In case you’ve somehow evaded social media for the past week, Westworld made it’s long-awaited return yesterday. As per usj, the cinematography was breathtaking, Evan Rachel Wood’s complexion was enviably dewy, and the episode left me with more questions than Bernard Black trying to do his taxes.
Alas, a sentient Delores, I am not; so I’ll leave the episode deciphering to the superfans without pickled dills for brains. Instead, I’m just going to quietly ruminate on a couple of choice quotes from the show I’ll soon be referring to as ‘West Mirror’.
‘Journey into Night’
The irony of S02E01’s title should have been abundantly clear from the get-go. Westworld is basically a metaphor for the blind leading the blind: we all know it, and the show runners sure as heck know it. Does anyone know where this show is leading? Probably not. But it’s fast becoming one of life’s biggest mysteries, and I’m just glad I’m tall enough to ride.
Host collector cards and the Bernard/Arnold conundrum
Okay, I lied. I gotta don my detective hat here. It’s impossible not to!
At the beginning of the episode, Bernard wakes up on a beach and is about to be interrogated by some intense S.W.A.T-looking agents who are under the assumption he is a host. My brain immediately kicked into hyperdrive, clutching at any and all obscure details in the hopes they’ll be revisited later down the track:
- Why – when we’ve already seen wafer-thin handheld devices used left, right and centre – is this security officer carrying around a deck of what looks like host collector cards?
- How are security able to obtain a printout of Bernard’s host status and the rest of the park technicians/employees are none-the-wiser?
Security must have realised Bernard’s low damage and traded his card though, because next minute they’re all hunky dory joy-riding through the park together… Let us flag the latter q’s for future ref.
Delos, droids and double helixes
‘Are we logging records of guests experiences and their DNA?’
If you didn’t erupt with earth-shattering chills when Bernard/Arnold uttered this question, then you’ve clearly been living under a rock for the past month and/or you’re a host living in plain sight. I’ve been following the Cambridge Analytica debacle/Facebook hearings like a buzzard, so admittedly my recent technological anxiety could just be a side effect of Zuckerberg’s shifty Lizard gaze… but doesn’t Bernard’s question stir a little real-life paranoia in you, too?
Sure, Facebook haven’t stolen our DNA just yet (only our contacts, phone records, every waking minute of our existence – chill) but you don’t have to be a hyper-sentient Maeve to see how this whole ‘online presence’ thing is going to pan out…
One minute we’re proffering our fingerprints over pass-codes, the next we’re volunteering facial maps for recognition software. What’s next, logging into our email with a blood sample? It’s only a matter of time before smartphones become equipped with a handy needle-prick dongle for ‘no muss, no fuss’ DNA-confirmation for all online purchases over $100. Spend less than $100 and use your VISA BioPay chip! (Surgically inserted into your wrist for convenience, or rectum for cosmetic purposes).
Back to Westworld, however, I’m still scratching my brain over the fact that Bernard was able to waltz on in to Charlotte Hale’s top secret, underground lair. The dude was visibly perturbed every time his DNA was presented for scanning… My question is, do the faceless droids register him as Bernard (park employee), or since he was modelled on Ford’s infamous partner does Bernard’s host body contain Arnold’s DNA? And if so, do the droids then register him as Arnold? HOW DOES HOST DNA WORK?
Revisiting the whole ‘stealing guests’ DNA samples off the hosts they screw/marry/kill’ operation, let us then ask – for what are these samples being used? Either a) it’s all an insanely elaborate blackmail scheme, and/or b) Delos are cloning the pubes off their guests.
You can probably bet your bottom dollar though that Ford knew about this sinister lair. Not a lot got by old Bobby, so surely he had the foresight to ensure Bernard had access to all areas of the park. That, or Charlotte already knows he’s a host. Which would make sense in her grand scheme to track down Peter Abernathy (Delores’ dad, he’s carrying all her precious DNA data like some kind of human-sized Seagate) since Bernard and Delores were pretty tight.
William Is #WokeToo
‘The stakes are real in this place now, real consequences.’
I wonder, does a certain president watch Westworld? Probably a little above his IQ’s pay grade, and way too in-depth for a 140-character recap/rant… nevertheless, it’s an enlightening quote to live ones life by in this hair-triggered world.
I digress: William/The Man in Black copped a bit of a nasty boo-boo in the scuffle that closed out season one, and it’s reignited his thirst to find the deeper meaning of the park/ centre of the maze/ life. Or something? I don’t know? I thought he had already figured out the maze? I really gotta watch season one again.
Oh, but isn’t the irony exquisite? A little bullet wound and suddenly the violent ol’ codger realises that his actions inside the park have consequences. I guess raping Delores every time you visited the park over the past thirty odd years mustn’t have registered on your trusty consequence meter then, Willy?
MOOD/10, William. MOOD OUT OF FREAKING TEN.
‘Folly of my kind, there’s always a yearning for more.’
For a petty son of a so-and-so, William sure dished up some philosophical truths in the first ep. If the above quote doesn’t sum up humankind in a pesticide-coated, steroid-injected nutshell then come back to me when this mind-maze of a show is over.
That juicy little nugget, plus Delores’ unshakeable determination to experience life outside of the park leads me to speculate that the Delos folk won’t learn their lesson, and try introduce sentient hosts outside of the park. BUT! This is Westworld after all, and you can be damn sure these violent delights will have violent ends in a completely unforeseen, and equally mind-boggling turn of events.