Westworld Review: Season 1, Episode 4

Episode four of Westworld deepens the mystery, but struggles to be engaging

Image: HBO

Image: HBO

★★★☆☆

This review contains spoilers.

The episode has nothing particularly wrong with it. Everything from previous weeks that has been strong is still here – the layered performances, the intriguing ideas about identity. The biggest moment of the episode even revolves around Maeve having the realisation that for her nothing matters anymore. This is an important development in the story, as it’s the first clear moment a host has rejected their own reality. But it just feels like this moment should have had more of an immediate impact on Maeve’s character, and not take place in yet another pointless shootout.

This has become something of a motif in recent episodes; there’s a big shoot out where a guest lays waste to dozens of hosts. This week, alongside the final moments that had bullets flying, we had Logan and William complete the quest they set out in last episode. Of course it ended in a shoot out. It had to, it’s the nature of how the park is designed. However it didn’t need to be dragged out so long, we know the guests can’t really be hurt, and it’s still not interesting to watch. There will inevitably be a payoff to this, and the payoff should be great. I just hope it hurries up.

There was an interesting development with the Man in Black. The first mention of his life outside the park is hinted out – he gets approached by an admirer who praises his “foundation”, but before he can continue he gets shut down. We’re beginning to crack around the edges of who the Man in Black is. Whatever it ends up being, it should relate in some way to the labyrinth. Interestingly we had the first mention of the labyrinth outside of the Man in Black’s company. Bernard confirmed its existence in one of his conversations with Dolores. If this season is heading towards an end point the quest to the centre of the maze looks like it could be the logical end game.

The final part of the episode dealt with Dr. Ford and Theresa. Ford assures her he hasn’t gone mad in the construction of his new narrative, but then quietly threatens Theresa not to obstructs the development process, revealing his knowledge of personal details about her life. It’s not clear what’s going on here in terms of his character motivation. He’s suddenly gone from fairly passive to almost an antagonistic force to the corporation. While this is a good change, it still feels a little jarring.

Overall this wasn’t a bad episode, it was just hindered by unnecessary shoot outs, and drama it’s hard for the viewer to care about. The science fiction took a back seat in place of some necessary exposition. It’s a definite filler episode, and we can only hope the drama returns next week.

 

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