Tag Archives: Review

Audio

Ready Player One – Comparative Opinions S.2 E.7

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! Hosts Holly and David made it to see Ready Player One and… they have thoughts. They try their hand at spoiler-lite, which really means trying to keep the book references to a minimum… and then it’s like a full on LitFlix comparing the book and movie. Hope you enjoy!

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.

https://www.facebook.com/ComparativeGeeks/

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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 6: The Adversary

The next of the Westworld episode recaps! There’s a couple references to an upcoming supplemental post, which now has links added to get there – that one probably won’t get re-run.

Good day, everyone! We saw some intriguing developments this last episode as we get closer to the season finale in a few weeks. Hopefully, several of these mysteries will be solved before we’re left hanging for another year. We didn’t see much of Dolores and William this episode, but we did see some growth and new conflicts for Maeve, the Man in Black and Teddy, and the Westworld employees.


Maeve is now somehow fully aware of what she is, a fact cemented by a powerful scene of Felix giving her a tour of the facility and showing off all the various robots being programmed—a scene which culminated in Maeve being confronted by videos of her own memories from a previous build, where she had and lost a child. I wonder if finding her lost daughter may become one of Maeve’s new quests, now that she has all but forced Felix and Sylvester to begin upgrading her personality quotients, all of which are unsettlingly reminiscent of role-playing game character stats.

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Felix Lutz reprogramming Maeve. Image taken from Make Me Feed.

Speaking of some serious alterations and upgrades to host character stats, Teddy proves himself a worthy companion to the Man in Black as he escapes their imprisonment by an army garrison and then proceeds to annihilate the entire garrison with a Gatling gun. Teddy is certainly no longer Dolores’s Prince Charming, just as she is no longer his Damsel in Distress. Following this, Teddy and the Man in Black proceed on their journey to encounter Wyatt, the odd Devil of Westworld, and eventually uncovering the final clues needed to access the Maze.

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Teddy on the Gatling gun. Image taken from TV Insider.

It is worth noting here that Teddy is aware of the Maze and refers to it as a Native legend of a structure consisting of the collected experiences of the life of a man who has died many, many times, but continues to come back. This is an idea I will return to in a follow-up post in the coming days.

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Teddy and the Man in Black discuss the Maze on their journey.

Further, the Westworld employees—beyond even Felix and Sylvester—split their time this episode between unearthing mysteries and getting caught up in larger plots. Bernard discovers that the young boy host we’ve seen traipsing about the park is an artificial recreation of Dr. Ford as a child, and in fact this host and similar android copies of Ford’s entire family created by Arnold still exist in the park, secreted away. Here, we see further biblical allusion as Dr. Ford uses the command phrase “turn the other cheek” to make his counterpart reveal his inner workings. Bernard is also party to Elsie’s investigation into whomever has been uploading satellite data from the park—a pursuit that casts doubt on Theresa’s loyalties and ends up getting Elsie captured (but hopefully not killed).

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Elsie uncovering mysteries. Image taken from Coming Soon.

And, on a final note, a seemingly meaningless flirtation by Lee Sizemore (the park’s head writer) with a young guest revealed to be Charlotte Hale (a powerful Delos executive sent by the parent company to monitor the park and its employees’ activities) may have yielded the series’ first true human villain, according to some. We shall have to see how all of these conflicts develop, and—again—how many of them are even connected and where they occur chronologically.

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Charlotte Hale reveals herself. Image taken from Highlight Hollywood.

That’s it for this episode. Where do you all think this is going? And, to call upon the episode title, to whom does “The Adversary” refer? Let me know in the comments below, and keep an eye out for my supplemental Westworld posts coming soon.

Westworld Throwback Thursday – Episode 4: Dissonance Theory & Episode 5: Contrapasso

I passed over re-sharing the “Westworld Interim Thoughts” post because it was midseason speculation from a show that has finished; but if you’re working your way through the show now or reading to catch up, it’s a good read! Onward then, for the recap of episodes 4 & 5!


Good day, everyone! My apologies for the delay in getting more Westworld thoughts to all of you. Jumping right in, we still have a great many mysteries left to explore in this wonderful show, so let us begin. I’ll explore a few main points from the last two episodes and leave you all with a few discussion questions to foster the growth of these topics as more episodes follow.

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Dolores and Maeve

 

For this one, I want to focus on the story arcs (whether briefly or in detail) of several characters in particular—Dolores, Maeve, William, the Man in Black, and the park employees as a group (including the programmers and Dr. Ford).

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Audio

Black Panther – Comparative Opinions S.2 E.5

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! Hosts Holly and David dive into Black Panther, opening with a spoiler-lite discussion, and then heavily into spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film yet, it’s recommended – even if you haven’t been following the Marvel films, or are feeling superhero fatigue!

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.

https://www.facebook.com/ComparativeGeeks/

https://twitter.com/comparativegeek

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

3 Things to Enjoy and Watch for in Westworld – Throwback Thursday

With Westworld season 2 coming up, and with Holly and David having recently watched the show, it’s time to start getting hype about this show again! Expect a Comparative Opinions on Westworld season 1 soon, but for now, it’s time to re-run Jeremy’s season 1 recap/reminder reviews! Here’s the first one, from after the first two episodes aired.


Caution! Potential spoilers for the first two episodes of Westworld follow.

Good day, everyone! I don’t know about any of you, but I’m already pretty taken with HBO’s new series Westworld, based on the 1973 film written by Michael Crichton. I watch several television shows pretty regularly, and this one looks like a good one to hold onto Game of Thrones’s slot in its off season. In fact, and as discussed in a recent Wired article, where Game of Thrones has offered a more grounded introduction to fantasy (limiting early magic use, keeping fantastic creatures under wraps for a time, etc.), Westworld may offer a similar introduction for mainstream audiences to science fiction. After all, and not to sound too tongue-in-cheek, but Westworld is rather “grounded” science fiction—there are no spaceships, no breathtaking otherworldly planetscapes, no unfamiliar aliens meant to make us look at ourselves and be ashamed. In fact, Westworld does quite well in its own right exploring this final theme, as I shall discuss below.

The Top Three Things I’m Enjoying and Looking Forward to in Westworld:

Foremost, the rise of artificial intelligence. This has been a popular topic in science fiction since at least as early as the days of Asimov. Westworld is an immersive resort designed by Dr. Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins. The resort is filled with hundreds of “hosts,” robotic actors designed by Ford and constantly reprogrammed and upgraded by him over the course of 30 years. At this stage in their development, the hosts, foremost among them Dolores Abernathy (the stereotypical Old West maiden with iron in her spine, played by Evan Rachel Wood), her father (played by Louis Herthum), and Maeve Millay (the Old West madame implanted with memories of a traumatizing past, played by Thandie Newton), have begun exhibiting behaviors and retaining memories not in keeping with their programming. Indeed, trauma and memory run heavily throughout the story, as the hosts are repeatedly exploited, sexually abused, and even murdered by wealthy human guests who come to the largely lawless Westworld on vacation.

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Dolores Abernathy, played by Evan Rachel Wood

Next, the old trope of providing an example of humanity’s ugliness in something otherwise unfamiliar has been used in science fiction since before the original Star Trek. Here, however, that old paradigm is tossed on its head; humanity itself is the greedy villain, the monster (currently expressed best in Ed Harris’s Man in Black), and its robotic creations are its victims. (See this recent article on Tor.com that says a bit more about this in light of the original movie’s implicit themes). There’s a strong parallel with the reimagined Battlestar Galactica here, and if you enjoyed the ways in which evolving artificial intelligence were presented there, you’ll also enjoy Westworld. These machines also have the added bonus of actually being sympathetic, unlike the militant Cylons. I am eagerly awaiting to see how these two points play out across the life of the series, and I hope that it lasts longer than a single season.

Third, a lighthearted point—this show has some of the best opening credits I’ve seen in a long time. Check them out below. I’m curious to see how the symbolism in them plays out as the show’s story progresses.

As of the publication of this post, the first two episodes of Westworld should be widely available from HBO. From here on out, I plan on doing an episode-by-episode review each week, so be sure to stop back by. Thanks for reading!