Westworld: Que Sera, Sera & Full Season 4 – TV Review

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.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this show.

The Man In Black appears from the smoke.

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.   

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Westworld: Zhuangzi – TV Review

TL;DR – There is a new God, and they are bored with the human race.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this show.

Christina discovers the control she has.

Westworld Review

There are some aspects of Westworld that hide in the subtext, and there are others that blare at you like a foghorn. Today’s title is Zhuangzi, which takes its name from one of the core works of Taoism. Its view of a central authority starkly contrasts with other core philosophical schools of China. That tension has been playing out across Westworld’s many seasons and, as we will see, the episode today.

So to set the scene, as we have been going through the season, Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) have been on a mission to stop Hale/Delores (Tessa Thompson) and her mission to take over the world through the use of parasites. We didn’t know until the closing moments of Generation Loss is that Hale had already won that war a whole generation ago. She has such control over the human race, using audible sounds from the tower, that she can stop and the entire city in its tracks like it was one large Westworld park, and everyone was a host. But in the deep desert, the long-buried remains of Maeve were unearthed by the prophetic Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), and a rebellion is on the move. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Westworld: The Auguries – TV Review

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.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this show.

The Hoover Dam

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. 

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Top Gun: Maverick – Movie Review

TL;DR – A glorious sequel from start to finish, filled with heart-pounding adrenalin and a boost to the more dramatic parts of the script.    

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

A Jet over the desert.

Top Gun: Maverick Review

Two different reactions can happen when you try a sequel decades after the first film. The first is that you are trying to capture something whose time has passed, and you can’t walk back into that world. The second is that they tap into a nostalgia that is there and use it to propel them forward. Today we look at a film that lands with the latter as it soars across the screen. Because Top Gun: Maverick fixes those elements that did not work in the first film and then takes what did work and amps it up to 11.                           

So to set the scene, it has been decades since the first Top Gun, and after flying planes in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and both Iraq’s Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) now works as a test pilot for experimental jets in the Mojave Desert. When told that his unit is about to be shut down because Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris) thinks that drones are the future. Well, one illicit test later and intervention of Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), Maverick is not grounded, but instead, he is sent back to Top Gun to be a teacher. Because they need to undertake a perilous mission, and only Maverick can teach them. The only issue is that one of the possible recruits for this potential suicide mission is Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late radar co-pilot.   

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TV Review – Westworld: Season Two

TL;DR – When it works it is some of the best TV on the planet at the moment, when it doesn’t well at least it is still well shot and acted.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

 

Season Two. Image Credit: HBO

 

Review

With The Passenger (see review) coming to a close we have reached the end of Westworld’s Season Two. It was a season of competing timelines, the coming of a war, a mother searching for her child, and a lone warrior standing up when everyone needed him too. Today we are going to look at the highs and lows of Westworld’s sophomore season as we return to the holiday destination now turned into a massacre. So say goodbye The Maze and hello to The Door.

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TV Review – Westworld: The Passenger

TL;DR – It is the end and more than I expected they actually brought the timelines to a conclusion, whilst providing more and more questions for every answer they answered.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Post-Credit Scene.

 

The Passenger. Image Credit HBO.

 

Review

It started all the way back in Journey into Night (see review) with someone washing up on a beach while surrounded by death at every turn and as the season has gone on it has been more of the same. There has been slaughters, a jaunt into The Raj and Shogun World, betrayals, love, loss, and a threat of a mecha bison. Well after all this time, today we come to the end of Season Two as multiple timelines rush together and we finally make it to the Valley Beyond.

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TV Review – Westworld: Vanishing Point

TL;DR – We are back to where the rest of this second half of the season has left us, and well I just wish at this point it was a bit more.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Vanishing Point. Image Credit: HBO.

 

Review

Today we get into the pointy end of the season with the penultimate episode, where lines are drawn, armies marshalled, and the endpoint is in sight. I do have to say coming into this episode I am much more optimistic than I have been for a while. As Season Two has progressed it has felt like it has been a season of diminishing returns as the Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Man in Black (Ed Harris) storylines really started to drag. Indeed, one of the few things that have been getting me through the season has been Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) story of trying to get back to her daughter (Jasmyn Rae). However, all of that changed in last week’s Kitsuya (see review) when we were introduced to Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) properly was a jolt to the system, but can it continue, well let’s see.

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TV Review – Westworld: Kiksuya

TL;DR – In a dramatic return to form, Westworld shows that when it is firing on all cylinders it can be so very good, and this week we see it as we focus in on only one character.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Kiksuya banner

 

Review

Well, this was a complete surprise and I honestly didn’t see it coming. In a season that has all been about jumping timelines, exploding trains, mystery boxes, and rampaging warriors. However, this week we take a step back and focus in on really only one character someone who has been there all season on the periphery and now we find out that there I much more to their story.

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TV Review – Westworld: Les Ecorches

TL;DR – As we move towards the end of the season the different timelines have started to fall into place and I can see the heart of the story it wants to tell, but I don’t know if I am in for the ride to the end.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Les Ecorches banner

 

Review

At the end of last week’s Phase Space (see review) I was beginning to wonder how all the timelines crashing together was going to work given what we knew already this season and I postulated that there must be either multiple copies of some of the hosts or that the timelines were not adding up. Well today in Les Ecorches we discover that I was both wrong and right, as we find out that there were two different occupations of the Mesa that included Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) and Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) that had been spliced together, however we do discover that someone has had a couple of clones made, so part marks? And as always a reminder that we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Westworld: Phase Space

TL;DR – It is the second half of the season and finally the timelines are starting to crash into each other in interesting yet not completely clear ways

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

 

Phase Space banner

 

Review

One of the things Westworld is known for is its many intersecting storylines and timelines, and Season Two has been no exception up until now. We have the story of Dolores’ (Evan Rachel Wood) rebellion as she builds an army to possibly take over the world, also Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her hunt to find her missing daughter as she puts together a ratbag team to help her, we have the Man in Black (Ed Harris) trying to get to the heart of the final narrative Robert (Anthony Hopkins) planned for him, and then we also have Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) whose history database got messed up by the head shot and so we see him jumping across different timelines. Well in today’s episode we not only get all of these stories we get them just as timelines come crashing together … maybe.

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