Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mini-Review: Westworld "The Bicameral Mind"

I'm hoping to get more reviews out by doing this mini-review format. If I want to go into actual depth on this show I'll do so via multi-vlog reviews or other posts.

In this review of the Westworld episode "The Bicameral Mind" there will be spoilers. So if you haven't seen the episode, stop reading now and go see it before continuing.
Ford and His Narrative

Ford is a very complicated character when you look at him. He believes himself superior to everyone and everything which is why he most likely enjoys running Westworld. Yet he is willing to keep Bernard alive and only has him killed when there is no other option. So when he told Dolores and Arnold that he had planned to free the Hosts all along it seemed strange. Ford said that he had taken so long because time was what was needed and there will need to be a little more pain before the Hosts can be fully free.

What was even stranger was when he sacrificed himself for the Hosts.
So what if Ford sent out a Host version of himself so that he could live?

It could be the theory that this has happened before (think of the Matrix sequels for a minute for comparison) and what at first appeared to be a selfless sacrifice is really a power play. Ford is able to keep the Hosts happy by making them think they've gained control and makes it so that no one takes the park away from him.

If this is the first time I doubt someone like Ford would give up control like that. He is merely getting rid of his enemies and not letting anyone else have his power so he can remain a god.

One of those kinds of scenarios seems more likely as Ford stated that he didn't believe consciousness was real. He is also too egotistical to allow his own creations to be on equal footing wit him.
Dolores and Maeve are Still Pawns

Throughout this season I'd been looking forward to both Dolores and Maeve gaining control. Sadly that didn't happen.
Dolores did decide to kill Ford which differed from how she killed Arnold. She understood what she was doing and did it. With all Ford has put her though it's understandable why when she was given the chance she didn't hesitate.

However, she made her decision because Ford wanted her to. He was in control until his final moments. That is...if it was Ford that she killed.
Throughout the first season of Westworld, Maeve had seemed to be in control. She was the writer of her own story and so was getting out of the world she knew. There were small clues here and there that her control was an illusion (funnily enough the illusion of control was a theme in both the original Westworld movie as well as Jurassic Park).

Maeve's entire storyline was yet another narrative. She was being manipulated the entire season. Her only real decision could've been to stay in the park but...she could've been manipulated into that action also.
Man in Black Revelation

I admit I wasn't shocked that the Man in Black (MiB) was really William all along. I remember a bunch of people saying that the MiB couldn't be William because the two were complete opposites. But the truth was that William, like everyone else, changed as time went on.

He helped Dolores try to find Arnold multiple times but eventually the fact that she didn't remember him and wasn't human got to him. Eventually the darker side of himself was all he had and later the maze.

That being said...this was still a heartbreaking scene.
Just because William is not good anymore doesn't mean he has ever stopped loving Dolores. He just doesn't have the ability, possibly empathy, to express that anymore. He says he helped her along her path to Arnold many times and then grew bored of her because, in the end, she's just another attraction. He loves her but I think he stopped because there was no point in pursuing a relationship with someone that won't remember you.

Again, he still loves her as you can see in tiny facial twitches a few times in the finale. He loathes what he has become because it hurts Dolores. And yet there is no turning back for him as he's stuck in his own loop now.
Rating: 5/5

Additional Notes:
*Theory that Hosts rebelling and killing humans is actually a loop is appealing
*In an earlier episode it was mentioned that a simple handshake gave old Hosts away
*Felix giving Maeve her daughter's location might've been because he wants her to stay in the park
*Maeve states that Felix is, indeed, a human not a Host
*With the Maze being proven as purely for the Hosts as it's to help them gain consciousness, how William reacts to his purpose in life being shattered in Season 2 will be interesting
*There are more worlds than Westworld which was revealed with 'Samurai World'

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