TL;DR – While I am not sure it landed its final episode, this season was a successful course correction, and I hope they make that one last test.
Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this show.
Westworld Review –
Ever since the second season of Westworld failed to capture the dramatic highs of that first season, people felt that it could never live up to the hype it built. However, I still found Season Two to be engaging, and even more, it is still the high watermark for the show for me with Kiksuya. I also enjoyed Season Three’s more streamlined narrative. However, there was a feeling that maybe the show didn’t have much more to explore. Well, if nothing else, Season Four showed the latter assertion plainly wrong. With our review today, we are first going to look at the season [or possible series] finale before taking a broader exploration of the season as a whole.
So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s Metanoia, the host copy of The Man In Black (Ed Harris) went on a killing spree, first killing the original Man In Black (Ed Harris) before taking out Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Before that can even sink in, he causes the control tones from the tower to infect every human being left on the planet to send them into a murderous rage. As Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) with Teddy (James Marsden) tries to stop the carnage, and Caleb (Aaron Paul), his daughter C (Aurora Perrineau), and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) try to escape it. One thing is clear: this might end sentient life on Earth. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
This week’s episode is less a culmination of the different story threads from the season but more about the aftermath of them colliding last week. This gives the episode strengths and weaknesses. The first strength is that we don’t have to wait to see how it all would play out. Many shows would end their season on the carnage and wait to see what would happen next. Westworld already pulled that in Season One, so I am glad they didn’t do it here too. It becomes very apparent that this is not just a war. This is wholesale extermination. There are billions of people and hosts dying across the globe in a giant ball of violence. Like if the ending of Kingsman: The Secret Service hadn’t been stopped. It is terribly bleak, and I think it fits the show’s tone and what it was building to all season. It also allowed the show to slip some gaming culture into the narrative because, frankly, who doesn’t hate campers?
Its weaknesses lie in the position this episode sits in the narrative. On the whole, it felt like we got less of a finale of Season Four but more of a set-up for Season Five, a season that, as of writing, has yet to be confirmed, and given how this season has gone ratings-wise, and the current slash and burn at Warner, I would not want to bet the house on it getting renewed. We got more of a massive character kill-off, which might have had an impact if we did not also get that the week before. What we got was a series of events highlighting some of the parts of the season that didn’t work, like the lack of Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) or that Stubbs has just been there being pushed around rather than being an active participant. Also, while Bernard’s prophet was interesting at the start of the season, it got less and less interesting as time passed. The next big issue with the finale is the large Thandiwe Newton-sized gap in the narrative. Maeve has been the best aspect of the show’s narrative for a while, and the lack of her in the back half of the season has been noticeable.
I think this segues us nicely into looking at the season as a whole because it holds up better than the season finale in isolation. When we look back at Westworld as a whole, one of its best features is its ability to surprise us, sadly with diminishing returns as time has gone on. Well, I might be the only one that fell into this trap, but I did not see that we were working with two different timelines at the start of the season. They did a fantastic job of keeping the stories separate but closely related enough to feel like they were all in the same world. I ended up watching in some sort of horror in Generation Loss when you find out that there are two timelines and that Charlotte Hale won. This was a moment that I had not felt since Season Two, and the show landed perfectly. Going back to those first episodes, I like that they did seed the tower and the control devices are part of the décor everywhere, even if they just look like streetlights. Then there were all the small touches linking the show with past seasons that helped guide the soft-reboot they started with while still keeping that unified narrative.
This season also let the main cast revel in their roles as they chewed all the scenery or charmed us again. Watching Tessa Thompson play a capital G God essentially in Zhuangzi was a delight as Ramin Djawadi’s score perfectly matched the choreography. As she danced down a vision of New York’s future, we see a world that could be, and might not even be all that bad, bar the computers that wrote narratives for every single human being on Earth. Then we have Maeve walking into the new Westworld set in prohibition Chicago and just owning every moment. Caleb crawled over the dead corpses of his predecessors, all hoping to send one more message to his daughter. Or Teddy, being Teddy, and showing that James Marsden is always a class act. I mean, I even cared about the Man in Black for a moment there too. It was these characters and these narratives that brought you through the season, even though as we went through, we discovered that there were no more humans from previous seasons left.
In the end, do we recommend Season Four of Westworld? Yes, yes, we do. In many ways, this season was a return to form and did at least tie a bow in the future world outside of the park. Given how they ended the season with the rebirth of Dolores Abernathy and the park itself, I hope they get to finish off the storyline as they clearly have an endpoint in sight. I am not sure that will happen, in which case we get an oddly cyclitic cycle, but that might also work in the long run.
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, Craig William Macneill, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Paul Cameron, Andrew Seklir & Meera Menon
Written by – Lisa Joy, Will Soodik, Desa Larkin-Boutté, Denise Thé, Matthew Pitts, Christina Ham, Kevin Lau, Suzanne Wrubel, Wes Humphrey, Jordan Goldberg, Alli Rock, Alison Schapker & Jonathan Nolan
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 in Season 4 – Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Aaron Paul, James Marsden, Luke Hemsworth, Angela Sarafyan & Ed Harris with Zahn McClarnon, Ariana Debose, Aurora Perrineau, Morningstar Andeline, Jonathan Tucker, Rodrigo Santoro, Daniel Wu, Michael Malarkey, Emily Somers, Nicole Pacent, Evan Williams, Ted Monte, Hollie Bahar, Nhumi Threadgill, Katie Kuang & Steven Ogg and Nozipho McLean, Celeste Clark, Hannah James, Manny Montana, Cherise Boothe, Nico Galan, Liza Weil, Josh Randall, Sierra Swartz, James Joseph Puido, Michele Boyd, Amanda Booth, Fredric Lehne, Arturo del Puerto, Alex Fernandez, Micharl Malarkey, Aaron Stanford, Brandon Sklenar & Jasmyn Rae
Episodes Covered – The Auguries, Well Enough Alone, Années Folles, Generation Loss, Zhuangzi, Fidelity, Metanoia & Que Será, Será