Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Arts

Cowboy Builders

Hannah Dunleavy talks Radiohead, automatic weapons and Westworld‘s final episode. CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Pretty armless: Armistice, why wasn't there more Armistice?

Pretty armless: Armistice, why wasn’t there more Armistice? Photos: HBO.

“It’s complicated”

Before I watched the final episode of this first series of Westworld I had a look at my review of the first episode to remind myself what I’d thought might be in store. It made me a bit sad. Such high hopes that such an interesting premise would reveal something about the world we live in. N-e-v-e-r-m-i-n-d.

Still, I did also have high hopes for Ingrid Bolsø Berdal’s Armistice and Rodrigo Santoro’s Hector and fuck me was I right, and nowhere more than this final episode. Because who doesn’t want to see the series’ two most old-school western (“Die well!”) characters shooting the shit out of the future?

Everything with Hector and Armistice absolutely sang, but most especially her reaction to firing an automatic weapon for the first time, which was, for me, the highlight of the whole series. It also served as a reminder not just of how little (and poorly) these two were used but also how sorely missing a bit of good-old-fashioned fun Westworld has been.

I’m sure it won’t come as much of a surprise to you, but in case you’ve just stumbled across my weekly wittering, I’ll spell it out: Maeve’s escape was the only story I was remotely invested in by this stage. Mostly because I found the idea of her unleashed in the real world irresistible. So all credit to Westworld and Thandie Newton Dahling for making me hope the impossible hope.

Nobody told Maeve it was fancy dress: Felix, Armistice, Hector and Super Maeve.

Nobody told Maeve it was fancy dress: Felix, Armistice, Hector and Super Maeve.

In the end it all felt a little bit rushed, as Maeve’s maternal urge proved her undoing, there to demonstrate her ‘humanity’. Which made me wonder why any human, especially one as bright as Maeve, wouldn’t also consider her newfound ‘mortality’ at some point.

Maeve’s future is now uncertain, which is a smart move for the series as, while I can’t say I won’t watch another series of Westworld, I can say I would 100 per cent NOT have watched if there was no Maeve. Well played Thandie Dahling.

Elsewhere, Westworld seemed to deliver a bunch of surprises that weren’t really surprises – seriously, I’m disappointed how much I managed to get right – narrated exposition and stuff that bordered on the melodramatic. (And I don’t mean the actual melodrama on the beach.)

“HBO usually does so well at this sort of drama, where the action is so widely spread across a huge cast, but it just didn’t work here.”

The main problem lies with making Blank Canvas Dolores the sun around which so many stories orbited. Particularly when it began to collapse in on itself towards the end. Making her story integral to those of Ford, Bernard, Arnold, both Williams and Teddy, meant it couldn’t possibly satisfy all, and the end felt crazily rushed and with a bullet that brought neither sadness nor a cheer.

Meanwhile, William the older’s search for the centre of the maze ended with the same inevitable disappointment as the time my sister and I went to find smugglers after someone made an arrow in some newly poured concrete near our house. (Yes, I know NOW that it was probably a cock.)

He got his wish as the robots fought back, one arm broken by Dolores and the other shot by Clementine Pennyfeather. Interestingly enough, in a series that started in a blaze of controversy about violence against women, a huge amount of this week’s violence was meted out by women.

And scene: Dolores, Teddy and Ford in the Westworld panto.

And scene: Dolores, Teddy and Ford in the Westworld panto.

So where does that leave us? I’m not convinced. Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris were great, Anthony Hopkins not so much, mostly because he was given so little to do. HBO usually does so well at this sort of drama, where the action is so widely spread across a huge cast, but it just didn’t work here. Possibly because it insisted on wrapping up everything in a bow and setting its stall out for a second season. So, by the time we find out Dolores is really Wyatt, I found myself thinking, “who gives a…?”

Even the use of Exit Music (For a Film) jarred, even given this series’ obsession with Radiohead, as Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror had already used it this year and used it better.

Ah Westworld, you could’ve done so much better.

Other things

Amped-up Peter Abernathy’s whereabouts are still unknown. I think.

Is someone building Far Eastworld?

How is that Sizemore prick left alive?

Ber-nard, or plain old Ber-nard if you like, lives to see other day. Although he’s taken some damage to the software.

Who’s in for series two?

Catch up on the rest of the Westworld goings-on here.

@thatdunleavy

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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.