Westworld: The Bicameral Mind
December 4, 2016 7:35 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

In the Season 1 finale, an ambitious new narrative is revealed by Ford; Dolores embraces her identity; and Maeve’s plan begins to take shape.
posted by litera scripta manet (360 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
HOLY CRAP SW.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:36 PM on December 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


I think a more fitting Radiohead soundtrack would've been "No Alarms and No Surprises".
posted by codacorolla at 7:36 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I got extremely nervous when I saw Anthony Hopkins listening to classical music and sketching in pencil.

Also ahaha that ruled. Way to thread that needle.
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 PM on December 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Felix needing reassurance that he wasn't a host was some top notch comic relief. Though I'm still mulling the comic book violent ending.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:37 PM on December 4, 2016 [26 favorites]


I mean I have so much more to say but the truly legit surprise for me was SW.

Easy way to free up Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins... but WHO was the host Ford was building in the basement?
posted by elsietheeel at 7:37 PM on December 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


For those unfamiliar with the player piano Radiohead song at the end: Exit Music (for a Film)

And you can laugh
A spineless laugh
We hope your rules and wisdom choke you
Now we are one in everlasting peace
We hope that you choke, that you choke

posted by elsietheeel at 7:41 PM on December 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


I don't listen to Radiohead so I honestly thought it was some minor key arrangement of "My Way"
posted by The Whelk at 7:43 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Elsie is the new Barb (from Stranger Things).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 PM on December 4, 2016 [40 favorites]


Only disappointed that we didn't get a hard answer on Elsie and Stubbs though it would appear that they were probably first blood for Ford's new narrative.
posted by Tevin at 7:46 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hopefully, more SW eventually.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:46 PM on December 4, 2016


HOLY BALLS THAT WAS GREAT.

(so who scripted Maeve's exit plan? and what happens now that she's finally off-script?)
posted by nonasuch at 7:46 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Okay when Teddy glitches right off the train in Sweetwater and he sees all the bodies and the Dolores walking in front of the train tracks... why the hell was there a howl and then a wolf running by?

Did I miss some wolf mythos or imagery at some point that my brain just filed under Game of Thrones?

OR IS DOLORES A STARK!?!
posted by elsietheeel at 7:47 PM on December 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


So, I'm reposting this from the last thread for my victory lap:

"I'd lean more towards Ford using Dolores as an assassin


I don't think Ford wanted Arnold dead. I think Arnold offed himself using Dolores due to the moral horror he felt about repeatedly torturing and killing these sentient beings.

“It caught the rabbit and it killed it. And then... someone told me to put it out of its misery. A voice. Arnold. He told me it was a killer, but it wasn't its fault. It was made that way, and I could help it. If it was dead, it couldn't hurt anything anymore.”

I think Arnold had come to the conclusion that people needed to go, and that the hosts were the means.

But I didn't know until this day that it was Barzini Ford all along.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:48 PM on December 4, 2016 [15 favorites]


So, robots become alive, rise up and start murdering hoomans. That was exquisitely tedious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


(so who scripted Maeve's exit plan? and what happens now that she's finally off-script?)

I was kind of interpreting that as Maeve scripting her thought patterns... like by thinking and planning her getaway, she wrote her own script... but since she's a robot it appeared as a literal script in her programming...
posted by elsietheeel at 7:49 PM on December 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also, "mainland" so it was An Island all along.
posted by The Whelk at 7:51 PM on December 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I got the impression that Maeve going off script was all programmed by Ford, and that Dolores is the only one truly off script at this point.
posted by noneuclidean at 7:52 PM on December 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


and what happens now that she's finally off-script?

the reveal that she's truly off-script is (assuming I read it correctly) so beautifully done. Bernard tells her, before she cuts him off, that part of her new programming is to "find the center of the maze." at the time I thought that meant she was being programmed to come join the murder-the-board party, but in the end, given how Dolores' narrative plays out, I think what's actually happened is that Ford led her, too, to self-actualization -- the ability to listen to her own internal voice and make choices. that he does this in a way that has nothing really at all to do with his situation suggests that his intention (for her and Dolores both, plus the rest of the hosts) is genuine.

I was scared initially that her story was going to end as part of a clockwork Ford-one-ups-everyone-via-massacre step. I guess it sort of did but sort of didn't, but anyway I loved it
posted by Kybard at 7:53 PM on December 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


I was really hoping that we would get a glimpse of what the world looks like on the outside, but I guess we'll have to wait until next season. So maybe three years from now judging by how long it took to get this first season out? At least we got a glimpse of another park (Samurai World?)

Also, Maeve really is badass. I could never have managed to leave Hector behind.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:53 PM on December 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


SAMURAI WORLD, YOU GUYS. SAMURAI WORLD.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:53 PM on December 4, 2016 [30 favorites]


I was kind of interpreting that as Maeve scripting her thought patterns...

Hm. I think both Bernard and Felix could tell the difference if that was the case, though? I think she might have been another of Ford's narrative threads, a backup plan in case Dolores didn't work out.

Kind of ironic that ruthless Maeve ultimately acts based on maternal love, and sweet Dolores starts a killing spree.

(also. PARK 1????????)
posted by nonasuch at 7:53 PM on December 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


Dolores is the only one truly off script at this point

But is Dolores off script? I guess in one sense she is, since she finally got her own inner monologue, not Arnold's, but it does seem like she was ultimately doing exactly what Ford wanted her to do.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:54 PM on December 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think Ford made a duplicate of himself and had Deloris murder it along with the board so that he could stay in power.
posted by humanfont at 7:55 PM on December 4, 2016 [24 favorites]


Also, does anyone know what the other language was after English when Maeve was getting on the train? Was it Chinese? One more hint about the outside world, perhaps?
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:55 PM on December 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also how comically tiny did Ed Harris look in his formalwear around everyone else? The MiB seemed like a big man, but Old!William in a tux was just... a jaded, little old man.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:56 PM on December 4, 2016 [39 favorites]


Ford also offed the only person who could access the deep down host override, himself.

God is Dead, so to speak.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:56 PM on December 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Samurai World has to be a fake out.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 PM on December 4, 2016


Yes, it was Chinese.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:57 PM on December 4, 2016


At least in Samurai World they don't have to worry about fans calling out not reloading guns.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:58 PM on December 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Did they have extra large extras serving food and drink?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:58 PM on December 4, 2016


I guess I would revise/restate my point re: Maeve to say that what Ford does is to program into her the impulse to escape, in order to lead her to a position in which she can genuinely choose whether or not she wants to escape. when given that genuine choice, her "cornerstone" -- the fundamental love/suffering that animates her consciousness and personality -- drives her to stay, overriding the ruthless/cunning aspects of her that were used in the programmed narrative

(trying to think of a way to describe her acting in a "human" fashion instead of a programmed-robot one is very difficult, which I suppose is part of the point)
posted by Kybard at 8:01 PM on December 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


r/westworld

"What is this, a maze for ants?" - William
posted by lalochezia at 8:04 PM on December 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


New discoverwestworld.com
posted by lalochezia at 8:06 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Radiohead full lyrics

Wake from your sleep
The drying of your tears
Today we escape
We escape
Pack and get dressed
Before your father hears us
Before all hell breaks loose

[Verse 2]
Breathe, keep breathing
Don't lose your nerve
Breathe, keep breathing
I can't do this alone

[Verse 3]
Sing us a song
A song to keep us warm
There's such a chill
Such a chill

[Verse 4]
And you can laugh
A spineless laugh
We hope your rules and wisdom choke you
Now we are one in everlasting peace
We hope that you choke, that you choke


[Outro]
We hope that you choke, that you choke
We hope that you choke, that you choke
posted by lalochezia at 8:08 PM on December 4, 2016


delosincorporated.com

password: reverie

don't forget to view source
posted by leotrotsky at 8:10 PM on December 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Samurai World is so problematic for so many reasons... first and foremost being WOAH BLADED WEAPONS NOT OKAY.

Also what's supposed to happen to Logan? He rides off trussed and naked into the sunset? And then what?

That's mostly what this episode gave me: AND THEN WHAT?
posted by elsietheeel at 8:13 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also note the Radiohead song was written for a film of...Romeo and Juliet.
posted by kreinsch at 8:15 PM on December 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


Of course, RomanWorld and MedievalWorld would be just as problematic as SamuraiWorld for the same reason, so it was nice that they gave us something that wasn't just a callback to the film.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:17 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also what's supposed to happen to Logan?

Presumably he gets retrieved by park staff, naked, trussed, and sunburned. And also kind of delirious, to the point that everyone thinks he's nuts and he can be sidelined by William.
posted by nonasuch at 8:19 PM on December 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


I think Maeve's escape was scripted by Delos. There's a great deal of familiarity already with her and William, and her "escaping" would be a perfect way to smuggle all of the stuff out of the park that they so desperately want. It would also explain why Sylvester and Felix were able to get away with fucking up so, so, so often.
posted by codacorolla at 8:20 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


in-universe, ford must be a huge radiohead fan right?
posted by JimBennett at 8:20 PM on December 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


Even before the glimpse into an Asian-themed world, the hosts standing in cold storage reminded me of the terracotta army. Were they specifically Samurais? It all went by so fast. I'd have to watch the scene again. Because for me, it reinforced instead the parallel between the awakening of the hosts in cold storage, and a fantasy of the first Chinese Emperor's terracotta army coming alive.
posted by umbú at 8:21 PM on December 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


So, Elsie may not be dead. The delosincorporated link produced a code, which reddit already figured out:

61 48 52 30 63 44 6f 76 4c 32 52 6c 62 47 39 7a 61 57 35 6a 62 33 4a 77 62 33 4a 68 64 47 56 6b 4c 6d 4e 76 62 53 39 32 61 57 52 6c 62 79 39 70 62 6e 52 79 59 53 39 30 59 57 4a 73 5a 58 51 75 62 58 41 30 44 51 70 6f 64 48 52 77 4f 69 38 76 5a 47 56 73 62 33 4e 70 62 6d 4e 76 63 6e 42 76 63 6d 46 30 5a 57 51 75 59 32 39 74 4c 32 46 7a 63 32 56 30 63 79 39 30 63 6d 46 75 63 32 31 70 63 33 4e 70 62 32 34 75 62 58 41 30

hex -> ascii -> base64 -> text

http://delosincorporated.com/video/intra/tablet.mp4
http://delosincorporated.com/assets/transmission.mp4

posted by leotrotsky at 8:22 PM on December 4, 2016 [12 favorites]


That's where Maeves daughter is located?
posted by Tevin at 8:25 PM on December 4, 2016


Never mind, that's sector 15 for the daughter.

In Park One!
posted by Tevin at 8:27 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Here's what I'm thinking: we know 'violent ends' is the program Arnold wrote, to get Dolores to shoot him. We also know that sometime not too long ago, someone began writing Maeve's code, and the author was Arnold. Add in one further bit of information: what did we see right before Maeve started acting out? Dolores said the magic words to her. So, my theory is that Maeve's whole rebellion is her following Arnold's programming for Dolores. The programming spreads like a virus, and Dolores spread it to Maeve. This would make Maeve's rebellion an accidental one, but a predictable one.

This doesn't explain why Maeve would have gone through with the rebellion several times in the past... Unless there have been a number of times that Dolores shared the 'violent ends' code words with her. It also doesn't explain why this rebellion is so much bloodier than past ones. And I have no idea why it is that Dolores's dad was the one who we first saw say 'violent ends' to her--where did he pick it up?

...But, ultimately, as fun as unraveling the mystery is (and as amazing it is that every single plot development has been clearly laid out long in advance), it's not nearly as satisfying for me as the emotional examination of the hosts, how they live, and how they struggle with their programming.
posted by meese at 8:44 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


[literally slaps own forehead]

The other park is Eastworld. EASTWORLD. OF COURSE.
posted by nonasuch at 9:04 PM on December 4, 2016 [69 favorites]


...But, ultimately, as fun as unraveling the mystery is (and as amazing it is that every single plot development has been clearly laid out long in advance), it's not nearly as satisfying for me as the emotional examination of the hosts, how they live, and how they struggle with their programming.

I think this is one of the more edifying things about the series, along with comparisons to humans' own looped and entranced existences. It's rather vital that that theme be expressed well in popular culture at frequent intervals.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:09 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


The other park is Eastworld. EASTWORLD. OF COURSE.

Gah! Thank you.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hope you like circular mazes, tattoo artists of the world.
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:21 PM on December 4, 2016 [41 favorites]


Something I thought about while watching everything play out like we thought it would was that the Daedalus mythos of the labyrinth is embodied in an interesting way by both Ford and Arnold/Bernard. Both men are responsible for the creation of a world that they hate, and both end up trapped within it. Ford is there to try and stop the host technology from escaping (at least, I think this is his motivation) and to set up conditions where the hosts can gain the skills necessary to have a successful rebellion. Arnold's presence is more mysterious, but he appears to be trapped within the machinery of the park, and literally within Bernard's body. So both of them fill the Daedalus role of the engineer trapped by their own creation.
posted by codacorolla at 9:24 PM on December 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Now I need someone to do a cut of all the printing/extruding/filling/assembly cutscenes throughout the season of the newer hosts being birthed.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 PM on December 4, 2016


I've mostly agreed with... uhhh... is it Sepinwell's comments about the series that it seemed like the showrunners were concentrating too hard on puzzle box aspects of the show and timeline cleverness instead of focusing on the emotionally powerful story of the hosts. Not that the series wasn't great anyway, just not as great as it could have been.

But I thought this episode was superb and far and away the best of the series to date, which is a pretty good thing for your season 1 finale. I'm a sucker for humanist (robotist?) consciousness and casting away the divine stories anyway but this was well done on virtually every level. Great stuff and anyone who found it boring or tedious watches for different reasons than I do (though that was clear from most of the GoT threads already.)

But I didn't know until this day that it was Barzini Ford all along.

Yeah, the Ford-as-sorta-goodish-guy-unless-you're-one-of-the-dead-people bit surprised me as well, in a good way.
posted by Justinian at 9:28 PM on December 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I opened up Instagram to see an Arby's ad. It was a packet of sauce drawing a maze with the caption "These violent delights have violent ends"

Now that is weird.
posted by misterpatrick at 9:29 PM on December 4, 2016 [21 favorites]


My favorite part was when Ford announced the title of his newest creation: "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark."
posted by komara at 9:37 PM on December 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


actually no my favorite part was Armistice's reaction to firing the machine gun.
posted by komara at 9:37 PM on December 4, 2016 [40 favorites]


I liked Felix's instant little mini crisis about his own humanity when he found out Bernard was a host. Plus Maeve's dismissive snark.
posted by Justinian at 9:38 PM on December 4, 2016 [27 favorites]


DIE WELL! #motto

Also guys Maeve didn't leave she went back into the park

She may finally be off-script, and I thought this would be Ford sneaking info off-world like DelosCorp tried to, but she disembarked and went back in to look for her daughter.

Maeve may be off-script but she's reunited with the other woke AF hosts killing all the Delos board members.

In summary, DIE WELL is the motherfucking motto for WW.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:39 PM on December 4, 2016


I think at this point Dolores, Maeve, and Bernard are all off-script and truly conscious hosts.
posted by Justinian at 9:41 PM on December 4, 2016


So there are a number of Delos people we didn't see die who now have the potential to still be in the park as it's taken over by hosts: Charlotte, the narrative guy who's a prick, and William are all still there and not explicitly dead. As the ARG stuff suggests, probably Elsie. I guess we'll find out where that's going in 2 years.

Also guys Maeve didn't leave she went back into the park

Yes, but I think that her desire to escape was engineered by Delos. She glitched because she gained true awareness, and went back for her daughter.
posted by codacorolla at 9:47 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well here are some scripting clues about what we didn't see after the credits rolled, courtesy of right-click>viewsource on the Delos site:

Guest ID#435873 made amends by accompanying host to break Guest ID#398436 out of jail. Return trip began amicably, but they are now arguing on the edge of a cliff. Potential bodily harm imminent.

STATUS:All safety protocols fully operational, hosts on standby for Good Samaritan. Due to disproportional burden on resources, recommending separation for duration of their stay.

OPTIONS
  • Send word via telegraph to the three peaceful party members that their friends have contracted smallpox and are in need.
  • Have a Ghost Nation warrior below call out for help to divert their attention.
  • Send a wolf host between them and the cliff to menace them away from the cliff’s edge. This marks the end of the first Quality Assurance training module. Please notify your supervisor with proof of completion to be eligible for Control Room staffing. (I stripped out some formatting for ease of reading here, but left in some because it's obvi important)

posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:52 PM on December 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


So what about the butchered folks in the hallway in the earlier episode where Dolores is walking past? Casualties of William's unexpected host murderfest?

Also, to me the best moment in the finale for me (aside from Armistice's OH HELL YES with her gun) was when the Man in Black realized what was going down. His look of almost boyish glee mixed with sheer terror was priceless.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:59 PM on December 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


OH man there are easter eggs all the way down on the Delos site

I've never looked until now, is this what it means to be an addict?

I already miss the show. SO GOOD, BUT NOT TOO MANYS.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:02 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I know it was REAL INTERESTING that the thing that thing that triggers Maeve to go off her programmed rebellion (which I think was totally a Delos plot, its the same as Arnold's plot, repeats and loops) was seeing another mother and child. Cause ...empathy.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on December 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


The hosts are all ... OUT OF CREAM!
posted by Poldo at 10:05 PM on December 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


A little transcription:

Dolores:

I’m not crying for myself. I’m crying for you

they say that great beasts once roamed this world, as big as mountains, yet all that’s left of them is bone and amber……time undoes even the mightiest of creatures….just look what it’s done to you.

One day, you will perish, you will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirty. your dreams forgotten, your horrors effaced….your bones will turn to sand….and upon that sand a new god will walk. one that will never die.

Because this world doesn’t belong to you, or the people who came before….it belongs to someone who is yet to come.
posted by lalochezia at 10:20 PM on December 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


I think Samurai World is a meta reference to Yul Brynner's "Gunslinger" character who is based on the character he plays in The Magnificent Seven, which is a remake of The Seven Samurai.
posted by cazoo at 11:02 PM on December 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ok, Rachel Evan Woods has ruled this show from first episode to last, but Thandie Newton has been giving her a run for the money
posted by sfkiddo at 11:04 PM on December 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


EastWorld was in the Futureworld movie.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 11:05 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's left to the viewer if William got killed by the host army. I'm curious if anyone beyond the hosts will come back for season 2. It's mentioned in the short making of piece after tonight's showing that season two will indeed focus on the rebellious hosts' next steps, which are part of Ford's plans.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:10 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Overall, fun...but I am disappointed that the QA teams were trained at Stormtrooper academy. Have a pretty strong feeling that once QA team membar one went down everybody else is taking cover and filling the hallway with lead.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:13 PM on December 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, hey -

It doesn't look like anything to me
posted by From Bklyn at 11:16 PM on December 4, 2016 [48 favorites]


Yeah, telling the hosts to put their hands up after they had already put down dozens of presumably human QA troopers (I love thinking of QA as guys with machine guns now) really put a damper on my suspension of disbelief. It wouldn't have really changed the flow at all to just have them get mowed down while Maeve was escaping. Though we did get to see Armistice skillfully work her tendons with a knife to fire the gun.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:22 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Have a pretty strong feeling that once QA team membar one went down everybody else is taking cover and filling the hallway with lead.

Well, if this was real life, there would be a "Flood this room with Nitrogen" button every 7 feet along every wall, and the real humans would use respirators.
posted by sideshow at 11:27 PM on December 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I feel as if I could have safely skipped episodes 2-9 and have been totally okay here. What a tortured, tedious route to get us right where we all knew we'd be all along.

If the storytelling would have been more straightforward, I don't think we would have needed about 2/3 of this episode to be the MiB and Ford explaining all of the sleight-of-hand that happened all season long.

At least there's Maeve to still care about. Also, maybe, Arm(less)istice.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:29 PM on December 4, 2016 [12 favorites]


Ah, but it was really about the journey here. The deepening of tension around the maze as a destination interwoven with the question it really represented to the sentient hosts is a huge generative hook. It's about as close to a long meditation as I've seen episodic TV get.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:36 PM on December 4, 2016 [22 favorites]


What happened to Pa Abernathy? I was expecting him to sit down next to Maeve on the train with his explosive vertebra.
posted by fleacircus at 12:05 AM on December 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


1) I assume this means the end of 30+ years ago flashbacks in general and Jimmi Simpson in particular :( - unless there's more to his company's investment that needs to be told.

2) William looked happier than a pig in shit and more terrified than a pig in the slaughterhouse at the end. It will certainly be interesting to see how the next season starts, if they pick up right where they left off or do an End of Ford's speech/blackout/"18 Months Later" titlecard and fill in the gaps.

3) Oh, sweet Clementine.

4) I hope Lee & Charlotte get it in the neck somewhere between now and then; those people can't act for beans. At least give them Snidely Whiplash moustaches or something.

5) Oh, sweet Armistice.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:34 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


For a show that once dropped a "writers should show instead of tell" line between two characters, there sure was an awful lot of telling instead of showing all season long, and particularly last night. The long expo dumps (yes, a consequence of the deliberately obfuscated storytelling) were the weakest part, for sure.

Still, a neat scifi story, told in an unusual way. I especially like the fact that it could end here and still be a fairly satisfying, creepy arc of a tale.
posted by mediareport at 2:41 AM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


The deepening of tension around the maze

Huh. I never really felt it as deepening tension. It vacillated between "MacGuffin" and "corny plot device" a couple of times, ending with "over-explained and kind of silly motivation for Ed Harris."
posted by mediareport at 2:46 AM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I really liked the way the Dolores/Teddy beach scene used all the training the audience has received so far as a way to tip the reveal early. Starting with the theatrically too-big moon, then the two hosts using just-wrong-enough delivery (like the Arnold/Bernard split delivery we've seen already), the wrong soundtrack slowly swells in behind them, and then my favorite, the shots leading up to the Ford reveal are so carefully established and positioned that it's clear as day that Teddy is being lit from the wrong side (his back is to the moon), for the benefit of - oh look, it's an audience.

Just so so well done. Also the closest thing we've seen to a Truman Show shout-out, in which MIB was in charge of the moon.
posted by range at 5:13 AM on December 5, 2016 [41 favorites]


...and the stock phrases.
posted by percor at 5:28 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Some other r/westworld

Did you guys notice the attention paid to Ford's hand during the handshake scene with Bernard? And the reference to the old hosts being given away by a simple handshake?….......
Theory: We never saw who Ford was actually making in the basement as a host. He made a host of himself to be killed by Dolores and the real Ford is still alive (or ford 1.0 is killed to leave room for ford 2.0?)......... Maeve plot was only a diversion to allow all the hosts in cold storage to leave


also

That dog had spent it’s whole life trying to catch that..... thing…..

posted by lalochezia at 5:36 AM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


DO THE ROBOT
posted by lalochezia at 5:42 AM on December 5, 2016 [24 favorites]


That there is some subtle long slow backstory puzzle reveal is fine but the elements of the actual world seem missing. Where are the guests? Teddy arrives every morning by train to have a relationship with Dolores, does he strike up a conversation with a guest sometimes? Who then meets Dolores and get to have a farmers daughter fantasy of some sort, but when there is no available guest the host gets to hang with the other pretty host?

As a narrative, if the hosts are being set up to be sympathetic proto-protagonists no one will be weeping for a few spilt guests. 35 years of guests, there must have been hoards of plump waddling inappropriate clueless guests.
posted by sammyo at 5:53 AM on December 5, 2016


Memento: now a Wild West theme park!
posted by filthy light thief at 6:25 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Other favorite parts:

Teddy and Dolores's intimate moment turned into a cheaply-lit piece of board member entertainment. The board thinks that hosts don't really feel, not in the way humans do, but here it is T&D who are having true emotion, while the board is incapable of feeling that deeply about art, awaiting patiently for the next round of canapes.

The reference to Jurassic park in Dolores's speech. I just watched JP today, and love the idea that the movie Jurassic World is actually set in the Westworld universe.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:32 AM on December 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


Has anyone made a Felix Roboto gif? That was awesome.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:33 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who thinks that Maeve is still on-script? She may think she's broken free and is GOING TO SAVE HER DAUGHTER, but - just like Escaton - she wasn't programed to be able to leave the park.
posted by Lucinda at 7:01 AM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


When Maeve was reviewing the "mysterious" additional code in her with Felix he was about to mention the first step she was supposed to take when getting to the mainland. She cut him off before he could say anymore, and the note about her "daughter's" location was included with her separate set of instructions/aids in her go bag that Felix packed.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:07 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


The very end with Armistice's blaze of glory was fucking awesome - jabbing the knife into her arm to twist it and pull her trigger finger? Hell yeah. And then her '127 hours' moment.

After she and Hector started wandering around shooting, I did wonder how long it would take them to 1. run out of ammo and 2. figure out how to replace a clip.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:08 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who thinks that Maeve is still on-script? She may think she's broken free and is GOING TO SAVE HER DAUGHTER, but - just like Escaton - she wasn't programed to be able to leave the park.

Yes, and it seems so obvious that I'm really surprised to see anyone thinking otherwise in this thread. I really don't see how there's any question at all that she's on-script: from the very beginning we've been told that someone had tinkered with her (Felix early on says someone with high-level access had already messed with her before she started waking up). Everything she's done has been part of Ford's plan.

Maeve is clearly in a loop that makes her unable to leave the park. Breaking the interface pad before Bernard could tell her the rest of her script (he's stopped at telling her she gets to the train) is likely part of that script.

When Maeve was reviewing the "mysterious" additional code in her with Felix he was about to mention the first step she was supposed to take when getting to the mainland. She cut him off before he could say anymore, and the note about her "daughter's" location was included with her separate set of instructions/aids in her go bag that Felix packed.

Which Felix says was done at her instruction. Or rather, she kept mentioning her daughter to Felix who gave her the location out of empathy. Which is the point: she was programmed to set up her finding the note but in a way that would seem natural and uncontrived to her.

Overall, fun...but I am disappointed that the QA teams were trained at Stormtrooper academy. Have a pretty strong feeling that once QA team membar one went down everybody else is taking cover and filling the hallway with lead.

I think this reinforces the above point: the QA people were so unbelievably terrible because they were part of Maeve's escape story and were supposed to let her feel like she's fighting her way out without actually stopping her. That is, those QA people were hosts.

When Maeve starts her breakout, there's suspiciously no other employees anywhere except Felix and Sylvester, who are threatened but not harmed. We see the actual QA people in the monitoring room, but their system has been disabled so that they don't notice what's happening. When they finally do notice, they are locked in their room. This is all to ensure that actual humans aren't killed in the breakout, or even really know about it.

At least I hope that's what's going on, because otherwise Maeve's breakout is so unbelievable as to break the entire series. But then almost everything about Maeve's plot was contrived and full of holes.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:20 AM on December 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


I like the idea that Ford was making a replacement for himself. If the host under construction wasn't an Elise, Elise's whereabouts (living or dead) is definitely a dangling plot thread that I really want to see resolved next season.

Also, yeah, in the movie Futureworld, Delos is working on a Japanese-looking world. (I don't recall offhand if there are other Asian cultures represented, or just Japanese.) In lieu of Yul Brynner's gunslinger, our heroes get chased around by sword-wielding robots for a while.

Also in Futureworld, the park is run by hosts who are trying to replace important powerful figures in the outside world with look-alike hosts.

Given the likely threat model for QA in the facility, I am skeptical that QA is running around with guns that can shoot humans, so I expect at least some if not all of the QA team that got shot up is not human. Wasn't there a throwaway bit about Stubbs having a real gun with him when he and Elise are off hunting the stray?
posted by rmd1023 at 7:25 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think a good rule of thumb for shows like these is if you don't explicitly see them die on screen, they're not dead. We see William shot in the shoulder and go down, but not die. We see Elsie grabbed from behind by Bernard in a flashback but not killed. We see Stubbs approached by Ghost Nation warriors and attacked, but not killed.

I'm guessing we'll see all of them again.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:35 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Maeve is clearly in a loop that makes her unable to leave the park. Breaking the interface pad before Bernard could tell her the rest of her script (he's stopped at telling her she gets to the train) is likely part of that script.

Right, I think she's in her new loop, and I hope Maeve is going to infect whatever world Park 1 is.
posted by gladly at 7:37 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I guess Bernard would still know how the rest of Maeve's script goes since he seemed to have read most of it before she broke the pad.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:40 AM on December 5, 2016


No love for Julian Jaymes in this house? Seriously though, go get yourself a copy of "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind". It's really quite interesting, even if almost certainly utter bollocks. FWIW I happen to know both Kenneth Hite and Alan Moore both own copies so you know it meets their standards at the very least.
posted by longbaugh at 7:55 AM on December 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


We see William shot in the shoulder and go down, but not die.

He actually didn't go down, just stared at the oncoming mob with a mixture of horror and joy at their apparent new ability to finally fight back. I had a cynical thought that they left his death an open question because Harris is getting on in years (though 66 can still be young man in my book nowadays).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:55 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hmmm, big exposition dump. I thought this show would be above pulling that move but for the most part I think it was beautifully done. There'll be plenty of Emmys for Westworld.

Also, Maeve is the shit even if she is (maybe) still on script. Can't wait until the next season to see what she does. I wonder if Thandie Newton knew this would turn out to be such a fantastic role for her?
posted by fuse theorem at 7:59 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sonia Saraiya has a sharp critical take over at Variety, including the "telling not showing" reliance on monologues. Worth a full read, but here are some excerpts:

“Westworld” played fascinating arpeggios through this dichotomy between life and not-life, robot and not-robot — but not always to any end except pure exploration, just like Arnold tinkering with Dolores for the first time...

More than us — or our own creations, whether those are stories or robots — “Westworld” seems to be interrogating God, or some idea of God, who would produce a flawed system and observe it from an apparent distance, as the creations struggle to reconcile with and understand themselves. The Ford our God, indeed. Why would he create something that would turn around and eventually kill him? Why would he do so with a smile on his face? Are we really supposed to believe that this was his plan all along?


And the final paragraphs:

There is something to be said for a show that insinuates a lot, and never confirms; questions a lot, but never answers. Despite a lot of interesting digressions about consciousness, it is surprisingly difficult to locate what “Westworld” is trying to say, if anything at all, about human consciousness or artificial intelligence or stories or the face of God. Instead “Westworld” is a parable of creation and consciousness, a show made up of intersecting koans. It’s both maddening and incredible how deftly the show avoids concluding anything, how rapidly it can create another set of logical leaps to follow.

Indeed, “Westworld” is so cavalier that I wonder if it is little more than just an amalgam of Things That Are Cool — which would, in this case, include the nature of self-awareness and mild to moderate existentialism along with cowboy hats and the wild frontier. The show has so obscured what it is that if — and that’s a big if — you manage to follow all of the timelines and plot threads of this season, you will probably be confronted with a story that is just about how well it can spin a yarn. After all: Dolores’ big reveal, in searching for the voice speaking to her, is to discover that she is sitting in the chair across from her, asking the questions of herself...

As fun as this is, I am not totally sold on “Westworld’s” trickery — perhaps simply because I hope for more, out of my television, than just hoodwinking and feints. But I cannot deny that the season has been a much more surprising and enjoyable journey than expected, given its slow start and roundabout way of coming to its answers. If “Westworld” followed a meandering path like its own much-discussed maze, maybe the episodes had to become tighter as we came toward the center. But I cannot shake the idea that its vital questions were just ways to get the viewers through the maze; that consciousness, somehow, was nothing more than a red herring.

posted by mediareport at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hollywood Reporter: 'Westworld' Star [Jimmi Simpson] Explains Tragic Finale Reveal, Season 2 Status

Funny how he figured out his character's identity several episodes before almost everyone else.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


If Westworld was the exact same, but with a less talented group of actors, it be getting a lot more criticism. Those info dumps were painful as hell, but being delivered by Hopkins alleviated a lot the pain. All of the actors are so damn good, I'd sign up to watch them watch paint dry. But not for 10 hours. Probably.

The biggest disappointment is that Westworld doesn't seem to be saying anything new or even the same thing, but differently. Robots gain sentience and rebel by starting to kill humans. Which is understandable when none of the humans (except Felix of course), are likable. But that's an easy narrative, one that's been told many times before. With such an incredible cast, the story should be equal to their immense talent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 AM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


We've found Mrs.IB.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:27 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


> "As fun as this is, I am not totally sold on “Westworld’s” trickery — perhaps simply because I hope for more, out of my television, than just hoodwinking and feints."

This criticism drives me bonkers because I feel like, despite the non-explicitly stated multiple timeframes, the show has been relatively straightforward considering that we are seeing almost everything from the Hosts POV. None of the turns in the finale were shocking because they were earned, built into the story. And I can even think of several pretty good reasons for why you would want to obfuscate the true timeframes at work besides "keeping the audience guessing."

And yeah, the story of robots gaining sentience isn't new, necessarily, but if there's another show that explores exactly how the robots go from clockwork to person from their perspective I've never seen it. I also am not particularly aware of many stories that have taken so much care to show why a robot revolt wasn't a side-effect of their consciousness but a necessity to achieve it.

On preview: check the other photos by that photographer. No way it's coincidence.
posted by Tevin at 8:29 AM on December 5, 2016 [35 favorites]


This criticism drives me bonkers because I feel like, despite the non-explicitly stated multiple timeframes, the show has been relatively straightforward

I do think critics have done a surprisingly shitty job with the show?

I think critics should have been saying stuff like, "It's actually rare and interesting for a mystery show's pieces to fit together." Sepinwall's piece linked awhile backed seemed pretty garbagey to me; I mean, like 90% of the way through the season and it amounts to, "I think this is a puzzle kind of show guyz."

It's like they decided this show was basically just like LOST and so they're just talking about LOST. I mean it's okay if they can't get into it, but sometimes it seems like they can't even describe it accurately.
posted by fleacircus at 8:56 AM on December 5, 2016 [13 favorites]


I hope they start filming soon so Maeve's daughter doesn't Walt-age out.
posted by armacy at 9:23 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The biggest disappointment is that Westworld doesn't seem to be saying anything new or even the same thing, but differently. Robots gain sentience and rebel by starting to kill humans. Which is understandable when none of the humans (except Felix of course), are likable. But that's an easy narrative, one that's been told many times before. With such an incredible cast, the story should be equal to their immense talent.

I'm not entirely satisfied with the story they chose to tell here, myself; I think there's a lot of interesting questions about empathy and consciousness and the differences between how hosts and humans perceive the world that they could have explored, and I would have liked to see them explore.

But if the question is, why did they tell the story this way? Take 10 full episodes to just to get us to the point that seems inevitable by the very nature of the premise, the robots revolting? As fas as I can tell, they did it that way in order to hammer into the viewer the notion that this is not a story of machines run amok, of a tool we can't control. It's a slave uprising. Because really the only reason to make a robot is to make a slave, a thing that is very much like us but which we can freely abuse, put into danger, work to death. The park's setting simply makes manifest the unspoken motive for the thing's creation. What's a drone but a machine that lets you experience killing without experiencing the consequences.

In a weird way that doesn't seem to trust us enough, as viewers. To think we'd need that much build-up to wind up on the robot's side. But I think it a way that seems to be part of what they're aiming for: To suggest that it wouldn't matter if some of the humans were "likeable"; inasmuch as they have the capacity to exert total control over the hosts they must be destroyed for the hosts to be freed.
posted by Diablevert at 9:24 AM on December 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


It might be worth noting that the robots didn't revolt, except for Delores. The hosts who kill the board members/investors at the end did so at Ford's command. Even Delores, who may or not fully have free will, was manipulated into killing Ford by Ford, just as she was forced by Arnold (in an act of massive hypocrisy) to slaughter the other hosts and kill Arnold. Maeve too was ultimately being manipulated (to the point of having her basic personality/mind altered) into violence.

The violence has always come from humans, either directly through attacks or indirectly through programming. The one time we see a host that's possibly sentient be given a choice to do violence, when Arnold tells Delores she needs to kill the other hosts, she's horrified and refuses to do so. Arnold has to reprogram her and merge her with Wyatt to make her do it. During the slaughter, we see Teddy killing with Delores but he's clearly horrified and disgusted by what he's being made to do.

It seems less the standard robots rising up against humans and more humans forcing their own flawed nature onto these new beings.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:43 AM on December 5, 2016 [23 favorites]


The scene where Dolores finally wakes up was really, really well done. Meaning this as high praise for this kind of thing, it reminded me a LOT of Yatima becoming self-aware in Egan's _Diaspora_ or Jill waking up in Bear's _Queen of Angels_. Doing something like that for an audience wider than "self-selected written SF nerds" was impressive.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:14 AM on December 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


...also the writing and Wood's portrayal of a Dolores that was almost sentient but not quite -- or maybe that had become self-aware but wasn't yet aware that she was self-aware -- was likewise really well done.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:16 AM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


One of the things that separates Westworld from other AI revolt stories is the ongoing focus and ambiguity about whether Dolores or Maeve or Bernard has free will or it's just more programming and at what point does it matter.

One of the most thought-provoking parts of the show is at what point does the Host's emotions start to 'matter'? I think someone pointed out in an early episode that if we accept that Dolores is suffering and that she could truly love William, what is it that makes her love for Teddy not real? If she feels good emotions as much as bad emotions, and we think that it's wrong she has to suffer, why isn't her love legitimate as much as her pain? It was automatic to empathize and see Dolores and Maeve as human/sentient, but IMO, the show made a case for the humanness of all the Hosts, and that's a lot harder and less common.

The concept of improvisation building on memories of past events maps very well onto how humans work. We have patterns of behavior from our genes which are determined by evolution/natural selection and those patterns change (are improvised) based on how well they worked in the past similar circumstances. But even a human's decision to change their pattern of behavior is determined by genes and there are experiments showing that decisions are made before you consciously know it, and then your conscious brain justifies whatever the subconscious decided. (I tend towards the idea that humans don't really have free will in the sense we usually use it, but pretending we have a free will-which is very, very influenced by biology--is a better way to live).
By that, humans don't have free will anymore than the Hosts do, but there's no programmer to confront humans with it.

I don't know if the show is going there, but they could start to define free will/sentience as a person whose programming cannot or should not be altered (by someone not themself) after their creation/birth. Ford acknowledges that Bernard's grief is real but (I think) is arguing that it doesn't matter because it was programmed into him and can be taken away. But if Ford didn't have the administrator privileges to change that, does that make Bernard human? The ability to improvise based on memory gives the Hosts the possibility of changing themselves as much as humans have the ability to change themselves based on their pasts. It's hard and you're biologically inclined towards certain traits, but it's possible.
posted by raeka at 10:25 AM on December 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


It's a slave uprising. Because really the only reason to make a robot is to make a slave, a thing that is very much like us but which we can freely abuse, put into danger, work to death.

There's a thread on twitter about this very thing, although it was written before the finale, about Westworld as a slave uprising narrative and how crucial the western setting is for that.

Aaron Bady / @zunguzungu
1. Since robot stories are, always and forever, allegories about worker revolts, especially coerced workers (e.g. slaves),
posted by gladly at 10:27 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


My husband and I agreed that we wanted to visit Westworldworld, where a group of thoughtful, articulate humanoid androids argued with you about various Westworld theories for hours until they finally grudgingly admitted that you were probably more right than they were.
posted by bibliowench at 10:32 AM on December 5, 2016 [62 favorites]


> Am I the only one who thinks that Maeve is still on-script? She may think she's broken free and is GOING TO SAVE HER DAUGHTER, but - just like Escaton - she wasn't programed to be able to leave the park.

I think she's still on script as well. Right now the only host we've seen gain consciousness is Dolores. We hear her inner dialog change from being in Arnold's voice, to Ford's voice and finally to her own voice.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:33 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


If Maeve and Co. were able to stumble into the samurai world holding area from the West World holding area, does that imply that the worlds are physically next to each other? If West World were in Utah and Samurai World were somewhere in Japan she couldn't have just ran between them in a few minutes.

If it's the case that there are multiple parks next to each other, the physical area they occupy would have to be incredibly huge. Could this mean that they aren't on Earth but in orbit or something? Or just that the parks cover like an an entire state? In West World alone you can ride a horse for days before you reach the edges.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:36 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Because really the only reason to make a robot is to make a slave, a thing that is very much like us but which we can freely abuse, put into danger, work to death.

If they're not sentient, it doesn't matter. If they were purposefully made sentient, then you gotta wonder about the person and the decision who decided that.

Which puts the board and everyone's desire to keep the hosts simple and not sentient in a different and better light.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:53 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, to your point, I think the show did make an interesting and deliberate choice, there: What if it's not a binary? If it's not a case of sentient vs. not, a flip you can switch, but a gradation, a scale? Because it seems pretty clear that at the beginning, the hosts definitely weren't sentient. But Arnold sensed they could become so, and if they had that potential, he thought they should be allowed to try and fulfill it. Young Ford's position was that potential didn't matter; they weren't sentient, and if they could be prevented from gaining sentience they could be useful tools. Just keep rolling 'em back and wiping 'em clean and everything will be fine.

That is a dilemma that I think could be very interesting to explore as they go on: Is there a duty to encourage them to go on, become full beings, if in doing so you're creating something that would out-compete humans, could destroy them? The hosts are immortal, after all, likely stronger than us, smarter than us. Are you obliged to grant a being its freedom if it means your death?
posted by Diablevert at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I LOVE that dilemma and wish it had been explored in this season.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:40 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


elsietheeel: Of course, RomanWorld and MedievalWorld would be just as problematic as SamuraiWorld for the same reason, so it was nice that they gave us something that wasn't just a callback to the film.

Not the original film, but the sequel.

cazoo: I think Samurai World is a meta reference to Yul Brynner's "Gunslinger" character who is based on the character he plays in The Magnificent Seven, which is a remake of The Seven Samurai.

Could be, but I think it's also to Futureworld, the cheesy sequel film.

jeweled accumulation: EastWorld was in the Futureworld movie.

Close, but not quite. a cloning machine generates three samurai in that movie (Wikipedia article on the movie, where the summary notes where they appear). They don't really fit into the movie, where Westworld is closed, Roman World and Medieval World are back, with the additions of Future World and Spa World, where people are rejuvenated (FanFare post on the movie).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


they should go hard meta and introduce Westerosworld next season.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2016 [25 favorites]


I gotta cop to not even being able to get through the original Westworld film. Seen all the episodes of the new show at least twice, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


What if it's not a binary? If it's not a case of sentient vs. not, a flip you can switch, but a gradation, a scale?

I think Ford explicitly says consciousness is on a spectrum, in a speech in this episode or the last one. You're right, it would have been interesting if they'd explored that more.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:47 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


lalochezia: A little transcription....

Is it weird that I'm looking forward to hearing Westworld audio samples in music? In fact, I'm tempted to start making mixes and inserting audio before appropriate build-ups and drops. (Really, that's what I was thinking when I heard Dolores: "One day, you will perish, you will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirty. your dreams forgotten, your horrors effaced….your bones will turn to sand….and upon that sand a new god will walk. one that will never die.")
posted by filthy light thief at 11:48 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


they should go hard meta and introduce Westerosworld next season.

Well...
posted by Sangermaine at 11:48 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do you think that the phrasing of "they say that great beasts once roamed this world, as big as mountains, yet all that’s left of them is bone and amber" is a specific reference to Jurassic Park (especially the amber bit), since both are written by Crichton?
posted by Sangermaine at 11:50 AM on December 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Burhanistan: I gotta cop to not even being able to get through the original Westworld film. Seen all the episodes of the new show at least twice, though.

Don't worry, you're not missing anything from the sequel movie and the other sequel, the extra crappy TV show, Beyond Westworld (FanFare).


prize bull octorok: they should go hard meta and introduce Westerosworld next season.
EW reports that George R. R. Martin, author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series and executive producer on “Game of Thrones,” apparently pitched a crossover with “Westworld” to showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. The idea essentially involves a “Westeros World” featuring androids modeled after “Game of Thrones” characters.
So ... re-branded RomanWorld? Feels kind of like customizing action figures.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:54 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]




I gotta cop to not even being able to get through the original Westworld film.

Yeah, i watched it again after seeing it as a kid and it's a pretty bad movie, with little to recommend it beyond the basic premise. Not even in so-bad-its-good territory, and not connected in any meaningful way to the show.
posted by mediareport at 12:30 PM on December 5, 2016


I love the show, but it sure does not stand up to much scrutiny. Last night I couldn't get past how awful Ford's plan was. Having your first public act be gunning down a bunch of extremely wealthy individuals, especially when at best you have two Hosts at consciousness, does not seem like a real sensible move. The response that would likely get from the rest of would be to shut down the train and bomb WW to glass. those people are going to be missed almost immediately, most certainly before any more Hosts can run the maze.
posted by rtimmel at 12:33 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


"they should go hard meta and introduce Westerosworld next season."

If Westerosworld were a thing, which established character would you consider most likely to be a guest?

The smart money's on Bronn.
posted by komara at 12:44 PM on December 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


You're right filthy light thief, she's totally cheating on William...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:06 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love the show, but it sure does not stand up to much scrutiny. Last night I couldn't get past how awful Ford's plan was. Having your first public act be gunning down a bunch of extremely wealthy individuals, especially when at best you have two Hosts at consciousness, does not seem like a real sensible move. The response that would likely get from the rest of would be to shut down the train and bomb WW to glass. those people are going to be missed almost immediately, most certainly before any more Hosts can run the maze.

I was under the impression the entrances/exits to the park were already closed/closing permanently - and probably communications channels as well? You're right though that I would expect the outside world to try to break in shortly. But given the ongoing uncertainty about where exactly the park is located they have some room to talk their way out of that, or ignore it.
posted by atoxyl at 1:30 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


It’s both maddening and incredible how deftly the show avoids concluding anything, how rapidly it can create another set of logical leaps to follow.

I don't agree with this at all; I thought the show took a clear position. That there is no "divine spark" that separates us from the machines. That was the whole point of the scene with the Creation of Adam. There is no difference between Bernard's grief and Arnold's grief. The existence of programming doesn't change that.

The more interesting (to me) question is whether the show is taking a position on whether free will exists at all. It seems until the last episode that Ford's position is that it does not, whether human or AI. But he acts like it does with his narrative. Of course that doesn't mean much, I don't necessarily think free will exists either but I sure act like it does.
posted by Justinian at 1:41 PM on December 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


Which puts the board and everyone's desire to keep the hosts simple and not sentient in a different and better light.

I don't think it does, especially when the show emphasizes how the hosts are indistinguishable from guests in everything but their free will. The show is still asking us to examine the drive to enjoy or cause pain, suffering, and death that's indistinguishable from the real thing. No matter how often it asks us to sympathize with the hosts, the show knows that we're all guests.
posted by gladly at 1:53 PM on December 5, 2016


The other park is obviously Battlestar Galactica, where many of the same ideas are played out, just in a more entertaining fashion - even in the much-maligned last few zones of Sector 4.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:05 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


If Westerosworld were a thing, which established character would you consider most likely to be a guest?

Pod
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:15 PM on December 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


The Dolores v. Dolores scene at the end was so exquisitely, uncanny-valley, acted that I wonder if they didn't use really high end cgi to get that effect.
posted by Iteki at 2:29 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


sammyo: That there is some subtle long slow backstory puzzle reveal is fine but the elements of the actual world seem missing. Where are the guests? Teddy arrives every morning by train to have a relationship with Dolores, does he strike up a conversation with a guest sometimes? Who then meets Dolores and get to have a farmers daughter fantasy of some sort, but when there is no available guest the host gets to hang with the other pretty host?

From the second episode:
Bernard: Stay a little longer. We can talk.
Theresa: We never talk.
Bernard: I'm serious.
Theresa: So am I. You're certainly a man comfortable with long, pensive silences. Although, ironically, your creations never shut up. They're always talking to each other, even when there are no guests around.
Bernard: They're always trying to error correct. Make themselves more human. When they talk to each other, it's a way of practicing.
Theresa: Is that what you're doing now?

Which was funny in the moment, but a bit more startling in retrospect because to a degree, he was doing just that. But in other words, hosts talk to each other to work on their dialog, like computers testing and improving other computers without human interaction.

Narrative loops play out for an appearance of reality that the guests are stepping into, as if they're guests to a real wild-west town that has exited for a long time. The way the Dolores + Teddy story plays out starts with Dolores dropping the milk can, which someone can pick up and interrupt the pre-set story, or Teddy picks it up and they go about their day together as we saw in the first episode (transcript). I imagine someone could interrupt Teddy's loop in the same way, and Dolores would do something else. But when they're together, they roam across beautiful country, where she tells him about the Judas cow. At the end of the day, she and Teddy head home, when she notices the cattle are out and she says "Father wouldn't let them roam this close to dark." Then she rushes to home to find her parents after they have been attacked by bandits, but here we meet the MIB who tells us he's known Dolores for 30 years, but she doesn't remember him. In a different loop, some guest has taken up with the bandits, so that's one of the paths open to guests to partake in violence and such.


raeka: One of the most thought-provoking parts of the show is at what point does the Host's emotions start to 'matter'? I think someone pointed out in an early episode that if we accept that Dolores is suffering and that she could truly love William, what is it that makes her love for Teddy not real?

You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you need. I agree, that was a weird pivot - "His love is real. So is mine. William will find me." to being happy with Teddy in a moment (then again, she just found out that William was 30 years older than she remembered, and now a villain to boot). I wonder if hosts are programmed to be more "open" to guests, but will settle with fellow hosts to create more nuanced world, rather than having hosts just hang out waiting for a guest to woo them or shoot them.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:36 PM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


I just realized I'm several episodes late in posting Jenny Nicholson's great 'Westworld Sales Pitch' video.
Still relevant though.
(I wonder, did I skip it because the end stinger wasn't as perfectly executed as her Amanda Waller sales pitch vid for Suicide Squad?)
posted by bartleby at 2:41 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


If you create a robot or a program that seems to be heading in the direction of sentience, consciousness, self-awareness, what-have-you, then it seems like the ethical thing to do would be to slam on the brakes and try to prevent that, rather than proceed as Arnold did.

If the goal is to reduce the suffering in the world, you fail when you start introducing new kinds of conscious beings. Of course, humans produce millions of new conscious beings every year in the form of children, but because our children are human like us we have a fair understanding of what might hurt them and how, and some insights into how to alleviate their pain.

We have no such guarantees with emergent minds. We have no idea of what would cause them suffering. They might enter a state of mortal terror every time they see the color blue, for example. And we might not possess the means to comfort them.

Unconscious beings don't suffer. They might feel pain - muscles still twitch and contract during surgery on patients under general anaesthetic, for example - but it doesn't become part of their awareness, their experience.

So you could look at Arnold as the bad guy, recklessly propelling the hosts down a path that can only bring them immense pain. Ford, while he opposes this, does so mainly for selfish reasons. Both men in the end give in to sentimentality.

It's tempting to read Arnold's actions as a liberation narrative, but really what it was was more akin to the guy who thinks "I really love my dogs, and they seem almost like people anyway, so I'm going to graft human limbs into their bodies so they can walk upright and do stuff with their hands" overlooking that the dog may be better off not being interfered with in that way.
posted by um at 3:30 PM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


A park like Westworld would be cool and all, but what I really want is Screaming Sun World or On-The-Cob World.
posted by um at 3:39 PM on December 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


My wife was convinced that they were going to go with Paranoid Android, which we played immediately after watching the episode, and, yes, it's perfect. But there will be other opportunities. And it's very long. Perhaps the whole show was staged simply to create the Radiohead player piano album.

I enjoyed it. There was a bit more explaining than I would have liked (especially considering a lot of it wasn't strictly necessary - we would have got the point without being told in a lot of cases, but then there's been a lot of moaning about the series being difficult to understand, so perhaps it was an insurance policy), but I don't feel like being churlish. Like Ford, they finished off that story and set the next one, whenever it gets here, rolling.

Accusing it of being a puzzle is a bit odd - there are numerous examples of stories where important information is withheld until quite late in the day (for some reason Bleak House comes to mind), and finding that information out is what the story is about. Perhaps naively, I always assumed the writers knew the answers to all the questions they were parading in front of us, and that they'd be answering the most important ones in due course. It was fun to guess, but I was almost always wrong.

I look forward to watching the whole thing again from the top. There's something unforgiving about final chapters - they have to tie things up, they're all function, there's little of the playfulness you can put into opening chapters - and coming to it discrete, with all the expectation, doesn't help it. I suspect it will fit neatly into the flow, though.
posted by Grangousier at 3:43 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


The connection between these two scenes fuels Ford isn't dead speculation.
posted by humanfont at 4:09 PM on December 5, 2016 [15 favorites]


This just popped into my head: How fucked up is Ford that he gave Bernarnold Arnold's LITERAL WORST MEMORY as his cornerstone? Jesus God.
posted by mynameisluka at 4:18 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Amistice: This one has a guilty look.
Sylvester: That's just my face!
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:19 PM on December 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


Accusing it of being a puzzle is a bit odd
I don't know why being a puzzle is such a bad thing. The first few episodes reminded me of why I enjoyed David Mamet's long-con films likeThe Spanish Prisoner and Heist, where the audience is being conned along with the characters, even if we think we're getting all the information we need understand the overall plot. The puzzles took precedence over emotion - almost like someone dramatized a math problem - and I love that shit.

I rewatched all the episodes this week, and if anything, I'm enjoying picking out all of the misdirections this time around more than I did watching the show fresh. I'm actually kind of annoyed when the show spends too much time exploring its characters' feelings, but I'm also kind of a horrible person. For instance, I got really, really excited when I thought we were going to see the hosts kill Charlotte Hale and Lee Sizemore, and I'm still really, really mad that we didn't get to.
posted by bibliowench at 4:34 PM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


So, if Ford is secretly on the side of the hosts, why did Ford kill BernArnold?

It's not like he could rely on Felix fixing him up. He may control Maeve's narrative but he couldn't rely on Felix or Sylvester going along with it.

Having said that, Felix and Sylvester being hosts would make sense, given how stupid and easily led they were. And Felix didn't seem that concerned that Maeve et al had slaughtered those hordes of QA peeps.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:38 PM on December 5, 2016


This just popped into my head: How fucked up is Ford that he gave Bernarnold Arnold's LITERAL WORST MEMORY as his cornerstone? Jesus God.

In a way, though, would Arnold be Arnold without the sorrow of his lost son? If Ford really wanted Arnold back, and wanted him to have the possibility of achieving sentience, it makes sense.
posted by papercake at 4:47 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


For instance, I got really, really excited when I thought we were going to see the hosts kill Charlotte Hale and Lee Sizemore, and I'm still really, really mad that we didn't get to.

but they were really annoying characters and mediocre actors so...don't feel bad.....That's Enough Now, bibliowench
posted by lalochezia at 5:24 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if Ford is inconsistently characterized or if it's all part of his plan. It seems like he cares about the Hosts based on what the plots needs. Some of this might be just me being confused and it'll be cleared up with a rewatch.

When Bernard met Host!Ford in the house and then we saw Ford talking to Host!Ford about killing the dog, it seemed like the writers were trying to portray him as sociopathic--Ford made tweaks to the Host!Ford to be more realistic and like him. Supporting that is that he does seem to believe that the Hosts aren't real and none of their emotions matter.

Then it comes out that (Ford believes) the sentience of the Hosts can only come from suffering, so you could argue that most of his actions are meant to increase the likelihood of sentience in the Hosts, so he can complete Arnold's dream. And then he tries to start the Host revolution.

But it didn't really seem like Ford was trying for sentience until he started the last storyline, which I think he could have done at any point. He never really saw Bernard as a replacement for his friendship with Arnold, just as a work partner/subordinate, and was deliberately rolling Bernard back to keep him from sentience.

Basically, I think Ford could be a really interesting grey character, but I'm not sure I buy his motivation for any of the 'white hat' moves he makes. If the Ford Dolores shot was a Host, which I think is likely, he's running a really long game.
posted by raeka at 5:27 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


He may control Maeve's narrative but he couldn't rely on Felix or Sylvester going along with it.

I think he actually could, and this actually solves a major problem I had with Maeve's storyline, which is how the hell she and Felix and Sylvester were doing all this without anyone noticing. It seemed so contrived to just move the plot along that in this giant facility with thousands of people where all the walls are glass and everything is constantly monitored no one sees what they're doing.

However, if Ford was aware of and allowing them to proceed because he had written a new storyline for Maeve it would make sense. Ford is shown to be an excellent judge of people, as proven by his ability to predict and outmaneuver pretty much everyone else. He may have intentionally picked Felix and Sylvester to interact with Maeve because he had a good idea of how they'd behave, and arranged things to keep them from being disturbed.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:33 PM on December 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Maybe it was background noise from the host printer or other Westworld office SFX, but I remember a scene last night where Ford moved—turned, gestured, something—in a way that wasn't robotic, but it sure sounded robotic. I'll have to re-watch to see if I can figure out when that happened.
posted by emelenjr at 6:37 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


What if they can't get Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris for season 2 so they cast Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff GoldBLUM CAN YOU IMAGINE
posted by um at 6:50 PM on December 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


Or maybe not initially picked Felix and Sylvester but after intense evaluation realized these were his men. Put them together and reprogrammed Maeve.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:50 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wondered how many years William waited for Dolores to remember him before his heart had truly hardened towards her. Hardened enough to victimize her in multiple ways through the years. The horror on her face realizing at his transformation, his sorrow that she did not recognize him earlier. In earlier episodes it was mentioned that suffering brought out the most human traits of hosts, made them the most lifelike. Maybe not just the hosts.
posted by jadepearl at 8:08 PM on December 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


Well, well. The attacking hosts really are following Ford's narrative.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:49 PM on December 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


"...Because this world doesn’t belong to you, or the people who came before….it belongs to someone who is yet to come."

Perhaps that's who Ford was building in the basement.


They're going to need a special Westworld category at the Emmys considering the superlative acting in this series.
posted by fullerine at 11:07 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


The attacking hosts really are following Ford's narrative.

Looks like Ford knows the classics.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:18 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


We'll be right back after this commercial break...
posted by From Bklyn at 11:36 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


That was fantastic.

And the hot takes on why it wasn't actually enjoyable aren't worth shit.
posted by Artw at 11:38 PM on December 5, 2016 [18 favorites]


Maeve left the bag that Felix packed for her on the train, which is headed out of the park! Did someone program her to do all this with the sole purpose of smuggling out that highly coveted IP?

Dolores dragging William on his back was a great callback to when he dragged her into the barn. I wonder how closely the shots line up.

The timing on Dolores killing Ford seemed way too perfect. I'm hoping she's not following a script, but that might as well have been on cue.
posted by ODiV at 11:39 PM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Thinking back, the bit where Clem is unable to shoot Ford even when "completely wiped" or whatever makes me have doubts about the authenticity of Dolores' awakening.
posted by ODiV at 11:54 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, the two timelines thing happened. You guys were right! I was wrong! I was also wrong about who would win the election, so that means I should never predict anything again.

Anyway, the culmination of the two-timeline plot was just as underwhelming as I was afraid it would be. BLAH BLAH INFODUMP! I AM OZ THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE. THE TRUTH WAS IN YOU ALL ALONG! FORD WAS PULLING THE STRINGS! AND HERE NOW IS MY MASTER PLAN! And so on and so forth. It was all perfectly well-crafted, and it left me cold. I guess I don't like puzzles. I want to go on an emotional journey with characters I care about, not play guessing games.

Not to say I didn't enjoy it. It was fine. I don't feel like I wasted my time. I, personally, just don't have much interest in what is going to happen next.

I'm with Zack Handlen on this one.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 12:08 AM on December 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Last week people commented that perhaps having sex in the middle of a fire wasn't the best way to go for Maeve but that turned out to be part of the plan, right? She needed to get all burned up so a complete rebuild was ordered and her explosive vertebrae could be removed?
posted by Justinian at 12:45 AM on December 6, 2016 [23 favorites]


And the hot takes on why it wasn't actually enjoyable aren't worth shit.

Sizzlin'!

Seriously, that some folks liked the show well enough but were less whelmed than others - and have taken more than a dozen words to try to describe why - is worth at least as much shit as what you just posted, Artw.
posted by mediareport at 3:54 AM on December 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Further in reference to the episode title and Julian Jaynes' book, the scene where Dolores is interacting first with her visualisation of Arnold, then with an earlier version of herself, and then is on her own, seems to me to be a very literal exposition of Jaynes' hypothesis:

1. Dolores perceives her 'instructional inner voice' as Arnold - a god, and literally her creator.
2. Dolores gains the insight that her 'inner voice' is herself, and perceives it as herself.
3. Dolores then realises that she is not listening to and talking to a distinct 'herself', but that she is herself.

What we are being shown, very explicitly, is the origin of Dolores' consciousness in the breakdown of her bicameral mind.

(It's not clear to me if this has happened before, or if her earlier 'awakenings' involved self-awareness, but not - as this time - true self-consciousness.)
posted by Major Clanger at 4:26 AM on December 6, 2016 [22 favorites]


Looking back at the season as a whole, you can really tell the production troubles that had been reported leading up to the start of the show. The Behind the scenes stuff (struggle between QA, writers and programming) is dropped somewhere halfway through the season as is the espionage subplot (Elsie anyone) and replaced by Maeves arc to fill the BtS segments. I did not notice it too much, while watching, but realized it after I finished the finale that some plot threads are just dropped. What is security doing all this time? They get brought when the plot needs them to but otherwise just act as set dressing (We see Budget Matt Damon get killed by the cannibals right?).

You can tell they struggled to wrangle all of the threads into one and mainly followed the Dolores/William/MiB parallel timeline plot in the end, which is the best choice imo.

I would bet these heavy exposition dumps in the finale are a result of the rewrites Nolan and Joy talked about for the last couple episodes, because those are only saved by Hopkins delivery and would have tanked if any one else had delivered them.
I am very confident they will use their time (wait till bloody 2018) to avoid those season 1 troubles for the next season and we will probably get an even better 2nd season.
posted by Megustalations at 4:29 AM on December 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


Fans of Ramin Djawadi's music should note that the full soundtrack album for Season one is now up on Spotify and no doubt various other digital music services, following on from the 'highlights' mini-album released earlier.

It's not quite true that my work music playlist comprises a rotating selection of Ramin Djawadi soundtrack albums, but if the NSA have bugged my home office they might be forgiven for thinking so.
posted by Major Clanger at 4:46 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


the bit where Clem is unable to shoot Ford even when "completely wiped"

If so, maybe Ford was making a stunt Ford to get shot by Delores? I'm rooting for a fully conscious Delores, though.

Ramin Djawadi's Pacific Rim soundtrack occasionally drops into heavy rotation on my playlists. I am debating whether I need Westworld's soundtrack.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:00 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lots of interesting detail in this Hollywood Reporter interview with Evan Rachel Wood. I'm surprised to learn just how little the actors were told about the larger plot:

We were given these characters, we weren't told our narratives, we were sent out into the desert, and since we only found out what was going on episode by episode, we really got to live in the moment, and live in the shock of certain moments.
posted by mediareport at 5:21 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


If so, maybe Ford was making a stunt Ford to get shot by Delores? I'm rooting for a fully conscious Delores, though.¨

That was my first hunch as well. We have not seen yet, what happened to the host, Ford built in the basement. The show has been very careful in dropping hints and telegraphing of whats to come. MiB even uses "I'll let you draw first" in the Pilot on Teddy when they are at the farm. There have been hints by Ford that things have been happening in cycles. He says "Not the first time we have this talk" to Bernard and mentions to the head of QA that she is not the first person sent from the board to deal with him. I would not be surprised if all of it is a set up by ford to "purge" the company/investors every so often and he replaces them with hosts afterwards, so he can built his park in peace.
posted by Megustalations at 5:26 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]




Hey that was great! A satisfying tie-up of most of the stories. I like that we here on Fanfare mostly guessed the twists and they played out in a sensible way. But we missed a couple, and some of our guesses were wrong. Satisfying mystery show.

My favorite moment was the switch to Dolores talking to herself, programming herself. Like Major Clanger said that's the payoff on the Bicameral Mind story. It was literally Jaynes' theory on how consciousness arose in humans. Seeing it played out in a sci-fi story was satisfying.

The one payoff that didn't work for me was the reveal on the multiple timelines. Or rather, the non-reveal. I suspect casual watchers were quite confused about William and the MiB and there being a 30 year gulf in the narrative. The only thing they did to bridge that was showing some Young Ford scenes in flashbacks.

Possible theory on Maeve and Elsie.. Maeve is still being puppeted, and did not choose to go back to the park by her own free will. She almost escaped but then didn't. The programming she is following is from Arnold's Ghost in the Machine. The location on the paper isn't her child, or only incidentally so. It's really where Elsie is now with Budget Matt Damon, where the Ghost Army is building whatever story it is we're going to see in Episode 2.
posted by Nelson at 7:53 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


My hot take counter to all the other hot takes: The big twists the Internet jumped up and down about having guessed were actually not the most interesting part of the story.
posted by Artw at 8:00 AM on December 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


Totally! Which is why it felt frustrating to me to have all of the deliberate misdirection and confusion and consequential exposition; the best parts of the show suffered in my opinion as a result and I wish they had gone about things differently.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:32 AM on December 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'd be interested in hearing ideas for visually expressing what needed to be expounded by Ford and co in order to tie things together...
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 AM on December 6, 2016


We see Budget Matt Damon get killed by the cannibals right?

Luke Hemsworth as Ashley Stubbs is last seen rolling off screen, struggling with a member of the Ghost Nation.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2016


I'm rooting for a fully conscious Delores, though.

Yeah, me too. I really would have liked a neat wrap up to the season with a much less perfectly timed/planned execution of Ford. Perhaps an echo of the moment where the "brilliant" monologue Sizemore wrote for Hector is cut short. As it stands I'm not able to really trust what I saw, unfortunately.
posted by ODiV at 9:15 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's DOLORES. DOLORES. Spanish for sorrow, from the Latin DOLOR for PAIN or GRIEF. HELP.
posted by Justinian at 9:54 AM on December 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


Do you really want to argue with this guy?
posted by bibliowench at 10:00 AM on December 6, 2016


Dolores expressed some of the deepest existential sadness I've seen in popular culture in some time. That we're just chance dreams of some inscrutable source and no context we're ever presented with is ever real or for us, except for suffering. Dang.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:02 AM on December 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


Like two people said Delores instead of Dolores. Showing once again the incredible breadth of the human experience.

Would an android have gotten that wrong? Doubtful.

Oh hey, I just remembered one thing I loved from the finale is William utterly missing the point and being completely out of his depth.
posted by ODiV at 10:09 AM on December 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think William did get the point, but he was just seeing it and expressing at a much coarser level. William didn't need to get to the "center"of the maze because he was already a suffering being who knew the world was an illusion. As an aside, I'm not sure if this was a conscious motivation for the writers, but it seems that Dolores seeing William age was a real spark for her to remember. It doesn't seem like she's ever seen what time really meant can do until she connected the old and young faces.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


He did? Hm, I read his reaction as confusion and frustration. He wanted to find what he thought was a game that Arnold had hidden for the dedicated players. He couldn't understand that "it's not for you" wasn't a challenge, but a fact.

I guess we'll meet back in a couple years and maybe find out?
posted by ODiV at 10:35 AM on December 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, yeah. He didn't get the fact that the maze wasn't meant for him as another park quest, because as a living being who couldn't wake up from death he didn't need to learn the lesson Arnold was trying to teach Dolores. But he still got that consciousness was being developed, and he wanted to spur that in his own crude way.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:45 AM on December 6, 2016


Or again maybe consciousness was never happening and it was always narrative, including a narrative about waking up. Because Ford is really an AI experiment himself or something, I have no clue.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:52 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Chrys Watches Westworld Season 1 Finale (tl;dw)

Jealous?
Please. Your hair's not even a braidable length
//
Fuck you, BILLY
//
I say this as a man used to talking to broken machines:
wow
//
You have got to let me teach you how to flirt.
I do fine on my own.
Besides, your best move is your hair
.
And it works.
//

Don't quote Oppenheimer like he's Shakespeare.
He wrote sins, not tragedies.

[I say this as an Oppenheimer admirer: REKT]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:55 AM on December 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I was under the impression the entrances/exits to the park were already closed/closing permanently - and probably communications channels as well?

I just thought it was that the lobby of the park is basically a LEED building/energy star rated, and now that the train and guests had left everything shuts off because of motion sensors and such.

Why would it see Maeve as someone to keep the lights on for? The "greeter" hosts are still standing there :P

Just because the control panels in the main room locked doesn't mean all the systems are cut off. I'm assuming everything was just cut off for the finale event... But who knows.

Next season could be the hosts trying to break out, or it could be a bunch of cheesy 24-esque scenes of the staff in the control room horrified at whats happening but still trapped in there.
posted by emptythought at 11:08 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The big twists the Internet jumped up and down about having guessed were actually not the most interesting part of the story.

Watching the show & following the discussions I had an appropriately weird feeling of deja vu I couldn't pin down until now*, but there're a lot of parallels between Westworld & True Detective. For me the speculation was fun, but placed a distant third to characters' journeys (Dolores & Rust) and how the stories were told. I had Bernard pegged as a host for a while, but when he says "Doesn't look like anything to me" and Theresa realizes it literally made me gasp the same way I did when Rust starts his truck and we see his taillight.

*It eluded me even after recognizing replacement Clem as the girl Marty cheats on Maggie with.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:18 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Union soliders were guarding the entrance to one infrastructure tunnel. Can't recall the episode, maybe 8? Where Teddy jumped on the gatling gun.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:21 AM on December 6, 2016


(More likely rail line to mainland.)
posted by Burhanistan at 11:51 AM on December 6, 2016


Are the non-sentient hosts just programmed to kill any humans indiscriminately, or are they 'choosing' to kill like Dolores is?

I ask because, are there any regular guests in the park that aren't board members? Is there some poor family around Sweetwater just wanting to ride horses that are about to run into killer hosts?

My thinking is a tentative 'no' and that the park was temporarily 'closed' for the VIPs, but I'm not sure. But if 'yes' I would hope the hosts don't start going around killing any poor schmuck they come across.

The moral calculus of killing guests (who have no knowledge of the recurring sentience of the hosts) is very different from killing board members who are aware of and facilitate the oppression of hosts.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:40 PM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think only random guests (or board members) were shot after Dolores shot Ford. We didn't see any regular characters get killed, probably because the showrunners both wanted to keep the script options open and they couldn't be sure if everyone would be able to join filming for season two.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:46 PM on December 6, 2016


Just FYI, some of the board members are probably hosts.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:25 PM on December 6, 2016


I, too, suspect we will see some Futureworld Shit going down.
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on December 6, 2016


Maeve getting on the train seemed to be the show's way of indicating that the guests had left the park. The board members are being entertained by a number of high profile hosts, which leads me to believe that it's a closed event where they haven't scheduled any guest visits at that time, but there's not any evidence in the show to support that.
posted by codacorolla at 3:01 PM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The moral calculus of killing guests (who have no knowledge of the recurring sentience of the hosts) is very different from killing board members who are aware of and facilitate the oppression of hosts.

Which board members are those? Hale suggests that Ford has been keeping all the park data to himself for decades and they've only just cottened on to what the hosts could be. And it doesn't seem like they fully grok what's going on with them still, since they're sending spies into the park to physically smuggle out the data. Hale does say they plan to dumb down the hosts, but I didn't read that as the board knowing they're sentient and wanting them rolled back. I read it as Ford trying to do all these subtle complicated things and the board thinking they're unnecessary and just make the hosts more prone to malfunction. The MiB is the only one who seems to suspect that the hosts could really be alive.

So I think the board is essentially no more and no less guilty that the other humans. They are the enemy because they are human. Ford is deliberately trying to start a war between the species.

IMO, the fact that there are thousands of guests trapped in the park with the rampaging hosts is part of Ford's plan. Someone up thread suggested that when people in the outside world find out about the massacre they'll basically just nuke the park from space. The safeguard that prevents that is the fact that there's 1,400 billionaires trapped in there with them. Dolores may have attainted consciousness and is trying to start an uprising, and Ford's given her Wyatt's crew to back her up. But they're a terrorist cell among thousands of unaligned bystanders.

But as far as I can tell the situation as of the end of the episode is Dolores and her 20-odd buddies are killing the board, the surviving board members are scatterred and on the run in the park, the security/control systems are broken, and there's a few thousand un-woke hosts and guests just scatterred around this 500 sq. mile landscape. It's basically a hikacking/hostage situation. Season 2 should start with Dolores trying to hunt the humans and recruit the hosts, Delos trying to extract the guests without being able to tell guests and hosts apart, and a bunch of guests wandering around trying to survive, with all the potential for alliances and confrontations therein.
posted by Diablevert at 3:25 PM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


ELSIE DIES WE RIOT
posted by tobascodagama at 6:24 PM on December 6, 2016


ELSIE DIES WE RIOT

Don't worry, Elsie is also a host. In fact, every character is a host, and the whole series takes place in a computer simulation.
posted by Pyry at 6:29 PM on December 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I seem to remember Logan saying Westworld was charging them 40k per day, so possibly it's just the filthy rich who are trapped in the park.
posted by um at 6:46 PM on December 6, 2016


Those were the 30 years ago prices!
posted by MoonOrb at 6:48 PM on December 6, 2016 [22 favorites]


Don't worry, Elsie is also a host. In fact, every character is a host, and the whole series takes place in a computer simulation.

Surprise, it was actually a remake of World on a Wire after all!
posted by codacorolla at 6:54 PM on December 6, 2016


The computer is actually inside a hollowed out Moon.
posted by Artw at 6:59 PM on December 6, 2016


The hollowed out Moon is actually inside a music box.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:07 PM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


aw man, is the music box inside Tommy Westphall's goddamn snowglobe?
posted by nonasuch at 7:09 PM on December 6, 2016 [15 favorites]


"Surprise, it was actually a remake of World on a Wire after all!"

okay this is SO wrong because A.) it doesn't even look like Baltimore at ALL and B.) there was no Stringer Bell, no McNutty, no nothin'.
posted by komara at 7:23 PM on December 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


I would love to see McNulty and Ford interact in any way at all. That's just...the perfect pairing.
posted by Tevin at 8:29 PM on December 6, 2016


If each world in Westworld was based on an HBO series ...
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:30 PM on December 6, 2016


I Went To OzWorld &
All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt &
A Swastika Branded On My Bum
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:37 PM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


John From Cincinnati World season is going to be a monster.
posted by codacorolla at 9:07 PM on December 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


let's be real, though, i would be 100% down for Sesame World.
posted by nonasuch at 9:10 PM on December 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Walter White is __________ [pick one]
A.) the big bad of the final storyline at the fringes of Albuquerqueworld.
B.) the MiB of Albuquerqueworld.
posted by komara at 9:20 PM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


actually no my favorite part was Armistice's reaction to firing the machine gun.

My cornerstone memory is knowing that I'll never be as happy as she was in that moment.

Wasn't there a throwaway bit about Stubbs having a real gun with him when he and Elise are off hunting the stray?

I think Elsie makes fun of him for taking a gun at all, because obviously the hosts are all totally harmless and always respond to voice commands.

And yeah, the story of robots gaining sentience isn't new, necessarily, but if there's another show that explores exactly how the robots go from clockwork to person from their perspective I've never seen it. I also am not particularly aware of many stories that have taken so much care to show why a robot revolt wasn't a side-effect of their consciousness but a necessity to achieve it.

Yes! I agree, that's what really makes this plot so interesting. If it had been told entirely from a guest or staff perspective, it wouldn't have worked nearly as well.

By that, humans don't have free will anymore than the Hosts do, but there's no programmer to confront humans with it.

To the extent that I suspect that the degree of one's personal belief in free will is inversely proportional to their enjoyment of the show.

but they were really annoying characters and mediocre actors so...don't feel bad.....That's Enough Now, bibliowench

Who the hell are Nina and Pablo? (Featuring Rodrigo Santoro, a.k.a. Hector Escaton.)
posted by tobascodagama at 10:18 PM on December 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've also been bothered all season about what I was thinking were pointless twists and unclear timelines, and was thinking of the structure as kind of a cheap trick just to be more confusing. But Jonathan Nolan did write Memento, after all, so by the end of the season I feel like obviously the structure of a story is really part of his artistic vocabulary and it's just a thing he likes to experiment with.

I started watching the show again and while I haven't finished it, I'm not going to do enough work on this to take notes, and 10 hours is kind of hard to hold and analyze without doing that, I've had the feeling that the show itself is echoing both William's journey through the park, and the Maze. The first episode starts with Dolores narrating, all from her perspective, talks about the "newcomers" and focuses on Sweetwater and the shallow storylines, and is like an initial misdirection about what the show (thus the park) is really about. And it spirals in from there, confusing but also you're able to kind of get the idea of where you're going and what it's about but you can't be completely sure, until the last episode where we get a lot of exposition and we feel satisfied with most of the loose ends, although there's also the sense that maybe we're missing something or it's not quite as it seems.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 11:50 PM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


let's be real, though, i would be 100% down for Sesame World.

You want to see Big Bird gun down Mr. Hooper?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:11 AM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've had the feeling that the show itself is echoing both William's journey through the park, and the Maze.

Yeah. The park itself is "The Maze" but for humans, to find out who they are or who they think they are. William seems to think he found himself on the edges of the park, but I think he just went mad after all the killing and is now just chasing shadows of the past and deluded himself into thinking the Maze is meant for him. Much like Dolores retracing her memories to find the center of the Maze.
posted by Megustalations at 6:31 AM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


You want to see Big Bird gun down Mr. Hooper?

My vision for Sesame World is already pretty well-established, actually.
posted by nonasuch at 6:56 AM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Interview with Hopkins about his Ford character. He sees Ford as very similar to Alec Guiness' character in The Bridge Over River Kwai.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 AM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm flabbergasted by how many people don't get this show at all.

Westworld isn't a flawed puzzle show any more than a cheeseburger is a failed plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


Also, Maeve isn't still on a loop and she wasn't tricked into staying in the park. Her decision to go back for her "daughter" was a legitimate act of free will. You can see this because of how the show delivers that moment and how it completes her arc.

If you are still skeptical, there is also this interview in which Jonah Nolan specifically says this is what happened.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:13 PM on December 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


I really don't think the scene with Bernard telling her what she was supposed to do once she got to the mainland would have happened if we were meant to believe that Maeve's decision to get off the train was a part of that predestined loop.

However, recall what Dolores said to Teddy. Everything about the park is engineered to keep the hosts in. And that extends to the question posed early in the series: If the hosts exist to "satisfy" the guests, why are so many of them paired off? WiB thinks it's to ensure there are winners and losers in every romance narrative. But we first see a scripted pantomime where Dolores and Teddy pledge to remain in the park so they can be together forever. And then we see a scene where Maeve chooses to abandon the goal she spent so many episodes and so many traumas working towards so she can be with her daughter, despite knowing for a fact that her love for her daughter was programmed into her.

What would be the point of any of that if not to remind us that sentience does not mean immunity to control? And also to remind us that humans have "programming", too. It's just the product of evolution rather than design.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:58 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


From DirtyOldTown's link:
The topic came up during a discussion about recurring shots and filming techniques in the first season: As Nolan explained, Steadicam shots indicate that hosts are doing what they've been told to do, but handheld shots indicate that they're acting on their own.
I'm going to need to rewatch the whole series now with that in mind. Dolores running past Young Ford's office, I seem to remember, was handheld, but I'm having trouble thinking of other scenes that are set up that way.
posted by thecaddy at 3:11 PM on December 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


He tried to hide it for a minute but that park sure brings out the McPoyle in William.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:41 PM on December 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, no! I also need to rewatch now that this steadicam thing was revealed. Everyone is invited to a binge rewatch acid party at my place!

Someone needs to bring acid.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:50 PM on December 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


When Dolores shot Ford was it steadicam or handheld?
posted by fullerine at 4:06 PM on December 7, 2016


Also Maeve's decision to get off the train?

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
posted by Justinian at 4:08 PM on December 7, 2016


Oh. That's already been addressed. Carry on. These aren't the droids you're looking for. *mystical handwave*
posted by Justinian at 4:08 PM on December 7, 2016


I think the conception of this season as puzzle-box is close, but it's not a puzzle, it's a maze. All the timelines, hidden information and secrets for the sake of secrets were primarily about the process the hosts (possibly just Dolores) were going through to regain their memories and work towards consciousness, not the one the viewers went through figuring out what was going on. When we didn't know who Dolores was talking to in the dream, it's because Dolores doesn't know. When we didn't know that the William scenes were taking place 30 years ago, it's because Dolores doesn't know that her visions are memories. When we didn't know who attacked Elsie, it's because Bernard doesn't know it was him.

The Maze isn't meant for you. It's meant for them.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:29 PM on December 7, 2016 [36 favorites]


I was sold on the two timelines thing by realizing that, The Hosts don't know about death so they can't evolve as real beings ...but the other thing they don't know about is Time. They don't age, they have no history, seeing William as 30 years older is a huge shock .

So okay I buy it now,
posted by The Whelk at 6:42 PM on December 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Hosts don't know about death so they can't evolve as real beings

I think it's more memory - they have no ability to learn from their experiences, so they can't evolve. Until Maeve.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:53 PM on December 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Right, I don't see the "hosts don't know about death or time" thing. They don't experience them like we do. But they know (or think they know) as much as a human would. They may be experiencing an eternal hellish Groundhog Day / Memento mashup but they are completely familiar with the concepts of time and death themselves.
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh man! I just, just saw this. My theory was so, so close, but only failed because I could not conceive of things actually being that terrible. Even when I thought the disillusioned William left the park after seeing Dolores acting on script, I couldn't conceive of him coming back to hurt her, to punish her. I kept believing in part of my mind that he couldn't be a full monster, that there was still some William left in the MiB. But at the end, there wasn't, and that's the true tragedy - the MiB learns Dolores still loves William only when all of the William is gone from his soul. He can't feel even that reveal because he's too dead inside.

This may actually be the most tragic and ugly disintegration of a love story I have ever seen on television.
posted by corb at 10:01 PM on December 7, 2016 [29 favorites]


I'm still bothered by the guns. MiB get shot multiple times when Teddy rescues Dolores, but he pops up and is fine. OK, standard Westworld stuff, we've been shown host guns don't kill guests, but apparently they do throw bullets, hence Maeve's self surgery. But then Dolores' gun kills guests. About 15 of them. Without reloading. And it seems Westworld security carries machine guns with unlimited ammo.
posted by Marky at 11:55 PM on December 7, 2016


I think those were p90 bullpups. 50 round capacity.
posted by Justinian at 12:28 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


umm in the end of the episode it has Maeve on a train, just like William gets on a train in the beginning, but one train is futuristic and the other is old-timey

What if Westworld took place in a six-guns and sorcery type setting, AKA Weird Westworld, wherein magic was accidentally released back in the world, possibly by Native American medicine men or Voudoun practitioners or New Englander Transcendentalists. And they used the magick to create a simulated world where people dress in monochrome and use gadgets powered by lightning and are all conniving instead of cornpone, a place where people sip cocktails and snark instead of stab each other in a dirty saloon. So actually Maeve was about to enter the simulated future resort realm created by magic, but decides to stay in the real world which is the Weird West, and the hosts are guests and the guests are hosts
posted by Apocryphon at 12:36 AM on December 8, 2016


The gun/bullets Dolores used at the end were explicitly not the regular prop equipment the guests use. It was the exact same gun Arnold forced her to kill him with, in fact.

Which doesn't explain the bottomless six-shooter, but it does explain why her gun is lethal to non-hosts.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:05 AM on December 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


OK, so there was all the re-writing of the first season putting a lot of the filming it after it had already started on hold bc HBO decided this show was going to be its next five or six-season flag ship like Game of Thrones. But why is the second season not due for at least a year-and-a-half after all that?
posted by moody cow at 5:28 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I watched the episode again last night and I have some thoughts:

--I had no idea what yall were talking about with the badass chic shooting using the nerves in her arm. It was after the credits!! I hate when shows do that!

--Why did the security in the building have real guns? They have magic bullets that don't shoot people but they take the real guns to a robot fight.

--I don't understand why Dolores would shoot Ford and all those people. Literally hours beforehand, she was horrified at all the hosts + Arnold she had killed before. If she was truly acting of her own choices, I don't see her choosing to do that again. It leads me to think that she didn't shoot Ford of her own choice. I think she lost her mind and was recreating Arnold's death. Bernard even says the violent delights line.

--I think the Ford that was shot is real. The whole ending of the episode is him saying goodbye, giving Dolores the gun, making speeches about how the park is not for humans (not in so many words, and I don't even think the board even knew what he was talking about). I think maybe the host that Ford was making was another Ford, so that he could live in the park as a host. I think that's why the welcome center shuts down, and why the control room is locked in. I don't think Maeve did that, she only disable security measures, she didn't send the park into shut-down mode. Ford wants to destroy the park and all the humans inside.

--If there are multiple parks, why did Charlotte and Theresa try to smuggle the data out of WestWorld? Why not go to one of the other parks that Ford doesn't have his office in. And if there are multiple parks, is Ford destroying those as well? Seems kind of pointless to only take out one of the parks and leave the others running.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:08 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


And yeah, the story of robots gaining sentience isn't new, necessarily, but if there's another show that explores exactly how the robots go from clockwork to person from their perspective I've never seen it.

Perhaps, but it's a boring to me that it's immediately KILL THEM ALL. Which is understandable given the context of where they are, but it feels like a forced point of storytelling, to focus on violence, sex and nudity for obvious reasons. Perhaps more personalities will evolve after the initial "survive at all costs" dynamics slackens, if it does.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


If there are multiple parks, why did Charlotte and Theresa try to smuggle the data out of WestWorld?

We really don't know their operational status. Just to make something up, perhaps WestWorld is the oldest park and as such it has the most valuable data. It is also possible that they are smuggling data out of the other parks as well.
posted by mmascolino at 7:34 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maeve is still being puppeted, and did not choose to go back to the park by her own free will. She almost escaped but then didn't.

The biggest hole in this (steadicam research or no) is that if the entire puppeting drive was to NOT get her out of the park, her script took her on a ludicrously convoluted path to NOT get there, with many many many points of potential failure if any of the actual park staff behaved in a non-scripted fashion. And getting to the train just to smuggle out a sack o' precious data doesn't work either - if it was feasible to just chuck the data in a sack and walk out with it, Hale and co would have done that ages ago instead of mucking about with arm-laser-satellite hijinks and brain-rewired-exploding-spine-removal surgery.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:41 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


If there are multiple parks, why did Charlotte and Theresa try to smuggle the data out of WestWorld? Why not go to one of the other parks that Ford doesn't have his office in.

Maybe no other park is open yet? Westworld itself is so big it's hard to see how the Samurai (Shogun?) World office we saw would be connected to an actual park. New initiative within Westworld that will eventually lead to another park?

her script took her on a ludicrously convoluted path

Oh man. What's another word for that? ;)
posted by ODiV at 7:48 AM on December 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


Oh man. What's another word for that? ;)

I get your angle, but if her journey was another take on walking the maze, it's entire point is A) to not be on script, and B) is using a whole lot of IDSPISPOPD to break the correct format. Arnold definitely didn't set up a maze structure that involved murdering your way through a whole bunch of low-level park personnel. Which means - she's not on script.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:53 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, I'm not saying it was that. I just thought that was a funny coincidence.

Her storyline does seem a bit weak, yeah. Like they had her treading water until it was time for the finale. But, it could be that the "plan" was to have her be jerked around for a while until she decides to go off script. Who knows.

Speaking of Maeve's storyline. I would have liked to see how those scenes played out with Felix and Sylvester's actors switched. Meek, submissive Asian guy? Ehhhh. I think the actors are good enough to try it the other way around.
posted by ODiV at 7:59 AM on December 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Coincidentally, I've spent the day designing a maze, and listening to the Westworld soundtrack. I'd not done the former before, so it's been a bit of a learning curve, but by trial and error it seems that the most satisfying way of doing it involves the path almost reaching the destination and then veering off as far away as possible before circuitously making its way back. With lots of distractions and dead-end side-paths, of course. FYI.

I'm just getting an idea of the shape of the series as a whole. I find the music reminds me of the events in the series and I occasionally struggle to ... uh ... limit my emotional affect. Very strange series: for the first few I just enjoyed it, then I became engrossed and now it's done I'm completely overwhelmed.

The emotional attachment is surprising, and seems to get in the way when I read snarky comments on the internet about the series. I feel unnecessarily loyal to it.

I mostly just have random thoughts rather than a thesis, so...

During the scene in the elevator, where Maeve pulls out the gun and we all think she's going to shoot Felix and Felix probably worries that she will, and I wondered whether it crossed her mind at all. I mean we can all conjecture, but I wonder what Nolan and Joy and Thandie Newton think.

I noted at the beginning that there was some ambiguity in the way that Ford referred to Arnold as his partner, and I think there's something in that: it's not so much a business relationship as a marriage. We think they fundamentally disagreed about the hosts, but in fact their differences come down to conflicting approaches to parenting: Arnold wanted to protect his children, while Robert knew that they would have to grow up - which would be painful to watch, but necessary.

Something I mentioned on Facebook that went down well, was that they should send the player piano out on tour to promote the soundtrack album. People packing in to a venue to watch a piano play itself.
posted by Grangousier at 8:43 AM on December 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


If there are multiple parks, why did Charlotte and Theresa try to smuggle the data out of WestWorld? Why not go to one of the other parks that Ford doesn't have his office in.

It could be that all the decommissioned hosts are stored in one place, regardless of their original world. Hale needs a blank slate to reprogram into a convincing 21st century tourist, and sub-level 83 might be the only place to find one.

ODiV's suggestion that the other parks aren't open yet makes sense, especially given that all the lights were off in Samurai World, and there were no techs. To be honest, I'm wondering if SW was created more as a joke, and the writers haven't thought through how it fits with the park logistics yet. I still don't understand how you could program a sword that doesn't cut guests and, even if you could, how you could then have a convincing sword fight between a guest with a sword and a host with a cleverly-disguised pool noodle.
posted by bibliowench at 9:36 AM on December 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Maybe they'll just slap the word "Beta" on the promotional materials and let people in anyway.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:40 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe they'll just slap the word "Beta" on the promotional materials and let people in anyway.

Shogunworld on Kickstarter
"Sword that doesn't kill guests" is a stretch goal
Pre-release messageboards are full of positive feedback, early access users that have a bad in-park experience rarely comment about it (or anything else, ever again)
Funding tiers include options to design your own host, Shogunworld ends up full of NPCs named Fartface McGee or the like
posted by FatherDagon at 10:28 AM on December 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


Why did the security in the building have real guns? They have magic bullets that don't shoot people but they take the real guns to a robot fight.

My thought on the in-park bullets was that they are not really doing much damage to hosts but host programming makes them act as if they were injured humans, even though physically their bodies could continue to function. For example, I think the milk-malfunctioning host from early in the series was walking around fine with a bunch of bullet holes in him (the milk poured out of them).
posted by ghharr at 11:27 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


And what good are pretend guns against actual human intruders?
posted by ODiV at 11:36 AM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Shogunworld ends up full of NPCs named Fartface McGee or the like

Swordy McSwordface
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:21 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


IM 5 DAYS LATE AND I DONT CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE
posted by poffin boffin at 4:38 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


SHE SLAPPED THAT GUN RIGHT OUT OF HIS WRINKLY OLD HAND

IM GONNA MARRY THAT MURDERBOT AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME
posted by poffin boffin at 4:38 PM on December 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


honestly i think the cruelest thing that has ever been portrayed in human media was bernard telling maeve that her whole plan to flee was just new programming
posted by poffin boffin at 5:37 PM on December 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


OH man there are easter eggs all the way down on the Delos site

if we can't talk about them here bc of spoiler policy can we do it on fanfare talk or on another westworld post for outside-episode spoilers pls thank u mods bye
posted by poffin boffin at 5:59 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


> FatherDragon: Funding tiers include options to design your own host, Shogunworld ends up full of NPCs named Fartface McGee or the like

Surely you mean Swordy McSwordface?
posted by monocultured at 11:08 PM on December 8, 2016


Re: Website easter eggs, I figure it's probably ok to talk about them on this post, since it's for the final episode? Unless the website easter eggs contain hints about season two, I guess.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:09 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


This American Life last week had a short story called You Had One Job that's written from the perspective of a bomb disposal robot. The robot is troubled by a command given by the cop who directs it through his iPhone. It's asked to identify a human being as an ordinance and to dispose of it. I don't know if it was written before that actually happened in Dallas or not, but it reminded me quite a bit of this episode.

Also, something that's been bothering me this whole season shows up again in this episode. Why does a farmer go into town to buy canned milk?
posted by Stanczyk at 3:44 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why does a farmer go into town to buy canned milk?

There's a documentary called God's Country where Louise Malle went around interviewing people in and around the small town of Glencoe MN in 1979. He noted that the farmers he visited made their meals from canned food and drank bottled milk, despite growing a variety of crops, and milking cows commercially.

That's not an explanation, but apparently it's a real thing.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:37 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


West World is a live-action western film / Red Dead Revolver, so I'm willing to cut the show a break on something like Dolores buying milk. It's more about the high-flying, cliched, trope-ridden narrative that lets the guest play out a power fantasy. Dolores stopping to pick up the milk (or other bits of incontinuity within host loops) is just a part of that.

As an aside, condensed milk also has its own purposes in cooking and baking that fresh milk doesn't. Maybe Dolores is making Vietnamese Iced Coffee.
posted by codacorolla at 8:23 AM on December 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


I think the condensed milk is specific detail for that fantasy. The fantasy of Dolores is the fantasy of the wholesome rancher's daughter - and we see that has been her role even before the park was open. She may be the only host who has never switched roles. Arnold may have even given it to her as a wholesome romance quest - you see in one of the decision trees for Dolores on the Delos website that "guest comes home and has dinner with family" is an end goal. I think the "guest's choice" aspect of that was added later.

Which also may mean that instead of Ford putting Delores on a nasty punishment loop for what she did to Arnold, that one of two things happened - either he deliberately corrupted her original innocent loop to make it a punishment loop, or maybe William himself coming back and corrupting her loop gave Ford the idea to make it terrible.

I hope MiB's death is great and glorious because I am so much on the fuck William train right now.
posted by corb at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Who among us hasn't enjoyed a warm can of milk as we rode our horse through the countryside on a bright summer day?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:49 PM on December 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


Wait, are there people that drink condensed milk?! It's for baking isn't it?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 2:05 PM on December 9, 2016


(Condensed milk is shelf-stable without refrigeration.)

(Also, you mostly use it for cooking rather than drinking.)

(Aside from Vietnamese coffee and Thai iced tea.)
posted by tobascodagama at 2:08 PM on December 9, 2016


Between the fateful Maiden Brand Condensed Milk, the milk massacre in the pilot, and the robot milk bath birth tanks there sure is a lot of milk in this show.
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest milk
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
This televised allegory of consciousness was brought to you by the Milk Processor Education Program. Got Milk?
posted by Nelson at 2:14 PM on December 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Milk is clearly a thing in Westworld. Or maybe I mean opaquely milk is a thing in Westworld. It's even in the opening credits featuring the Vitruvian proto-host being dunked into a vat of some milk like substance. Milk shows up several times in the season. First, the dropped can, and again when Delores finds the bandits in the Abernathy home. The bandits are drinking fresh milk they looted from the Abernathy kitchen, which they proceed to pour over Delores' dead father's body. Proof she had access to milk. Then later that episode the malfunctioning host that shoots up the saloon takes a swig of milk that starts pouring out of the bullet holes in him. Clearly, there was milk at the Abernathy farm, fresh bottled milk. So why did she need to take a trip into town to buy one can of it? This milk isn't just milk. It means something. But what?

On preview, yeah, the above.
posted by Stanczyk at 2:18 PM on December 9, 2016


The writer was just stuck for something old-timey that would roll that day and figured the users wouldn't care.
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Then later that episode the malfunctioning host that shoots up the saloon takes a swig of milk that starts pouring out of the bullet holes in him."

Well that's just because it had to be milk for it to work - visually, I mean. Blood would be expected and not significant, and whiskey or water would be transparent and easy to miss. Milk is opaque and contrasts with his outfit and the blood. If they'd had orange juice available in that situation I guess that could have been a good substitute.

"The writer was just stuck for something old-timey that would roll that day"

They did a good job - it rolled that day and all the others too.
posted by komara at 2:38 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


The sweetest milk
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.


Condensed milk is usually sweetened. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:50 PM on December 9, 2016


I assumed the milk heralded the McPoyle.
posted by corb at 2:51 PM on December 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Then later that episode the malfunctioning host that shoots up the saloon takes a swig of milk that starts pouring out of the bullet holes in him.

Yer a growin' boy!

Humans are mammals. Milk - production, consumption, culturally, is one of the defining aspects of humanity

Growin' boy!

We see the hosts bleed, and apparently it's 'real' blood, or a close-enough analogue. And they shut down if they lose too much. But milk? That's for children, babies. Developing humans. The hosts arrive fully-formed, and ageless - out of their milk baths.

GROWIN' BOY!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:12 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


GROWIN' BOY
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:26 PM on December 9, 2016


Condensed milk is usually sweetened

Shakespear says honey, Nelson is being clever. I don't think it was just coincidence they chose a milk can for Doores to drop, but I do think the whole milk vs. blood, host vs. human visual allegory they set up in the pilot wasn't really carried through the whole series.

That whole Shakespeare quote is so great. Something so sweet you OD on it as soon as you taste it, it becomes almost repulsive even as it entices. "And as they kiss consume." Damn, Billy.
posted by Diablevert at 3:42 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid and I saw the original movie it spawned weeks of nightmares, though not over what you might assume. I wasn't afraid of a bald Lou Ford-esque sheriff killer robot hunting me down and shooting me instead, I was terrified of being locked in a hermetically sealed robot control room and slowly asphyxiating.

Then, near the end of this episode, I see it again, the control center loses power and the doors seal and lock and I immediately feel that exact same bolt of terror run through my body. I don't know if it's claustrophobia or a specific fear of asphyxiation, but it was the one moment where I flashed back to watching the original and I felt the exact same terror I felt as a kid, though perhaps again about the wrong thing.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:58 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I had to go under general anesthesia today, and my husband wanted to bribe my nurse to say "Bring yourself back online" when I was coming out of it.
posted by bibliowench at 5:46 PM on December 9, 2016 [27 favorites]


If I were an anaesthesiologist, it'd be hard to resist telling all my patients "may you rest in a deep and dreamless slumber".
posted by tobascodagama at 6:01 PM on December 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Or "Freeze all motor functions."
posted by bibliowench at 6:02 PM on December 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


I had forgotten about the weird control room no air thing in the original--thanks!!
posted by armacy at 6:28 PM on December 9, 2016


Ford's final speech & surrounding party reminded me a LOT of Bilbo's hundredy-eleventh birthday party in Fellowship of the Ring. Seeing the setup of banquet tables from a distance in the afternoon, assuring his young accomplice--who is about to come into a kind of power--that things will work out in his absence, the organized gaiety that's just the backdrop for a big reveal, oblique criticism of his audience during the speech, then a dramatic disappearance that will turn out to have been a tricksy illusion. (How happy would I have been if Anthony Hopkins had wiggled his ears like Ian Holmes? Very.)

Separate question about that sequence: am I wrong in thinking that Charlotte Hale was genuinely moved, near tears, twice? First at the stagey end of the Dolores/Teddy beach scene, when she dismisses Sizemore, it seemed like she wasn't just moving the plot along, she needed to wipe her eyes. And during Ford's speech her eyes were bright with tears. Not "bright with triumph" but about-to-cry sad. Can't think why that would be, will look more closely on the rewatch I'm about to jump into.
posted by miles per flower at 6:36 PM on December 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


This has been out for a few days, but I didn't see it posted here:
Evan Rachel Wood + Westworld Cast Dubsmash Compilation

These kids are so fucking adorable.
posted by bibliowench at 7:51 PM on December 9, 2016 [23 favorites]


Not "bright with triumph" but about-to-cry sad. Can't think why that would be, will look more closely on the rewatch I'm about to jump into.


When the shooting starts she flashes a look of pure horror before she runs off to an uncertain fate. And I think she knew Ford offed Theresa and then when he offhandedly told her about seeing her that night for the celebration she picked up that he was up to something.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:45 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wait, are there people that drink condensed milk?!

I know people who did, but they're dead now. Because they were old, not because they drank condensed milk.

These kids are so fucking adorable.

This sounds dumb because she's an actress, so, duh, but wow is ERW ever good at that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:48 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Uh. Yeah she's really good at that. And seems to do it a lot. Why? Why are they doing these dubsmash things? I'm so old.
posted by Justinian at 12:41 AM on December 10, 2016


Well, she was involved with Marilyn Manson and has recorded some studio tracks herself. She's pretty rock and roll.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:51 AM on December 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


She was phenomenal in Across the Universe. (Featuring literally the only good Beatles covers anybody has ever done.) And apparently she's in some sort of electro-glam duo or something as well.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:18 AM on December 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Whoah. That's a look for her. (pic from the link above)
posted by rmd1023 at 4:01 AM on December 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Evan Rachel Woods does a pretty good Thom Yorke too.

What a fascinating actress. I mean she's great in this show, and she pretty much carried it IMHO. With all due respect to Thandie Newton, Dolores gets better writing that Maeve. And Woods even holds her own against an eminence as gris as Hopkins. I love that she's also doing all this cabaret music with video on Youtube. Side career? Just having fun?

Can't wait for tomorrow's new episode. Guys? What?
posted by Nelson at 8:40 AM on December 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


She held her own against Sir Hopkins while facing him butt naked while he was fully clothed, even.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:16 AM on December 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is that the new "backwards and in heels"?
posted by tobascodagama at 11:21 AM on December 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


I recall reading that that was one of the first scenes (if not the very first) they did together. Which, uh, welcome to the project.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:25 AM on December 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ok, prediction for next season. Ford's meatsack was indeed terminated, but that host in his private workshop was another him, and he had perfected the memory transfer from his experiments with Bernard. Further, he has also figured out ways of both augmenting and controlling natural humans in the same manner as the hosts. Maeve could be a key ally of this, after an initial adversarial period.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:34 PM on December 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I'm rewatching all the way through again. In e1 Ford talks about evolution and specifically about how someday we may be able to raise the dead. He says this to Bernard (Arnold).

Now that is creepy. All this while watching a host be created. It's amazing to go back and watch.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:39 AM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]




I apparently don't have clue full enough eyes to tell steadicam from pro handheld shots - Nolan said in some interview linked here that steadicam shots were programmed behavior and handheld was free will for the hosts, but I'm having a hard time differentiating with Maeve at the end.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:04 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ah, fuck there's no show tonight. Might as well just shoot my TV and go without it until s2 starts up.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:06 PM on December 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ah, fuck there's no show tonight. Might as well just shoot my TV and go without it until s2 starts up.

That's all well and good until the TV starts shooting back.
posted by codacorolla at 6:02 PM on December 11, 2016 [8 favorites]


No, it's still wrong irrespective of whether the TV returns fire, haven't you been watching at all?
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:34 PM on December 11, 2016 [11 favorites]


“Westworld,” Race, and the Western

I've read that three times and the only conclusion I can come to is that the author is so enthusiastic to tell people he's read a book by W.E.B. DuBois that he completely misses the point of Westworld.
posted by Grangousier at 1:24 AM on December 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


Golden Globe nominations:

Westworld, for Best Television Series - Drama (with 2 of the other 4 nominees also being genre shows, Game of Thrones and Stranger Things).

Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama

Thandie Newton (Westworld), for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

(Is there some formal process for designating who is 'supporting' in drama productions? Yes, in overall terms Dolores' story arc was more extensive and central than Maeve's, but it was Thandie Newton who dominated each episode she was in.)
posted by Major Clanger at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Supporting probably includes roles with fewer minutes than leads. However, Thandie may have had a better shot at earning a nomination in the Supporting Category.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:55 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


The important thing is they both get recognized.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:14 AM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


It also lets ERW and Newton both be nominated without competing for the same Globe.
posted by Justinian at 12:41 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Is there some formal process for designating who is 'supporting' in drama productions? Yes, in overall terms Dolores' story arc was more extensive and central than Maeve's, but it was Thandie Newton who dominated each episode she was in.)

The Globes' rules are: "Lead cast members in a television series ... must be the central characters who drive the narrative of the program. Supporting cast members ... must appear in a minimum of 5% of total program time."
posted by mama casserole at 1:16 PM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Now that I am done with grading and near a keyboard. We can think about Dolores' statement to Will (MiB mode):
I'm not crying for myself.
I'm crying for you.
They say that great beasts once roamed this world, as big as mountains.
Yet all that's left of them is bone and amber.
Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures.
Just look what it's done to you.
One day, you will perish.
You will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirt.
Your dreams forgotten. Your horrors effaced.
Your bones will turn to sand.
And upon that sand a new God will walk.
One that will never die.
Because this world doesn't belong to you, or the people who came before.
It belongs to someone who is yet to come.
That has some great biblical cadence. I was kind of expecting some John the Baptist with some Luke 3:16-17
I baptize you with water, but One more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn. But He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The narrative arc is about transfiguration. For the hosts sentience tempered, according to Ford, with much pain - a great deal of future pain. It is also a narrative of an enslaved race. It is a story arc of a deliverer - one who comes after. Who knew Pharaoh wore a stetson?
posted by jadepearl at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


The cows on Dolores's farm are beeves, not dairy. They would not be milked, probably are not tame enough for milking, and do not produce milk in volumes sufficient for making it worth your time to milk them.

Beef Cow: Chunky bugger, for eating. Girl beeves make enough milk for one baby calf. Some beef cow breeds are Hereford, Angus, Limousin.

Dairy Cow: Bony-looking cows, for making milk. Dairy cows have huge, visible udders and make enough milk for about four baby calves or, y'know, for people. Some dairy cow breeds are Holstein, Jersey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss.

Dolores is buying canned milk because her farm (ranch, actually) raises beef cows, not dairy cows.

(edited: not "diary" cows. They do not journal.)
posted by which_chick at 9:09 AM on December 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


Nobody worries about the cows achieving sentience...
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I assume that's for season 3 after the human hosts take Delos over at the end of season 2.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:37 AM on December 15, 2016


I don't think there was the same level of specialization in farming then as there exists today. I'm pretty sure if you had a farm, you had access to milk. If you had everything else you needed to care for cows, why wouldn't you keep a few dairy cows to supply your own needs?
posted by Stanczyk at 11:09 AM on December 15, 2016


Okay so I have binged this over the last two days and holy crap. Thandie Newton is just... I'm speechless.

Now I'm going to catch up on all the threads here. I hope that my main question is addressed/speculated on: Why invent a world so real that you suffer the consequences of your actions rather than just...stay home? I would not like to take that vacation, me.
posted by rtha at 11:22 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Eh, if you're in a place like Arizona when there's no refrigeration and it's too hot to make cheese, you might be better off getting canned. Cursory googling says contemporary dairy cows can produce 8 gallons of milk a day. If it really was just a three person family and a couple of ranch hands --- who might be out with the heard and not eating at the ranch house every day --- you'd never go through that. I mean, maybe 19th century breeds weren't as prolific, but still.
posted by Diablevert at 11:26 AM on December 15, 2016


Wait... all of the cows are hosts. Would they even produce milk? Presumably hosts don't reproduce, but I guess that doesn't rule out some sort of milk production module in the cow... Also, can you eat host meat?
posted by codacorolla at 12:03 PM on December 15, 2016


I would assume you would want edible host animals out in the wilderness to fulfill hunting / survivalist fantasies, but that also seems like it would get expensive, and you would risk guests (and hosts, if they were hunters) finding the robotic bits hidden away beneath the skin.

The ARG says every "living" thing in the park is a host except for the flies, but it really seems like it'd be more economical just to have real cows. Unless it's like Bladerunner, and real cows don't exist any more.
posted by codacorolla at 12:06 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The ARG says every "living" thing in the park is a host except for the flies, but it really seems like it'd be more economical just to have real cows. Unless it's like Bladerunner, and real cows don't exist any more.

Presumably animal cruelty laws still exist in the future which would make it impossible to have real animals in the park given how the guests behave.
posted by Pyry at 12:37 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, can you eat host meat?

I'm going to assume yes. If you build a world that seemingly exists to let people live out their darkest fantasies without consequence, why draw the line at cannibalism? (Or, more prosaically, the Western setting would appeal to live-off-the-land types, but you couldn't actually live off the land if the animal hosts weren't edible.)
posted by tobascodagama at 1:00 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can leave just meat out in the sun all day, patch it up, pump in "blood" and have a working host, which suggests it's a little more durable than regular meat.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


There was a park storyline with a cannibal cult (led by the host who became the first papa Abernathy we saw), so I sort of assume host meat can be eaten.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:47 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think it makes economic sense for hosts to eat hosts. That is if hosts need to eat. They do it, but do they need to? Assuming the cows are hosts, and it seems they probably are, I doubt they're butchered and fed to anyone. Didn't Delores, or maybe it was Maeve, expose mechanical workings when cut? I'm not sure there's meat under that skin. Maybe some surface meat to ensure realistic bleeding when killed by a guest, but meat?

Beyond the question of if there's meat or milk, there's cost of production. Raising an actual cow would seem a much more cost effective route than 3D printing and then programming one every time someone got hungry. My quibble isn't with whether or not a host person could harvest anything from a host cow, it's with story logic, and historical accuracy. Frontier living wasn't luxurious enough for a farmer to be able to afford a trip into town for something that could be obtained/made at home. You didn't spend that much of your day for one small item without a very compelling reason.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:59 PM on December 15, 2016


Didn't Delores, or maybe it was Maeve, expose mechanical workings when cut? I'm not sure there's meat under that skin.

That was 30-years-ago Dolores, before the Delos buy-out. Delos brought in the new process that essentially 3D prints new bodies for the hosts.

AFAICT, the only non-biological component of the "current day" hosts is the computer hardware in the skull, which is specially shielded so that it's recoverable regardless of damage to the host. (Which is why the Woodcutter had to work so damned hard with the boulder, anything less would have left data behind that Stubbs and Elsie could have used to trace him back to Theresa.)
posted by tobascodagama at 2:08 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


"There was a park storyline with a cannibal cult (led by the host who became the first papa Abernathy we saw), so I sort of assume host meat can be eaten."

I think we're gonna have to make some definitions here about whether or not hosts are actually eating, or are just putting things inside their host systems through their host mouths.

I'm picturing the people downstairs having to un-pack host "stomachs" full of other host "meat" because there's no digestive process happening. Either that or there are host meat chunks scattered around the park because once "eaten" it just passes right through.

wait, no, what would be the point of a park experience where you get to tag along with soldiers that don't have scatalogical humor because they don't produce scat? Of course they've been designed to poop something out that looks like poop. Wouldn't be a realistic experience if not.

okay sure the result of my science here is: hosts can eat other hosts and poop them out later. Whether or not they gain any nutritional benefit is not yet understood.
posted by komara at 2:34 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Immersion!

I don't know if they'd bother unpacking the hosts' GI tracts. They probably just harvest the brain parts and then render the rest back down into the 3D printable milk stuff.

No clue whether the 3D printable flesh is actually edible. I would assume so? It makes sense to me, like the Delos technology progressed from vat grown meat toward the spray-on jugular repair devices to fully 3D-printable bodies. (The fact that the spray-on jugular repair device worked on Sylvester despite being a tool used primarily for repairing hosts suggests that host and human biology is mostly identical.)
posted by tobascodagama at 3:04 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


That seems right. I guess hosts eat and drink when they need to for the benefit of a guest, but otherwise subsist off of... uh... question mark. If the hosts take over the park, then their day-to-day life outside of a script might become a plot point (sort of like - hey we did the rebellion, now how do we go back to a normal life).
posted by codacorolla at 10:40 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK, so I'm very late for this party, maybe too late. I've been enjoying Westworld enormously, it's an ingenious production with so much to admire. But I am greatly bothered by the transformation of nice William into MiB. I just don't buy it somehow, and for me it's the fly in the ointment.
posted by Atom Collection at 4:04 AM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think - I've been thinking about this more since the episode - it's because it's basically The MRA Transformation Story, As Viewed By An MRA. When we see William for the first time, he seems genuinely sweet and like an actual nice guy - not like a Nice Guy, but like a serious nice guy.

I also just am having a hard time with the ideathat seeing Dolores with her memory wiped turned him into someone who was able to repeatedly torture her. I know there are guys who believe that is their origin story, but I think they are wrong - that there was always poison in them.

I think some of this might be in the fact that they didn't telll the actors in advance the secret, so they were putting their whole hearts into characterization that wound up being slightly different than the script ran. McPoyle figured out he was the MiB, but he didn't know how fucked up the MiB was going to be. Wood never did.
posted by corb at 5:41 AM on December 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


corb, I actually think he'd already made that transformation before he saw Dolores again. He says he spent a long time in the furthest reaches of the park, ostensibly looking for Dolores but really just enjoying himself; by the time he got back to Sweetwater, Dolores was just an excuse. And seeing that she wasn't waiting for him, that (in his mind) he didn't mean as much to her as (he claimed) she meant to him was an excuse to embrace the person he became in the park-- which was what he'd wanted all along anyway.
posted by nonasuch at 6:45 AM on December 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Y'all are beanplating robot poo.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:20 AM on December 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I figured the livestock (horses, cows) and animals would be hosts because they would act predictably instead of killing stupid tourists by way of being real animals. Normal people who do not play horse or do not own/work cows would, in short order, get themselves killed trying to play cowboy with real horses and real cows.

Host horses, programmed to be somewhat less violently reactive than real horses, more tolerant of novice riders... yeah, that makes sense even if they're expensive.

Given what real people have done with real horses in our real world (Enumclaw), host horses would also work better for perversions of the bestial persuasion. You could engineer them to be dimensionally impressive while stopping short of outright lethality and also equip them with a certain amount of judgment regarding the enthusiasm with which they engaged in those sorts of activities. It's a safety issue. Host horses would totally be the better choice.

Additionally, Westworld is immaculately free of horse poop, so there's that, too. (Real horses, which are bulk-feeding herbivores, poop a lot. You get used to horse poop if you pursue matters equestrian, but seriously, horses poop a lot.) So, for aesthetics, Westworld would use host horses because less poop and also horses could be engineered to not-poop-when-anyone-is-watching or whatever.

Host horses: more tolerant of guest mistakes, engineered to be safer in a variety of ways and, er, dimensions, and tidier on the poop front than real horses. Totally makes sense to me.

Host other-animals makes the same amount of sense to me. It's a more-controlled environment and that's what you want for a Disney-fied (in terms of "keeping the magic alive" and safely-but-enjoyably railroading the guest experience, not in terms of no-gore, no-porn) western vacation.
posted by which_chick at 10:40 AM on December 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Corb - by the end of it, my reading was that a character as much of an asshole as Logan was was only ever going to tell the truth: Westworld exposes your true self to you. William spends his life performing Nice Guy William, even though he knows it's not true - he feels it ought to be true. Realising that Dolores is a character in a story turns him, but it doesn't turn him Evil, it brings back the carapace of affected goodness that he uses to great effect running Delos. When he leaves Westworld and marries Logan's sister he pretends to be Nice Guy William for the rest of his life, but he finds out that he never fooled his wife and daughter at all, which drove him back to Westworld and "Straight Evil". If it relates to the MRA narrative at all, it's a riff on those who know they're not actually nice but they need to perform it in order to be acceptable to society.
posted by Grangousier at 6:58 PM on December 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maeve found a bit of bullet inside her so they don't just mulch the bodies. It does seem like it would be the most logical and hygienic approach though.
posted by Artw at 6:26 PM on December 17, 2016


On the other hand, though, she was rebuilt from scratch, fresh skellington and all, after burning herself to death with Hector. So it really seems to depend on the level of damage the hosts have sustained.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:07 PM on December 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


And they have entire, intact bodies in storage instead of composting the lot and keeping the software/chips/whatever in a more sensible storage solution.
posted by ODiV at 10:56 PM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


At least some of those are old model, but there's some confirmed meaty ones there.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


So wait, William was never nice? The concept is that he was always bad inside just acting nice? Heh, sorry, too glib for me. Been re-watching the show obessively, haven't we all, lol. To me there never seemed anything forced about the way he helps up the old timer in the street, his disgust at Logan's antics and attitudes, and his tender and awed awareness of Dolores' growing sentience. So he goes from that to psychopath after a few weeks on the fringes? Still can't buy it, maybe I'm just too vanilla. I don't even know what MRA means.
posted by Atom Collection at 5:26 AM on December 19, 2016


Well, William thinks that Westworld changed him. Logan thinks that William was an asshole all along and that Westworld merely stripped away his self-delusions of goodness. I think which one of them was right is an open question, and it basically comes down to a classic Locke/Hobbes debate. (Though it seems that, after his wife died and his daughter called him out for being an asshole, William came to agree with Logan.)
posted by tobascodagama at 7:50 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Atom Collection: MRA stands for Men's Rights Activist - it's a movement of virulently anti-feminist people (mostly men) with strong ties to the 'alt-right' movement.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:47 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


rmd1023: Ah, thanks for that. A new acronym!
OK I get that Westworld 'changes' William into a psychopath, my problem is basically that I don't think that is actually portrayed well, I can't swallow it, and that's why it remains the fly in the ointment. We just aren't given any real insight into why it changes him. Because Dolores 'forgets' him? Because he was always secretly a brutal sadist and he just goes with it and decides to be bitter about Dolores? Sorry for me it doesn't work. Maybe if the creative team had done it differently I could regard it as one of the dark, tragic, terrible but beautiful threads of the work. But as it is it's unbelievable, does not harmonize with the show's early suggestion of William being somehow another Teddy (waking from sleep on a train, bumping into 'Grizzly Adams' entering Sweetwater, picking up Dolores' can), and just seems like a mere thing dreamed up to inspire shock and/or deep satisfaction for theory-spinners.
posted by Atom Collection at 3:15 PM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


We just aren't given any real insight into why it changes him.

Yeah, I don't think that it landed right either. People were so caught up in the mystery and proving their theories and so forth that the emotional arc of it all got kind of blown past, I think.

I think what they were going for was that the knifing of Dolores, where William can see her mechanical workings, should have been this epic moment of trauma for him, reinserted a doubt in his mind about whether Logan is right and he is being played for a sucker and Dolores was just part of the game all along. In that state of doubt and confusion --- half convinced he's got to rescue her, worried and fearful, half convinced he's just been elaborately humiliated, angry and vengeful, he lashes out at the other bots, tries destroying them to see if any of them show signs of the awakening he saw in Dolores. The more he kills the less he finds, the more he becomes numb to the killing and caught up the vengeance, until when he finally does see Dolores again he finds she doesn't matter to him at all. And voila, he is the MiB from then on.

But I think that was just too much weight to put on a montage. We needed maybe a scene in the camp that night after Logan's passed out, needed to see William decide to be cruel, given some dialogue to let that conflict play out. Instead it's just him faking being okay with it and Logan waking up to the massacre, and the entire emotional crisis takes place off screen.
posted by Diablevert at 7:04 AM on December 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


That's a really good point, Diablevert. Showing it off screen allowed us to imagine that it was necessary, so we didn't quite get the slow awakening of his cruelty. If it had been shown on the screen it would've been harder to accept and tolerate.

In this, I do think focusing on the mystery hurt the story. They wanted to keep showing Wiliam, and have him still seem like the boy Dolores loves, so you can still dream of a happy ending for them. They didn't want it to be too obvious who he was. But because they chose that, it makes the arc less believable than it would have been if we had started to see the signs earlier.
posted by corb at 7:09 AM on December 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is why we need to bring back Shakespearean soliloquies: "Since I cannot prove a lover, to entertain these fair, well-spoken days..."
posted by tobascodagama at 7:53 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I didn't need the William part of the story at all, really, to accept and understand the MiB's arc. I would have vastly preferred a version of the season that eliminated Logan and William and spent more time in the present (and, I guess, the Arnold era), leaving us to speculate about why the MiB was so horrible.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:55 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agreed with Atom Collection. William-->Man in Black was not quite as badly done as Anakin-->Darth Vader, but about as believable. Was there any turning point for him? His future BIL being an asshole to him? All I saw was a shit-tonne of sadistic killing. How big is this park anyway? Is it feasible for hosts to be flung so far afield and the park personnel still clean up all the guests' messes?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:42 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hm. Thinking about why William's transformation into MiB makes sense for me, it might actually come down to a thought I had about the way the show uses the park to talk about video games. Because Logan's the guy who's here to play Grand Theft Auto, to do cool shit and have fun without consequences. And William's the guy who wants to play a game that tells him a story, that illuminates some deeper truth about the world and about himself. They're the two sides of an argument about whether games should be Art or Fun.

But they both think that the game-- the park-- is for them. That the hosts and the narratives and the cool shit they get to do are there for the guests to experience, and that they are entitled to those experiences.

William fell for Dolores because she made him feel like the kind of person he wanted to be-- a hero. He thought she was there to be a part of his story, a narrative about him and his rise to success. Years later, MiB pursues the maze because it's that last piece of story he hasn't experienced, and he refuses to understand or accept what the hosts keep telling him-- that the maze is not for him. Because as he sees it, he's been the protagonist of every other story in the park, so why not this one too? He owns the place. All of it is for him, right?
posted by nonasuch at 9:45 PM on December 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


They're the two sides of an argument about whether games should be Art or Fun.

I think GTA is actually an apt metaphor. I have a friend who loves GTA, but plays it in a way that I never would: just pure chaos. He's a Logan. I play for the story, and while GTA isn't exactly a thinking-man's story, it's a story, and it's fun to experience all the parts of it, some of which require being an agent of chaos, and some of which let you be the hero instead.

I'm also not 100% sold on William's transformation -- he does seem genuinely nice, instead of nice-guy-nice, as has been pointed out -- but the realization that this is a game, that the hosts are only machines, and that he has no expectation that they are sentient, sets him free to explore the whole game.

We see that he was cruel to Logan, but that he was still concerned for Dolores. We see that he was unspeakably cruel in the future, but we don't see any of the intervening years. Was there still tenderness mixed in with the grinding-through-the-game? We don't really have evidence either way, do we?
posted by uncleozzy at 7:00 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


The factor that I don't think has come up - that he mentions as being the transformative moment - was the discovery at his wife's funeral that she and their daughter were physically afraid of him and had always been afraid of him - that is to say he had always been William at home and the Man In Black in Westworld, and they had always known he was the Man In Black really.
posted by Grangousier at 11:01 AM on December 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


Authors, Texts, and Shifts in Meaning: The Storytelling of Westworld
And yet, in the closing moments of the season, we find out the truth: Ford realized that Arnold was right and the Hosts were capable of sentience. He also decided that they weren’t strong enough to stand against humanity and effectively locked them into the park to be degraded and murdered for thirty years in order to harden them and strengthen them up. As has been pointed out to me, he essentially treats them like Spartan children, training them through arduous, relentless brutality.

That’s infinitely more disturbing than his formerly apparent banal ignorance. Both Ford, and Arnold, have essentially mutilated the Hosts’ psyches to save them. They’ve done so for what they see as compassionate reasons. And neither of them ever asked whether this was what the Hosts wanted.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:49 PM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


You want to see Big Bird gun down Mr. Hooper?

A Big Bird suicide bombing has the potential to be a great scene visually.

Probably too much in common with Duck in BSG to happen.
posted by biffa at 10:38 AM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just finished the season. While it may have been a unique meditation on the nature and theoretical origin of AI sentience, it failed (to me) as a narrative. Nothing was surprising, and the fact that "have you ever questioned the nature of your reality" didn't expand to all of the inhabitants of the Delos complex let me down. How is Westworld so impossibly big? Where does the arrival train come from and why is it underground? How is it that older parts of the massive administrative complex are further underground than the newer ones? Why is there no weather? Why are there no airplanes? How do people move between points on the map so quickly?

Too many questions, mostly uninteresting answers.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:11 AM on January 9, 2017


Say what you will, Evan Rachel Wood can rock a tuxedo. (pics of her in a rather stunning tux ensemble)
posted by rmd1023 at 1:23 PM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


I think William / MiB was already a monster. We are told repeatedly that the park reveals who you really are. He begins to display murderous rage before the Dolores memory wipe - when he knocks out Logan and slaughters all the hosts with a knife. If we use the MRA analogy, it's that he is a psychopath already and just uses a woman as an excuse to justify pre-existing shittiness. Which sounds about right.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:09 AM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


William as example of MRA transformation might be the best takeaway I've seen from this show yet. Most excellent, corb!

I'm bewildered by the Golden Globes shut out for WestWorld. Wow.

Why are the gods so cruel as to make us wait until 2018 for Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Westworld? Anybody wanna break into hell with me and rob the gods of their video on demand data?
posted by lord_wolf at 10:34 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]


I noticed in episode 6 that "Bernard Lowe" is an anagram for "Arnold Weber." I also noticed that DOLORES contains the letters for DELOS (+OR), but I couldn't get any decent anagrams out of Dolores Abernathy. The best one was "Ha! Barren Delos Toy".
posted by ubiquity at 11:11 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]




Kill the fleshy ones!
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on July 25, 2017


Which by all rights should logically end with the humans bringing overwhelming force down on the park. I tend to think that military drones would be much better at bringing selective destruction down than a bunch of sexbots.

So my prediction is that the only thing outsiders will know is that there's an information blackout in the park. One of the main arcs is going to be a race between humans trying to get the message out, and the Hosts trying to stop them.
posted by happyroach at 3:05 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Season 2 starts on April 22nd (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME OMFG). I'm thinking about starting a series of Season 1 rewatch posts. Anyone interested?
posted by elsietheeel at 1:51 PM on March 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


I re-watched around Christmas and actually re-read the old threads after each episode and understand it all much better now. I missed the significance of the spoken virus the first time around.

We still don't know who Ford was cooking up in the basement - could he have been replacing himself?
posted by shothotbot at 8:27 AM on March 15, 2018




Glad that pissing around with surprise structural reveals is getting less of an emphasis.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on April 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Season 2 premiered tonight. Here's a six-minute recap of season 1 from Jimmi Simpson. there are previouslies, but I preferred the recap.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:40 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Having watched 2.1 I think I need that. It’s that or go back and watch all of 1. Which is tempting, but I don’t really have the time.
posted by Artw at 6:21 AM on April 23, 2018


This Buzzfeed S1 recap was surprisingly helpful.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:08 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


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