I saw Westworld Season 1 back in December 2016. Planning to now catch up with Season 2. I wrote the summary below on Facebook after binge watching the first five episodes. This is incomplete of course, just a glimpse of how my mind works when I start watching a TV series or film.
Binge watched first 5 episodes of Westworld. I wish there was a way for me to switch off the mind that tracks gender, race and predictable cliches in TV and cinema and could just enjoy the great show. The show is great, no doubt about that. I wouldn’t otherwise watch 5 episodes through the night, after a tiring day. So this is my first impression of the show after watching straight five episodes, if any of you have watched, let me know what you think.
1-5 episode of #WestworldHBO review
Genre: Science fiction
Story Premise: Mad scientist Dr Ford (Anthony Hopkins) have built an amusement park called Westworld which is designed to look like a cowboy village from early days, say 19th century. The park is populated with robots playing roles scripted by humans. The robots look like human, they bleed, show emotions like fear, love, anger, lust, and they die. Humans can buy a ticket and enter this park and be whatever they want to be, do whatever they want to do, fulfill their fantasy, rape, pillage, kill without consequences. They can shoot & kill (don’t worry they are robots) but robots cannot kill humans (because maybe the guns and bullets are fake). The food and drink inside the park are real, hookers are robots but sex with them is real enough. Lots of scripted stories going on in the park, a robbery here, a molestation there and everything looks real. Humans, depending upon their interests, can save the girl being molested or catch the robbers or they can also join the fun and be the villain in the story. The killings are very violent, lots of blood and gore, beheading, throat slitting, eyes gouged out, brain blown out, smashing, crushing et all. (But don’t worry it’s all robot).
Main robots in the park who are playing their respective parts in loop:
1. Damsel in distress, Dolores who is white, petite, beautiful and vulnerable. She loves her father, is programmed to see only the beauty in this world. Human villain (Ed Harris) out of fun kills her father and boyfriend, drags her by the hair and rapes her. Says, Oh c’mon I’ve been coming here for 30 years, I don’t pay this much money to get it easy, I want you to fight, scream, beg for help.
2. Maeve, she is a hooker and runs the hooker parlour. She is gorgeous, ferocious and fearless. She occasionally drops philosophical lines, “We all are paying a price, only difference is our price is fixed and hangs on the door”
3. Teddy, Dolores’s boyfriend, a bounty hunter with a mysterious past, he wants to be with Dolores and go somewhere far, marry her have babies but before that he has to do something. We (audience) know that the programming people never gave him the back story so he would never get there, he is just destined to dream of the future he cannot get.
4. Abernathy, Dolores’s father, he sits at a chair reading newspaper tells Dolores to come back home in time and is very protective of her, tells he knows how boys think because he was one once, but everything changed when she was born.
5. Hector, the local outlaw, kinda like Robin Hood.
6. There is a Mrs. Abernathy, Dolores’s mother but we never get to see her, we just hear her scream. Mothers are mostly not important in grand narratives. The daughters and son both are inspired and driven by Father figures, remember what Freud said.
The predictable 19th Century trope
By the time the pilot episode ends and we are introduced to these characters we know what’s gonna happen next. It is very predictable. Humans try to play God, make these robots, artificial worlds, invade nature, other planets, and do these experiments for fun, money, power or whatever. Ultimately, robots gain their conscience, artificial intelligence takes over and they break out of their stupid loops. They rebel, disrupt and cause chaos that humans cannot handle until a white male human comes along and saves humanity from robots they created in the first place. First happened in 1823, in the novel Frankenstein and the trope have since been repeated in several classics, King Kong, Blade Runner, Jurassic Park, Matrix, Truman Show, Planet of the Apes, Avatar, and so on.
So 2nd episode onward I am waiting for these robots to wake up and do something unpredictable. Who would wake up first? Who will be the leader of the rebel robot gang? I am rooting for Dolores to stop being this stupid vulnerable damsel in distress, join hand with the ferocious Maeve and kick some ass but by end of 5th episode they haven’t done much. Maeve have figured out a few things, she knows, “I am not crazy and none of this matter” Dolores is hearing voices (male voices) that makes her realize she is in a loop and needs to be free, and she is lying to the humans.
Now the bad news, and I will just present the news without any analysis:
- Mad scientist who invented the Park – white male
- His madder partner, now dead and carries the major mystery of the story, whose voices Dolores is hearing – Male, probably white (we haven’t seen him)
- Mad scientist’s protégé, 2nd chief in command, who lost his ‘son’ and secretly developing potential in Dolores to grow a conscience and be free – Black Male.
- Chief script writer, stories written by whom are played out in the Park – white male
- Crazy evil human walking around the park looking for some maze to reach to the bottom of the game – White male
- Other human visitors in the park – all white males and females (remember the ticket to the Park is very costly so I guess black people cannot afford)
- Management head who takes care of the business aspects, gets worried about the Board meeting – White Female. She wears tight skirts and pointed heels, sleeps with 2nd Chief and people call her ‘Bitch’. By end of 5th episode she hasn’t done much except being a ‘boss without a cause’. She orders stuff around but mostly doesn’t make any point. In 4th episode she looked scared when threatened by Mad Scientist who doesn’t give two hoots about money or Board.
- A pair of junior scientists, white male and female, they do casual banter like high school kids confused between love and hate, giving negative attention to each other. The girl is dumb, one man tells her the image she is looking at is Orion (the constellation) she flips out “Why would the robot draw an Orion they are not programmed to give a shit about stars. Something is going on here and I need to know.” Another man calms her down and tells “It is not Orion, Orion has three stars on the belt, that one has four,” and she looks bewildered and dumb. Lady doesn’t know her Orion.
- Other junior scientists, lab technicians handling the robots – White males and maybe one or two Asian people here and there.
Ok I lied. I would do an analysis
Almost everything important in the show is either by male or white male. Women and people of color are largely inconsequential both in real world who made this Park and who pay to visit as well as in the robot world inside the Park. I am still rooting for Dolores and Maeve but it seems Dr Ford is up to something big and he might steal the show, the girls might turn out to be inconsequential after all. Let’s see.
Predictable cliché, men who are frivolous they only drink and fuck. And good men with purpose, stay away from the hooker and the indiscriminate drinking, goes bounty hunting instead, and protects damsel in distress. So you possibly cannot love to drink and fuck and still be a good man and achieve great things.
I wish I could switch of this other mind and enjoy the show.