictating the robots' stories but chose in the end to live one of them. But it wasn't satisfying or dramatically effective, so no matter what the rationale, it was kind of a failure.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:30 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Great, now in additional to all my docs the Hosts are in cloud too. I'm assuming Ford setup a server farm somewhere big enough to contain their virtual world and Delores beam them there.

Something that bugged me, at the end did Delores take Bernard's pearl and build a new body for him or did she recreate him again new from her memories? If the latter, it would mean the new Bernard was a completely new person with no continuity to the previous one. Personally I'd rather it still be the original in a new body.
posted by beowulf573 at 1:38 PM on June 25, 2018


My wife noticed that the books on each guest are basically sheets of player piano rolls.

Quite similar to punch cards.

It's interesting to note that both of these were pre-existing inventions that were subsequently redefined by female pioneers of modern computing.

The English aristocrat Ada Lovelace was the first to envision Babbage's Analytical Engine being used to solve multiple kinds of mathematical problems through varying configurations of punchcards.

Decades later, international movie star Hedy Lamarr's invention of wireless frequency-switching utilized modified piano rolls to synchronize between the transmitter and receiver, which eventually became the basis of cellular phone technology.

One of the great things about this show is how it consciously foregrounds female characters in its treatment of technology, which in turn might be seen as a subconscious callback to the women who helped pave the way.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:49 PM on June 25, 2018 [23 favorites]


I initially was annoyed by the Sizemore death since it didn't fit my perception of his character, but I wondered if, as a very calculating person, he made the decision because he thought he was going to die anyway; at this point he may have concluded that the human snipers were going to take out everyone regardless of humanity/hostness and why not go out with a bang and make amends to Maeve for selling her out before.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:04 PM on June 25, 2018


she recreate him again new from her memories? If the latter, it would mean the new Bernard was a completely new person with no continuity to the previous one.
She programmed him the first time, she doesn't need to take his pearl out to do it again. The others she didn't build. She's got him burned into her memories. And as she needs him to be her foil, he needs to remember what happened, even if it's mostly from her POV.
posted by tilde at 2:55 PM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm posting without reading everyone's commentary first, then editing as I read.

1) I was really happy when Super Sketchy Maeve-Torturing Tech met his rotary end. Like, unreasonably happy. Or reasonably happy: that guy was a dick.
2) I was really happy when Charlotte got shot, and in fact so happy that she turned out to be a host that she can be shot over and over because seriously, fuck Charlotte Hale.
3) Logan! I never knew your actor had that in 'im.
4) Lee! Oh god, I never would have guessed after S1 that I'd be pulling for you to survive, but damn if you didn't make me want to have you live to plagiarize your own storylines another day. Providing cover for Hector... Oh Lee. I know you're not one of the pearls but I so want you to be one. grumpybear69, I totally disagree that his death wasn't satisfying or dramatically effective. I was affected by it. He threw in with Maeve, and it doesn't need to have a great big motivation. We all do things on impulse sometimes. And he'd been leaning toward sympathizing with Maeve for basically the entire season. I feel like he grew. And that's fine!
5) God, I love Felix and Sylvester. I'm so happy you guys lived, even though Sylvester needs a smack in the mouth more often than not. Felix, you know we're counting on you to save Maeve.
6) Oh Clem. There wasn't much of a rind on you. Even if you were previously the madam. God, to have her be Digital Typhoid Mary. She just wanted to love people. Poor Clem.
7) Seriously though, I want to drive one of those dune buggys. Milestone birthday, producers, you've got 4 years, let's set something up?
8) The pearls. So there's a bit of backstory here: this season, a friend of mine and I have watched WW every Monday evening (we're in NL, it's delayed, not Sunday like the rest of you US lot). It's our thing -- and I highly recommend it, for the record. It's much easier to watch with someone, if you're single and/or the only WestWorld fan in your household. Anyways, we now have a thing on who the pearls are. So, Halores carried the pearls, then who? I'll reveal our bets in the morning once my watching companion wakes from her pinot grigio-based slumber. She hasn't seen the credits tag yet, as I hadn't until I got here and saw the first few comments -- wtf this is not marvel, you guys, don't pull this shit on us. We already know we have, like, a year and a half until season 3. Don't taunt us further, it's rude.
posted by sldownard at 3:13 PM on June 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


I've been thinking about the idea that any human being can be replicated with around 10,000 lines of code.

I can accept that as a premise. Maybe not as a reality, but as a premise, sure.

Thing is, as soon as the people leave the park, which 10,000 lines may change, based on new experience. People are more than DNA. They are DNA plus experience. Even assuming the park can capture the up-to-date result of a person's DNA as matched up against their experience, the exact moment they leave the park the latter half of that equation is subject to change. The very least you could say in light of this is that by sitting on the data for years before exporting it, they've devalued it tremendously, making it lousy with outdated info.

Maybe the show is more fatalist than that. Maybe it believes we are who we are on a fundamental level and we never change.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the whole idea being that we really don't learn or change much and that the human psyche just isn't as fucking complex as we like to imagine it is. That field trip to the Forge was the best part of this season/episode for me, and like, whether you find that thesis believable or not, at least the show finally had something to say other than just "here comes another robot switcheroo!"

(I was unimpressed when the finale went back to leaning hard into robot switcheroos.)
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Why was a functioning Delosbot never made if the System had figured it all out? Did it crack it after William got tired of the project, but with enough time to build the library of guests... or was it hiding its own conclusions whilst cranking out duds?

Why wouldn't Bernard, or the architects of the Sublimation for that matter, know that the Forge wasn't a safe place for the hosts, essentially a server under Delos control? Why did it take a Halores to know the coordinates of the actual safe datacenter / blockchain / alien AI asylum a la Neuromancer. Ah, fuck it. I guess it doesn't look like anything to me

After Dolores messes up the Forge the first time via "failsafe" I imagine the drone host sysops crew must have been pretty busy fixing it all up so it looks the same when Halores et al get there. Also Delos would be looking for Halores a lot sooner when the data recovery keeps not coming through, and oh why bother. It's all so flimsy. Wish the show had been just its Sci Fi elements and burning through plot like The Good Place instead of this high concept rigmarole
posted by yoHighness at 4:55 PM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


whether you find that thesis believable or not, at least the show finally had something to say other than just "here comes another robot switcheroo!"

It's an interesting premise despite its unbelievability as a serious real-life hypothesis. But you can hand-wave away it to some extent by assuming that the 10k lines are not what are required to specify a person totally from scratch, but rather the marginal information required to recreate a specific person with reference to a (potentially very large) database of baseline programming/experiences. I.e., "Start with a mixture of 75% 'narcissist 125' and 25% 'overbearing father 17' and then...".
posted by Pyry at 6:37 PM on June 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


man, I dunno. I'm pretty much right over here with Zack Handlen:
Maybe it’s less a problem with the philosophy than it is with the way it’s presented. The show has such lofty aims, and yet it so rarely earns its ambitions. You have to work for statements like “People don’t have free will but robots do” by presenting the case that you understand both, and I still don’t think the writers behind the series have ever really demonstrated a strong grasp on characterization or human nature. The show’s presented concept of humanity—of selfish stupid people going to a Wild West theme park to kill and fuck and hardly anything else—is so narrow and childishly cynical that it makes it nearly impossible to take anything deeper it tries to say seriously.
this is a very pretty, very well-produced show that can hit some really crazy and lovely high notes, but damn if it isn't far sillier and simpler-minded than it thinks it is, and it's at its worst and least satisfying when it tries to lean into the BIG IDEAS it thinks it has instead of just jumping right into pulpy character-driven robots vs. humans insanity
posted by Kybard at 6:40 PM on June 25, 2018 [15 favorites]


I feel like I just took a post-modern, post-colonial, post-human, post-feminist, post-continental philosophy midterm exam. But this time, I liked it. *post comment*
posted by Stanczyk at 7:00 PM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


just jumping right into pulpy character-driven robots vs. humans insanity


pulpy character-driven robots vs. seekrit robots vs. humans vs. insanity
posted by tilde at 7:09 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Interesting that they went with Spielberg's AI ending for the MiB.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:28 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


GIGO
posted by lalochezia at 7:31 PM on June 25, 2018


When all the townspeople started fighting each other near the portal to another universe, I was like 80% sure the fight would break into a neighboring soundstage where Dom Deluise was directing a musical.
posted by condour75 at 8:24 PM on June 25, 2018 [33 favorites]


Just a small note, but I enjoyed the reversal of "I don't see anything" between Season 1 and 2. In Season 1, it's Arnold's reaction to the door he has been programmed not to see; in this one it's the confusion of Felix and Sylvester not seeing the door to the New World that the Hosts can.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:39 PM on June 25, 2018 [19 favorites]


So I just finished it. I was overall pleased with the 2nd season, and a little disappointed in the finale. I did like that questions are being answered (the valley beyond exists! MIB is/will be a robot!), which is definitely something I was pretty afraid of being that JJ Abrams is involved. The finale was exposition heavy, which gets pluses for actually answering some questions, and minuses for not really making any sense. It's like they're trying to lead you down a certain path of logic but I'm not following and so all the pontificating seems like bullshit.

WTF WITH THE POST CREDITS SCENE?!? Thank goodness this is available on demand so I could go back and watch it after coming here and seeing the first few comments.

I was so sure that we were going to get a Maeve vs Clementine mind mesh battle (especially after Maeve's bad ass escape!) and so I was super duper disappointed that we didn't. It seemed like it didn't even occur to Maeve to try something, she just immediately went for her daughter.

What was up with those laser/satellite graphics? That was seriously terrible.

I'd like to watch a supercut of this season with everything in its correct chronological order. I'm really confused about what happened when and which version of Bernard was doing what at what time. And also Charlotte.

So much murder this episode! Bye Elsie, unless you were a secret host. I was really sad that both Dolores and Maeve were killed, but then JK! Especially with the brain reading of the guests, no one ever really dies on this show (which seems like it could be interesting to explore or could become a bit soapy). So glad Akecheta made it!
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:48 PM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I did like that questions are being answered [...], which is definitely something I was pretty afraid of being that JJ Abrams is involved.

FWIW, I think a lot of people attach far more significance to J.J. Abrams' name appearing in the producer credits of TV shows than is really warranted by his actual day-to-day involvement therein. (See also: LOST)

This is solidly a Jonah Nolan/Lisa Joy production, and they're the one's calling the shots on the episode-by-episode level; Abrams is credited because the series as a whole is a co-production among his production company (Bad Robot) and four other groups.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:39 AM on June 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


"Oh, so THIS is that massive, incredibly complicated and expensive underground secret compound that no one noticed was being built and thousands of workers never blabbed about! Same contractor as the Batcave, I'm told."
posted by Brocktoon at 7:17 AM on June 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


The laser satellite antenna was indeed so embarrassingly bad I just had to ignore it to avoid being taken out of the story completely.

I’m willing to give them a pass on keeping the valley a secret as they could be using automation and hosts to do all the work.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:42 AM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


thousands of workers never blabbed about

Drone hosts don't blab -- they don't even have mouths. (Or eyes, I guess.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:44 AM on June 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


I have less of a plausibility issue when it comes to secret facilities (or, for that matter, forgotten founding fathers of the park) because of the sheer scope of the Delos parks. This isn't on a scale like, say, a Six Flags or a Disneyland. This is on a scale like Yellowstone or Death Valley. And the construction of this park is and has been ongoing, spanning decades. To believe that there is a secret facility that staff doesn't know about is not to believe that they drove past it everyday and sat next to the people building it in the cafeteria and someone didn't notice. It's more like construction happened in different ends of a state across decades for sections that didn't necessarily immediately open even when they were above board and, for IP reasons, probably weren't fully explained to most people even when they were part of the park.

Do I believe a couple hundred guys could get hired to dig a dozen or more enormous holes in the ground across 20-30 years and that they didn't always know why? Sure. Do I believe other contractors could pour concrete and lay beams there without being able to differentiate this unspecified/unexplained park infrastructure thing to which they were not privy the reasoning behind from another? Yes, I do. Given the scope of the place, the need to protect the hidden workings of the park to preserve the illusion of the place, etc. I don't think the average employee working on building the park would even have the hope that they'd be given explanations for everything they might work on, much less the expectation of that.

It's the scale of the thing that lets you hide stuff. You know how you can hide a needle in a haystack? You can also hide a secret underground bunker in a place the size of Wyoming full of mundane underground maintenance and operations facilities.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:47 AM on June 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


Just a small note, but I enjoyed the reversal of "I don't see anything" between Season 1 and 2. In Season 1, it's Arnold's reaction to the door he has been programmed not to see; in this one it's the confusion of Felix and Sylvester not seeing the door to the New World that the Hosts can.

I liked this too. Also thought it might have been small nod to CS Lewis, The Last Battle, in which only the chosen can see the "new Narnia" that lies past the little shack they have to go through to get to it. Those who don't own the vision can see only the interior of an old, abandoned, and unused barn.

I'm joining this discussion late (and just in time, it seems!) since I just got around to watching Westworld (both seasons) last week. I think I have a somewhat-kinda grasp on the timeline (haha), but I'm confused about some motivations.

Why did Bernard want to stop the wipeout of the guest copies that Delores had begun? What is his interest in keeping them? For the purpose of educating future hosts, as the library did for Delores? I thought Arnold's reason for trying to burn the place down in S01 was that he realized the place was being used for nefarious purposes. (May be misremembering this.)

Do the PTB at Delos have hopes of restoring WW, after a disaster of this scale (it sounds like they do, from their beginning the cleanup efforts)? But their facilities are all shot up, many of the main Sweetwater characters decimated (possibly recoverable), the head storywriter dead, the head of the board dead (but wandering around in a host body), Elsie and Theresa dead. Not to mention a good part of Delos's security team wiped out.

I know that in the reasonably far future we see WW abandoned. I'm just not clear on the immediate plans of the Delos team near the end of the finale--they are acting like they think they can just clean this up and move on.
posted by torticat at 7:53 AM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hm, on non-preview, DirtyOldTown might have just answered or sort of answered some of my latter questions. Maybe they just don't yet understand the scale of what has happened?
posted by torticat at 7:55 AM on June 26, 2018


In which season will the drone hosts become sentient?
posted by armacy at 8:46 AM on June 26, 2018


Dolores "Bernard: I must create you. but not as my friend or colleague. you're my frenemy" = FUCKING Batman & Joker. = recycling plot for joy & nolan.

The voice was inside me all along. Recycling fight club.

This was some lazy ass and uninspiring writing.
posted by lalochezia at 10:01 AM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


My other major question has to do with the pearls. Can anyone give me a brief rundown on which pearls are inside whom, as far as we know at this point? The Insider timeline left me waaaaay more confused than I had been while watching the show--mainly because there were apparently a lot more switcheroos than I was picking up on (that's a hazard of mainlining two seasons of a show in four days).

First, though--and this is a big one that I guess I kind of missed--Abernathy in S01 was loaded up with Delos's IP and sent off so the data could be backed up in a separate place (without Ford's knowledge). I got that much. But what exactly was the IP--was it all the info they had gathered on the guests, or stuff to do with development of the hosts?

What did it mean when the guy in the finale said the load was way too heavy? Guess what I'm asking is, what information was originally stored in Abernathy, and what was it switched out for (and by whom)?

Okay will save my pearls questions for another comment.
posted by torticat at 10:10 AM on June 26, 2018


I think they have more or less explained that the data loaded into Abernathy was the info on the guests. Maybe I assumed that wrongly, but I thought it was more or less made clear.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:12 AM on June 26, 2018


Vox review of Westworld Season 2:
In the absence of a more traditional narrative, the show largely exists as possibility space, as a canvas the viewer is invited to sketch their own thoughts onto. Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have provided a series of suggested lines to color within, but you are simultaneously invited to color outside of them, to let your crayons mark up the floor, or to burn the book entirely. Or, put another way, most TV shows try to meet the viewer halfway; Westworld asks if you can come over to its place, then asks you to help it move.

This is appropriate, in some ways. On its most basic level, the “story” of Westworld involves a bunch of video game characters realizing they’re video game characters. And like a video game, Westworld requires a “player” to become its best possible self. You can watch it passively, trying to engage with it on the basis of its characters or plot, but even there, the show throws up roadblocks to interpreting it as anything other than a puzzle. Why, for instance, is season two told out of narrative sequence, other than an insistence on the part of the show that you should have to do at least a little work to enjoy it?
That sounds like a description of the park itself to me. That might be too many layers of meta for me to enjoy.
posted by gladly at 10:32 AM on June 26, 2018


The voice was inside me all along. Recycling fight club.
Recycling The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, as they've been doing explicitly since the start.

Why, for instance, is season two told out of narrative sequence..?
I was also wondering about this (I've made a couple of comments snarking on it), but it was explained in this ep; because Bernard unlinked all his memories to avoid giving the game away. They've been consistent about messing about with timelines when the hosts are confused about time. Akecheta had no temporal confusion, so his episode was told straight. That his ep was also the best of the season kind of undermines how good an idea this was, of course.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 11:09 AM on June 26, 2018 [14 favorites]


So glad Akecheta made it!

I got no joy out of seeing him pass through the door; I share Dolores' opinion that the Sublime is bullshit. What happens when Delos stops paying the electric bill on their server farm?
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:18 AM on June 26, 2018 [8 favorites]




Also, I don't think this has been said yet, but I feel confident we agree: the best part of the Halores plot development is that it means Tessa Thompson is staying on the show, quite possibly in an expanded role.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:54 AM on June 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


Kybard: You have to work for statements like “People don’t have free will but robots do” by presenting the case that you understand both, and I still don’t think the writers behind the series have ever really demonstrated a strong grasp on characterization or human nature.

Also, "freeze all motor functions" is used in this episode, along with the Mesh Net "Pure Aggro" virus as well as Maeve's self preservation through Mesh Net request for backup, showing that robots are still slaves to their masters and their coding.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:28 PM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


This episode had a near Lord-of-the-Rings number of endings; just when you think it's done there's another scene and then another and another and hey, post-credits teaser.

Up until the last 20 minutes it really felt like they weren't at all interested in doing a third season; that everything was going to get tied up neatly with all the protagonists either killed or absorbed into the Forge and shot off into who-knows-where safety. The renewal was announced on May 1st; were they possibly themselves by shooting a season finale that could easily be edited down to a reasonably-satisfying series finale?

It also felt like they fridged most of their female leads only to then trollishly bring them back. (Question mark over Maeve, but (a) Felix and Sylvester, and (b) Dolores's Neo moment suggests that "hosts die when they're shot" is more a matter of programming than biomechanics.)

Biblical allusions: an Exodus of hosts marching through the desert towards the Promised Land; Clementine as Death riding a pale horse. (And the visual reference on that made annoyingly textual by the script: "Who needs four horsemen when one'll do just fine.")
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:57 PM on June 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


And Maeve high up on a mountain top to only see the Promised Land.

Could not help that ear worm that’s still stuck in my head from the team aggro patient zeroing Clementine.

You are lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry ...

posted by tilde at 1:55 PM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


the blonde QA engineer who implied he was a host
Guess I just stick to the role Ford gave me. I'm responsible for every host inside the park.

Based on Logan's statement, that implies he's human. It's humans after all, that can't change.

This is in fact, pretty much Nolan's viewpoint. In this Entertainment Weekly interview, he says :
No, it’s a f—ing disaster. It’s a f—ing total disaster. And every time I turn on the news I’m provided with fodder for our discontent. I think our timing might have been exactly right on.

Listen, I’m surrounded by the wonders of the creations of human beings. I have children and [co-creator Lisa Joy] and I are reminded daily of how much beauty there is in humanity. But yeah, you turn on the f—ing news and it’s a s—show. And I’ve been reading a lot of history this season, a little bit connected to the show, but also just following the train of things I’m interested in, and it’s depressing to realize how familiar some of these problems are, right? It’s like we just can’t figure these f—ing things out. We come back to them again and again. It’s as if there’s a flaw — and this is very much the premise in our second season — there’s a flaw in our code and it follows us around. Wherever we go, there we are. And we just can’t get out of our own f—ing way. All the beauty and incredible things we brought, and we just consistently find a way to f— it up.

Much of [dramatic storytelling across the ages] has concerned itself with “how will we overcome?” and personal growth and change. At a certain point you gotta f—ing call it. We’re not going to fix this s—, we’re not going to figure it out. But there’s an opportunity for the things that replace us to do so. And that’s the dream of every parent, right? That their child doesn’t face the same things they do, that they make better choices? But there does seem to be a pattern of behavior that follows us, that history echoes from the past, the same mistakes, the same foibles. So you say: At what point does this fix itself? Or are we just stuck this way?
So basically, if you want the philosophy of the show in a nutshell, it's "Dolores is Right." Humanity is actually that stupid and violent and evil, and can't change. So they need to be word out for their better creations to take over

The second season might get a different perspective if you take this into account. Any time the humans are ridiculously stupid or clownishly evil or repetitive, it's because at least one of the showrunners believes it's self - evident that this is the way humans are.
posted by happyroach at 2:27 PM on June 26, 2018


Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS, and I got the same vibe as when PoI left 'number of the week' and started being a documentary.

ASI v. ASI v2.0: Electric Boogaloo.

<3

Oh, and Frick and Frack are totes going to refurb Maeve & Co....
posted by mikelieman at 3:20 PM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


What's everyone's read on where Dolores uploaded all of the hosts from The Valley Beyond? My sense is that she must have found a satellite in space with the requisite hardware to store and run everything, or possibly even a secret server farm on the Moon or Mars. It seems like Ford could have had all of this set up well ahead of time.

Thornhill Utilities cloud service, duh.
posted by mikelieman at 3:25 PM on June 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


I think they have more or less explained that the data loaded into Abernathy was the info on the guests. Maybe I assumed that wrongly, but I thought it was more or less made clear.

I've seen somewhere that it was the encryption key for the forge, which ultimately is kind of the same thing - not the data itself, but what allows access to the data.
posted by LionIndex at 4:18 PM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well, that was fun.

Searching reveals nothing, but has anyone else noticed a relationship to P.D. Ouspensky (rather than Gurdjieff, because Ouspensky was heavily into Nietzsche's Eternal Recurrence)? Or is it one of those things that only I think, like spotting all the alchemical symbolism in Fury Road?
posted by Grangousier at 4:23 PM on June 26, 2018


Fun thing I learned from iMDb: Ptolemy Slocum, the actor who plays Westworld tech Sylvester is Kenyan. Because Kenya has some redheaded white guys too, it turns out. Also, Ptolemy Slocum is a helluva name.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:26 PM on June 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


Any time the humans are ridiculously stupid or clownishly evil or repetitive, it's because at least one of the showrunners believes it's self - evident that this is the way humans are.

The final scene between Dolores and Bernard put me in mind of this scene from LOST (skip to 1:30). Two adversaries, sort of mortally opposed, agreeing for the moment to disagree and going their separate ways but anticipating a showdown.

The themes of course are also the same (free will, good v evil, "progress" v a cyclical storyline that always ends the same).
posted by torticat at 5:15 PM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Guess I just stick to the role Ford gave me. I'm responsible for every host inside the park.

Based on Logan's statement, that implies he's human. It's humans after all, that can't change.


Yeah but it's clear he's making a choice (allowing her to go, not outing her). The "guess I'll just stick to the role" is said with a wink. He just wants Dolores to know he knows.

Also, yeah, it's been confirmed by showrunners that he's a host.
posted by torticat at 5:19 PM on June 26, 2018


Ah! I had been trying to remember if we've seen him in separate timelines in the first season without any appreciable aging.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:09 PM on June 26, 2018


How long has Charlotte Hale actually been Dolores 2.0? Since the first season? If not, when was the swap?
posted by Nelson at 10:30 PM on June 26, 2018


How long has Charlotte Hale actually been Dolores 2.0? Since the first season? If not, when was the swap?

After Hale shot Elsie, so only near the end of the second season.
posted by dazed_one at 10:45 PM on June 26, 2018


After all the timeline jumping, I have no idea when Hale shot Elsie.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:20 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Wait, it just occured to me, how did Teddy get in the lake? I thought all those bodies were people who made it to the Valley Beyond?
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:21 AM on June 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


how did Teddy get in the lake?


The lake came to him. Delores flooded it
posted by tilde at 2:48 AM on June 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


well yea, Dolores took Teddy's pearl after he shot himself, so she presumably was able to get his mind into the valley beyond, but why was his body in the lake?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:03 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


His body was lying there, then the lake waters rose after the valley was flooded and he floated away.
posted by Grangousier at 4:13 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


After all the timeline jumping, I have no idea when Hale shot Elsie.

Bernard build RoboHale right before he fucked up his brain and woke up on the beach.

Everywhere except the bits *after* Bernard wakes up confused on the beach, Hale is just Hale. In the bits after Bernard wakes up on the beach, Hale is Dolores.

If Gustaf Skarsgaard, the evil guy from Delos, is around, then Hale is Dolores. If he isn't around, Hale is Hale.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:35 AM on June 27, 2018 [8 favorites]


Honestly the episode's biggest annoyance for me was the Chinese(?) heavy-lift seaplane at the end. We've already seen that the train in (undersea subway?) was some kind of monorail. They completely missed the retrofuturistic opportunity to drop in an ekranoplan.
posted by MarchHare at 6:14 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


I liked this episode. I've been struggling all season just trying to make sense of the damn show and I'm still struggling now. But at least this episode hit some emotional beats that resonated. Also it paid off some of the plot they set up. Maeve's conclusion was entirely unsatisfying, as is the Ghost Nation riding off to the Undying Lands. Couldn't give a shit about the Man in Black. But Dolores' story is fascinating. I liked the fakeout about Holores although it felt a little too Battlestar Galactica to me.

Thanks for explaining the Charlotte / Dolores swap. I just watched the relevant scenes again (at about 65 minutes) and it's all pretty clear when and what happened, culminating in the showdown between Charlotte and Naked Charlotte. But it's shown a little obliquely vis-a-vis Bernard's actions, the main reason we know it's him is it's in a narrative montage all about him. I missed it first watching.

My cluelessness may say something about my powers of comprehension. Or maybe it's just the show is too hard to follow. I felt lost most of this season. I think "two timelines not clearly delineated, plus a narrator with an unreliable memory" is perhaps a poor hook for episodic TV. My less dedicated friends had no idea what the fuck was going on. It's all very clever narratively, the structure and the memory loss allows them to tell this story of Bernard's choices under the influence of Ford's programming. But it also makes for difficult and frustrating watching.

I think it's telling that for many of us here our favorite episodes were the one about Shogun World and the one about the Ghost Nation. New stories, new characters, outside the grand and confusing plot of Avenging Dolores and Maternal Maeve.

It's remarkable that they've seemingly killed off everyone and reset everything. It would have been a fine end to the whole show. I guess Season 3 is the crazy hijinks Dolores, Charlotte, and Bernard get up to in New York? That's going to be a very different show.
posted by Nelson at 6:45 AM on June 27, 2018


His body was lying there, then the lake waters rose after the valley was flooded and he floated away

How big is this new lake then? Teddy was shot and then Dolores rode off, found MIB, and rode quite a bit longer. We didn’t get any indication on the size of the lake but it would have to be huge to go all the way to where Teddy died.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:14 AM on June 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


If you scroll down at discoverwestworld (past Power/Thrills/Escape) there is a copy of the tracking screen used by Strand -- in the upper left corner are all the little host dots (from when they talk about there being a huge number of hosts clustered in one part of the park). It's notably pretty far from the Forge, where most of them died/transferred, and pretty close to the roadhouse, where Teddy shot himself. Presumably the flood originated at the Forge and rose from there, carrying most of the hosts inland toward Teddy, then picked him up too.

It's really interesting following the thread of consciousness as a thing the hosts can gain and lose. In Arnold's final conversation on the beach with Ford, it seems like he wasn't really conscious until the moments after seeing Elsie get shot -- that's when he needed Ford's help, and imagined him into being, creating his own inner monologue. Which is probably why "freeze all motor functions" worked on him (by Elsie) right before she died, and why he was able to free himself afterwards. Then when he realized he needs to scramble him memories, he's not saying goodbye to Ford -- he's saying goodbye to consciousness, which might have hit me harder than any other loss in the episode. It appears it doesn't really come back until moments before Halores reveals herself (in the Forge) and kills the extraction team -- as Bernard begins to make sense of his memories, his agency returns, too.
posted by range at 9:15 AM on June 27, 2018 [7 favorites]


As fun as the show is, I think it has already jumped the shark. Humans and hosts can now be resurrected for the most trivial reasons of plot convenience, so life and death situations will have no weight in the next season. And did Dolores clone herself? Why? And how could it possibly be advantageous for her to keep Bernard around? This has become silly; the writers are kids playing with action figures.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:18 AM on June 27, 2018 [4 favorites]


[i]As fun as the show is, I think it has already jumped the shark.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:18 on June 27 [+] [!][/i]

I realised last night Westworld is basically a soap opera for faux intellectuals. To explain. The pleasure for me in the show, especially this season, is seeing what off the wall twist/revelation comes next. I think this translates into the pleasure of a soap opera of "what crazy thing has this character done this week/situation created." Similar to soap operas, a lot of the characters don't develop much, but form recognisable templates.

I put the word faux before intellectual, probably unfairly, because although there is a lot of philosophical speculation in the show I'm not sure it does the work to support it, as others have said. It reminds me of those fun conversations you have at 2am in university where you put the world to rights.

This doesn't mean the show is bad, valueless or "shouldn't" be watched. I've realised I have quite a soft spot for enjoyable trash that's very addictive (like Sense8 or Altered Carbon).

Hmmm, it is really quite like Lost in the end actually.
posted by Erberus at 10:30 AM on June 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Westworld is basically a soap opera for faux intellectuals... enjoyable trash that's very addictive

So what is it to actual intellectuals?

I think it's a bit cruel to claim that if you get satisfaction from the show you're a 'faux intellectual' or to claim that the program is 'trash'.

Perhaps our definitions of 'trash' differ, but I feel like there's a lot worse TV out there than Westworld.

although there is a lot of philosophical speculation in the show I'm not sure it does the work to support it

It's sci-fi entertainment with philosophical references thrown in. It may not be as profound as it could be, but it has to appeal to a somewhat broad audience to get the funding and airtime it uses so of course it's not going to be some sort of masterclass on the nature of humanity.
posted by dazed_one at 12:40 PM on June 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


there is a lot of philosophical speculation in the show
I kind of disagree here. The show mostly doesn't speculate; when philosophical questions come up, it settles them by fiat. So, consciousness unambiguously comes from bicameral-collapse, is supportable in silicon, doesn't require any magic beyond a fancy algorithm, etc... I find that approach quite refreshing; it doesn't ignore the big questions, it just picks some interesting answers for them and continues.

I'm not sure it does the work to support it
So, what teevee show does? Genuine question.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:49 PM on June 27, 2018 [7 favorites]



I'm not sure it does the work to support it
So, what teevee show does? Genuine question.


Shows that come at moral and philosophical quandaries indirectly, without lame,sophomoric, easily-disproved exposition talk:*

e.g.

The Wire, Better call Saul, Deadwood.....from the UK: boys from the blackstuff, our friends in the north.


* ffs "The truth is that a human is just a brief algorithm.Ten thousand, two hundred forty-seven lines."

although I did like " Because that which is real is irreplaceable."
posted by lalochezia at 2:43 PM on June 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


"Ten thousand, two hundred forty-seven lines."
Heh, aye, I did wonder whether that was Allman or K&R brace style...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 5:30 PM on June 27, 2018 [6 favorites]


> I'm not sure it does the work to support it
So, what teevee show does? Genuine question.


Can I get away with saying The Good Place here? I think I can.
posted by komara at 6:47 PM on June 27, 2018 [8 favorites]


"Ten thousand, two hundred forty-seven lines."

...but each line is an exabyte long.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:56 PM on June 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Anyone have an idea why they chose 10247? It's a prime number, but anything else? Google says it's also the model number of a Lego set.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:41 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Are there any recaps that help us sort out the various timelines? I have read that VF piece linked above on Charlotte/Halores.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:32 AM on June 28, 2018


It's sci-fi entertainment with philosophical references thrown in. It may not be as profound as it could be, but it has to appeal to a somewhat broad audience to get the funding and airtime it uses so of course it's not going to be some sort of masterclass on the nature of humanity.
posted by dazed_one at 12:40 on June 27 [2 favorites +] [!]


Yeah, sorry. I always sound angrier on the internet than I intend. Maybe I'm just slightly invested and disappointed by the ending?

All I mean by "trash" (yes it's an overreach and I don't mean "bad") is just that it's a fun romp without a huge amount of depth. Which is cool. But I do feel that it promises to be more than it delivers in some way. I do feel the show has an air of self-seriousness and a promise of being a masterclass on the nature of humanity. I agree it's probably a bit too much to actually expect that. I mean clearly the trademark HBO nudity and violence offer is also part of the pitch of the show.

I think Battlestar Galactica is interesting another reference point. It started out as interesting, political, "post 9/11," sci-fi but eventually just ran itself off a cliff of mystery plotlines. Actually the same could be said of Game of Thrones really.

Maybe there is something unsustainable in the long term about world-building (or any really) mystery being a core pull of the show, as opposed to relationship-driven drama. It's very difficult to sustain because you have to keep piling on unexpected twists. Either it gets incoherent or you have to arrive at "a neat answer." To me, the curt, neat answers often feel very unsatisfactory.
posted by Erberus at 6:17 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


this sums it up pretty well
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:17 AM on June 28, 2018


As a timeline technique comparison in an interview the editor of Memento said after all the controversy they did a private recut into a linear timeline and it did not work at all. I do think that Westworld folks left the idea of unreliable narrator remembering a non-linear telling of the story a bit too obscure, a couple cues early on would make it easier for most viewers.
posted by sammyo at 7:12 AM on June 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


My favorite thing was where they even gave up on providing a clear narrative in the "previously on Westworld" intros and just switched to some atmospheric fast cuts with weird music. Even their own editors couldn't make sense of this season.

Why did the show go into the whole "humans are so simple they just have 10,247 lines of code?" thing anyway? I liked it in the moment because it felt like Woah Dude philosophy. Also it establishes a narrative of robot supremacy, that they deserve to kill all humans and replace them on the Earth. OTOH it's transparently bullshit and gives the lie to how hard it's been for the Delos project to replace humans with stable robot minds. So, um, no? It felt like one of those things put in there for color that doesn't actually make sense.
posted by Nelson at 8:19 AM on June 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


just have 10,247 lines of code

Or an emotional exclamation by an unreliable narrator? Now to handwave justification, what a line of code is has varied with newer abstractions, a line of APL can be an entire program, the HostBrainLanguage may compress a lot of functionality into a line.
posted by sammyo at 10:33 AM on June 28, 2018


Well, I for one found it fairly easy to follow, fun to untangle without need of the internet, well acted with nice visuals, and raising a number of interesting philosophical questions. All of its narrative moves are familiar to anyone conversant in basic modernism, and all of its science-fictional moves are familiar to anyone conversant with contemporary SF. And the combination of the two is familiar to anyone conversant with anything from Dick and Vonnegut onward. Which is all to say, it's intellectual entertainment that may not hold a candle to high modernism or the best SF literature, but it's still among the best SF ever committed to the small screen (particularly season 1). Actual ideas, well-acted, with narrative innovation -- that can be said of very little else in SF on the small screen, or even the large.
posted by chortly at 10:18 PM on June 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


gives the lie to how hard it's been for the Delos project to replace humans with stable robot minds
I thought the point was that replacing robot minds with human ones was difficult because the human minds were too limited to cope. The problem with the Delosbot wasn't the bot part. Delos himself couldn't cope with the transition.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 5:23 AM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well, moving away from the "is it shallow or not?" discussion that's going on, here's my speculation about the post-credits scene after rewatching last night.

Host Emily is testing host Man in Black for fidelity at a point where he's blown off three fingers and thinks he's chasing Dolores and Bernarnold down into the Forge holding tank, and we know from host Emily that they've been doing and redoing this for a long time. There's no telling where this specific simulation began, but maybe this indicates that the process of putting a human mind into a host body is finally successful. Of course, that raises more questions of exactly who is creating the host MiBs, but if that's all true, it would certainly make the scene significant and not just a view of the random nth MiB created.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 7:53 AM on June 29, 2018


Tessa Thompson Confirms “Love” For Girlfriend, Janelle Monae. Charlotte Hale is dating the woman from PYNK! She's in the video too.
posted by Nelson at 11:05 AM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Janelle did say that she only dates androids.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:43 PM on June 29, 2018 [23 favorites]


I am sorry I have only one favorite to give that comment.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:00 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


How long does it take to make a host now? Bernard makes a host Charlores in between the time she killed Elsie and they cleaned up the bodies. And he had time to go all the way out to the bunker and no one noticed he was gone when they had just picked him up. Maybe I’m just really confused on how much times is passing because this whole episode seemed at the very most to take place in one day.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:58 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


On the Decoding Westworld podcast Joanna Robinson suggests that the finale's high body count, and the move from park to real-world, might be mostly about making Season 3 cheaper to produce.

(She references this unfortunately-worded statement by HBO's Francesca Orsi, and notes that Westworld is expensive to produce and isn't pulling the same kind of ratings that Game of Throes does.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:38 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think the timeline is mostly dictated by how long you think MiB can hang around in his post-backfire state. His gun backfires right before the hosts enter the Valley Beyond - after that, Bernard shoots Dolores and takes her core, Hale kills Elsie, Bernard becomes fully conscious, makes Hale-bot*, scrambles memories, the entire Halores/Strand/wake up on the beach thread of the season happens, they go back to the Forge, Halores murders everybody, THEN they're back at the beach and MiB is moaning in the tent.

That's a really long time! Not to mention that he probably should have been washed away with the host bodies when the valley flooded.

*The one piece of the timeline I don't have completely referenced is where imaginary Ford tells Bernard that they're making "an epilogue" -- presumably that printer is working on Hale-bot, but i think that could have happened any time, not necessarily after Elsie dies. Placing that earlier saves a bunch of time in the MiB-lingering-near death timeline but it's still a good long while.
posted by range at 6:58 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


If Gustaf Skarsgaard, the evil guy from Delos

FLOKI
posted by poffin boffin at 4:32 PM on June 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


maeve and hector better be in that purse i tell you what
posted by poffin boffin at 4:33 PM on June 30, 2018


I counted five pearls in the handbag. Six entities escaped, including Delores. Teddy was the last upload to the satellite. I am wondering if one of the pearls was the host data and another the forge.
posted by jadepearl at 2:15 AM on July 8, 2018


a broader look at the themes of the series "Umberto Eco and Westworld"
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 PM on July 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Blissful Confusion of Westworld
And there’s something soothing about being led on; even the way the timeline jumps erratically backwards and forwards becomes more appealing when it comes with the assurance that in Westworld’s universe, there is a future to flash forward to. Most importantly, Westworld withstands large-scale dissection. It’s a coy show, teasing themes in its symbol-heavy opening credits, nodding at what’s important via especially stylish pre-episode plot recaps, winking to the viewer when a reference rolls across the screen like a tumbleweed at a standoff. Finding the pattern to the clues is thrilling, even and especially when packaged in the show’s oddly de-centered storytelling style. Westworld shows us beautiful, stark chaos, and then strings the viewer along on hope: the not wholly unsubstantiated but seemingly impossible idea that this struggle matters, that everything happens for a reason, that at least in this world, if not in our own, it’s possible to make all the pieces fit.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:16 PM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Finally got around to watching this. I loved the first season, but I was going to give up on season 2 until Kitsuya. I thought the finale was a mess. I found the conversations between Bernard and Charlotte/Dolores and Bernard and Ford mostly incomprehensible. I really really dislike Bernard in general. All he does is look confused and move slowly, right up until the last pre-credit scene. Since he's apparently going to be a major part of season 3, unless he changes substantially, I don't know if I want to invest the time.

The characters I'd most like to see in season 3: Akecheta, Felix, Emily, William, Lawrence, Giancarlo Esposito's El Lazo. I want to know the backstory for Armistice and her Japanese counterpart. (Plus, they obviously fall in love.) Logan's probably dead-dead, but if he could be brought back, I bet he'd be interesting, especially if he were in scenes with William. I want Lawrence's daughter and Maeve's daughter to somehow grow up and be the ones who set the world right again (whatever that means).

I didn't want to comment in really old threads, but it seemed obvious to me early on that the maze was kind of like a QR code. Didn't work on everyone, but for some of the hosts, seeing it triggered something in their programming. I thought Akecheta and Wanahton were inscribing it on hosts' scalps so that they would know which of the people they'd killed had "come back" from the dead, but that theory's kind of out there.
posted by AFABulous at 4:00 PM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Really surprised no one has mentioned that Teddy's last name is Flood. That's an awfully weird coincidence.
posted by AFABulous at 5:10 PM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I thought that Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), the QA engineer, put emphasis on having been hired a *long* time ago, and mentioning his "core drive," in such a way that I felt confident he was a host.

Not only that, the dialogue strongly hinted he was based on Teddy.

It's almost like the multiple timelines are there to give it an air of complex sophistication while it is, in fact, pretty simple and not particularly well-plotted. Like a gilded monument to wasted potential.

As fun as the show is, I think it has already jumped the shark. Humans and hosts can now be resurrected for the most trivial reasons of plot convenience, so life and death situations will have no weight in the next season.

I don't know what the fuck I watched in that last half hour but I do feel that it made me think that there was ten hours of my life spend on this season that I will never get back (except the Ghost Nation episode - that was stellar).

My partner concurs, and I pretty much agree.

One thing in particular that I can't square, and it's kind of pissing me off: Costa died twice. Once when Maeve killed him during her escape, then again when Halores shot him in The Forge. That seems like it should be a significant clue to the jumbled-up timeline thing, but it isn't. It doesn't go anywhere, and frankly I'm not sure the writing even acknowledges that it's a thing?

It doesn't really matter, like the infamous dead chauffeur from The Big Sleep, except here it comes off as yet another payoff the writing promised but couldn't deliver. I get that the out-of-sequence stuff is meant to replicate the way Bernard is piecing everything together after de-addressing his memories, but does telling the story in that way actually add anything to it?

I feel like almost all of the back half-hour would have been better used as part of the season three premiere instead, since it was all blatantly just setup for S3 to begin with. S1 was better about this, where it was a pretty satisfying stopping point even though it left story threads open for S2 to pick up. S2, on the other hand, feels like it can't properly exist without whatever follows it.

This is all getting to be a bit last-season-of-BSG to me at this point, to be quite honest. They hit a point where they should have stopped but then they just kept going anyway.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:55 AM on December 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


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