Westworld: Decoherence
April 20, 2020 10:38 PM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

"As the world falls into chaos, Serac gains control of Delos, changing Charlotte's plan; Meave gets one last chance to stop Dolores; William starts his therapy."
posted by Pronoiac (23 comments total)

To borrow a comment on the AV Club review: Rehoboam’s tell that Halores wasn’t really Hale is that real Hale would never have contacted her family during a crisis. However, when real Hale was in the park when everything went to hell, the first thing she did was record a message for Nate, to tell him she loved him. So maybe Rehoboam is not as smart as it thinks.

Loved Riot Control Voltron, though just like the first time it showed up, I kept wondering “so those five pieces need to be placed in just the right arrangement so it can assemble itself?” I mean, kudos to you, Arm, for drilling through the metal shelf to connect to Torso, but if you had been on two separate shelves, would you have been SOL?

I absolutely love scenes of Maeve being badass—they are perhaps my favorite scenes of the entire series—but Maeve beating up simulated Nazis just to kill time until her body is remade seemed like pandering to my preferences.

Not sure we needed more William, or this new shift from the Man in Black to the Man in White, but I do feel like the group therapy session was a wasted opportunity. Jimmi Simpson’s cameo was wasted; pre-park William should have raked post-park William over the coals for what he’s become.

Hard to believe that there are only two episodes left in the season... it still feels like we’re in Act 1 of the season’s story. I’ve enjoyed this season but it feels like all buildup, little resolution.
posted by ejs at 11:02 PM on April 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

The critic in me knows that I should not like this episode for its shallowness, but honestly I just want to watch Tessa Thompson tear shit up with Chekov's Voltron for about three hours
posted by angrycat at 1:31 AM on April 21, 2020 [9 favorites]

I get bored every time Maeve shows up (and I loved her character early on). The actress is great but the character, who in s1 was so well written, now feels like lazy writing used to accomplish whatever the plot requires. Her telepathic control powers bore me. Her determination to find her child that isn't really her child and she knows it's just a story so why does she care bores me. Her attachment to Hector bores me (more seen-through story that gets used when necessary and set aside when necessary). The whole beating up lots of guys felt like a waste of screen time for more important story telling - was there anything there we didn't already know? I do enjoy her time with Lee; they have a funny chemistry.

Similar things for Bernard, who from an interesting s1 start has become a plot piece moved muttering around the board while he adjusts his glasses.

It definitely feels like they're building up to a cliffhanger ending that will not resolve much and leave lots of open questions for next season to answer. That's fine by me if it means they don't have to rush to get there. Maybe there's a parallel structure happening between the awakening of s1 and the open warfare of s2 (though s3 already combines the two directions); or a parallel structure of waking in s1 and being led to the promised land of s2.
posted by kokaku at 3:35 AM on April 21, 2020 [10 favorites]

What bugged me about riot control Voltron was that it should very definitely have still had those steel shelves banging around between the joints and yet I don't think they paid that much attention to it. Maybe they got torn off while the mech was tearing through reinforced concrete.

If nothing else, I'm loving the audio design this season. Yeah, I miss the retro-kitsch-y soundtrack as much as the next guy, but the ambient soundtrack has been carrying a lot of weight. I forget the scene where the soundtrack was alternately panned hard left and hard right, but it caught my attention.

William's therapy scene was interesting, but I'm not sure how much it advanced the plot? I suppose it helped nail down his feelings about killing his daughter last season so he can be free to do whatever it was he's going to do in the next two episodes. But cheezis it felt like it was a good half of the episode, and given we only have ~8 hours of airtime this season, that's a respectable chunk of it to dedicate to one storyline. On the other hand, I guess maybe it counts as bottle episode time? Digital reinserting Ed Harris is probably relatively cheap compared to a lot of the other effects shots.

And yeah, I'm not sure how they coherently resolve all the Delores/Bernard/Serac primary storylines, much less any of the secondary, Halores/Caleb/William storylines in 2 episodes.
posted by Kyol at 6:14 AM on April 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! this episode was INSANE!!! I loved it!
posted by supermedusa at 10:04 AM on April 21, 2020

I appreciate the showrunners' willingness to burn plot elements (Hector, Hale's family) and, in between slow meditative stuff, blow through big chunks of plot at once. I trust them enough that the bad prediction about Hale -- that she would never stop to call family, even though that's exactly what Real Hale did from Westworld -- feels more like a seed being planted about Rehoboam's limitations, rather than a continuity error. Hopefully they let it all stick. There are little tiny hints that maybe some of what we're seeing is inside a Rehoboam simulation and not real, but I'll be kind of bummed if Hale's family et al just poof back like it's the Newhart finale.
posted by range at 10:54 AM on April 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

After seeing another person devastated by getting their life projections on their phone, it makes more sense to me that it could be crushing. Very little of would be coming as a surprise.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:58 AM on April 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

It is actually impossible to blow up a robot in a car without it going all terminatory. Another thing I guess Rehoboam, or at least Serac, didn't know.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:45 PM on April 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

a seed being planted about Rehoboam's limitations

I'm really hoping that this is the case. Rehoboam is a model, based on the information fed in, and the programmers' assumptions based on their experiences and biases. The theory here seems to be that if you add in enough information, the model has more knowns to build out projections of future unknowns with increasing certainty, reducing the impact of the programmers' biases.

(There's also the Super Villain twist of Serac modifying elements to create the future he wants, so he's not an idle god watching things play out.)

But as others have pointed out, people change, and that message has been repeated throughout this season. Dolores is surprised by Caleb's caring, and before that, Hale's last act was to leave a message to her son. Where I'd say that Caleb is a novel input for Dolores (her experience was all dudes who wanted to fuck and/or kill her, so kindness without expectations for benefits is new to her), Hale faced a new situation (her impending death) to change.

And in this episode, Halores asked Jake if he read his profile, to which he said "I never read it. I don't know what the future holds for us... but I do know that it's not up to a machine to decide. It's our choice, Charlie." Halores ends the episode trying to take her family somewhere safe, only to have them all killed, and she rises from the wreckage (hah, the machine can't decide what their future holds!), apparently very angry about this loss.

To its credit, I'm more invested in this episode after thinking about where things left off, and the ideas that are presented, rather than the way they were presented. But I think the problem is that I'm comparing this to Better Call Saul, which relies on the story and acting to build intrigue, instead of the CGI. Most of the "behind the episode" after-show clip was focused on how they blew up a real Jeep to make it look like the future SUV that blew up in this episode. I mean, good on 'em for the CGI work, but that's all flash and dazzle.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 PM on April 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

So that burning Halores scene really reminded me of a scene from the original West World movie where Yul Brynner's cowboy gets torched.
Part 1
Part 2

Bonus smoking face full of acid from earlier in the movie.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:59 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Probably are at the point that any commentary more in depth than special effects how to would be spoilers that killed any of the mystery. Not too many ways to go, robots win, humans win, robots become human.

Seems to be getting a bit Inception-like, are there simulations within simulations? I couldn't tell if the psychologist hanging herself as William was walked to the group therapy session was a simulation.
posted by sammyo at 9:06 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Good news: It's been renewed for another season. Whether that means the end of S3 will be a cliffhanger or if it's self-contained, who knows?
posted by Kyol at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

wow much pretty
such aesthetic
many badasss

much dumb and non-selfconsistent
posted by lalochezia at 6:19 PM on April 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

I have no idea how or why Bernard found William, but if he did it via his host locator tablet then we're almost guaranteed that he and Delores will meet again, perhaps in that little room, and have the conversation that wraps a bow around S3 and/or sets up S4.
posted by carmicha at 10:29 PM on April 22, 2020

What bugged me about riot control Voltron was that it should very definitely have still had those steel shelves banging around between the joints

rereading this discussion and that comment popped out - there were a number of lazy CGI moments like that that took me out of the story - i think there's one where Charlores is walking down the sidewalk with her family and you see a body fall from above behind her but there's no sound and it basically disappears as soon as it hits

despite my criticisms, i'm actually enjoying the show - just think they've taken a step down from previous work
posted by kokaku at 7:01 AM on April 23, 2020

The CG fire has seemed particularly low-rent all season. I mean, I don't know that I can really point out any high quality CG fire in any medium, but the stuff they were compositing over Terminator Halores' Family Truckster mid-kerblooey wasn't very convincing.
posted by Kyol at 11:58 AM on April 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

FWIW, that was a real explosion from a real jeep that flipped in a fashion similar to the truckster, then edited into the San Francisco neighborhood (SF Gate explanation; behind the scenes clip), where they couldn't have an actual explosion.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:45 PM on April 23, 2020

I enjoyed it!

But I have a feeling that after this season ends, I will wish that I had spent the time restarting my AO3 account and writing Maeve/Lee fanfic. For me, the humourlessness, and the expectation that this robot silliness be taken seriously is a bit much. I mean, I did think it was pretty funny that William turned out to be a reddit atheist, and I am consistently amused by how terrible everyone's life report turns out to be, but I don't think all of that is supposed to be funny. Lee's little cough when Maeve and Hector start making out in front of him, now that was a much needed moment of lightness.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:55 PM on April 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

A fun action episode (but the MIB stuff seems a little dull). I was worried the mecha would look TV cheap but they did a great job. I am sad that Hale never gets a chance to relax, and worried that Delores Prime does actually consider her expendable. Keeping Hector alive as a "hostage" seemed a smarter move. The Hosts are borderline extinct so adding to the internal strife so extremely doesn't seem smart, and I would be confused if Delores Prime doesn't actually care if the other Hosts survive.

I haven't watched last night's episode yet, but I hope Maeve's plan is more complicated than it seems currently. The Maeve I like wouldn't put up with being manipulated for very long without a plan. Hector's death does complicate things a but though.

I subscribe to Don Giller on YT (HQ Letterman clips), and he uploaded a compilation of Lyle the Intern (Jimmi Simpson) recently. Really funny stuff.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:04 AM on April 27, 2020

I subscribe to Don Giller on YT (HQ Letterman clips), and he uploaded a compilation of Lyle the Intern (Jimmi Simpson) recently. Really funny stuff.

They should have let him bring that energy to the group therapy scene.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:08 PM on April 27, 2020

"Your loss, Dr. Zaius"

Before I ever saw that guy in dramas (where he is incredible) I only knew him as a Poole brother in It's Always Sunny. The shift was jarring.
posted by abulafa at 4:04 PM on April 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

McPoyle you mean. And yeah he's great at everything he does apparently
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:52 AM on April 30, 2020

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