“Westworld” took the world by storm when it came out of nowhere and is now one of the most popular shows on TV. It landed a Super Bowl commercial and premiered the official trailer of the highly anticipated season that will air on April 22 at 9 p.m. on HBO.
“Westworld” is a series that tells the story about a park that resembles an open world video game such as Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption. The show takes place in the future, and instead of people going on vacation to the beach or another country, they go to this park with a Western theme that is full of AI’s, which stands for Artificial Intelligence. The creator of the park, Dr. Robert Ford, who is played by legend Anthony Hopkins, created what they call hosts, and they have stories and lives that they think are real. It was real to the AI’s; they didn’t know that they weren’t real. They are programmed to be as real as a human as possible. But to the humans that visited, it was all just for fun.
The show follows a few different storylines. One is of an AI named Dolores, the first and original AI they created. Her story focuses on her journey in finding consciousness and that happens with Bernard. Bernard is one of the heads of the park and works closely with Dolores.
Another plot is about The Man in Black who is trying to find the center of the maze that is hidden in the park. He has been visiting the park for many years and feels this is the last thing he has to do. Lastly, a new tourist to the park, William, is trying to save Dolores from trouble early on in the show. The first season was full of twists and turns and definitely worth watching.
One thing HBO did not do too well at first was promoting the show. Its premiere brought in a little less than two million viewers. By the season finale, it had nearly four million live viewers according to deadline.com. The show’s popularity grew and continues to.
Here are the big highlights.
WARNING: SEASON 1 SPOILERS AHEAD.
The show started out a little slow and confusing, but that’s normal with any pilot. We find out that Dolores can die and wake up again the next morning, and also find out Teddy, who is a part of Dolores’s story, is a host as well. We keep following Bernard and his secret attempts to develop Dolores’s consciousness, and then we find out Bernard himself is a host! Yeah, that threw everyone off.
“I thought it really complicated how I viewed humans vs. machines,” said Lou Maser, a senior business administration major at Seton Hill University. “He was a machine the whole time, but behaved as a human and controlled other hosts. I should’ve seen The Man in Black twist coming.”
Then we find out that the show is on two different timelines, as William is The Man in Black. The season ends with the hosts, which are AI’s, starting to remember things, develop consciousness and overthrow the park.
“I thought it was genius. Bernard’s twist threw me on a loop,” said Jake Willochell, a junior chemistry major at SHU. “When I was watching this unfold, I sat up from the position I was laying in and had my mouth gaping open in awe. The way this twist was set up by Dolores’s scattered timeline was perfect. The Man in Black twist was also perfectly set up by Dolores’s timeline and was impeccably delivered. I can’t decide which twist I was more surprised by.”
The park creators really focused on trying to make the AI’s as real as possible so that human visitors couldn’t tell the difference.
“I appreciated the realistic aspect of the AI,” Willochell said. “The whole idea of using realistic robots to fulfill sexual and violent desires of people is fantastic.”
The hosts were also built to have a perfect memory, as it isn’t a human memory, but rather a “black box” of events, and Willochell found that to be very interesting.
“The concept of a theme park with no rules is something I would participate in,” Maser said. “It’s like a real life video game to live out all fantasies.”
Maser also said the show was a bit slow, but each episode ended with a good pay off and cliffhanger.
“I really enjoyed Season 1,” Willochell said. “Definitely one of my favorite shows, if not my favorite.”
Season 1 ended with total rebellion and a lot of death. It left everyone with the question, what is in store for Season 2? Will they continue this story? Or will they do what the popular show “American Horror Story” does and tell a completely different story every season?
“Westworld” did show its viewers that there are other parks in their world as Samurai World was shown.
While Willochell thought Season 1 ended perfectly and thinks maybe exploring new worlds would be good, Maser is more interested in seeing how the hosts and the outside world collide.
Season 2 will also be without one of the greatest actors of all time in Anthony Hopkins.
“I’m not sure how they’ll replace Hopkins or if they even need to,” Willochell said. “Using the end of Season 1, I think that Season 2 will be less about Westworld as a whole and more about the AI as individuals.”
Season 1 ended with Hopkin’s character, Ford, being killed by his own creation, Dolores.
“Hopkins was a kind of authority figure for the AI and his in-show death allows for the AI to be ‘independent,’” Willochell said. “Hopkins (Ford) was a huge part of Season 1, but I think his death allows for the hosts to move on.”
The possibilities for Season 2 are endless. Anything could happen.
“The last episode was truly breathtaking,” Maser said. “When the hosts finally awaken and make their escape and revolt, it was amazing. Season 1 was such a surprise hit and so new, it’ll be hard to top.”
Season 2 of “Westworld” premieres on April 22 at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Published By: Stephen Dumnich