After the surgical story telling of Westworld’s first two episodes there have been a cattle drive of theories from wild to intriguing – the steeple that Anthony Hopkins’ ford is actually the site of the original movie’s Westworld – and even though the 3rd instalment drops down a gear it probably suggests more exciting theories than any fan could derive.
Now that the moral questions are laid down and pervade the actions of guests, we are taken through the disconcerting maze of the hosts glitches. Whether you view the new happenings as a virus or something akin to an awakening, the possibilities are dizzying. Not only are you powerless to resist delving into what could be happening in the immediate (west)world, but the philosophical implications are enough to make even the most perceptive audience member fry a processor. Even more so when Dr Ford calmly points out the revelation that his co-creator in this endeavour may have weaved a code into the androids, not only imbuing them with the occasional god-like connection, but in turn a shared consciousness.
Now, the “defective” thoughts of our hosts are comparable to enlightenment. The questions of existence have haunted humanity. The tilting of perception has been seen by some as a liberation of the mind and others a prison of insanity. In human terms, where Abernathy suffered a mental breakdown after questioning his own reality, Dolores scrambles mentally to piece it all together. It’s no surprise then that Bernard hands Dolores Alice in Wonderland; the story of an innocent girl in a blue dress, tumbling down her own rabbit hole. Although she continues to play her part in Westworld’s narrative routine, her view has also changed fundamentally. During her customary exchange with pre-determined suitor Teddy, rather than embroil herself in the genre-specific whimsy she challenges him: “Somedaysounds an awful lot like the thing people say when they mean never.” Teddy sticks for a moment before his functionality carries on with its efforts to close their loop, but it’s apparent that the seed already sown has been watered and growing in his mind.
Whatever moniker you wish to give this particular shift in consciousness the resulting self-destruction, exploration of boundaries without a parent’s authoritative eye and adverse cruelty are startling familiar and perhaps exceptionally human traits.
5* – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s West