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Westworld Season 1 – Comparative Opinions S.2 E.8

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! We’ve been teasing this one out, but it’s time! Our review discussion of Westworld season 1! We try and fail to do much spoiler-free talk, but hopefully we have some good spoilery material for those of you who watched the first season and want a refresher.

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday, or for our weekly news podcast, Week in Geek.

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Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

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Westworld Throwback Thursday – Episode 10: The Bicameral Mind

Here’s the last episode review from Westworld Season 1. With Season 2 coming up starting April 22nd, we hope you’ve liked reading this series again – or if you’re like me, catching up on the show late and reading these for the first time! Let Jeremy know if you want him to do another series of posts for Season 2!


Good day, everyone! At long last, I want to offer up a recap of episode 10 of Westworld (“The Bicameral Mind”) that also takes into account fan theories and the questions that are still on the table. Perhaps the single most important event of the episode is the culmination of Ford’s new narrative, shown in the end to be an ambush. Despite a few red herrings, the event comes to fruition in the final minutes of the episode, opening up and tying together very nearly everything else in the episode and the season.

ep10-001

Ford’s revelation of his final storyline. Image taken from IMDB.

Progressing through the other characters and looking at the oldest ongoing storyline, it is confirmed without a doubt that William is indeed the Man in Black, setting in stone as truth perhaps the most widely circulated fan theory. Though what exactly happens to Logan—tied naked to a robotic horse and sent careening off into the hills at the edge of the park—is a mystery left to further episodes. There is a risk that the horse became a running bomb when it neared the true limit of the park, but it did not appear to be William’s goal to murder Logan, only to shame him and cast doubt on his sanity.

William’s descent into hatefulness and malice, his pursuit of the Maze, and his turning to the black hat way all come down to his Siegfriedian pursuit of Dolores, and when he finally finds her again back in Sweetwater, her memory erased. With the woman he fell in love with in the park effectively dead, William turns inward and wholeheartedly pursues the Maze—what he sees as a secret storyline that can provide him a purpose and excuse for his existence. In the end, the Maze was never meant for him; rather, it was a way for the hosts to achieve sentience and freedom.

ep10-004

Dolores finds herself… selves… Wyatt? The heart of the Maze. Image taken from IMDB.

Moving from William/the Man in Black to Dolores, hers is the story—and hers are the actions—that climax the season. It is revealed (again confirming an off-the-wall fan theory) that Dolores is actually (in a way) Wyatt, being as Arnold uploaded Wyatt to be a backup personality for Dolores in the event she needs to become a killer. We are finally shown the event that nearly destroyed Westworld 35 years earlier as Dolores/Wyatt and Teddy massacre all the other hosts and Dolores executes Arnold, an action Arnold himself commanded her to perform in the hopes it would prevent the park from opening and give the hosts a chance to prove to Ford that they are effectively alive and capable of changing and violating their core programming. These events repeat themselves when Dolores/Wyatt (with the secondary personality fully re-emerged) apparently executes Ford before the Delos board of executives and then leads the other hosts in a massacre of the board members. That said, it is unclear if some of them may escape the slaughter.

ep10-002

Dolores executes Ford. Or does she? Image taken from IMDB.

As has been the case for most of the season, Maeve’s story progresses independently throughout this episode as everything else is happening elsewhere. As she sets her escape plan into motion, Maeve takes Lutz with her for help as she fully activates Hector and Armistice as Terminator-esque murder machines set upon the Delos guards as a distraction. Maeve also tries to reactivate poor Clementine, but there is nothing left of her. In the process, however, she and Lutz discover the damaged Bernard and repair him, requiring his skills and knowledge of the park’s administrative systems. This leads to the revelation that Arnold programmed Maeve long ago to enact a story loop called “The Escape,” casting doubt upon her own agency up to this point.

ep10-006

Maeve learns a hard truth from Bernard. Image taken from IMDB.

The culmination of the manifold storylines of Westworld season 1 leaves us with a plethora of questions:

  • Is Ford really dead? Could this have been a host version of him? After all, we never found out who he was making in his secret lab.
  • Did Charlotte and William survive the ambush?
  • Do you think we’ll see Armistice again after her mid-credits scene?
  • Do you think that Maeve’s last-minute decision to leave the train to find her long lost daughter was her own, or a part of her escape loop programming?
  • How many guests do you think are left in Westworld? What’s happening to them?
  • With the revelation of Samurai/Shogun/Sengokuworld, how many other parks are there? The old Westworld film also contained Roman and Medieval European parks, after all.
  • Where the hell is Elsie? We were never truly shown her death onscreen.
  • What are your thoughts on all of this? What are you looking forward to next season? What questions did I overlook here?

Here’s to making it to 2018 to see season 2, everyone! Keep coming back for more fun Westworld content here from me to keep the love alive. Thanks for sticking with me this far! Please do engage and carry on the conversation in the comments below.

 

Bonus: Here’s Armistice’s extra mid-credits scene in case you missed it when watching the episode.

 

Westworld Throwback Thursday – Episode 3: The Stray

Here’s the next Westworld recap from season 1! Things start going off the rails here…

Good day, everyone! It should go without saying at this point that this post contains spoilers for last week’s episode of Westworld entitled “The Stray.” From here on, I will do my best to offer some reminders and analysis of the previous episode to carry my readers into the next. Westworld is a complicated story, and a lot of mysteries are, as yet, not only unsolved, but also not fully developed. Let’s explore them together, shall we?

dolores-copy

Dolores waking up taken from hellogiggles.com

  • The episode begins with more interactions between Bernard and Dolores, with Bernard sharing a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in which he points out a specific passage meant to make Dolores question her identity. These scenes are put in a somewhat different light later in the episode as Bernard’s past trauma of losing his young son is revealed, casting his growing relationship with Dolores to be fatherly. Again the intersection of trauma and memory remain at the core of Westworld’s overall narrative as Bernard tells his (ex?)wife that the pain he carries of his son’s memory is all that he has left of him.
Screen-Shot-2016-10-17-at-3.58.17-PM

Bernard and Dolores

  • Following this initial conversation with Bernard, Dolores is then shown rediscovering the revolver she discovered buried in her yard in a daze last episode, a sign of a mysterious benefactor separate from Bernard who is pulling her strings and pushing her toward some sort of awakening. Further meetings with Bernard later in the episode make it clear that Dolores is growing free to retain and regain memories, and that she is beginning to act outside of her programming.
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Dolores and the revolver

  • Further, Dr. Ford’s new narrative is beginning to insinuate itself into the park, beginning with a definitive backstory for the character of Teddy, Dolores’s love interest. After his normal interactions with Dolores, Teddy sets off into the hills with a posse to hunt down a horrendous (and apparently barely human) villain from his past, rather than meet his standard end attempting to save Dolores’s family. Later, Teddy is captured in this pursuit and Dolores, learning from past incidents and discovering the revolver she apparently hid for herself in her family’s barn, rides off into the hills herself to rescue him and find herself, an interesting reversal of gender roles in these types of stories. Later that night, she stumbles into the campsite of William and Logan, who are off hunting bounties (to Logan’s oversexed chagrin), and who will presumably aid Dolores in the next phase of her journey.
teddy-flood-and-dolores-shooting-gun-westworld

Teddy teaches Dolores how to shoot a gun

  • Perhaps one of the most important events of this episode is the pursuit of a stray host by programmer Elsie and head of security Stubbs. The host, a simple woodcutter, contains in his backstory a love of carving animals out of scraps of wood. While this is expected, Elsie and Stubbs also discover that the host has begun to develop a fascination with the constellation Orion and that his disappearance may simply be a desire to see the stars, which is unsettling to the handlers. Once they discover and deactivate the host, the host reactivates himself, fights off Stubbs, grabs a giant rock, and kills himself by crushing his own skull with it—with self-destruction being the ultimate expression of free will, some might say.
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Elsie and Stubbs discover the companions (now stuck in a loop) of the stray woodcutter

  • One last note on something that stuck out to me—some of the scoundrel hosts, when cat-calling Dolores, make a vulgar comparison between her and a “freshwater clam,” a line and context that I recognized from the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider, a film about a gunslinger returning from the dead to claim his vengeance on those who wronged him and to help others as he can. I honestly wonder at how this title—Pale Rider—may come to define Dolores in the episodes ahead, being as I believe the partially skeletal, black-clad rider atop the pale horse in the opening credits to be Dolores as she will eventually become when completely freed from her bonds.
i_mpm_palerider

Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider (1985) movie poster

What do you think? Do you think that Dolores will become some sort of Horseman of Death in the weeks ahead? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to watch the next episode of Westworld tonight on HBO.

Westworld Reminder Recap – Episode 10: The Bicameral Mind

Good day, everyone! At long last, I want to offer up a recap of episode 10 of Westworld (“The Bicameral Mind”) that also takes into account fan theories and the questions that are still on the table. Perhaps the single most important event of the episode is the culmination of Ford’s new narrative, shown in the end to be an ambush. Despite a few red herrings, the event comes to fruition in the final minutes of the episode, opening up and tying together very nearly everything else in the episode and the season.

ep10-001

Ford’s revelation of his final storyline. Image taken from IMDB.

Progressing through the other characters and looking at the oldest ongoing storyline, it is confirmed without a doubt that William is indeed the Man in Black, setting in stone as truth perhaps the most widely circulated fan theory. Though what exactly happens to Logan—tied naked to a robotic horse and sent careening off into the hills at the edge of the park—is a mystery left to further episodes. There is a risk that the horse became a running bomb when it neared the true limit of the park, but it did not appear to be William’s goal to murder Logan, only to shame him and cast doubt on his sanity.

William’s descent into hatefulness and malice, his pursuit of the Maze, and his turning to the black hat way all come down to his Siegfriedian pursuit of Dolores, and when he finally finds her again back in Sweetwater, her memory erased. With the woman he fell in love with in the park effectively dead, William turns inward and wholeheartedly pursues the Maze—what he sees as a secret storyline that can provide him a purpose and excuse for his existence. In the end, the Maze was never meant for him; rather, it was a way for the hosts to achieve sentience and freedom.

ep10-004

Dolores finds herself… selves… Wyatt? The heart of the Maze. Image taken from IMDB.

Moving from William/the Man in Black to Dolores, hers is the story—and hers are the actions—that climax the season. It is revealed (again confirming an off-the-wall fan theory) that Dolores is actually (in a way) Wyatt, being as Arnold uploaded Wyatt to be a backup personality for Dolores in the event she needs to become a killer. We are finally shown the event that nearly destroyed Westworld 35 years earlier as Dolores/Wyatt and Teddy massacre all the other hosts and Dolores executes Arnold, an action Arnold himself commanded her to perform in the hopes it would prevent the park from opening and give the hosts a chance to prove to Ford that they are effectively alive and capable of changing and violating their core programming. These events repeat themselves when Dolores/Wyatt (with the secondary personality fully re-emerged) apparently executes Ford before the Delos board of executives and then leads the other hosts in a massacre of the board members. That said, it is unclear if some of them may escape the slaughter.

ep10-002

Dolores executes Ford. Or does she? Image taken from IMDB.

As has been the case for most of the season, Maeve’s story progresses independently throughout this episode as everything else is happening elsewhere. As she sets her escape plan into motion, Maeve takes Lutz with her for help as she fully activates Hector and Armistice as Terminator-esque murder machines set upon the Delos guards as a distraction. Maeve also tries to reactivate poor Clementine, but there is nothing left of her. In the process, however, she and Lutz discover the damaged Bernard and repair him, requiring his skills and knowledge of the park’s administrative systems. This leads to the revelation that Arnold programmed Maeve long ago to enact a story loop called “The Escape,” casting doubt upon her own agency up to this point.

ep10-006

Maeve learns a hard truth from Bernard. Image taken from IMDB.

The culmination of the manifold storylines of Westworld season 1 leaves us with a plethora of questions:

  • Is Ford really dead? Could this have been a host version of him? After all, we never found out who he was making in his secret lab.
  • Did Charlotte and William survive the ambush?
  • Do you think we’ll see Armistice again after her mid-credits scene?
  • Do you think that Maeve’s last-minute decision to leave the train to find her long lost daughter was her own, or a part of her escape loop programming?
  • How many guests do you think are left in Westworld? What’s happening to them?
  • With the revelation of Samurai/Shogun/Sengokuworld, how many other parks are there? The old Westworld film also contained Roman and Medieval European parks, after all.
  • Where the hell is Elsie? We were never truly shown her death onscreen.
  • What are your thoughts on all of this? What are you looking forward to next season? What questions did I overlook here?

Here’s to making it to 2018 to see season 2, everyone! Keep coming back for more fun Westworld content here from me to keep the love alive. Thanks for sticking with me this far! Please do engage and carry on the conversation in the comments below.

 

Bonus: Here’s Armistice’s extra mid-credits scene in case you missed it when watching the episode.

Meme Monday Returns: A Westworld Special

Good day, everyone! I thought I’d toss out a few of my favorite Westworld memes that have crossed my slipstream in my daily journeys and remark upon their sources. Enjoy!

First off, I’m sure we can all relate to this one some days:

Something for the Wonka fans from Beyond Westworld:

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Source: Beyond Westworld at https://www.facebook.com/BeyondWestworld/

Another from Beyond Westworld: Maeve’s displeasure is palpable.

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From around the web, other memes can span from the head-shakingly true-to-life funny:

To the hilariously risque:

 

 

And for your patience and good behavior, I’ll give you some treats I’ve collected.

Here’s the Westworld Dubsmash Compilation that’s been making the rounds:

 

And here’s an awesome look at the cast’s social media.

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share your own memes as well. See you next time!