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Westworld – Les Écorchés Review

Well, the season two Westworld  puzzle boxes are opening at a much crisper pace (and with less fanfare than season one). I was shocked that Ford was so clear and concise in explaining such a central conceit of the series to Bernard (and to us). I was also shocked at the speed at which the series dispensed with a number of supporting characters in "Les Écorchés." I'm a firm believer in killing your darlings if it adds to the narrative (or if the characters are dragging down the narrative, which really wasn't the case with those who were killed this week), but I didn't think Westworld was going to be a show that also ascribed to that belief. The major narrative movement in "Les Écorchés" was Ford's confirmation that the purpose of Westworld (and the other five parks) was to figure out a way to get human consciousness into the bodies of hosts (as we saw with the failed James Delos experience, there are still a number kinks to work out in terms of bringing these people back into the real world). So far, the consciousness of the dearly departed can only exist within computer simulations (a la Ford), meaning there's some sort of mind depository out there in the "Valley Beyond" (I'm envisioning something similar to the virtual world of Black Mirror's best episode "San Junipero), with a bunch of people just waiting to get bodies to allow them out and about again. It's the ultimate fantasy: You can live forever, if you have enough money to pay for it. Since we've been waiting for a long time for the grand Delos plan, it was a relief to see something this complex and interesting. I'm really invested, for the first time, in Ford's actions- which is definitely a good thing, as Anthony Hopkins's Ford will be around again, if only in the mind of Bernard. A Ford who is trying to burn things to the ground in hopes of stopping Delos from creating a world populated by the rich with the power to live forever is a worthy cause to root for. Amazing how giving a character's actions a reason tends to make things more interesting for the audience. Speaking of things getting more interesting, I'm officially on the William is a host bandwagon. Because those were waaaaaay too many gunshots for a human to live through- even if they missed vital organs (which means he has the luck of a thousand leprechauns). Without anyone to help him out, he should bleed out pretty quickly (and we all know Ed Harris will be around until the end of the season). William as a host makes sense in light of the Ford revelation. He would be the first of his kind: a successful human-host hybrid. But one would think Ford would know about it. Perhaps this quest to the Valley Beyond is the final test of this new hybrid? Perhaps Delos managed to sneak a host-hybrid William into the park without Ford knowing? Either way, I'm finding myself more invested in William than I have been in the past. And that's a really good thing. And now for the slightly more disappointing aspect of the episode: the Maeve and Dolores meeting. Maeve isn't in the greatest place right now, and Dolores left her to fend for herself. Now, I cannot imagine Maeve getting killed any time soon. And I'm sure she'll manage to get out of this bind (Sizemore hiding in the background will certainly play a role in this). But I was hoping for something more impressive with this conversation. Instead, the show has set-up the inevitable moment in the future where Dolores's choice to spare Maeve will end up costing her something important. Perhaps Teddy? All-in-all, this was another solid episode in a string of solid episodes. I never expected Westworld to bounce back the way it has this season, but I'm legitimately excited to see where things go over the final two episodes. Final Thoughts: -- Oh Elsie, you definitely should have stuck with dental school. -- With the back-ups destroyed, all the hosts are, allegedly, vulnerable to a final death. Which means so long to Peter Abernathy and Angela. And probably Clementine. -- Ford set this entire revolution in motion, which leads to the question of whether or not the hosts are really acting on their own. Or if their actions are still being dictated by Ford's programming.
  • Great William storyline
  • Ford's plan to stop Delos is pretty interesting
  • I expect more from a Maeve/Dolores scene


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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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