How clever do you need to be to watch TV these days? WestWorld is confusing

Time to read
5 minutes
Read so far

How clever do you need to be to watch TV these days? WestWorld is confusing

June 19, 2018 - 16:45
Posted in:
1 reader reviews
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
Rate this programme

Not seen WestWorld? Where have you been? Go and watch it right now, then come back or complain about spoilers by continuing to read this page.


By Dojj Singh @therealdojj

This question popped up in an internet discussion group (because we aren't allowed to promote just Facebook, are we? Lawyers etc) that I'm on in regards to WestWorld.

Not seen WestWorld? Where have you been? Go and watch it right now, then come back or complain about spoilers by continuing to read this page.

Some viewers have said that it’s simply too complicated to follow the series as there are a multitude of varying timelines to figure out, the show is set across at least 37 years and you get various scenes that reveal various plot lines.

But isn’t that the beauty of watching a challenging show like this?

Sit back and enjoy the experience. Not having a chronological timeline means that you have a greater shock when things are uncovered, you have a greater anticipation of things that could happen later on in the season’s episodes, you can genuinely be surprised at the twists and turns in the storylines that you may have otherwise been able to simply figure out.

The other camp though would have you think that to enjoy something you are watching, and continue to enjoy something you are following, you need to sit back and relax and NOT engage your grey matter because you want sudden dawning realisation about the way the story is headed.

A good example of this is the recent film adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. The book jumps 28 years back and forth between childhood and grown up lives and it works really well. But on the screen, last year’s adaptation has concentrated only on the childhood portion, and the transition from book to screen has been great. But this is one example of IT (if you’ll pardon the pun) working.

I can’t think of another show, film or series where it has worked badly to give some balance to the equation but it does go some way towards the growing problem with visual entertainment. How much do the makers need to explain along the way? Do you need a voice over to tell you what’s going on? Do you need to watch from the start? Should you avoid spoilers? How can you review a show such as WestWorld without ruining it for the people who haven’t seen it on a Sunday morning at 2AM when all you can do is talk about how utterly amazing it was?

With one episode left to go a larger and larger part of the online community have been voicing their anger at it being overly complicated, and some even claiming it’s needlessly over complicated.

I myself have been keeping up with a timeline page that explains when each scene is being played out along the vast timeline, where the characters are in relation to each other etc. The more and more pieces of the puzzle that are added, the clearer the picture that emerges, which is the whole point right?

If you want to watch “simple” shows then I’m afraid WestWorld will not be for you.
However, if you want a proper brain work out that taxes every bit of mental muscle you possess, then I can think of nothing else that comes close.

In particular Season 2 episode 8 is going to be regarding as possibly one of the defining moments of TV these past years, but you’ll have to watch the proceeding 7 episodes first, get them note pads out to work out what’s going on.
But they’ll need to be big ones, it’s VERY VERY complicated, so complicated in fact, even the characters don’t know what’s going on, which is kind of the point, and extremely exciting to watch.

It’s also got a decent sprinkling of Sir Anthony Hopkins, which is not taking away from the impact of the likes of Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, Evan Rachael Wood, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, not to mention of the Thor siblings and a whole host of other remarkably familiar faces.
And it’s very worthy of replacing Game of Thrones as the MUST SEE TV event of the year this year.

There is 1 Comment

Anna May's picture

Firstly, I agree with the original reviewer. Westworld is not for those who need to be spoon-fed every single detail of a story in order to make it easier to digest. That said, it doesn’t automatically qualify hardened Westworld fans as having more intelligence and depth than anyone else. They just like to punish their brains a little more than maybe they should.

Now, with two seasons done and dusted, we’re still not quite sure what’s happened and are even less sure of what’s to come. The hosts (robots) have all decided they’re not taking the abuse of either their human creators or the guests (also humans) anymore and, if you ask me, things have gotten pretty darned brutal! Dolores, the once submissive damsel in distress, has promoted herself to gun-toting boss of everything, Maeve is still chasing the idea she can find the long lost daughter she was given in a past ‘life’…and The Man in Black is still making it his sole purpose to find out exactly what Robert Ford has been playing at all these years.

At least, that’s what SEEMS to be happening. You see, we now know it’s possible for a human consciousness to be put into a host body…and The Man in Black (AKA William) was involved in the development of that technology as a young man.

For all we know, young William’s timeline could be spread across decades. After all, how would a young William know what he was going to look like in years to come? In other words, if he did have the luxury of ordering several bodies in his own image back then, it wouldn’t matter at what age he died…he could still come back as that younger version of himself. Did the older William make an entirely different younger version of himself? What the HELL! Confused? Good.

This obviously means we can never believe anything we see, ever again! Excellent! If we thought it was confusing before, we now know any combination of hosts or humans can appear at any given time in history. Basically, we’re stuffed.

If you’ve already watched the first season, you’ll know to assume nothing and expect anything. Just as the hosts and guests are finding out, you’re never more than a scene away from having everything you believed to be true turned upside-down and sent in a completely different direction. For every new and welcome explanation we find ourselves clinging to, another is crushed before our very eyes. I believe it is this ‘giving with one hand and taking with the other’ that keeps fans hooked. Also, there seems no end to the number of different theories being passed round…and not just with regard to the season finale.

We’re never quite sure why, or even when, certain events are happening, which results in each episode leaving endless speculation and unanswered questions in its wake. However, the main characters are becoming more and more fleshed out as the gradual exposure of their backstories brings us closer to them. Now we are better able to understand the motives behind their actions, be they good or bad, and feel more inclined to want to follow them into a new season.

So what and where in time and space did Bernard see when he opened that door at the end? Were there spaceships flying overhead? When did that scene even occur? What’s going on, eh? No idea.

Isn’t it great when only the writers know what’s about to happen. Absolutely! But isn’t it just SO draining. Yes…yes it is.