I may throw in several spoilers so please bare that in mind before complaining that I’ve ruined what, in all honesty, is a mind boggling show.
By Dojj @therealdojj
It’s been a week and yet the fuss about the first season or Westworld hasn’t dimmed. More and more folks are saying it’s the next Game of Thrones, but essentially that’s what I’m going to dispute here. I may throw in several spoilers so please bare that in mind before complaining that I’ve ruined what, in all honesty, is a mind boggling show.
Apart from the amazing opening credits and instantly recognisable theme music, there is nothing else that I would consider Game of Thronesy about Westworld, so let me break it down for you.
From the outset, no one really knew what to expect from GoT, and what we got was a grown up version of Lord of the Rings, which is essentially a grown up version of Harry Potter. Swords, sorcery, dragons, world ending events, massive historical epics, and, above all, several different factions all vying for the power to control a kingdom.
Westworld is nothing like that, and while we were expecting some things, the show didn’t set us on fire. Not that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t the instant gratification of real folks dying terrible deaths shock horror that I think many were expecting. And being based in “the real world” there was no sense of fantasy.
Instead we were treated to the first layer of a story which had so many layers, that by the end we were all blinking and wondering what we’d witnessed.
The first two thirds of the season set the scene for the madness (or perhaps the sanity, depending on your interpretation) that was to follow. And while no one could claim humans “killing” robots wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t all that special once you found out that the robots couldn’t fight back.
There was enough intrigue built in though to keep the story moving along, get the beloved viewers grey matter moving and not just in building the back story, in building up what turned out to be rabid internet fanboi mad cap theories about multiple timelines, who was who, etc, etc.
And here lies the crux of the matter, in GoT you had an inkling of what was going to happen, wars, battles, scheming, conniving, the deaths that didn’t really matter “They were going to die anyway, best we took their money than someone else” and huge epic story arcs crossing continents. But in Westworld you are following the story's of the few, you’ve been so invested in thinking there are “good guys” and “bad guys”, yet in the end we didn’t even know who was real and who was a host.
How could you root for a “bad robot”? How did the genius that was Ford’s narrative overlooked by so many for everything but the last 5 minutes? How was the man in black seemingly the good guy in the end? The questions came thick and fast and overwhelmed us. I watched the last episode 4 times in the space of 12 hours and the rich depth of “everything”. I saw more and more and more.
So yes, by all means compare it to being as big a show as Game of Thrones, but the $40k per day entry price bought the park to the levels that your average lottery winner could afford to take a trip to. I still cheer for my sons football team even though I realise that Barcelona is what I’m dreaming about, and so it is with Westworld. The sense that it’s an attainable future reality rather than an old swords and sandals tale from ye olden days.
Two years is a long time to wait for the return, yet I feel that season 2 episode 1 will still leave us just as confused as episode 10 was.
And don’t forget, unlike GoT, episode 9 wasn’t “the best episode of the season”, so another reason the shows are nothing like each other...