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Mace & Crown | December 17, 2017

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Get Wild With HBO's 'Westworld'

Get Wild With HBO’s ‘Westworld’
Michael McCann
Contributing Writer

HBO’s new drama “Westworld” is a based on an amusement park set in the nineteenth-century American West. Guests who arrive at the park are greeted by realistic androids called hosts that replay the same scenarios day to day. Guests to the park are able to choose what scenarios they want to go on, with all the hedonistic, wild abandon they may choose to indulge in.

The first host we meet is Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood), a farmer’s daughter and one of the oldest hosts in the park. The opening scene shows her being diagnosed by the employees of the park for supposed aberrant behavior. She’s asked if she has ever questioned the reality of her world, which becomes a theme that is explored throughout the first few episodes.

A daily life of a host starts with the same routine – they go about their day as planned until intervened by a guest. A host may not harm a guest, but if a guest decides to kill or maim the hosts, then the hosts are sent to the park’s repair area and are fixed for the next day. This is a daily cycle that changes with each guest interaction.

Park operators continually find hosts that are acting outside of their predetermined roles in Westworld. Many of the hosts are experiencing traumatic nightmares of violent encounters with guests. In addition, there are storylines involving a mysterious man in black (Ed Harris) and the park’s creator Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins).

The idea of hosts questioning their world is something that interests Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), the head of Westworld Programming Division. After the initial interview with Dolores, Bernard continues to have secret interviews with her. In these encounters, we see Dolores acquiescing to Bernard’s suggestions that the world may not be quite what she thinks it is.

Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) plays a madam at the local brothel that has been suffering from glitches. In one episode, she is brought back to the repair area after a saloon fight to have bullets removed from her body. A technician forgets to shut her down properly and she escapes to find hordes of bodies of townspeople being hosed down.

Maeve also has haunting dreams about her and her daughter being slaughtered by a local tribe. The reality of hosts having these dreams makes the audience wonder about the humanity they possess. The hosts have personal connections and reoccurring nightmares, even though they are supposed to awaken with a clean slate each morning.

The problems of the park run parallel with many subplots on the show. One of which is a pair of men, Logan and William, who arrive as guests to the park. William is a reluctant first timer, while Logan is a returning guest.

On his first venture through the town, William crosses paths with Dolores. This interaction along with others lead William to believe the park has a deeper meaning, while Logan continues to take part in the more risqué perks. William sees humanity in the eyes of Dolores rather than just another host.

“Westworld” has an outstanding cast matched with an interesting premise and gorgeous scenery. It’s the television equivalent of an open world video game. The show recently became the biggest premiere of an HBO drama since True Detective, so rest assured that it will be here for some time to come.