******SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS******
Spoilers for both seasons of ‘Westworld’…….if you haven’t watched it and want to, then please stop reading!!
I want to cover Season 2 in particular however, this made lead to spoilers for both seasons. I suggest that if you haven’t watched season 1 or season 2, then stop reading and go watch them if you are interested.
Still here? Good!
This was absolutely glorious storytelling with some stellar acting. Season 1 did a lot of things right! My only gripe was it was maybe a couple of episodes too long. It took a story told by ‘Michael Crichton’ and made it for a modern age with lots of clever writing and a few twists and turns to surprise and delight the viewer.
It had three great plot points/twists that it revealed in a slow non-linear manner and I can nearly guarantee that at least one of the twists caught even the most avid viewer out!
- Black hat man is our earnest hero courtesy of untold time jumps
- Bernard is in fact also a host/robot
- The puzzle/quest was designed for the hosts to become self aware
These were absolute jaw droppers and were revealed with gusto! It made for a compelling season and made us all eager to see where it was going….
This is where things start to unravel. It’s clear the writers had clear ideas for Season 1 and it feels like their direction for Season 2 was to add to everything. This means, more time jumps, more host revelations, more puzzles, more convolution! It’s just too much. What was interesting and clever in the first Season has now become over bloated and over complicated. I got to the point where it felt like the writers had gone up their own arses and complicated things to the point where even to most hardcore fan would just lose interest!
Don’t get me wrong. Season 2 is a slow starter but it does build up some memento after a few episodes. However, this is mainly down to some incredibly written scenes with amazing actors. Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton & Peter Mullan all drag this show up to a high pedestal with their superior acting and some honestly great scenes that make for some special viewing. But with every great scene, we are given more expansion of the most convoluted plot since ‘Lost’.
The biggest flaw with the show is the over complicated writing. It feels like the show wants to be really clever and make the viewer feel confused and inferior at most points throughout. This works okay if the payoff works. It’s fine to keep us in the dark if you satisfy us with a great reveal of a really clever plot point. Unfortunately, these don’t come! It feels like the writers over complicate everything and therefore lose our interest. The reveals aren’t satisfying and by the end, it’s hard to care!
The season is told mostly through Bernard’s viewpoint. It starts okay as he (like the viewer) is overwhelmed and confused by what is going on. Unfortunately, Bernard is quite dull and slow and so is the pacing of the show for the first three or four episodes. After that, the time jumps for Bernard (we have no idea time is jumping as Bernard looks relatively the same) are both confusing and mostly unnecessary! None of his reveals were interesting and he only became invested when Anthony Hopkins was added to his sub conscious (although, as it turns out, this wasn’t real either). All in all, Bernard as the storyteller was dull and flaccid and unfulfilling.
Her main character arc of the first season was captivating. Seeing the naive original host slowly developing and becoming self aware was glorious and ended with such bravado. For Season 2 though, it’s clear that Dolores who has now become a free-thinker and rebel has become more of a robot than ever before. The direction is baffling and her acting is atrocious. She is a robot playing a robot and it comes across so unfeeling that it’s impossible to care if she succeeds or not. In fact, at one point, I was hoping she’d be killed off. Perhaps this is the intention, that she becomes as ruthless as the humans but it was so overplayed that she became completely unlikable and I didn’t care about what happened to her. A far fall from grace considering the first season.
Mr Black Hat
Don’t get me wrong. Ed Harris is absolutely amazing in every scene. He delivers some amazing performances and helps elevate every scene he is in. However, through the course of the plot, his motivations become completely redundant. In fact, his character now seems pointless and it’s unclear why he is still going forward towards the last few episodes of the season. None of it makes sense, even if you buy the fact that he believes ‘Ford’ has left him some ultimate challenge/game to overcome. This man has literally destroyed his own family to complete a game, a game that most likely has no inclusion of him in the grand scheme of things. The point where he kills his own daughter and then attempts to take his life makes me wonder why he stopped? He really has no reason to go on. It’s baffling that he’s now still alive and will most likely feature in Season 3. I appreciate what a great actor Ed is but now it makes no sense for him to still feature.
The Season finishes with Dolores (or a version of Dolores) getting out in to the real world. I feel like most of us had expected that from the end of Season 1. This makes the entire season feel like a bit of a filler. Dolores escaping after becoming self aware could have been covered in one or two episodes before breaking out of Westworld. Is that too much to ask? Do they really have lots of seasons to tell or did they use up all their clever material in Season 1. I really want to love this show and see it thrive but it’s not looking good,
For me, the greatest stories tell a tale and bring the viewer along with them. Sure there can be twists and turns but you have to hold the viewer’s attention. I imagine there are die hard fans who love this season and enjoy all the clever nuances told. For me though, I’m left not caring long before the twist is revealed. Characters I once rooted for, are now just cannon fodder.
I am sure my opinions won’t be shared by all and I’m happy to reply to comments below. Bare in mind, these are just my opinions and I’m delighted to hear other sides.