Westworld Review: “Genre,” “Decoherence,” “Passed Pawn”

Don’t lecture me you f-cking can opener!
–William

Westworld gives us riots, lockdowns, and apocalyptic events looming. Dolores’s opponents may be able to disarm her, but will it matter?

Everyone wants to just make a better world. But, as someone once said, you can’t make an omelet without killing a few people. Okay, that’s not what he said, but it may be closer to the truth here.

Cast and Crew

Directors: Anna Foerster, Paul Cameron, Helen Shaver
Writers: Karrie Crouse & Jonathan Nolan, Suzanne Wrubel & Lisa Joy, Gina Atwater

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy
Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay
Aaron Paul as Caleb Nichols
Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe
Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale / Dolores
Ed Harris as William a.k.a. the Man in Black
Jaxon Williams as Nathan
Luke Hemsworth as Ashley Stubbs
Simon Quarterman as Lee Sizemore
Vincent Cassel as Engerraund Serac
John Gallagher Jr. as Liam Dempsey Jr.
Kid Cudi as Francis
Tommy Flanagan as Martin Conells / Martin host
Tao Okamoto as Hanary
Katja Herbers as Emily Grace
Hiroyuki Sanada as Musashi / Sato / Guess who?
Angela Sarafyan as Clementine Pennyfeather
Rodrigo Santoro as Hector Escaton / Ettore
John Gallagher Jr. as Liam Dempsey Jr

Titles: “Genre,” “Decoherence,” “Passed Pawn”

Premise

Dolores, in multiple bodies, spreads her revolution, people see the data and predictions collected on them, and we learn that Dolores’s connection to Caleb is no accident.

We discover more about William’s history, before Bernard and Ashley take him from the institution for their own purposes.

Finally, we meet Rehoboam’s predecessor, a schizophrenic AI somewhere out in the desert, keeping watch over a sinister secret.

High Points

We may not see all the steps leading from Dolores-Charlotte to Charlotte-Dolores, but Tessa Thompson won me over, and

I’m critical of “Passed Pawn” for a number of reasons, but the flashback to Caleb’s final time with Francis proves both powerful and disturbing.

Thematically, Westworld continues to present some intriguing questions to ponder.

Low Point

So it comes down to a catfight?
–my wife.

The plunge into excessive tropes and clich├ęs goes unabated. The characters at times talk and act in a way the earlier seasons both gave tribute to and parodied. It’s clear the showmakers still understand these aspects, because we see them in the drug-effects of “Genre.” And then there’s the matter of terrifyingly plausible and precise battletech suddenly turning Imperial Stormtrooper when it gets aimed at the principals. I suppose we may have a final-episode twist but, honestly, some of the dialogue and a couple of the action movie scenes would only be redeemed if we’re still in the park, and that seems unlikely for a number of reasons.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 I did not predict all of the twists, by any means, but excepting the reveal about the hosts, none of them seem particularly surprising or original.

Effects: 6/6 As always, Westworld delivers on spectacle without allowing the pretty pictures and visceral violence to overwhelm the tale.

Acting: 5/6 The acting remains as strong as ever, though the performers at time seem to be battling some dialogue straight off the screenwriter 101 assembly line.

Once more, certain actors must carry a lot, and a cast including the likes of Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Paul, and Thandie Newton, among others, continues to succeed.

Production: 6/6 HBO does production like no one else in television.

Although the season was filmed mainly in LA, Singapore, and Spain, we’re fairly sure at my place that they shot the subway/metro scene in Toronto.

Story: 5/6 The story holds together, though Past Pawn required an awful lot of exposition.
I get that humans might distrust AIs but, given the tech available and in use, why do the corporate types send humans only after Dolores? They know that’s not likely to end well.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 After its strong start, Season Three has faltered somewhat. The parallels between host and human have always been important, but in “Past Pawn,” in particular, they become a little simplistic, and they’re spoon-fed to the audience.

In total, Westworld, Season Three, Episodes 5-7, receive 34/42

2 replies on “Westworld Review: “Genre,” “Decoherence,” “Passed Pawn””

  1. J_W_W says:

    I really think WestWorld should have been a one season show. They jumped the shark at the end of that season. They’re just beating a dead horse now.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      Interesting. I thought the strongest episodes from Season Two were the best they’ve ever done, though the season overall isn’t quite up to Season One. What didn’t work for you, in particular, about Season Two?

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