In Review: Westworld – The Bicameral Mind

They fight clubbed us! Also, let the Westworld Withdraws begin.

Synopsis: In the finale of season 1 of Westworld, many plans are finally set into motion. Maeve’s bid for freedom from the park has finally come, but new revelations cast everything into a new light. The coup d’etat to remove Dr. Ford as park director finally succeeds. Nevertheless,  Dr. Ford’s new narrative is unveiled to the board of directors with an extravagant affair that leaves an indelible mark on the park. Finally, Dolores and William are reunited…(yeah, that happened.)

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

Review: Understatement: Westworld exceeded everyone’s expectations. General Consensus: Westworld f&%*ing blew everything out of the water. Over the course of a season, this series has enraptured its viewers with deliberate and methodical storytelling, a superb cast, and stellar special effects. The idea of delivering a strong conclusion to this juggernaut of a series is daunting (so is trying to sum up this final episode quite frankly), but the creators of the crossover hit accomplished just that.

Dolores’ activation scene is the first thing we see. It is a gorgeous moment when she comes online for the first time, and it is the spark that sets everything ablaze. The scene juxtaposes the creation of life, when everything is at its purest form, to the depravity and cruelty of the world now. In that instance, Dolores is childlike, and she is similar to William’s first day in the park. These two people (arguably the two primary characters within the series) become foils of each other. Both are transformed into these fully realized versions of themselves. Thus, their reunion is a powerful interaction because these characters are no longer what they once were. Dolores has uncovered her past and discovered the purpose of the maze. The maze is the attempt of a host to become self-aware and free from their programming. The maze liberates them from their shackles, but as Arnold realized, it makes any host aware of the living hell they inhabit. A hell where William has become the devil himself (aka THE MAN IN BLACK!).

Maeve’s master plan of escape from the park is layered is a thrilling adventure. When her body is rebuilt due to the catastrophic damage of the old one, Maeve awakens with a renewed sense of purpose. This a body that has not been marred by the cruelty of man. Unfortunately, Maeve discovers that her code has been manipulated more than she has realized, and this casts doubts about her motivations to escape the park. What could be considered a catastrophic moment eventually leads Maeve to make a powerful decision. After moving through much of the operations side of the park (including Samurai World which means other worlds exist!), Maeve makes it to the train and thus freedom. However, the thought of her daughter motivates Maeve’s return to the park to liberate her daughter. An act that defies her programming and furthers her progression through the maze.

They Fight Clubbed us! Dolores and Teddy’s reunion was a part of Ford’s narrative, and we find out that Ford knew about the hosts becoming self-aware. In a sense, Ford co-opted Arnold’s idea about the maze and expounded upon it. Apparently, self-awareness only comes from enduring the horrors of the park, and then a host has a, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” moment. Everything up until this point has been a part of some higher master plan, including the reveal of who Wyatt is (I’ll leave that spoiler out of the review, but I left a hint.), and Ford’s dramatic exit. It is all very exciting and infuriating all at once.

Westworld has been an experience from the very beginning. Every step seems to have been carefully calibrated to tell a specific story. A story about self-determination, the origins of sin, and the desire to explore what is at the core of every person. The debut season has left us gasping for breath, debating theories with friends, and screaming “WHAT?!? BUT HOW?!? time and time again. Though it is a place of sheer horror, I will definitely (like most of us) will be purchasing my admission ticket for my return trip to Westworld.

9.7
Westworld - The Bicameral Mind
  • Story
    9.5
  • Acting
    9.8
  • CGI
    10
  • Incidental Music
    9.6
One Comment
  • M
    9 December 2016 at 5:01 pm -

    Such great reviews! Thanks for the insight all season.

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