The journey through the first season of Westworld was a rollercoaster of excitement and emotions. From start to finish, the story captured me and demanded the attention of anyone who decided to watch it. Unlike many shows with a flashy premiere and finale, Westworld paced itself expertly, and handed out answers knowing that it didn’t need to rely on holding back to keep people’s attention. Each episode was just as good as the last and kept your mind racing, trying to figure out what was going to happen next.
I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT WESTWORLD.
Let’s backtrack here…
The premise of Westworld feels a bit complicated when you try to explain it to someone who isn’t in the loop. I know this because I’ve been trying to convert people around me to fans of the show and I can tell when it won’t be for them when their eyes just glaze over. Nonetheless, in the future, we’ve discovered a way to use AI’s to recreate worlds for people to vacation within. People can travel to, for instance, Westworld and live in an authetic replica of the days of cowboys and indians. Authetic, I suppose, is a strong word. There is inspiration drawn from reality but there are writers who construct storylines for the guests to participate in during their visit. Each of the “actors” within the storylines are actually what the corporation calls Hosts, which are the AI.
The AI are completely unaware of what they are and what Westworld is… until one day, some of them start “awakening”.
It’s Deadwood meets Dollhouse meets Terminator.
I just… I can’t… It’s just…
UGH, IT’S SO FREAKING GOOD.
I don’t know how long it has been since I’ve watched a TV show that after only one season, satisfied me so wholly.
I’m not necessarily a big fan of Evan Rachel Wood. I like her in stuff (Across the Universe, True Blood) but I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I needed to watch something with her in it. In Westworld, Wood completely altered my opinion of her. Her portrayal of Dolores is on par with how I feel about Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black and if you know me at all, that is a VERY HIGH OPINION. Wood’s expressions and gestures and even the simple blankness to her face when she is within “sleep mode” or other neutral states is simply perfect in the series.
Thandie Newton is much the same. Her portrayal started out a bit rocky to me but by the end, I understood that it was part of the show as a whole. Maeve became a powerhouse character for me that I was rooting for.
Actually, to be honest, all of the actors involved did superb work with Westworld that they should be proud of for the rest of their careers and lives. Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright (heartbreakingly amazing), Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT ARMISTICE IS PLEASE?!?!?!), Shannon Woodward (sidebar: if you’ve never seen Woodward in The Riches, do yourself a favour and watch it), and even James Marsden (simple, lovely Teddy).
I have a massive number of amazing things to say about the show still including the fact that one of the co-creators on Westworld was a woman, Lisa Joy (she worked on Burn Notice and Pushing Daisies! She’s also working on Untitled Female Superhero Spider-Man Movie, which I have no clue about and I am SO ON BOARD). Jonathan Nolan, the other co-creator on Westworld needs less of an introduction as the brother and creative co-conspirator to Christopher Nolan.
We can NOT forget about that incredible score put together by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, Pacific Rim). Djawadi is brilliant and my second favourite composer after Clint Mansell (I know it’s blasphemy to not have John Williams in one of those slots but DEAL WITH IT). In addition to putting together fantastic old-timey saloon piano renditions of rock classics, Djawadi composed a score that has been haunting me relentlessly. “The World” and “Do They Dream” especially continue on in my brain, playing and reminding me of the show throughout my day.
And then, there’s the feminism behind the show. At first I was put off by all of the nudity and sex and violence within the show. I am still VEHEMENTLY against the rape depicted throughout the entire thing but I’m setting my feelings towards that aside for now. Westworld grows from having the female leads be mere puppets full-fledged, fleshed out characters (literally). They have their own agency and Maeve especially is hell bent to live her own unprogrammed life. It reminded me a little bit of Lily’s arc in the last season of Penny Dreadful.
All of the characters progress in their storylines and arguably the men are there more to push forward the female characters rather than the other way around, which was amazing to see. I was completely wooed by the line, “You said people come here to change the stories of their lives? I imagined a story where I didn’t have to be the damsel.” and like the score for the series, it haunts me in the best possible way.
I’m not going to write in a verdict for the series because it’s clear how I felt about it.
Westworld wrapped up the first season with such elegance and grace that I wouldn’t have been upset to not get a second season as I felt like I got answers and closure in sufficient quanities BUT I am thrilled that we get more and we’ll see where the Hosts go from here and potentially get a look at other “worlds” that have been built for masses.
I’ve avoided spoilers within this post but if you want to discuss some theories with me below (PLEASE TALK WESTWORLD WITH ME), sound off below.