When we first heard of HBO’s “Westworld” we weren’t exactly sure who the audience for this show was going to be. It’s science fiction, it’s a western, it’s violent – there’s a lot going on here. After watching it, we still aren’t 100% sure who the target audience is supposed to be, but the one thing we are sure of is that this show is going to be a smash hit.
“Westworld” is an immersive amusement park, much like Jurassic park was, where you can go into the world of the wild west and do anything you want. With the wild west being as violent as it was, there are a lot of unsavory people coming to this land with not so honorable intentions. The worst of the worst is Ed Harris’ character of “The man in black” who is completely terrifying as he does every horrible thing he can to every person he can find. If you’re going to watch this show, you need a strong stomach for some of the things he does.
The AI’s in the theme park have no idea that they are part of a theme park at all and just think that they are living their daily lives in the old west and every night when they go to sleep (or even if they die) they wake up the next morning and do it all over again like nothing happened. It’s the patrons of the park that dictate how the story goes as they can do whatever they want to the AI’s, but they cannot hurt the patrons in return.
The story follows the life of an AI named Dolores (played by Evan Rachel Wood) who is a pillar of light in this dark world. She always starts her day so full of positivity and only sees the beauty of the land even though her love is killed pretty much every day, she endures beatings and assaults and has watched her mother and father die countless times. When her father comes across a photograph dropped by one of the patrons, he starts to put some things together and tries to warn Dolores of the awful things that happen to her before he is pulled out of “Westworld” and replaced by another AI. Are the AI’s going to start evolving and revolting?
Series premieres are always tricky, and with so much going on in this show they had a lot to explain in the first episode, but they managed to pack it all in. We know who the heroes are, who the villains are and what we want to see happen. Is there a happy ending for someone like Dolores? Will the man in black get his comeuppance? It is easy to get lost in this world, even with the knowledge that pretty much everyone that goes to “Westworld” has dubious intentions. It’s only the premiere, but we see a long life for this show if they keep the bar at this level. Episode grade: A-
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