This semester is so busy I haven’t had much chance to write about my biggest passion, TV. So, ahead of the season finale, here are the thoughts on Westworld I’ve jotted down week to week (and a few on another recent favorite, The Last Ship). Here be spoilers.
- Reminds me of a combination of Dollhouse, Alice in Wonderland (to which there are nods), a bit of A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Battlestar Galactica (who’s “real” and the humanity of the non-human). There’s also a video game logic to the scripts and recurrences.
- The show hits many of my buttons thematically, including women’s agency, consent, trauma and PTSD (the one-on-one sessions between hosts and creators feel like therapy sessions).
- I appreciate the inclusion of different races, cultures, and sexes “playing,” though the only guests whose play we see in detail are white men’s.
- I adore the use of popular music translated into score, and the score generally. So far I’ve recognized Radiohead, U2, The Rolling Stones, and Amy Winehouse.
- Ford creating Bernard after Arnold: so in addition to making new “people,” real ones can be replaced. YOU are replaceable, changeable; your identity isn’t real or is fluid. Memory and identity are inextricable.
- It’s no coincidence that women are the hosts who are awakening and developing agency.
- The show asks who the real villain is, but also muddles the idea that there are heroes at all.
- Time is fluid for awakened (“malfunctioning”) hosts.
I also just finished both seasons of The Last Ship on Hulu and can’t wait for me. It initially struck me as a show that is not typical for me, but I really got into the action and post-pandemic worldbuilding. I like the characters, too.