Monday night Australian time saw the finale of one of the most popular shows on television right now: sci/fi + Western + intense discussion on humanity = Westworld. While I for one have very much enjoyed this season, I am with everyone who is confused by the finale because, to be honest, so am I. After watching the finale, my very intelligent friend turned to me and just said “I hate not feeling smart enough to understand this show” and I couldn’t say it better myself. I feel that’s the issue with Westworld; there are some incredible ideas and spectacular acting and cinematography, however, the showrunners inability or unwillingness to give us basic markers like geographic location or time periods makes the whole watching process more of a task with the occasional glimpse of clarity amongst a murky lake of confusion.
At many points throughout the season, I was confused spatially and temporally. I get that this is the point of the show and I do appreciate where the writers are coming from, but when you have an ending episode like the one we just had where practically the entire cast dies, the whole time jumping tactic seems redundant.
This is not to say that the hour and a half finale was anything short of spectacular television. As always, Westworld was beautiful in its execution. The use of the library as the end game for the hosts was a very lovely way to do that whole scene, and the crack in the world that took hosts to their digital Eden was a genuinely heart-wrenching scenario. The reunion of Akecheta and his wife was beautiful, as was Maeve’s fight to successfully save her daughter and the scene of Clementine riding through the hosts to make them savage and murderous was incredibly powerful.
However, AV Club said it perfectly: “So many of the payoffs here felt rushed or even arbitrary solely thanks to the show’s determination to reveal its stories rather than just show them.”
So, so, SO many characters died in this for seemingly no reason. Maeve, a critical plot point in the seasons is dead. I mean sure, she very well may be rebooted considering no hosts are ever really dead, but there was a finality to her demise. At some points during the finale, it seemed as if they were ending the series for good to which my friend had to remind me that HBO would never end something this popular so early. Lol.
We still have a few unanswered questions and they seem like things we should have had answered considering the length and intensity of the finale. Why did we glorify the digital Eden when the whole point of this crusade was to be human and not digital? Where did Dolores send the signals of the hosts? Why did Dolores rebuild her body? Why is the Man in Black STILL alive after being shot like 20 times and looking like a dried raisin? Are we just forgetting that Charlotte Hale really existed and had a life to leave but simply disappeared when Dolores took her over?
Speaking of Dolores, this season I have found her bland. She is just anger and righteousness which makes her incredibly one dimensional. I hope the next season brings us some more of her personality, but without Teddy, I’m not so sure her character can redeem herself.
Westworld has buried itself a bit in a very complicated story. I very much am of the belief that we should have spent more time in the Park itself. Why just one season of exploring the impact the Park has? Why did we immediately go into robots v humans?
With the sheer amount of loss we suffered in the final episode and that strange post-credits scene, it seems unlikely that the show will pick up the awe-inspiring, delicately planned story we had in season one. Season two, unfortunately, began to unravel for me, and this ending did nothing to tie it up.
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Header image from Esquire.com