Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Arts

Cowboy Builders

So, nine episodes in, it seems our Hannah Dunleavy might have been understanding more of Westworld than she realises. WTF? CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Hello dah-ling: Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Photos: HBO.

Hello dah-ling: Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Photos: HBO.

Um, hello

From two weeks ago

westworld-quote

So, here we are with one episode to go and it seems that, as clever as Westworld thinks it is, even I could guess what was going on.

Apologies if my random predictions acted as any kind of spoiler, because that’s exactly what I find so tricky about this sort of TV. Anything that encourages you to ‘guess’ the plot runs the distinct possibility that you consider all options, making anything resembling a ‘shock twist’ impossible.

And it’s this that’s made Westworld so sometimes mildly, sometimes majorly disappointing so far. Yes, there’s still an episode to go, so I’ll reserve judgement, although I can’t help but feel a series-end cliffhanger is coming our way, which will only add to this feeling.

Still, what is important is that this was probably the best episode yet, even if it did have the relentless urge to over-egg everything.

“A little trauma can be illuminating”

That should be 2016’s motto, right? Let’s start with lovely Bernard, who takes a trip down Memory Lane with Ford and the shell formerly known as Clementine Pennyfeather and discovers that he’s made in the image of Arnold, which means, as I suspected, Jeffrey Wright has been playing two characters all along.

It’s difficult to know what his ‘death’ at the end means, as it is possible he could be rebuilt, although that seems unlikely given Ford’s ‘farewell’. (Speaking of which, what he said about “putting an end to this nightmare” was so ambiguous, I was a little unsure as to what would happen there.)

“Dolores is probably the worst example of a character created to drive plot I’ve seen in many a year. Which is a shame, because Evan Rachel Wood deserves better.”

The Ford/Bernard scenes covered a lot of similar ground to that covered in Black Mirror‘s ‘Men of Fire’ episode, the idea of ignorance being bliss and so forth, although it took the diametrically opposed attitude to the fundamental nature of humans. And I have to say that, given Westworld took hours to get there and Black Mirror took minutes, Brooker did it better.

Even if Bernard isn’t rebuilt, Arnold may remain in flashback, so we haven’t necessarily seen the end of Jeffrey Wright. Which is good, because the way things stand with the series it would be frankly INSANE to lose one of its strongest players so early.

“The maze isn’t meant for you”

Even more shading to The Man in Black this week (in both ‘timelines’) as No Longer Cuddly Teddy comes to at a Donner Party-style chow-down, learns a bit a then gets sent to meet his maker. (While we’re on Teddy, it’s odd that he apparently passes out, given he’s a robot, right?)

The Man in Black ‘broke character’ briefly to talk to Hale, who clearly didn’t read the memo about sensible footwear, and we learn he’s on the board etc etc, excuse me while I fall asleep.

If you’re trying to make corporate shenanigans exciting, guys, maybe don’t set it in the infinitely more interesting ‘Wild West’. Long and short, I don’t really care about who’s buying shares, how and why. But I like Ed Harris and there’s no doubt that, for all his bizarre quirks and penchants, his character makes for interesting viewing. Speaking of which…

Take me to church: Dolores gets confessional.

Take me to church: Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) gets confessional.

What happens in Westworld stays in Westworld

Back in episode two when William and Logan were introduced, I suggested there might be a point when they switched personalities and it pretty much happened here. Yes, Logan remains a colossal prick, but you couldn’t deny he was making a shitload of sense as he tried to persuade his brother-in-law to be that he was taking it a bit far.

He chose a cruel way to show it, but William’s plan to take Dolores home with him is ridiculous and although Logan probably derived a little too much pleasure from telling him, he did need to be told.

Loads more confirmations of the many timelines (the photo that Peter Abernathy later found, the fact that the massacred robots were all First Generation), which seems to suggest the ‘two Williams’ idea will be the final episode’s big reveal.

So lots to enjoy, but I’ve got to say NOTHING about Dolores and William’s romance has worked for me, so his early-morning rampage seemed a leap too far forward. A lot of the fault for this lies with Dolores, who is probably the worst example of a character created to drive plot I’ve seen in many a year. Which is a shame, because Evan Rachel Wood deserves better.

“Anything that encourages you to ‘guess’ the plot runs the distinct possibility that you consider all options, making anything resembling a ‘shock twist’ impossible.”

“If you go looking for the truth, get the whole thing”

In direct contrast, Super Maeve continued to create havoc this week, opening Bernard’s eyes to his real purpose and recruiting Hector to her cause.

It’s pretty well established that these two are hot as hell together, without the need to actually see them shagging in ‘hell’, which was slightly preposterous. Although who am I to deny the will of Maeve? No one, that’s who.

Other things

AN Other Hemsworth has been captured by The Ghost Nation, which I’ve not got time to go into, but seemed a little convoluted. More news as it happens.

Dolores killed Arnold. Fun fact!

I’m thinking Elsie isn’t actually dead, since the series has had the opportunity to show us her death on three occasions but has pulled back every time.

Catch up on previous Westworld happenings 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.