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It’s been a while since a show has hit so many of the right notes in such a short time, but from the pilot to the season finale the combination of the Wild West, science-fiction and the raw character development continues to build intrigue.
Westworld is a theme park filled with an assortment of AI ‘Hosts’, each one unique in their appearance and personality, who are there to provide a rich tapestry of narratives, as well as any service the high-flying clientele want. From sex to bullet holes and everything in between, Westworld thrives on the notion that, for a substantial fee, it’s within the park walls that you discover who you really are and what you’re capable of. But this doesn’t only apply to the people who are paying to participate.
Opening with one such host, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), being asked if she has “ever questioned the nature of [her] reality”, Westworld blurs the lines between humanity and sentience from the off, and by the end leaves the viewer with a complex array of emotions about who is worthy of empathy. Without wanting to say too much in terms of plot as this is definitely not a show you want spoiled, the brilliance of the writing is matched by the performances of the cast.
There’s an element of Dr Lecter to Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), the cold and calculated creator of the park. Intense in an understated way, Ford’s lack of empathy is balanced out by his business partner Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), who better understands the responsibilities that creating life entails, even if it’s a life you can control, reprogram or erase at any time.
Of similar note is the Man in Black (Ed Harris) and his mysterious quest for the maze; William (Jimmi Simpson) and his relationship with host Delores; and Maeve (Thandie Newton), the Madam of a brothel and her increasing suspicion something is wrong with “the nature of her reality”. Each story arc is as compelling as the last with each twist and turn of the plot making it difficult to wait for the next episode.
If you’ve yet to watch any, I’d set aside a weekend because once you start you’re going to want to see how it ends. The only issue is the wait until season two, which has unsurprisingly already been confirmed.