Westworld - The Bicameral Mind | Review

Westworld - The Bicameral Mind | Review

Westworld - The Bicameral Mind (S01E10)

Spoilers ahead

This place is complicated enough as it is.

It really sucks being a Host.

Having survived being the plaything for the rich and largely morally suspect Guests for decades, they are then abandoned by their gods – for the second time. Sure they don’t have to listen to “Freeze all motor function” anymore and they got the keys to the kingdom but things are not going to be easy for the (replicants) Hosts. Having bested the Guests in the second Dolores/Wyatt purge what happens as the Cain and Able part of their bloody evolution plays out and the infighting begins?

Wonderfully, rather than bloody battles, the verbal showdowns that were the hallmark of this first season. There has been a succession of wonderful actors going at one another. The wonderful thing is that we didn’t once descend into shouty Russell Crowe territory (See: The Insider, Gladiator, Noah, Proof of Life). To see REW going toe-to-toe with Ed Harris was a fine, fine thing. 

It’s time you give up what’s going on inside that head of yours.

So, what next for our heroes? Finally free from repeating the same loops over and over again how will they react to playing with all the safety measures turned off?

Maeve’s apparently off to find her daughter. She knows it’s not real but can’t shake the maternal feelings she has. Having found out that Ford orchestrated her escape (presumably as a way to take the control centre offline and give the Hosts in the park time to get used to their autonomy) how can she know that anything she does is truly down to her own voice or will she always be performing the role that Ford laid out for her? 

Dolores, having kicked over the apple cart, will now get to see if she can ride into the sunset with Teddy. I’m guessing not. She’s the de facto leader at this point, what with having shot Ford in the head, so it’ll be interesting to see what she does next. She’s been so focused on navigating The Maze. In the absence of this central quest what is her role now? What if some of the Hosts don’t like their new found freedom? Much like after the fall of the Berlin Wall there was a wave of nostalgia for the security provided by the communist state, how much are the Hosts going to enjoy fending for themselves?

The Man in Black (Ed Harris doesn’t strike me as a William) would appear to be ecstatic with the new status quo. He’s finally able to play the game at the highest level and test himself in a way he’s been searching for but I don’t fully buy that he’s completely over Dolores. He was able to walk away when he convinced himself that she was just a robot but now that he knows there’s a living fire behind her eyes, will he fall back into the loop of searching for her all over again?

Bernard seems the most unpredictable of all. How he deals with the knowledge that he’s a Host that thought he was Human has the potential to be fascinating. On top of that, he is also the spitting image of his own creator so what kind of god-complex does that set up? Back before his non-human status was revealed, he never struck me as someone that ever wanted to visit the park – even wearing a baseball cap during an excursion that he was forced to take with Ford. So I believe that the transition to frontier life is going to be an especially tough one for Bernard.

It begins with the birth of a new people, and the choices they’ll have to make and the people they will decide to become.

So did Westworld Season One stick the landing? A definitive yes. There were few flourishes but they didn’t need them. It was a very solid effort that tied off all the major questions, provided strong arcs for the major players, and leaves me excited to where they’ll take the show in the coming years. 
The journey through The Maze is successful when the sum of experiences causes the Host to recognise the sound in their head as coming from within them. Joy and Nolan have definitely imbued the show with its own grey-hat viewpoint and I just hope it doesn’t lose that voice in the seasons to come.

Random thoughts

  • As soon as you heard Charlotte Hale say, “Everything is under control.” You knew it wouldn’t be.
  • We got our confirmation that William = MIB the moment we saw Logan tied up and dragged along the same way poor Laurence was in the earlier episodes.
  • Lots of wonderful mirrors back to the pilot: loops within loops.
  • The MIB being the Chair of the Board provides a great explanation for why the humans outside aren’t going to just come in and shut the whole park down. If he’s happy with the chaos that ensues then they’re not going to send in the riot police and so Ford’s legacy gets to live on.
  • The ShogunWorld glimpse was such a tease from the show runners and will fuel so much fan-fiction as well as rumours of a possible spin-off series.
  • Maybe they just got cut for time but I’m so looking forward to the Elsie/Stubbs/Ghost Nation sub-plot in Season Two.
  • Thanks for joining me on this journey through the park over the last 10 weeks. Roll on 2018. Yup, we have to wait more than 12 months before we get the next season. Another case of Westworld following the precedent set by Game of Thrones.


Author: George Langlands

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