This review is based on the first four episodes of the HBO series.
If there is anything we know about Westworld, it’s that it is out of this world.
Puzzling mysteries, constructed realities and questions about consciousness and identity that can potentially lead one to an existential crisis, Westworld is back with a long-awaited season 3 and kid you not, it is still as mind-boggling as the previous seasons. All without making us all go: “huh?”.
Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have been teasing viewers about what could happen when the hosts – especially Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) – slip into the real world all throughout season 2 and the confusing and admittedly messy timeline of said season left viewers with plenty of plot holes and tons of questions. Be teased no more because lucky for fans who have been dying to have a continuation, season 3 gets right into it in a (surprising) linear fashion.
Season 3 picks up right where the previous season ends and starts off in the real world 30 years later. The world is dystopian, high-tech and Delos and brand new company Incite are at each other’s neck in trying to sustain and take over the AI industry. Filmed in Singapore and Los Angeles, the wild mix of architecture and culture depicts how global humans have become.
Whilst this version of the real-world we’re introduced to is foreign, what seems to have made a comfortable home is human nature. Explored in the previous two seasons, humans in season 3 are still as vile, abusive and condescending three decades later. It’s no wonder that when Delores finally returns to the screen, she’s thirsting for blood, revenge and world domination. This thirst grows when she meets Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul.
We finally see Paul in season 3 and what was supposed to be a character in season 1 is finally making an entry in the third season. Guess it’s better late than never?
In this season, Paul plays new character named Caleb – a construction worker and hitman with harrowing depression. Caleb battles with mental health and trauma on a daily and has seemingly lost all hope. He goes for therapy but decides to stop treatment until he finds something real that will reignite his dull, bleak life. That “something real” soon happens to be Delores.
The two build a close relationship and Caleb eventually joins the fight with Delores as her loyal steed. Caleb isn’t as vicious as Delores (who can ever be, really?) and the show seems to hint that Caleb may hold redeeming characters innate in humans. Wil that change Delores’ mind? It seems unlikely.
Paul isn’t the only new sheriff in town, Vincent Cassell plays a tycoon desperate to put an end to Delores, while Lena Waithe and Kid Cudi play as hitmen alongside Paul’s character. Whilst these new characters do thicken the plot, it gets thicker when characters who are killed off in the massacre in season 2 returns.
Maeve (Thandie Newton) returns with the same quest in her mind, of which it is to be with her daughter, but is roped in to be a pawn in someone else’s fantasy in killing Delores. Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) makes a comeback with Delores inside of her as seen in season 2 to do dirty dealings for Delores but is immediately thrown into an identity crisis between who she is and who she really is. Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) makes a comeback to answer the questions and fill in the plot holes created in season 2 and everyone and no one is in control of their realities.
Whilst we enjoy seeing favourite characters come back to life over and over again, Westworld enjoys doing it until it has come to a point where death no longer holds meaning. It becomes increasingly hard to hope that Maeve will be reunited with her daughter when the maiden gets shot left right and centre and gets resurrected only to be diverted from her true quest. It also begs the question if there truly is any point in killing someone if they return once again? Although this largely excludes the host recreated as Emily to torment William over and over again for killing her.
Dying and resurrecting has been Westworld’s favourite way of creating plot twists and playing with our minds, but it forgets that as humans who only live once on this Earth, life and death hold great value. Without upholding these things we human viewers hold dear, characters start to lose their touch on us. And tip to Westworld for the next couple of seasons to follow after: replicating consciousness to put in a copy body is a cool party trick, so let’s not overdo it.
For those new to the tv show, Westworld can be a personal hell. It builds a lot upon the sufferings and grief of the characters in the first season and it takes time to understand what the hell hosts are and what their end goal is.
But whether or not you’re new to the rodeo or a long-time fan, giddy up and get ready to have your mind blown and to be thrown into an existential crisis, because as whack as it Westworld gets, you can’t help but want more.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Oops, they did it again. They played with our minds. And we got lost in their game. Oops, we think we’re in love. Get ready for the new gods above – they’re not that innocent.
Story - 8/10
Direction - 8/10
Characterisation - 8.5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8/10