10 Thoughts on Westworld Season 1
This past Sunday brought us the season finale of Westworld. If you haven’t been watching this fantastic show, you’ve got about a year or so to catch up before season 2 rolls around. If you are still on the fence about checking it out, you should! It ended up being the most watched first season of any HBO show…ever. That’s impressive considering HBOs history of incredibly well produced shows. From Game of Thrones to The Sopranos to The Wire, Westworld is in some good company. So now that we’ve had a day or so to digest what just happened in the first season, let’s dive into the thoughts. Obviously, spoilers abound if you haven’t seen the show yet.
10 Thoughts on Westworld Season 1
1. The first season took us on quite a ride.
I know calling a show or movie a “roller coaster” ride is a bit cliche, but that’s one easy way to describe the first season. As I look back to that first episode, with Teddy slowly riding the train into Sweet Water, I had no idea what to expect. The show certainly didn’t land where I expected it to, and I’m 100% OK with that. Not since Showtime’s Homeland have I been taken on so many twists and turns. From the dual timelines, to various host’s secret identities, Westworld kept us guessing and theorizing from episode one. But the best part was that it fully delivered on everything it teased us with.
2. Westworld had great pacing
To continue on with the previous thought, the pacing in Westworld was spot on. From the very first episode, Westworld hooked us with its many layers. I loved how the premier episode followed Teddy around, making viewers thinking he was just a visitor, only to pull the rug out from under us and reveal that he was actually a host. That started the train of thought rolling, causing us to question who was real and who wasn’t.
But really, the best part of Westworld was that each episode answered just enough questions to satisfy us, all the while leaving new mysteries for us to unpack. Everyone loves to be teased, but we don’t want to feel cheated. That’s probably why the Season Finale of The Walking Dead was the worst rated episode of the series on IMDB. They left the ending a giant cliffhanger that felt incredibly cheap. Thankfully, Westworld never did this to us. The show always kept moving forward and there weren’t any “Nikki and Paulo” episodes. LOST fans will know what I’m talking about there. The first season of Westworld left viewers satisfied with full bellies.
3. There is so much to see and do in Westworld
Westworld is one of the first series in a very long time that I find myself immediately wanting to watch all over again. I think this is a testament to the brilliance of the show runners. They packed each episode with so many clues and teases, that I’m sure there are plenty of clues that I missed. One smart redditor even found out that Dr. Ford had hinted at his violent finale way back in episode 6. I think that in the coming weeks, more easter eggs like this will be popping up.
4. Of course the Man in Black is William
This has long been an internet fan theory and I loved how it was pulled off in the show. William, the doe-eyed, white hat wearing, reluctant park visitor, ends up the jaded and cynical Man in Black. Over the course of the first season, we get to watch his transformation first hand, as the park slowly becomes his obsession. The show actually does a great job of teasing us that the Man in Black might actually be Logan, but in the end, it had to be William. His relationship with Delores was the catalyst that changed him, taking him from shy visitor to a man determined to save her. And when he found out how easy Delores forgot him, as she re-entered her loop, the good guy William began to die.
5. What was the bigger surprise reveal?
I’m having a hard time trying to decide which was the bigger surprise reveal. William as the Man in Black? Bernard actually being a replica of Arnold? Or Delores turning out to be Wyatt. Each reveal was artfully done so it’s hard for me to pick the biggest shocker (especially for people who avoided internet theories). I think for me, my favorite was when Bernard was revealed to actually be a host. Watching Bernard slowly realize that he’s actually a host was really heartbreaking. You could see the pain in his eyes as his whole world came crashing down around him. And not only is he a host, but he is actually a replica of Arnold, Dr. Ford’s original partner in the park.
6. These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends
Dr. Ford is as master architect. I loved how we weren’t quite sure if he was the hero or villain in this story. As he was constantly butting heads with Theresa (whom no one liked), we are made to sympathize with him. But over the course of the show, he beings to transition into more of a villain figure. He murders (or forces Bernard to), schemes, and seems to be outsmarting everyone. But his final story was probably his most impressive bit of maneuvering. He uses his army of hosts to take out not only the board members, but himself. Did Dr. Ford finally realize that Arnold was right? That we were torturing these poor hosts? Well at the very least, I predicted back at the start of the season that these hosts would rise up against their masters and they sure did. One thing I’ve been curious about is if there is a chance that the Dr. Ford we saw getting shot was actually a replica of him, with the real Ford hiding somewhere in the park.
7. Felix and Sylvester were probably the weak point of the season.
If you don’t remember their names, Felix and Sylvester are the two techs that basically allowed Maeve to gain her power. I had the hardest time with this story arc. It just seemed so unbelievable that they would be that scared of her threats to give her all that power. You would think that someone would have noticed what they were doing. Or that they would have told anyone that Maeve was gaining full consciousness. But no, they just continue to bumble along. I think that by the end, Felix was actually wanting to help Maeve, having sympathized with her. But Sylvester was never a believer. For a company with tracking and cameras everywhere, this felt like quite a bit of a stretch. Logically, this plot should never have even gotten that far, even with someone else tinkering with Maeve’s code.
8. Samurai World
Can I just say that I’m stupid excited for the possibilities of Samurai World? As we were given our first glimpses of these new hosts, I find myself thinking of everything they could do with feudal Japan. Personally, that time period interests me worlds more than the Old West, I really hope that they make that a big part of Season 2. And with most of the Delos board members dead or injured, I could easily see them shuttering Westworld and moving on to Samurai World. While I’m doubtful that will actually happen, it can’t hurt to dream, right?
9. The leftover questions.
While Westworld did a fantastic job of answering most of our questions, there are still a few minor points left hanging in the wind. Is Elise really dead? We last saw her when Bernard strangled her, but we never actually found the dead body. Same with Stubbs. He left to go chase her signal and we last saw him being tackled by members of the Ghost Nation. Then there is Logan. We assume he died out in the park, being sent off naked on a horse, but we still don’t know for sure. Finally, there is Maeve, giving up her freedom from the park to go find herd daughter in sector 1. Perhaps some of these questions will be answered in Season 2.
10. HBO has their new flagship show.
I mused at the start of the season if this could be HBOs new flagship show. With Game of Thrones finishing up its run with 2 more shortened seasons, HBO needs another big draw. Something to convince people to stay subscribed. They were hoping that was going to be Vinyl, but that show died a quick death. And with True Detective season 2 bombing, they needed a big win and in a hurry. I think it’s safe to say that they have that now in Westworld. I was concerned if this show was going to be able to keep its momentum throughout the season, but showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy absolutely delivered. It’s going to be a long wait until 2018 for season 2, but I have a feeling that the ratings for the season 2 premiere are going to be off the chart.