TV Reviews

Westworld Season 1 Episode 2: Chestnut Review

Last week’s episode of HBO’s new drama Westworld was uncharacteristic of a pilot episode. It didn’t take us through a predictable introduction by showing us the basics of the world we will be living in for the weeks to come. Instead, it dove right into the complicated story of Dolores, using her as a broader representation of things to come. The second episode, on the other hand, felt a little dull in comparison. This was the episode that gave us a true introduction of Westworld via two new characters, William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes).

William and Logan, two colleagues who couldn’t be more different, are two new guests to the park. Logan, a veteran to the park, is a bold and arrogant type A personality, while William is very reserved. William is constantly questioning the actions of his friend and he is a hard person to read. It’s hard to tell if he is still hesitant about the workings of the park, or if there is something deeper going on. My guess would be he is questioning the morality of Westworld as a whole.

Either way, their plotline was rather dull. Don’t get me wrong, it was important to see the process of arriving at the park from a guests point of view. After all, this is why the park exists. But compared to the already complex stories we’ve seen from several of the hosts, this didn’t do it for me. It also didn’t help that Ben Barnes’s character was your stereotypical token asshole. He was constantly belittling William and telling him how deep the adventures of Westworld can go, but all we see him do is murder hosts and screw hookers. However, I imagine these two will become pretty important as the show progresses and their personalities will ultimately shift.

Looking past the procedural parts of the episode, thought, were two very interesting plotlines. One of these involved The Man in Black (Ed Harris). Last week we learned that he is a long time visitor to the park, constantly interacting with the several different hosts. From early on it was clear that he was after something bigger than the thrills of murder and robot sex. Although we don’t know his intentions, we learn that he is after some kind of maze. We don’t know what this maze is, though. Is it like the final boss level like in a video game, or is it something that has to do with the deep inner workings of the park? His methods of finding it, though, suggest it’s not something everyone is intended to find.

The most intriguing aspect of this week’s episode, however, came from Maeve (Thandie Newton). The first episode centered around a glitch in a recent episode that is causing some of the hosts to malfunction. First, it was the sheriff and then it was Dolores’s father. This week both Dolores and Maeve show similar symptoms but Maeve’s are much more severe. She starts to remember a tragic event from her past, something the hosts are not supposed to do, and it clearly changes her. Eventually, she wakes up in the Westworld lab while being operated on, completely freaks out, and threatens workers. Whatever this bug is, it is giving the affected even more human-like emotions. From numerous other movies featuring rebellious robots, this can only be a bad thing.

Although I thought this episode of Westworld was dull compared to the first, it’s clear we are in for a thrilling show. There are so many interesting storylines and characters we need to learn more about before coming to any conclusions. This episode only raised more questions into what this world is really about.

Score: 8/10

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