TL;DR – All things become clear, but in a Westworld way that asks far more questions than it answers
Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this show.
Westworld Review –
There are many strengths to a show like Westworld. They get to play around in an interesting setting, actors take on these grand roles that let them chew all the scenery, and you get to mess with people’s expectations all the time. In Season Four, we have been getting all those things, and a plot that is moving like a cheater is chasing it in the Serengeti. The question is, can it run out of steam? Well, it hasn’t today.
So to set the scene, at the end of Annees Folles, Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) know they we walking into a trap, but not a trap with Caleb’s daughter (Celeste Clark) as bait, and the infestation of mind-controlling parasites as the goal. We open with Caleb screaming as the parasites take control, but Maeve is not ready to get taken out by The Man in Black (Ed Harris) just yet. Meanwhile, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) have been rounded up by the rebels and C (Aurora Perrineau) and her boss (Daniel Wu), who are trying to work out if they are useful or if they should just have them killed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
If I were to summarise this episode, it would be that this is the moment the penny dropped for the season, for we discover not only that everyone else other than Maeve and Caleb is pottering around 23 years further in the future but that Hale/Delores (Tessa Thompson) won. Concerned about that parasite, well, too late cause that sucker is now in everyone, which makes that moment from the first trailer make a bit more sense. But this revelation makes you ponder about more things since Delos is now Olympiad [which aside is such a Hale/Delores name to name a company], which should explain why there is Not-Teddy-But-Maybe-Teddy (James Marsden) and Christina (Evan Rachel Wood) walking around future New York. On this point, respect for just how charming James Marsden is as they start the same narrative loop with the lipstick.
For a twist like this to work, you must first care for the characters, and I think Westworld has nailed that. You have felt that bond growing between Maeve and Caleb at the end of last season and more so this time around. Their bond is a source of strength and also a weakness to exploit for Hale. The show plays around with this, and the parasites’ ticking time bomb creates a compelling drama. It also helps that Thandiwe Newton and Aaron Paul are swinging for the fences with their performances, while Tessa Thompson gets to revel in her villainous monologue.
The second thing a twist like this needs is not to feel forced. I think this is one of the main issues why the bifurcated timeline in Season Two didn’t land with people. Having this happen at the mid-point of the season rather than the end does not make it feel like the whole season rested on this change. You also need someone to take charge in announcing the twist. Here we get two different perspectives on that with Hale’s monologue and Bernard’s prophetic musings. Well, let’s be honest, a jump cut from Frankie to C didn’t hurt either. It also helps contextualise all that has passed so far and pushes us into the back half of the season.
In the end, do we recommend Generation Loss? Yes, yes, we do. I am starting to be concerned about if this will be the final season and if they have planned it that way, but much like a lot of Westworld, only time can tell.
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.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Westworld
Directed by – Paul Cameron
Written by – Kevin Lau & Suzanne Wrubel
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, James Marsden, Luke Hemsworth, Angela Sarafyan & Ed Harris with Ariana Debose, Aurora Perrineau, Daniel Wu, Rodrigo Santoro, Morningstar Andeline, Nozipho McLean, Celeste Clark & Hannah James