Dolores goes on a day trip to the eighth circle of hell. What a trooper. Hannah Dunleavy talks episode five of Westworld. CONTAINS SPOILERS.
“Designed by committee”
I was pretty heartened to receive loads of feedback last week from people equally – and often more – baffled than I am about what in sweet sweating Jesus is going on in Westworld, or indeed Westworld.
I’ve tried my best not to read anything other reviewers are writing about it – not that I’m not interested – but because I’m afraid it will only point out things I haven’t even realised I don’t understand. Unknown unknowns, I believe Donald Rumsfeld* called them.
Most of the responses I received contained the word “lost”, as in “I’m so bloody lost” or “this better not turn into another bloody Lost”, both of which statements I wholly concur with.
I generally take notes if I’m reviewing TV programmes, and with Westworld it often runs to pages.This week, I went as far as starting an elaborate Venn diagram of what I suspect might be several timelines running at once (Exhibit A: How could El Lazo and Lawrence be the same person if they both had storylines running at the same time?). None of which is exactly conducive to a great viewing experience.
“I was under the impression robots could not hurt humans. Or, if they are humans doing the hurting, surely someone from the park would intervene, if just to avoid a TripAdvisor rating that says, ‘Terrible. I lost three teeth and my left testicle. Also the car park was poorly signposted.'”
I’ve also come to the confusion that if I’d ever played a computer game in my life, I might have a better grasp of what’s happening here. That said, next week I’m on Strong Female Leads with Debra-Jane Appelby and Kate McCabe, who do know what they’re talking about, so fingers crossed I might return next week a changed woman. Watch this space.
*Rumsfeld would also sooo go to Westworld. Also Dick Cheney. Also the Trumps. All of them.
“A giant circle jerk”
What I do know a little about, on the other hand is Dante’s Inferno (don’t ask) and ‘Contrapasso’, the most plot-heavy episode to date, was all about inverted punishment for sins, with Logan, for example, getting a kicking in return for all that violence he’s meted out. (More on that later.)
I have to say, straight off the bat, this was my least favourite episode yet: No Hector, no Armistice, no Cullen and only the briefest glimpses of Maeve and Bernard.
But oh what a day Dolores had on her day trip to the eighth circle of hell. She got to change her clothes for the first time since God knows when, she gave herself a tarot reading, she went to a Day of the Dead style parade and jumped on a moving train. People would pay $4,000 a day for that shit, right? Oh, and she remained largely ambivalent at the world’s grimiest orgy, which looked like an Oscars after party if people were actually fucking the statues.
Good job she’s got ‘Arnold’, who she’s pretending she hasn’t spoken to in 34 years but she’s actually having secret chats with like an unhappily married women who just found her first boyfriend on Facebook.
Meanwhile, William and Logan had a domestic, which escalated rather quickly, even given the fact that the latter’s such a tool he could have a column for Breitbart. White hat chose to leave black hat to his fate this week, although what that fate is goes straight into the box marked ‘Oh come on, I thought I at least understood this by now.’ Because I was under the impression robots could not hurt humans. Or, if they are humans doing the hurting, surely someone from the park would intervene, if just to avoid a TripAdvisor rating that says, “Terrible. I lost three teeth and my left testicle. Also the car park was poorly signposted.”
“Humanity is cost effective”
Ed Harris’s mission to the centre of the maze continues apace with poor Teddy in tow, who is begging for death because it would be kinder. Which it would be, regardless of the fact that he doesn’t know he gets to come back all handsome and shit.
The pertinent point this week would be the meeting with Anthony Hopkins’ Ford in a bar, where The Man in Black reveals quite how long he’s been coming to the park. This plot is perhaps the best example of how much Westworld has shifted from a western to a sci-fi in recent weeks, in that the moral implications of his story have all but vanished.
Which is particularly disappointing as it has now become clear he has some sort of ‘celebrity’ status outside of the park. Which means that in whatever future or parallel world this series takes place in, either a) people are entirely nonchalant about violence or b) Twitter is no longer a thing.
I’m still overwhelmingly ‘meh’ about Ford and Hopkins, who failed to stamp anything approaching excellence on his early monologue about that greyhound. Oh man, I miss Deadwood.
“This week, I went as far as starting an elaborate Venn diagram of what I suspect might be several timelines running at once. Exhibit A: How could El Lazo and Lawrence be the same person if they both had storylines running at the same time?”
“Someone is smuggling data out of the park”
I dunno, one of the terribly hammy actors in the butcher’s department? Wikileaks? Given what it looked like, I’d say a time-travelling member of the KGB.
Much as I’m still enjoying most of the series, there was nothing good about the backstage area this week, apart from when that bird landed on Thandie Newton’s finger. So I’m going to leave it there.
When I saw the Union Army transporting the nitroglycerin it finally occurred to me what one of the things that’s missing from this incarnation of the West is: Pinkertons.
This week we learned: it’s OK to shag one of the hosts, but not OK to shag one when they are ‘dead’. Even though they’ve never technically been alive. You’ve got to have rules people.
So, last week no one knew about Arnold, now he’s the talk of Westworld. Maybe Twitter still is a thing in this universe.
All robots seem to have been programmed to instinctually defend Ford. And listen to his stories.
That whisky was called Lawrence, right? And El Lazo means The Loop. Which is probably going to cause some fangasms somewhere.
Any of it any clearer for you peeps?
Catch up on previous Westworld happenings here.
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Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.