Thursday 22 July 2021

Belated Westworld Season II reflections

The most interesting thing to me about season two of Westworld was the way it contrasted the attitudes and goals of Maeve and Dolores. 

Dolores descended from innocence into outright psychopathy, while Maeve grew out of self-absorbed cynicism to pursue altruistic self-sacrifice. 

Their love stories also conclude: Maeve leaves her daughter in the care of Ghost Nation, while Dolores watches Teddy blow his brains out.

Maeve gave to her daughter, asking nothing, while Dolores just used and took from Teddy. Maeve valued love above all else, while Dolores championed revolution and revenge. 

As ye reap, so shall ye sow. 

Last season, William was surrounded by unaware androids who were sleep-walking through life. Now, William has lost his tether to reality and gotten caught up in fantasy and delusion. His competitive nature has driven him to conquer Ford's game, and in so doing he's willingly entered the very sort of dream / nightmare the androids have been so determined to escape.

The show sets up The Forge well. It drops enough clues that we strongly suspect they're already in The Valley Beyond before they get there. That at least some of what we've been watching is a simulation in The Forge. And the finale did not disappoint. 

Bernard has struggled with reality too, this season, being abused by Ford, who treats him like a puppet, forcing him to commit horrible crimes that are against Bernard's nature. He's the Norman Bates of androids, and has been reduced to a plot puppet and exposition delivery system this season, and doesn't really get to shine until the finale when he makes his first really significant choice.

Then he spends the entirety of season three shambling around in a daze, empty and purposeless.

Rather like the show. 

Season one was superb. 

Season two was not as good, but still intriguing. 

Season three? A good time to stop watching. 

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