This review contains spoilers.
Episode six doesn’t live up to the thrills of previous episodes, but it provides necessary exposition for the second half of the season, which is both enthralling and interesting in different ways.
This episode gives more answers than ever. Most of them arise from following Maeve around the park’s base of operations as she discovers the real world. She visits each layer, from the butchers at the bottom who piece hosts back together after they are shot or torn apart, to the high-end programmers who populate the upper levels. In between she sees how the world is designed, constructed and brought to life.
These scenes were total exposition, but they were done in a way that at the very least creative and thus didn’t become boring. There was the slight tension of Maeve being discovered, which kept the pace going, as well as the meatier subject of her processing her perceived reality falling apart. This was handled well, Maeve never overreacting – instead everything was delivered through a very internalised performance that really showed the true horror of her situation, the realisation that she was created simply for the pleasure of others. The episode ended with her requesting a boost to her ‘bulk apperception’, essentially increasing her awareness of her self-conscious. She has become more aware than ever, but how close is she to being considered human?
The show seems to be going down an interesting path here. Instead of the hosts becoming like humans, they the show has hinted that they will become more than humans. They will be like an entirely different race, that will be superior in every way. Instead of wanting to be like humans, they will likely view humans as something inferior to them.
The rest of the episode lacked a few series regulars, but did have some new revelations in relation to Dr. Ford. It turns out he has been harbouring old models of hosts that were designed by the ever enigmatic Arnold. It’s easy to see why these models were discontinued – there’s simply something disconcerting about machines modelled on humans that are still visibly mechanical. The boy whose face opens up was horrifying. It’ll be interesting to see why Ford is keeping these potentially dangerous hosts still around. He seems to have control for now, but he is quickly becoming more of a villain, or at the very least, someone to be feared.
Dolores was noticeably absent from the episode and even the Man in Black took a backseat. In the limited screen time he had the focus was mostly on Teddy. These scenes seemed to lack much depth and appeared to mostly just add a bit of action to the episode. I also struggled to care about Elsie and her mission to investigate anomalies in the hosts; after she walked into the creepy dark room, it was just too obvious that something bad was going to happen to her.
With a continued use of acoustic Radiohead songs, Westworld is going strong as it enters it’s second half.