This article covers the first six episodes of Westworld and explains why you should catch up for next week!
Westworld is a completely enchanting look at the human psyche, caged within a western theme park storyline. The original film was crafted by Michael Crichton, who seems to be answering his own question from Jurassic Park: what if Pirates of the Caribbean broke down and the pirates ate the tourists? What are the moral repercussions of creating something that remains on the cusp of becoming life?
This show has become so involved, with so many “main” characters it is often hard to determine what the main storyline is. I certainly hope JJ Abrams doesn’t let us down and pull a Lost with this show. There are unique and interesting threads in each episode, with characters you can’t help but relish.
In case you haven’t been watching, the show focuses on a western theme park of sorts. One of the original creators, Anthony Hopkins’ Ford, presides over the storyline, which is acted out by an unknown number of android Hosts. These hosts are each programed (and reprogrammed) to act in certain ways and lead guests (newcomers) on various western adventures.
The main Hosts are Dolores, who from the beginning has seemed able to defy the systems that programmed her; Maeve, currently a Madame who becomes aware of her existence by killing herself in the park in order to awaken in the workshop; and Teddy, who up until this point has seemed like little more than sidepiece.
As for employees of Westworld, there is Ford, creator and main programmer of the Hosts; Bernard, who reverently oversees much of the programming of the hosts; Theresa, who oversees the corporate operations of the park; and Elsie, who also serves as a programmer and works most closely with Bernard.
There are two other main characters (or perhaps one, if you buy into the fan theory*) who are “newcomers” in that they are both visitors of the park: William, who seems too kindhearted for the intended brutality of the park; and the Man in Black, who violently rips his way through the park seeking the center of “the Maze.”
So far, Dolores and William have embarked upon an adventure further out in the park where the storylines become more dangerous but thrilling. Bernard and Elsie have begun to unravel a plot by an as yet unknown individual who is, in many ways, sabotaging the Hosts. Teddy and the Man in Black are on some journey together that will lead Teddy to find resolution to his implanted past and the Man in Black can achieve transcendence (or whatever it is that he believes is at the center of “the Maze”).
The most recent episode focused on the corporate side of the park, with even Maeve spending almost the entirety of the episode outside of the park. She has begun to realize that something is not right in her looped world and has figured out that death can lead her out of it. In this episode, she insults a man into choking her during sex (remember, she is a madame after all).
She awakens to find her “butcher” waiting. She comes to realize that the programming has chosen her words for her, but that perhaps she can request changes to her personality (although someone has already made some modifications to her) that would allow her some control over her own thoughts and actions. She is led throughout the workshops to see the brutality of dead Hosts, the creation of new, and the remaking of some. Her storyline is by far the most intriguing yet.
Bernard soon discovers a secret cabin in Westworld that is home to five unregistered Hosts; they are modeled after Ford’s own family and created by his mysterious, maybe dead, former partner, Arnold. After discovering this, Bernard receives word from Elsie that Theresa has been conducting corporate sabotage to some unknown end, and Elsie is attacked from behind as she explores old computer systems of the park.
Finally, the only storyline this episode that exists completely within the park is that of Teddy and the Man in Black. For whatever reason, the Man in Black is intent on using Teddy to find a man named Wyatt and discover the center of the Maze. What’s still unclear is exactly how Teddy fits into that, but in this episode the character was allowed a little bit of excitement when he used a Gatling gun to spray his past with bullets.
In some ways, Teddy feels like an accessory; he is there as a companion, necessary to move forward in the game, but not interesting enough to make you overly concerned with his survival. I hope that there is more to him, that eventually he will rise, but perhaps showing the levels of Host sentience is continually necessary.
If we didn’t have him, we might forget that not all of the Hosts are like Dolores and Maeve. And perhaps, and this might be the more interesting opportunity, one of these ladies will teach him about his own existence. Once the Hosts become aware and begin teaching each other, they will have truly crossed over the threshold of life.
*There is a theory that there are multiple timelines currently within the show and that William is in fact the Man in Black when he first visited the park. I have my doubts about this theory, but there are some strong arguments for it.