Westworld - The Well-Tempered Clavier | Review

Westworld - The Well-Tempered Clavier (S01E09)

Spoilers ahead

westworld

In my review of the pilot I talked about how Westworld was being primed to be the next Game of Thrones, taking over as HBO’s flagship show. There’s still an episode to go but I think it’s fair to say that while it may be of the same pedigree as the Westeros juggernaut, Westworld is a very different beast. Instead of a tale in the epic tradition what we’ve actually got is a precise mystery/thriller that (whether we realised it or not) gave us the start and the end up front and the story it’s telling is the things that happened in-between. 

The comparisons to Lost have come thick and fast but I think that’s an unfair comparison. Instead of a plane crash of hints and suggestions without a resolution we’ve had a well thought out train ride through the park. Yes, there’s been times when the show has felt stodgy and bogged down with exposition but all the threads seem to be coming together and the finale promises to be an almighty collision.

If you go looking for the truth get the whole thing.
westworld
It’s a difficult thing realising your entire life is some hideous fiction.

Last time I talked about characters believing they were gods and this has continued, in a way, with Ford’s dismissal of humanity and his hope that Bernard will reject the allure of freedom to remain at his side and continue to help him tinker with his creations. In his rejection of Ford we are again caused to question the difference between the Hosts and Guests. The only thing I can come up with is the Hosts don’t just recall their past memories, they relive them.

They’re not just looping the story lines, resetting the board for new Guests to have a chance to play. The Hosts are literally repeating their lives. Maeve, Dolores, and Bernard have all wrestled with the nature of their existence at some point in their chronological or narrative past. I’m guessing we’ll see that they’re not doomed to make the same mistakes again – stuck in a maze of Ford’s construction – and future seasons will show us what happens when they truly break out of their loops for the first time. What this means for William/the Man in Black I don’t know. I’m fairly sure he’s not a Host so are the rules different for him or is this the true difference between Hosts and Guests: the Hosts being able to learn from their mistakes.

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Where I’m going I don’t want to be disturbed.

This is a near perfect penultimate episode. There was action, romance, sorrow, and we almost got death-by-horse. The actors all brought their A-game (as they have throughout the run). REW was majestic in her nuanced performance, Newton equal parts chilling and sympathetic, and I want to call out Marsden’s awesome supporting role. He’s consistently been quiet performer for the bigger stars to play off and the pathos on show in the scant screen-time he got in this episode wasn’t at all schlocky (which it could have so easily have been). And of course, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright were equal to the best they’ve been. You couldn’t help but sympathise with the plight of Bernard and I completely bought the control and paternal sadness that we saw in Ford.

To top it all off we got the big reveal that we’ve been longing for while leaving us on a cliff-hanger for the finale. Now, I just hope Joy & Nolan can stick the landing.

Random thoughts

  • Is everything from the Man in Black to Maeve’s revolution part of Ford’s “new storyline” that we’ve been hearing about for so long?
  • Come on Elsie! Still no body so there’s still hope. Why did she show up on the control room map? I think she activated a beacon on purpose knowing Stubbs would respond. I’m hoping Elsie’s the one that’s hacked the Ghost Nation and is going to run them as a disruptive guerrilla force in the season finale.
  • I’m pretty sure that the knife William has as he drags Logan off to find Dolores is the same one the MIB has been carrying throughout the show.
  • Was I the only one that thought of Neo’s confrontation with the Architect during Bernard and Ford’s conversation?
  • Maybe after all this we end up back where we started and the creators pull a rope-a-dope making the MIB a host. It would explain just how Ford controls the Westworld board. 
  • You’ll need to put extra-time aside for episode 10 as it clocks in at 90-minutes.

 

5_ravens

george

Author: George Langlands

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