TL;DR – This first episode is almost a soft re-boot or realignment of the show, and while it does not reveal much, it intrigues me.
Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this show.
Westworld Review –
I have always been intrigued by Westworld because even when it is not landing its hits, it is still swinging with all its might, and I always respect someone reaching for the stars, even if they don’t quite get there. Season 1 was this wild ride of betrayal and discord, where the very world shifted under your feet. Season 2 was this crazy roller coaster that inverted itself halfway through, and while it was a bit of a mess at times, it did have Kiksuya, the best episode the show has done to date. Season 3 jumped us out of the island and into the world proper for all its strengths and weaknesses. Can Season 4 capture what made Season 1 so good? Well, as long as it tells an interesting story, I will be there for the ride.
So to set the scene, we open seven years after the riots that marked the end of Season 3 and the AI controlling the destinies of humans in the background. Many people have tried to formulate new lives in the meantime, but something has stirred and has started to make their move. In the renovated Hoover Dam, a cartel kingpin (Arturo del Puerto) meets with a man in black (Ed Harris) about buying their data operation in the Dam. It is a ridiculous question because this is the cartel’s crown jewel, not for sale. But the Man in Black posits that they can sell for this price today or give it away for free tomorrow, and the cartel chooses door number two for their own demise. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
Overall, this episode’s goal is twofold, introduce us to where four of our main cast are now that it has been seven years, and also to set a mood. On that first front, Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) has hidden herself away in a cabin, trying to focus her powers. Caleb (Aaron Paul) has settled down with a family and works on the top of the skyscrapers. The Man in Black, who we witnessed being captured/killed/replaced by Charlotte Hale/Dolores Abernathy (Tessa Thompson), has started their endgame. While not Dolores/Christina (Evan Rachel Wood) is an artist living in New York working as a narrative designer for a games company, but wherever she goes, she feels like she is being watched. With these four intertwined stories, we get not a clear narrative but more of a lot of suggestions and hints as to where the story may be heading.
One of the show’s main story points is the issue of control. The control the hosts have in their lives, the control the AI has over humans, and our control over our own lives. We get here a hint that control has taken a significant turn in this universe with direct and subtle hints that humans can be controlled to do things against their will. We saw this directly at the start with the ‘flies’ and then the mass murder. But more subtlety, we get the questions as to what is Christina doing, is she controlling people’s lives with the stories she writes. Indeed, we saw Dolores Abernathy [well, at least the original Dolores] die at the end of last season. This asks a lot of questions about who this Christina [with a very suggestive name] is, who created her, what role she will play, what is ‘the tower’, and wait was that Teddy (James Marsden)? We also see that direct control with the Man in Black making his moves on his adversaries, trying to take out both Maeve and Caleb. The question I now have is, did he fail in his attack, or did he know the attacks would fail, putting both of them on the trajectory they need to be on? I am full of intrigue, which is a good start for the season.
Westworld has always been strong from the production perspective, and this first episode is no different. Ramin Djawadi is back, bringing a wonderful musical score to the proceedings. I liked the idea of the renovated Hoover Dam, and that I picked where they were even before the big money shoot reveal. This also extends to their worldbuilding, showing a future Los Angeles and New York where roads are reclaimed for parklands. There are details in the set dressing, running motifs, and worldbuilding at every turn. I do hope we don’t just stay in America this season, but given there are hints that in the seven years that Westworld had reopened, well, there may be more to see.
In the end, did we like Westworld: The Auguries? Well, yes. I think it did everything an opening episode needed to do. It first reoriented us to where all the different leading players are and what they are up to. Second, it didn’t reveal its hand, but instead revealed that it had a hand to show, and intrigued you as to what could be there.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you seen Westworld yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Westworld
Directed by – Richard J. Lewis
Written by – Lisa Joy & Will Soodik
Created by – Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
Based On – Westworld by Michael Crichton
Production/Distribution Companies – Kilter Films, Bad Robot, Warner Bros. Television, HBO & Foxtel/Binge
Starring – Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Aaron Paul, Angela Sarafyan, James Marsden & Ed Harris with Ariana Debose, Rodrigo Santoro, Fredric Lehne, Arturo del Puerto, Alex Fernandez, Nozipho McLean, Celeste Clark, Manny Montana, Michael Malarkey, Aaron Stanford, Brandon Sklenar & Jasmyn Rae