TV review: Westworld – The Bicameral Mind

Barry Quinn

Barry Quinn is an English Language and Literature graduate and a Creative Writer MA studier. He is an aspiring creative and professional writer and is currently in the process of writing his first novel. His writing blog can be viewed here: https://barrygjquinn.wordpress.com You can follow him on Twitter at: @mrbarryquinn

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There was a point, midway through ‘The Bicameral Mind’ (Westworld’s first season finale), in which everything started to fall into place. It was when the flashes of Dolores’ memory began to be pieced together. Suddenly we saw why she was there when Teddy was shooting – because she had made him do it. And then I experienced a lightbulb moment – an enlightening, if you will. Everything began to make sense. And my mind was blown.

‘The Bicameral Mind’ is a stunning conclusion to Westworld’s first season. It confirmed long-believed theories, posed many questions for season two, offed several characters, and overall left us with a satisfying conclusion. This may just be the finest episode of TV I’ve ever seen.

I always believed season one would end with Dolores reaching consciousness, and she did so via the ever-present maze that has been a recurrent motif throughout the season. It’s not, as the Man in Black believed, a way into another layer of the park, but rather a way in which the Hosts can achieve consciousness. The first flashback of the episode answered many questions. We got answers to what the maze was, why and how Dolores killed Arnold (it WAS suicide), who Wyatt was (DOLORES! OMG!), and why Teddy was committing mass murder. This segment was glorious. Though it was announced before the final episode that most questions would be answered, I had my reservations. Thankfully I was wrong.

‘The Bicameral Mind’ once more showed females facing the brunt of a man’s rage, as evidenced earlier in the season when the Man in Black raped Dolores. But here Dolores fought back, stating that William will come and kill the Man in Black. And I don’t suppose a single believer of the William/Man in Black theory didn’t have an almighty grin on their face as the Man in Black regaled her with his own back story. For he IS William, and we’ve been watching dual timelines all season. Westworld is a show that will require repeat viewings for complete coherence.

The montage of William’s journey was executed well, though I do hope that Jimmi Simpson returns next season to help fill in some of the blanks. We saw William truly become sadistic, and presumably kill Logan, all because he had his heart broken when Dolores, who was killed in the past (keep up with me, it’ll make sense eventually…) and returned to the beginning of her loop, failed to remember who he was. And this was all because William fell in love with Dolores. Even though we know who William will grow to become, it was hard not feel sorry for William here. He’s well and truly been sucked into this world, and now that he has he’s stuck.

The reveal that Dolores and Teddy declaring their love for one another was a scene out of Ford’s new narrative calls into question just how much of season one has been part of his new narrative. This remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find out that we’ve been watching it all along. Like I said, repeat viewings will be required.

The entire segment of Maeve’s escape from Westworld was a tense affair. Even though we know she can’t die, it was still edge-of-the-seat stuff because if she had been shot, she too would have returned to the beginning of her loop, which would have been frustrating. But, as it turns out, the conclusion of her escape was frustrating anyway. Maeve decided to stay in Westworld and look for her daughter, essentially meaning that everything we’ve watched thus far for Maeve has been a waste of time.

Or has it? It has been argued to me that perhaps in going against her programming and deciding to stay in the park, Maeve is in fact showing true free will and true consciousness. Again, this remains to be seen, but there has to be some narrative payoff for having Maeve remain behind when she knows full well that she’s being hunted by every member of Delos.

What I liked about Maeve’s breakout scene was that both Hector and Armistice finally get something proper to do. The scene in which Hector is nearly raped whilst Armistice attacks her engineer was shot perfectly, as was the bit where Armistice blends seamlessly in with her fellow Hosts. And there were hints of a second, Japanese-themed park! Samurai World is a neighbouring park that we’ll apparently be visiting next season. I CANNOT WAIT!

It’s intriguing that Ford has been playing everybody all along, as it’s revealed that he’s actually going along with Arnold’s plan of helping the Hosts achieve consciousness. Though his motives are, as ever, shady, it’s clear that Ford cares more for his creations than he does his fellow humans. I’ve said since the first episode that Ford wouldn’t make it beyond season one, and I’m sad to say I was correct, for Dolores kills Ford! This act is her first since truly gaining consciousness.

Or is it? Theories are already amassing that Dolores in fact killed a Host replica of Ford. We’ve already seen that he’s created a version of himself in the young boy that appeared earlier this season, so what if the creation glimpsed in Arnold’s lab a few episodes ago was, in fact, a Host version of Ford? I’m in two minds about this. As much as I LOVE Ford, if we find out that it wasn’t actually him that Delores killed, then this means that Dolores HASN’T actually achieved consciousness, as it would have been what Ford wanted all along…

Either way, it’s going to be a hell of a wait until season two, which isn’t scheduled to air until 2018. But that’ll give us plenty of time to rewatch season one to make sure everything makes complete sense. Okay, so not everything – I’m still not sure what the point of Ashley was.

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