Before I get to the new series, I want to touch on the original movies. The first one, Westworld, was new and fresh, and for me, terrifying. Yul Brynner scared me so much that later, when I went to see him live in The King and I, I didn’t want to look at him.
There was a sequel – Futureworld, but it really wasn’t worth discussion, in my opinion. There was also a very short lived TV series. My favorite continuation of the idea, until recently, was an adult film that’s really quite cleaver.
Again, I wasn’t so sure about the new TV series… until I saw the first episode. I was hooked almost immediately. Delores killing the fly that had been walking on her face clinched it. This show was going to show the gradual awakening of the hosts.
These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends
Talk about foreshadowing! And better yet, it’s from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. That first line is a perfect extremely short summary of the first season. The violent delights were evident from the very beginning, it was Westworld, after all. And the endless repetition of the hosts lives really enforced the horror of their lives, even if they didn’t know it. The first host failure is Delores’ father, who cannot process a picture that was taken in the outside world. He whisper into her ear, “These violent delights have violent ends” and although we don’t know it at first, that phrase acts as a software virus, trigering the hosts to remember pieces of their past. Delores passes the phrase on to Maeve Millay, the madam of the town’s brothel. She begins to have visions of herself with a child, and later she finds she is able to influence the actions of other hosts.
Another factor, more openly known, is that Dr. Ford had released a ‘Reveries’ software update to the hosts, that allowed them to unconsciously access earlier memories. It was intended to allow them to act a little more human. At least, that’s what he claimed.
Delores appears to have a couple different storylines, one violent, another a traveling adventure with one of the guests. When Delores tells her tormentor, the man in black, that her William will come to save her, it is revieled that he IS William, and her memories of him are from three decades ago.
So after that, we just had to go back and re-watch the earlier episodes! And then the very last scene… wow.
And In Their Triumph Die, Like Fire And Powder
Black powder, that is. That’s the second line from the Shakespeare quote, and again, an excellent summary of season two. This season is far more confusing than the first, as it jumps back and forth in time even more. It follows the actions of multiple groups of people and hosts in the aftermath of season one. Both Delores and Maeve are leading their own uprisings, fighting Delos security forces, trying to escape Westworld, and some trying to find a door to the next world. During all this, both of their pasts are revealed, and Doloris’ is far worse than we could have imagined.
Something that this version of Westworld does that the originals didn’t is fully take advantage of the fact that most of the main characters, being robotic, have digital memories. Reality isn’t any different to them than purely electronic experiences, and we, as observers, have no way to tell the difference either.
I find myself wondering if the third season will try to incorporate the next lines from Romeo and Juliet: “Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey is loathsome in his own deliciousness.”