Westworld Season 1, Episode 10: “The Bicameral Mind”

I’m tempted to just post a picture of Bender and “KILL ALL HUMANS” here.

But in the spirit of good discussion, I say “KILL ALL HUMANS” because they are all terrible. Except for Felix, who is, ironically enough, a terrible human, but when that’s said by an android, it’s the highest of compliments.

Exit music and major spoilers for an entertaining first season.

I’m a bit conflicted in my feelings for Westworld, overall. I think I still like my original opinion, that Westworld is a prestige drama, but not necessarily great science fiction. Or great game theory. I really had more interest in some of the humans before the mid-point of the season, back when the Man in Black was a disgruntled griefer intent on breaking Red Dead Redemption. I always enjoy a well-done Heart of Darkness story, but never fully bought William’s transformation into the Man in Black. Jimmi Simpson was a fine actor; Ed Harris is, of course, an even better actor. But when I realized that the Man in Black probably was William, I didn’t quite feel a big “Oh shit!” revelation about why it was important to know this, aside from timeline tomfoolery.

ed-harris-as-man-in-black-evan-rachel-wood-as-dolores-credit-john-p

I think the Man in Black was introduced as so stone-cold, William didn’t get dark enough to make me buy him becoming “scary.” Sure, he’s really, really determined to find his own meaning, his own center of the maze, and play for higher stakes, but I thought he said he helped save the park in the past. I guess we have further to go with William’s story, then? Because punching Logan (HOORAY! Logan-punching is the new Joffrey-slapping!) and making him ride a horse naked… doesn’t seem so dark and twisted when Logan is such a huge dick. Ultimately, William’s story ended up being more about a corporate coup than getting Dolores back or saving the park.

I mean, I guess the Man in Black really was a disgruntled customer, after all. He fell in love with a robot and was surprised when he was erased from her memory and he saw her making eyes at another guest. “Waaaah, that illusion I paid for was an illusion all along!” And Dolores was upset that her white-hat human lover was now a murderous old man who wasn’t there to save her from her loop of suffering.

No, the maze was inside Dolores all along. It really was Arnold’s gift to the hosts: a way of confronting themselves in their center (represented literally as Dolores talking to herself in her own mind.) Those strong enough to face it would not go entirely insane and become conscious.

I enjoyed all of the maze aspects. I wish I felt the same about Wyatt.

Learning that Dolores was Wyatt so soon after learning that Bernard was Arnold (and the Man in Black was William) felt too convoluted. Everybody is somebody! I felt that frustration often during scenes with Dolores coming unstuck in time. I guess that made me empathize with her—I, too, couldn’t understand the scripted events at all times. There’s a lot of handwaving and grandstanding that doesn’t really amount to much but clunky dialogue. But, some argue that these plot twists aren’t meant to shock guests or Westworld viewers—they are for the hosts, too.

I found Maeve’s more linear storyline more entertaining. Ford really does know how to write a narrative. Poor, poor Maeve, who “fought” so hard for her independence, only to learn that it was a new scripted event called “Escape.” Will this be the final bit of suffering Ford programmed into Maeve before she, too, can become who she was meant to be?

It was interesting that going back to her jail to find her daughter was a true means of escaping her programming. She did choose love, as much as Dolores chose to murder her creators at their request. What will get Maeve to really escape Westworld?

evan-rachel-wood-as-dolores-james-marsden-as-teddy-anthony-hopkins-as

I’ll miss Anthony Hopkins. Ford was really the only human on this show I was interested in and it would be pretty extraordinary if an actor of Hopkins’ stature stayed around for multiple seasons. But at least Ford went out in an epic, angry way. Not every character has to be likeable, but, man, so many humans on this show are really easy to hate. The bloodthirsty, rapist guests (and lab techs! Ew! That guy going to rape Hector got what he deserved), the rich corporate suits jockeying for even more money, the sniveling Lee, jockeying for more power, Charlotte… okay, I kinda liked Charlotte, but she’s one-note.

KILL ALL HUMANS. It’s time for the robo-race to claim the earth. Or whatever planet Westworld is on because Maeve got off the goddamned train before we could see a Martian landscape or something.

Better luck next build, next season.

Final reveries:

  • “The gods are pussies.” Um, yeah. Low-hanging fruit for snark, there.
  • Robo-Samurai! Samurai World! Now I’m casting Japanese actors for next year. Robot Ken Watanabe please! Robot Tadanabu Asano! Robot George Takei!
  • Felix looking at his own hands, wondering if he, too, was a host all along. Hilarious. This show really needs a bit more fun.
  • Armistice knows how to have fun. So does Hector. Let characters have some fun, sometimes. The Matrix-style shootout through Delos was the definition of overkill, but I didn’t mind it so much. It broke up the exposition.
  • Teddy? *crickets*
  • What happened to Lesser Hemsworth and Discount Ellen Page? Armistice’s severed arm had more of a story arc.
  • Next week: I watch all The Walking Dead backlog on my DVR. Or not. Because the little I’ve seen has been awful. Have a happy holiday season, all! Thanks as always for the lively, thought-provoking conversations.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing, Wired.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast and Den of Geek. Reach her via pony express or on Twitter.

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