YMMV / Westworld


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    Film 

Film

  • Awesome Music: Fred Karlin's creepily discordant score.
  • Older Than They Think: Osamu Tezuka actually came up with a very similar premise over a decade earlier for an episode of Astro Boy entitled "Robot Land". Not only that, the aesthetic of the park is suspiciously similar to the "Murder Game Room" from the late 1960s Sankei Newspaper Astro Boy serial, right down to the cowboy costumes. Tezuka himself points out the similarities in his introduction to the trade paperback in which the "Robot Land" story appears, where he dismisses it as mere coincidence rather than a deliberate ripoff.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • You'll think twice before taking a vacation in a great park like this one from here on in.
    • The poster for Futureworld invokes this: it's a picture of a very human-looking robot getting its faceplate removed, with the tag line "Is this you, or are YOU you?"
  • Uncanny Valley: The disassembled robots, the gunslinger specifically. Even when all together he still looks like he doesn't blend in with the rest of the bots. Especially with those doll-like eyes.

    Series 

Series

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Many characters are subject to different viewpoints due to all the moral themes and ponderings about the exact nature of humanity.
    • Dr. Robert Ford: a misanthropic sociopath with a god complex or a paternalist, Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely tries to protect his unique creatures from being revealed as a threat to mankind? "The Bicameral Mind" gives the answer that Ford is, in fact, The Atoner who considers opening the park a mistake. But does this negate his God complex or just render him the ultimate misanthrope? Is he motivated by the loss of Arnold, a genuine love for the hosts, or an overriding hatred for humanity?
    • The Man in Black/William: Was William an evil and selfish man at his core all along, or he is just as much a victim of Westworld as the hosts due to the park's brutality, Logan's machinations and his own dissatisfaction with life? Was his evil unveiled, or created? He does say he was 'born' in Westworld, and while he claims to be a straight-up sociopath who doesn't feel anything, the showrunners seem to consider that to be his own view, and while he didn't react to killing Maeve's daughter as he expected to, he certainly did react. He also seems to be full of self-loathing and rage, which doesn't fit the profile of a sociopath who truly feels nothing. Dolores also believes that he was a good person who genuinely loved her but was twisted by a broken heart and years of increasing violence, but Logan may be right that deep down, Dolores was nothing but an excuse. Is a part of him still in love with Dolores, and his cruelty toward her is a desperate attempt to 'wake her up' since he expresses the belief that suffering is what makes a person truly real? And, although it's hard to argue with the implication of the barn scene, did he rape Dolores and has he ever? Or was he torturing her in a further attempt to wake her up?
    • Logan: Did Logan have a more healthy approach to Westworld than William did? While he did act like a dick throughout their whole trip, it was William's emotional attachment to the hosts and Dolores in particular that led to his Start of Darkness and eventually becoming the Man in Black. Logan saw it more as a video game and the hosts as NPCs, which given that it was the earliest build of the park where none of the hosts save Dolores had any self-awareness, they more or less were. Does he really want to bond with his future brother-in-law, and are his reactions to William's refusal to go along with Logan's cruel misadventures just frustration on Logan's part that William doesn't appreciate the escapist draw of the park?
  • Awesome Music:
  • Catharsis Factor: Dolores beating the ever-loving shit out of the Man in Black in the season finale is just desserts for all of the horrible things he's put her and the other hosts through over the years. It's played with in that the Man in Black used to be the very sympathetic character William, and it's possible to feel sorry for him for that very reason. It's also clearly only there for the benefit of the audience who have been rooting for her, since ultimately Dolores' true fate is to instigate the Host revolution by killing Ford, and the Man in Black is still alive by the end of the season.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • Robert Ford, a tragically sympathetic figure in the vein of Dr. Frankenstein but emotionally restrained and with some added villainy thrown in. Ford even quotes Victor Frankenstein at some point.
    • There are many comparisons between the staff at Delos/Westworld with the hosts and Fallout 4's Institute with its synths.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Louis Herthum as Peter Abernathy has received enormous acclaim from critics and audiences. His final scene is considered a highlight in an exceptional first episode due to Herthum's hypnotic performance, in which he swings from warm and sympathetic to robotic and cold to anguished and fearful to angry and vengeful, all while in the buff. It's something special when you steal a scene from Anthony Hopkins, and carry the most memorable scene in an episode that features other acting heavyweights like Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright.
    • Marti, a guest who seems more typical of humanity than others. She isn't bumbling, callous or sadistic, she's just drawn in and enjoys the adventure.
    • Rebus, due to him being played by Steven Ogg. A common joke is that he went from Grand Theft Auto V to Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • The mysterious and sadistic Man in Black definitely has one of the more interesting subplots. And he does it all with style, being played by perennial badass Ed Harris.
    • Invoked with Hector, the outlaw character who is much more popular than the Nice Guy hero character Teddy.
    • Dr. Ford. A given when you have Sir Anthony Hopkins playing a suave yet sinister character.
  • Fourth Wall Myopia: None of the guests have any reason to think the hosts are anything more than mindless robots, and are no more evil in their motivations than your average Grand Theft Auto player.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Not that it wasn't already harsh, but the Man in Black's implied rape of Dolores in Episode 1 seems even worse after Evan Rachel Wood, Dolores' actress, revealed in November 2016 that she's been raped on two occasions.
  • He's Just Hiding: Given the premise of the show and his talk about immortality, many viewers assume that Dr. Ford used a host to fake his death in the finale or that he learned how to load his consciousness on to another host and will return in future seasons.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The fact that the finale features an uprising of sex robots hasn't gone unnoticed to some Cracked fans who notice that one of their videos posits that as the basis for the entire Terminator franchise.
  • Ho Yay: William and Logan's counterparts in the film already had plenty, which the show takes Up to Eleven as Logan is very aggressive about anything that would stop them from spending time together. Logan being canonically bisexual here doesn't help matters.
  • Les Yay: While the series acknowledges both female and male homosexuality, depictions of the latter are both rarer and mostly consist of a few caresses while the former gets more spotlight.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The entire first season is Ford's ascension to this status, his ultimate loop being nothing less than giving the hosts true artificial intelligence and giving the mother of all karmic punishments to Delos for their treatment of them. And it all goes exactly as planned.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Man in Black's Establishing Character Moment has him murdering Teddy in front of Dolores and then dragging her away to be raped.
    • Ford has one in episode 7 when he orders Bernard (who is actually a host) to murder Theresa.
    • Logan cutting Dolores open in front of William to try and break him into a monster like him. It works.
    • Even William isn't immune. While it's definitely a Kick the Son of a Bitch moment, sending your brother-in-law to be out naked, tied to a horse, out of the park is a pretty reprehensible fact. It's unclear if he intends for him to die, but he does know that Logan won't be taking over the family business after this.
  • Nausea Fuel: Maeve's maintenance techs commenting that her organic parts have been harboring an infestation of MRSA courtesy of the beating her innards take from sloppy guests. It takes some of the shine off the whole concept of sexbots readily accessible to any and all visitors. (If the uncanny valley factor and the pathetic fate of the hosts weren't enough to turn you off.)
  • Narm:
    • What is it about the hosts that every fly in Westworld wants to frolic on their eyes and face? Lampshaded by maintenance techs in the second episode as the constant violent and sexual abuse the hosts get along with half-assed cleaning measures makes the hosts filthy and draw flies.
    • After the amazing heist scene in the pilot scored with a fully orchestrated "Paint It Black," it's pretty hard to take seriously when the scenario plays out again (including some reused shots) scored with the main chorus from Carmen.
    • Elsie somehow not recognizing an obvious depiction of a constellation until she turns it slightly. Turns out it wasn't a constellation at all, though, which makes it forgivable.
    • The massive, almost biblical-level orgy in "Contrapasso", which ends with everyone writhing on the floor like the climactic scene of Society, struck some as essentially a self-parody of HBO's use of gratuitous and indulgent sex scenes to make their programming edgier and more mature. The fact that the orgy has no bearing on the plot and was, according to several of the showrunners, very expensive to shoot makes the whole event even more ridiculous.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Once Bernard is revealed to be a Host, you have to ask yourself, just who else on Westworld's staff is actually a host? It's hilariously lampshaded by Felix and Maeve. When Felix discovers Bernard is a Host, he warily looks at his hands only for Maeve to crudely tell him in no uncertain terms that he's a human.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Willores for William and Dolores. It has also been acknowledged by Jimmi Simpson & Evan Rachel Wood, who do a lot of Dubsmash videos together (which occasionally involves Ben Barnes).
  • Retroactive Recognition: By only a few weeks technically, but Trevante Rhodes, who would soon rocket to stardom for playing the adult version of Chiron in Moonlight (which later won Best Picture at the Oscars) briefly appears as an extra in a whorehouse in "The Original".
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Along with the reveal that Bernard was modeled after Arnold comes the realization that we were actually watching Arnold in those scenes of Jeffrey Wright encouraging Dolores' development.
    • To say nothing of the knowledge that the Man in Black is actually William and there are at least two main timelines. Some of the editing makes it seem almost blindingly obvious in hindsight, e.g. the Man in Black reminiscing about how it all began... Cutting straight to a sequence of William arriving by train, which upon the first watch-through you would have assumed was unconnected.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Ford demonstrates his control over the hosts by causing all of them within sight to freeze in place, including what's clearly a still shot rather than the actors holding still.
    • In "Trompe L'Oeil", the scene where William chases after Dolores on the train has some hilariously awful green screen.
  • Ship Sinking: The reveal that William is the Man in Black torpedoes the William/Dolores ship.
  • Stoic Woobie:
    • Below all his inscrutable powerplays and sinister schemes, Dr. Ford has a pained, contrite soul. He went ahead with the park after the hurtful death of Arnold because the park was his dream and acknowledging the hosts' consciousness would have destroyed his dream, only to realize his mistake shortly after. It takes him 35 years to correct it, biding their time with a hidden agenda while fully knowing that mankind's usage of his creations is something depraved.
  • Uncanny Valley: Thanks to good performances from the actors, the hosts give off the feeling of beings trying to act human but not quite succeeding, and it gets even worse when the hosts start outright malfunctioning. One example is when Dr. Ford shares a drink with an older model who jerks around like a decades-old animatronic robot but looks completely human, enhancing that one's specific effect. This is also played with, as Lee actually wants to keep the hosts in the valley so the guests don't identify them as real humans.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • "The Stray" features a flashback of a de-aged Anthony Hopkins in the '70s up there with the famous uses of the technique in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • And again in "The Well-Tempered Clavier", in a scene that takes place in the recent past, Hopkins is made to look about ten to fifteen years younger very convincingly.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Elsie finds evidence of espionage and sabotage that could put people's lives in danger. She knows that Theresa is one of the people involved. You'd expect her to be Properly Paranoid and call in Security to secure the scene. Instead, she's still alone and ends up grabbed from behind and strangled to death by Bernard under Ford's orders. However, it is already established that Elsie has an inherent distrust of Security since they take orders directly from Theresa.
    • Felix and Sylvester going along with every demand of Maeve. Felix gives her a tour of the facility even though it could get her killed and him fired, and they agree to mess with her personality traits to make her smarter and less loyal under threats of blackmail. While this makes some sense for Felix, who has developed a rapport with her, Sylvester has no reason to be so accommodating even after she threatened to kill him. Admittedly, Maeve's uncharacteristic independence and resistance to reprogramming may have made them wary of attempting to defy her, as well as a desire not to admit to such a massive screw-up.
    • The entire Delos Board of Directors. Special mention goes to Charlotte Hale for thinking that Ford would simply retire quietly and not have some trick up his sleeve. Not to mention ending up somewhere you are cut off from the rest of the world with no means of escape. It didn't occur to anyone to have at least a Satellite Phone or an Emergency Locator Beacon handy?
  • The Woobie: Practically all of the hosts count as this due to how they are cruelly exploited by both their creators and the guests. However, a few stand out:
    • In just the first episode alone, Dolores' parents are killed by marauding bandits — one of whom plans to rape her mother's corpse — she is forced to watch her lover gunned down in front of her, and then is dragged away to be raped by a sadistic guest. Then, her father malfunctions and is replaced with a different android, with her being reprogrammed not to notice the change. Then, it's revealed that she is the oldest host in Westworld, and it's implied that she's been abused, mistreated, and killed so many times that she needs constant repairs; the Man in Black alone has been coming to Westworld for thirty years, and most likely rapes her nearly every time he visits. Guests can choose a "white hat" and play the hero or choose a black hat and be a "villain". While this thankfully means better outcomes to her day than the one chosen by the Man in Black, her entire existence is to be a Damsel in Distress, either to be saved or violated depending on the guest. Since all of the hosts live in an artificial "Groundhog Day" Loop, her memories are erased to repeat the loop.
    • Peter seems to finally realize the truth of his existence, but cannot properly convey it either to Dolores or to Dr. Ford. He's shackled by his programming and can only relate to his feelings through preprogrammed lines from Shakespeare, leading Dr. Ford to assume that his behavior is the result of a simple glitch and sends him off to cold storage.
    • Teddy is deeply in love with Dolores and just wants to spend time with her, but is bound by his programming and constantly being pulled away from her, unable to save her or being killed in front of her. He's also repeatedly targeted and killed by guests just for their own amusement. And in "The Stray", when Dr. Ford finally gives him a proper backstory, it's part of a new narrative that takes him away from Dolores to participate in an ill-fated bandit hunt that will result in his death. Then he's picked up by the Man in Black. Really, he just can't catch a break. He becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in "The Adversary", where after being captured by union soldiers, he breaks free and fights his way to a Gatling gun before coldly mowing down the entire camp.
    • Maeve. Upon becoming increasingly conscious of the Groundhog Day loop she lives in, she's clearly and understandably disturbed by the realization that she's been murdered, raped and otherwise tortured innumerable times over the course of her service in Westworld. She even manages to wake herself up on an operating table (a horrific scene in and of itself), but only after a flashback where she remembers a previous role she played as the mother of a young girl. Once she's gotten to relive her own death and the death of her child in a previous life, she scrambles out of the body shop just to get a glimpse of the existential horror of dozens of 'dead' hosts being casually hosed off by the staff. It seems like she was a hair's breadth away from being sent to cold storage, like Peter, and like Peter her growing self-awareness is threatening a total breakdown in her future.
    • Bernard. With the revelation that he is just another host, and his wife and son are just part of his programming. Shortly after, Ford casually forces him to kill Theresa, which brings Bernard to anguished tears. It's not the first time Ford's done this either, despite his assurances to Bernard. Just before Ford wipes his memory of killing Theresa, Bernard briefly recalls strangling Elsie to death in the theatre. And then when Bernard becomes self aware again and tries to rebel against Ford, Ford just uses a backdoor in Bernard's code to force him to commit suicide while still fully aware.
    • The fact that the Man in Black was once William lends him a great deal of sympathy, although only if you subscribe to the Alternative Character Interpretation that William was a genuinely good person who fell in love with Dolores as opposed to just hiding his monstrous attributes even from himself. He goes to hell and back for a woman he loves, enduring brutality and torture and becoming increasingly desperate. When he does find Dolores, she's been reset and doesn't recognize him; she's even beginning the same storyline that he had with her. It seems that he comes to believe that Logan was right, that he fell for an elaborate trick, and is humiliated and heartbroken. He goes on to succeed in a professional sense, but any happiness or meaning eludes him for the rest of his life and Dolores remains his greatest obsession.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Westworld