SPOILER HEAVY REVIEW: "Westworld, Season 2 Premiere"
Can I say that I am worried? Is that okay? I will clarify if you'll indulge me in my long-winded style to do so. Here we go.
Westworld isn't for everyone- there's really no other way to put it. In my review I did for the entire 1st season a year ago I compared it to Lost (my personal favorite show of all time). It's a thinker that relies on the thematic and philosophical to drive home the narrative. The questions of "what is real?" and "do we have the right to play God?" remain front and center while the critiquing of casual violence is amplified.
Where does the worry come in? Simply put, "thinkers" are a hard pill to swallow in society where the brilliant film Idiocracy looks more and more prophetic by the day. I hope I'm wrong; I really do. I'd like to think that there are enough active brains still asking questions and yearning hearts still looking for harmony out there for the appeal of this genius show to last.
**HEAVY SPOILERS FROM HERE ON**
We pick right back up where we left off....sort of. Bernard Lowe (self-aware of the truth of his host status) finds himself washed up on a beach (!) surrounded by a gaggle of Delos cleanup & rescue crew. The Man in Black has survived the massacre of Ford's reveal party and has a tentpole hardon for some real stakes violence. Dolores has gone into full-on revenge mode and is out to murder every living, breathing human in her way with Teddy as her (doubtful) companion. Maeve aborted leaving the park to come back in and find her daughter, killing quite a few mortals herself while taking the writer as hostage and aid.
There are a ton of great storylines rolling here, but you'll get one thing right off the bat (that really shouldn't be a surprise after the last couple of episodes in the first season): we are dealing with multiple timelines here. They aren't making it super easy for you to figure out how much (if any) concurrency there are to the various sights & delights.
The violence level is OFF THE FUCKING CHARTS!! They are not fucking around with the headshots, throat-slashings, gut-stabbings, etc. I really can't get enough of Dolores as the ruthless, vengeance driven rancher's daughter turned revolutionary. How would you feel if you were her? She's been gaslighted for countless deaths and heartbreaks. She asks a victim, "Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Have you ever had to stop and think about your actions? The price you would have to pay if there was a reckoning?"
Let that question really sink in. Think about it. How purely, psychotically, righteously angry would you be? I know I would be out for as much blood as possible. I'm not sure the bloodlust would ever end. When you show someone their tormentors plainly and give them the chance for vegeance they will take it 99.99% of the time.
This is also a point where I fear the show may lose some folks. Not everyone understands that to truly feel that reckoning you have to see how ugly it will be. The violence will seem hypocritical to the unenlightened, ya dig? Folks will say it's gratuitous. It's not, but I understand how people could feel that way.
I am damn curious to see how Dolores responds when the switch turns off. What will she learn? How will she feel about what she's done? How long will Teddy go along with it? So many delicious questions and answers.
Speaking of answers: we now know that Westworld is on an island. I've wondered just where in the fuck they put the park in the first place. We also know that the borders are indeed breaking down between Westworld and the "other parks". That tiger body at the lake practically got my dick hard. It's also a nice homage to the source material from the original movies, Westworld and Futureworld. We will see other worlds and their stories, at least to some degree.
Can I get an amen??!!
The other slices of fried gold?
- Jeffrey Wright continues to amaze as Bernard. His subtlety is a thing of beauty; his "dreams on a distant shore" speech stirs the soul (unless you're one of the intellectually and spiritually challenged masses).
- Simon Quarterman as park writer Lee Sizemore and his dynamic with Maeve. He'll be a big part of the story (irony intended). The fact that he was totally on-board with showing his cock in the dreaded full-frontal male nudity scene is to be applauded. Maeve spent practically the entire first season naked, so it's a great turnaround.
- Those faceless lab drone hosts. Fucking creepy.
- The planting of future storylines/asides like the fact that Delos has been collecting guest DNA to access their experiences. What a bunch of evil, cheeky monkeys!
- The scalping and removal of the Indian brain core. Can we get some more of that?
- The emotional conflict of Thandie Newton as Maeve. She knows her daughter is probably a lost cause, but the love is imprinted onto her soul. Besides, wouldn't she be "woken", too? So much possibility.
- The one-off appearance of little boy Robert Ford in host form. I really dug the classic Westworld style face shot indicating the age of the host and the creepy voice play at work there.
- "Reality is that which is irreplaceable"
- The hanging scene. Your mind will fill in the blanks on how horrific that is. Ambrose Bierce would be so proud.
- The lake of dead hosts. Bernard's reveal that he killed them. WHY??
So, back to me being worried. I'm afraid that because this show is the polar opposite of ham-fisted idiot TV that it will hurt the ratings. Americans have a need, nowadays, to have the answers fed to them in reality TV fashion. Don't be like the masses.
It would be a shame to see this devil not get its due for the beautiful creature that it is. A good story should make you think long after it is over. A good story should make you draw comparisons to your own life. A good story should immerse you in that park.....
......and this is a damn good story.