TV review: Westworld – Dissonance Theory

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What are the ramifications of an artificial intelligence discovering that it is a man-made construct? Well, it looks as though Westworld is on the cusp of exploring this thematic question after another gripping episode.

‘Dissonance Theory’ followed three main threads, the first of which was quite baffling. Dolores’ story didn’t progress all that much, surprisingly, and even though she’s still having covert meetings with Bernard (Evan Rachel Woods continues to excel in these scenes where she has to flick from naive farm girl to cold computer), nobody seemed to know that she had managed to kill a human guest. I thought there was meant to be camera surveillance on every aspect of the park? If this isn’t going to be followed up right now, just what was the point in allowing Dolores to kill her would-be attacker in last week’s episode?

I still think William could be a young Man in Black, and that the reason for this storyline is to show them forming a relationship before he grew old and evil and raped her. We’re only four episodes into Westworld, so why else would such an (apparently) unimportant and unrelated storyline have been introduced so early? It can’t just be filler; there has to be some importance!

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Speaking of the Man in Black, he’s still hellbent on discovering the secret of the maze. I’d love to know where he’s getting his clues from, because that hasn’t been made clear, but it’s making for a rollicking story! His daring escape from prison, rescuing Hector in the process, was gripping viewing, even if it was obvious that none of the characters would come to any form of harm. I wonder what the Man in Black is going to do with Teddy when the last time they crossed paths it was pretty clear that the former hated the latter.

There was a truly stunning little scene midway through this episode in which Robert Ford dined with Theresa. Anthony Hopkins, as always, was brilliant, and there was a glimmer of evil behind his Doctor Ford that has hitherto remained unnoticed. He remained calm as he cropped the fuck out of Theresa by telling her that he knows everything about her – including the fact that she’s sleeping with Bernard. How can he know this? Does he have cameras in Bernard’s bedroom? Is is it because Bernard is actually one of the robots? I’m still adamant on the latter.

But the truly standout moment came from Maeve. Plagued by visions of a religious figure called ‘The Shade’ (which was actually a Westworld worker in a hazmat suit), Maeve orchestrated a ploy to get Hector to cut into her stomach and extract a bullet that she believed to be there, confirming that her visions are actually real events. This is significant for two reasons. Firstly, she somehow knew that Hector would be coming back to town to have another shootout, despite his breakout being brought forward by two days, suggesting that her visions give way to more knowledge than the controllers would like.

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And secondly, Maeve now knows that whatever happens to her doesn’t matter, because she can just reawaken the next day unharmed. I can’t wait to find out what extremes she’s going to go to now that she knows she’s immortal. She won’t give a fuck about anything.

My only real niggle with Westworld is that it’s too tame. They could easily ramp up the gore and violence and sex to make this more profound viewing, but maybe they’re trying NOT to be the new Game of Thrones… Either way, four episodes in and I’m completely addicted.