Warning: My narrative description of HBO’s TV SERIES WESTWORLD may outline spoilers for the first two episodes.
My introduction of WESTWORLD is through the eyes of a screenwriter, concentrating on plots, sub-plots and dialogue related to the Acts, the Establishment, the set-up, the inciting incident, contemplation, turning point, acceleration, obstacles and raising the stakes to a crisis.
Unlike a film, TV series have a progression of ACTS, each broken by a commercial. TV series begin with a TEASER, and then follows up with ACT 1 to 5, giving the latter some kind of CLIFF HANGER or possible CLOSURE.
Westworld is a Recreational Adult Park strictly for the wealthy few, who can afford $40,000 per day. The rich guests get to interact with humanoid robots, in order to enrich their lives.
Having watched the original movie back in 1973 I already expect something pretty extraordinary, to say the least.
Let’s begin –
FIRST EPISODE: THE ORIGINAL ( the pilot)
The TEASER gives you a glimpse of what’s about to come. The credits introduces executive producer Johnathan Nolan along with Lisa Joy, J. J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk.
THE ESTABLISHMENT – ACT ONE
In the First Episode we meet some of the NEWCOMERS ( the rich clients) and HOSTS ( humanoid robots) of the recreational Adult Park called Westworld.
We immediately get a feel for the old western town of SWEETWATER, where the action begins.
We are introduced to TEDDY (James Marsden) and DELORES ( Evan Rachel Wood). It’s hard not to become attached to the both of them. Right away, I begin to feel sorry for the robots designed to please its guests (NEWCOMERS).
You meet THERASA CULLEN ( Sidse Babett Knudsen) the WESTWORLD Park acting CEO Operations Director. She coordinates everything in the park, making sure the guests are handle properly, the staff do their job and reports directly to DR FORD and the shareholders.
You also meet (ironically) MR LEE SIZEMORE (Simon Quarterman) a director for the script and storyline, giving direction to the HOSTS. His character is arrogant and, his interaction with fellow employees is very abusive. You can tell he’s conceded, just waiting for recognition for his creativity. (Right away, I find his character annoying)
ACT TWO : THE SET-UP – It’s not long and we are also introduced to the creator DR. FORD (Anthony Hopkins) and counterpart BERNARD (Jeffrey Wright ).
We get a feel for behind-the-scenes, introducing how they manufacture the robots.
There’s a hint, that these two prominent Robotics scientists react differently to the Androids.
We get this feeling that Bernard has an emotional view of the Androids, most specially, DELORES ( the oldest robot ). Even though he feels compassion, he doesn’t want Dr Ford to catch wind of his feelings, as his last partner didn’t last very long ( Episode 3). In fact, he died – interesting!
In comparison, Dr Ford has no emotional ties to his creations, using them only as instruments in his overall experiment. But, in the same breathe, you respect Dr Ford. ( Who doesn’t highly admire and respect Anthony Hopkins!)
ACT THREE : THE INCITING INCIDENT – Within 20 minutes of the show you quickly realize there’s a serious problem with Two HOSTS.
Both of them seem to have gone haywire.
The first one I like to refer as the MILK BANDIT, because he drinks and pours a bottle of milk on his victims. The other HOST is PETER ABERNATHY ( Louis Herthum ) Dolores’ father, (referred to as daddy) goes astray by inadvertently accessing a different code after discovering a photo hundreds of years ahead of the western timeline.
Stuck on the photo, it triggers his program changing it by a verbal code, saying “…violent delights have violent ends.”
ACT FOUR and FIVE : This CODE forces Bernard and Dr Ford to have another look at Delores daddy. They learn the CODE may have deadly consequences, when host Peter Abernathy threatens Dr Ford by quoting Shakespeare and vowing revenge upon his creator. They decide it’s best to decommission PETER ABERNATHY, as well as the MILK BANDIT.
You can tell something is bothering Bernard. Dr Ford has patiently taught Bernard his craft, from development and intellectual standards, to the full operation of the HOSTS (aka ANDROIDS).
The dialogue is cleverly like reading Shakespeare:
BERNARD “You taught me how to make them , but not how hard it is to turn them off.”
DR FORD ” You can’t play God without being aquatinted with the devil.”
Bernard feels there’s an outside interference in regards to the hosts gone astray. It doesn’t seem feasible a photo would be the cause for a host to go off script. He thinks it could be some sort of conspiracy, possibly sabotage.
DR FORD ” The problem Bernard, is that you and I do…is SO complicated. We practice witchcraft…we speak the right words and we create life itself…out of chaos.”
PART OF ACT THREE AND ACT FIVE (SUBPLOT) : THE MENACING MAN IN BLACK AND HIS QUEST
We meet the MAN IN BLACK (a wealthy client) whose on a quest (played by Ed Harris) seeking the secret level of the game, somewhere hidden within the deepest level of the MAZE. You know he’s been in WESTWORLD a few hundred times. His dark goals feverishly uses HOSTS in anyway he pleases (from mass killings to raping) to find the answers to his quest.
FIRST EPISODE CLUES OR HINTS :
- BERNARD finds errors (MISTAKES) in DR FORD reverie code, giving HOSTS subconscious access to past DARK memories.
- The MAN IN BLACK is trying to access the secret hidden GAME
- DELORES tells BERNARD she wouldn’t hurt any living thing, but at the end she casually kills a fly.
EPISODE ONE is indeed off to a good start. Let’s continue with EPISODE TWO.
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