In Review: Westworld – Contrapasso

Wait...was that a blood fountain?

Synopsis: Dolores, William and Logan finally reach the decadent city of Pariah where they become entangled in a dangerous situation. While working a heist for a new group of confederate hosts, both Dolores and William explore different facets of themselves. Meanwhile, Dr. Ford searches for and confronts ghosts from the past.

Review: When Westworld began its run earlier this fall, we were told that it would be an exploration of what it meant to be alive.We were also told that it would be an exploration on the origins of sin. “Contrapasso” shows us what happens when sin is allowed to grow unhindered. Dolores and her traveling companions arrive in the city of Pariah. Immediately, the contrasts between Sweetwater and Pariah couldn’t be more stark. Yes, Sweetwater is a place where bad things do happen, and the guests of the park act with impunity; however, there is an openness that could be interpreted as innocence. If you remember the family who met Dolores while she painted by the riverside, the father stated that the area they were in was still acceptable for their son to explore. Conversely, Pariah is Gomorrah. Decadence absolutely permeates the air Logan and William breathe. The imagery of this wicked little town drives home this idea.

Before the traveling trio enter Pariah, they must pass through a mass graveyard. It is as if the price of admission to the town is the complete death of innocence or morality. Once inside Pariah, we are exposed to the definition of carnal excess. Everything looks dangerous yet alluring. (If Westworld did exist, you now all know where I could be found.) This is the point of the area. Sin always feels so appealing because it preys on our carnal desires. Desires that are never sated even though Pariah stands as smorgasbord of base delights (see orgy scene or possible blood fountain [it could be wine..but probably not]). Moreover, when the three travelers have completed their task, they are no longer the same. William and Dolores in particular have been exposed to both desire and greed in different forms, and their response to it leaves them transformed.

What makes this series so interesting is the unflinching look a person’s motivations and what darkness lies beneath them. Even the repair tech Felix, who operates on Maeve, (that final scene!) works in secret regardless of regulations. (I have a theory a possible caste system in this society that explains the hierarchy of the operations side of the park and Felix, but I will save that for a later time.) He, like Dolores and William, is willing to bend or completely reinterpret his morals when the situation calls for it. But how far is too far? The barely successful heist of the episode stands as a testament to how far a slight deviation can take a person away from their morals. Once you pass through the gates of iniquity, you are forever changed even if you only stopped for a moment. The same is true with Pariah and Westworld as a whole.

 

8.7
Westworld - Contrapasso
  • Acting
    9.3
  • Story
    8.9
  • CGI
    8.7
  • Incidental Music
    8.0
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