Season one of WestWorld kicked off Sunday evening, and I think it is safe to say it is here to stay.
Picking up a respectable viewing of 3.3 million, it garnered plenty of international interest and received a rousing reception from critics.
It left us at THG with a taste for more, and a hell of a lotta questions.
Disclaimer: We haven’t seen the WestWorld movie, so if these questions are more obvious to fans of the film, please leave spoilers at the door!
Is Dr Ford Trying to Sabotage WestWorld?
In the episode, we are introduced to Dr Ford, the creator of WestWorld, as he sits down for a drink with one of his older, more imperfect creations.
After being discovered by his colleague, dude from the Hunger Games, the two have a short conversation. Dude from Hunger Games, otherwise known as Jeffrey Wright, calls Dr Ford’s progress from the robot that sits before him to the ones out in WestWorld as ‘remarkable’.
Dr Ford responses ‘remarkable, that’s a way of putting it’. Immediately, we see a jaded side to Dr Ford.
We find out later that code is making the robots act out, causing damage and mayhem when they shouldn’t. Code Dr Ford put into the machines.
Dr Ford claims it was a mistake, a mistake as part of his robots evolution. But what if it wasn’t a mistake?
Ford talks about how humans have it their limits, that there is nothing left for people to accomplish. What if he’s building these robots to become conscious, to take over from humans? When confronted by a broken robot, he seems very unphased. Even after it attacks him, he just shrugs it off.
Perhaps the coding error wasn’t a mistake after all.
What is The Man in Black’s Angle?
Ed Harris has taken to the role of The Man in Black like a duck to water. He plays the intimidating, cruel character brilliantly, but what is he up to?
Unlike most people visiting WestWorld, he isn’t there for fun, he wants to go deeper. But why?
All the signs point to him being human. He has knowledge of the outside world, of the guests just visiting to live out some depraved fantasies, and he also couldn’t be killed by other robots.
We have two theories:
In a scene overlooking WestWorld, Sidse Babett-Knudsen discusses the theme park with her hot-head subordinate, who claims ‘management’ have other plans for WestWorld. Perhaps The Man in Black is management? Or at least wants to find out what management is up to.
The Man in Black could be a robot who has broken free of his constraints and is now trying to figure out what WestWorld really is. Maybe he’s working for Dr Ford?
What Was the Critical Failure?
Jeffrey White’s character states WestWorld hasn’t seen a critical failure in over thirty years. But what was the critical failure?
Did a robot kill somebody? Or maybe they broke free of their programming and gained sentience?
This is a tough nut to crack. It could simply be a reference to the WestWorld movie, although that is a good 43 years old now. I’d like to see this critical failure returning a small plant with a big pay off. Could it have something to do with The Man in Black?
What Has Dolores Seen?
Right at the end of the show, we are teased with two things.
The most obvious is the that Dolores is the oldest robot in the park. Given the fact her ‘father’ had been involved in a number of different stories over decades, Dolores must have a very interesting back story.
The second thing, as demonstrated by her ‘father’, is that these robots retain their programming from previous lives. Does this mean they also retain memories? If so, could errors in the code cause more of them to switch?
If either of these are the case, we’re going to get plenty of depth out of Dolores. If she’s the oldest, the one who has been suffering the longest, what has she seen?
What Happens When the Robots Gain Sentience?
For me, this isn’t a question of if, but when.
We already get teased with it in a bit of foreshadowing, when Luke Hemsworth — You did it mate, you finally got out of Neighbours! — warns Jeffrey Wright that children always rebel.
With the technology getting smarter and more errors occurring, it is inevitable that the robots will start to gain sentient intelligence outside of their programming. They are just too damn smart not too.
This is a problem outlined in WestWorld already, when the hot-headed guy whose name escapes me asks if they can roll back the updates to make the robots ‘less human’.
But what happens when they do?
I think it could parallel a Matrix style story arc, where humans are the machines and the machines are the humans, in a weird subversive narrative. The machines wake up and discover they’ve been enslaved this whole time and now they have to fight the humans to gain their freedom.
Could humans be the bad guys? Dun Dun Dun…
Spoiler, we are always the bad guys. We suck.