Westworld: Episode 8

Morgan Herrmann - November 22, 2016

As the season draws to a tumultuous close, Westworld continues to leave us with just as many questions as answers. While we are given clues regarding the origins and fates of certain characters, nothing is confirmed. We are left to our own devices to formulate a solution, and the hints provided by dialogue and plot are minimal in comparison to other current television series.

This approach can result in a slightly lower viewer satisfaction, which is the case for the eighth episode. While still receiving an overall positive review, ratings dipped slightly in comparison to the previous episode. However, it is a unique method of delivering a storyline - making the audience think and wonder about where the story is headed next. In a majority of television shows, we are fed a consistent amount of plot in each episode, and enough concrete evidence is provided to reasonably predict what will occur next. Westworld creates a setting where the audience too is as little aware as the characters are, causing both confusion and a desire to come back next week to finally discover what the heck is actually going on.

Some may find Westworld confusing given how the weekly release of new episodes relies on minute details from episodes in previous weeks. For example, Bernard’s comment in the seventh episode, showing his inability to see the door, meant nothing to viewers who could not recall the limited sight of the hosts. In episode eight, few may have noticed the Man in Black’s comment about the female host before him. He states, “I figured they’d have retired you,” to the same female host that first welcomed William and Logan to Westworld at the start of the season. This further suggests the idea that William is the Man in Black, as it is evident throughout the episode that William is slowly losing touch with his fear and reservations. This would also provide an explanation to the Man in Black’s interactions with Dolores in the first several episodes of the season. The audience was not wrong in assuming that they had past interactions that were not made clear in the dialogue.

Based on Westworld’s plot construction, it is certainly a series that could be more comprehensively understood if watched without significant time between episodes. Too much of a time gap causes the audience to have trouble recalling the minute details the series is built upon. Having a balance between mystery and clear, driven plot may be the show’s solution to confused viewers who are not able to follow the hidden messages within each storyline. So while mystery is intriguing, it is important to balance it with clear motives and events that the audience can comprehend.

On another note, the show is still successful at maintaining its audience. Judging by the way Jonathan Nolan operates his cinematic projects, Westworld will come to a convergence point where suddenly everything makes sense. The Man in Black will reveal his motives, the management and Ford will reach a conclusion, and the storylines between Teddy, Dolores, Maeve, and others will finally be mapped out in a way that will surprise us and make us wonder how we missed what was blatantly hinted to us throughout the entire season.

Check out last week's review of Episode 7

Morgan Herrmann

Morgan Herrmann is a freshman currently majoring in Digital Media Design in the School of Engineering. Her favorite film genres include comic book films and science fiction. Outside of class, Morgan enjoys working on drawing, novel writing, and game development. She is a part of the Write On! program at the Kelly Writers House and is also developing a cosplay and costuming organization within the university.