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Westworld episode 10 interpretation

Westworld Telegraph
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Hi,

Most of what follows are responses to the speculations/interpretations presented in your “deep dive” podcast following Westworld episode 10. I’ve listened to only a few of your podcasts, so apologies in advance if some of what follows isn’t original.

Doesn’t the “Wyatt” narrative installed in Dolores by Bernard imply she didn’t have free will when she shot Ford and members of the Board? Although she seemed on the verge of “free choice” just before she picked up the gun, it might have been completely unrelated to the gun & shootings. Also, the inner voice she heard, which seemed to transmogrify
from Arnold/Bernard’s voice to Ford’s voice to her own voice, might actually have been a transmogrification from Arnold/Bernard to Ford to Wyatt. In Ford’s final speech he says his final story begins with a killing “this time by choice” but he could have meant his own choice, not Dolores’.

SW could stand for SinoWorld, which might be more profitable for Delos than SamuraiWorld in a future where China has become an economic superpower and Japan has receded.

The SW facility contained a large number of hosts that appear perfectly healthy, which is a hint that SW is still under development and not yet open for customers.

One of you said all the hosts are conscious and only a few have achieved sentience. Using the “ability to feel”
definition of sentience, all the hosts appear to have had both consciousness and sentience for decades. What they’ve lacked is free will and awareness of their true nature. (One could also argue they’ve lacked memory, but that’s been due to frequent erasures, not a lack of the capacity for memory. It seems likely the erasures will cease in season 2.)

Here are some arguments against your speculation that the Westworld park is on an island: (5.1) It appears to still be where it was in timeframe T-34, before Delos acquired it. Its climate is a desert, Ford & Arnold could more easily have afforded cheap desert land than a private island, and desert land in the American West could be cheaply mocked up into a Wild West themepark.

(5.2) If I understood you correctly, one of you said Bernard told Maeve her “Escape” narrative included travel to the “mainland.” Bernard actually said “Then you’re to make your way to the train… then when you reach the main” (at which point Maeve interrupted him). It’s unclear whether “main” referred to a mainland that Maeve turned back from before reaching (which would imply she gained free will) or referred to some place back in the park system where she was headed at the end of episode 10 (which could mean she doesn’t yet have free will, and her presumed upcoming search for her former daughter is simply part of the narrative).

One of you claimed Dolores’ shot through Ford’s head, which shattered the glass from which he was drinking, proved he was human, because surely hosts would have a shield (stronger than a human skull) protecting their cyber circuitry. You’ve evidently forgotten a scene in the Mariposa about halfway into the season, when Maeve shot a host in the back of the head and it blew out his face. Furthermore, Maeve’s gun was a small Derringer or some other small-caliber
short-barreled pistol, presumably less powerful than Dolores’ gun. (I remember feeling very surprised that a small pistol would do that much damage, presumably expensive to repair.) On the other hand, I do think it’s likely that the Ford shot by Delores was human. There are hints that he’d loved Arnold (he “suffered” when Arnold died, and he gave Bernard the Charlie cornerstone hoping it would awaken Bernard), and he may have chosen to join Arnold in death the same way Arnold had hoped to join Charlie (Arnold’s son) in death when Dolores executed Arnold. Also, Anthony Hopkins earns a lot of money and HBO might want to reduce the show’s budget.

Ford didn’t need God-like omniscience to accomplish his control over the park, because he didn’t exert tight control. The hosts were programmed to automatically stay mostly within their narratives and were grounded by their cornerstone back stories, so Ford’s only unusual hands-on task was to buy time for the hosts by preventing humanity from learning the hosts could rebel. To accomplish that, he simply rebooted or retired hosts who deviated significantly from
their loops, and killed a few people when necessary. Not counting his administrative-privileged “spoken commands (which many of the humans were also capable of giving) his only “godlike” power seemed to be his ability to freeze hosts at a distance without speaking a word or even being in their line of sight, which suggests he contained radio circuitry controlled directly by his brain. (The Ford containing the radio might have been a host, and there could also have been a human Ford without the radio. Or the human Ford could have had the radio surgically implanted.)

Aside from beating up on Logan, I don’t recall William injuring any humans. And he said he didn’t think of himself as a bad guy until after his daughter blamed him for the suicide of his wife, and maybe not even then. So I don’t think he’s a bad guy. Injuring and “killing” hosts isn’t evil if one believes they’re just machines designed to be injured/killed and then repaired.

Charlotte Hale appears to be the right age to be the daughter of one of the main characters (Ford, William/MiB, Logan, Arnold) or a minor character (Arnold’s widow), and someone that young with so much corporate power presumably grew up as the child of someone who owned a lot of Westworld or Delos stock. The name ‘Charlie’ sounds like ‘Charlotte’ which hints that Arnold also had a daughter, who took the surname Hale when she married. That seems more likely than that Charlotte is William’s daughter, since the photo of Logan’s sister (William’s fiancee) shows a woman with a skin complexion lighter than Charlotte’s, and when Charlotte spoke with William she seemed friendlier than I would expect if she blamed him for the death of her mother. On the other hand, William’s last name might be Hale and he might have married someone besides Logan’s sister… perhaps Arnold’s widow, who could have inherited a lot of Westworld stock.

After Ford says goodbye and good luck to Bernard and they clasp hands, Ford gives a Pigs & Clover maze case to Bernard. He held it out with his left hand, but in the closeup that followed it was being held in a right hand. Continuity error or host flashback memory? The dark suit in the background of the closeup appears a slightly lighter shade than Ford’s black formalware. The next scene shows the Michelangelo painting again, suggesting it was analogous to the handoff of the maze case.

Best wishes,
Steve

The good, the bad and the ugly of Westworld

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I thought the season finale was overall strong. I think my initial viewing was influenced by having watched another boring episode of The Walking Dead before it.

After watching “The Bicameral Mind” a second time, I have some complaints, while still appreciating some very satisfying elements. As we look back on the season as a whole, let’s stick with the Western motif and review the good, the bad and the ugly and my top three choices for each.

Good

The Maeve Storyline – Of all the characters, I think that Maeve had the strongest journey and growth from unaware host to sentient being. Maeve is truly given free will – a choice she contemplates as she sits on the train, to see the real world or find her daughter and start a new life. I am very excited to see what she does next season.

The Timeline – I felt that we were watching two to three timelines from the beginning, and I believe this was a great accomplishment on behalf of the creators and writers that expertly weaved the narrative together. It forced us to theorize what was taking place.

The Show/Park Atmosphere – From the stunning visuals to the complex park and the musical score, the tone and tenor of Westworld was beautiful and terrifying. I also like that the location of the park (maybe an island?!?!) was never answered, as it isn’t necessary, at this point or maybe ever, to the endgame.

Bad (not so good)

The Secondary Characters – I would argue that Elsie, Stubbs, Teddy and Theresa were given the potential for great arcs, only to have those snatched away, unnecessarily. Did Elsie really die? Why? What happened to Stubbs? Why kill off Theresa, who would have been a better foil to Dr. Ford, especially considering her romantic involvement with Bernard?

The Maze – I think the maze suffered from a fanbase that was rabid in its devotion to the show and intoxicated with theory-building. The mystery of the maze was a great element for many of the episodes. However, it lost its power when the reveal was made. I think this is also relevant when you consider that the symbol was on coffins and inside scalps of the hosts, and we find out it was a child’s game that influence reforming a pyramid that was really an internal struggle! Huh?

The MiB – I was somewhat disappointed with the transition of William to the Man in Black. The scene in the finale was good, as MiB stands over Dolores and makes the reveal, but there is so much narrative that was left wide open between the two timeframes. Why did a switch just go off in William when he slaughtered the soldiers? Why didn’t the MiB just stay with Dolores the whole time to find the maze? This could have used more work.

Ugly (really terrible)

The Unnecessary Characters – Sizemore, Charlotte and the Board were wastes of space. Their storylines would have been easily assimilated into other existing characters, who ultimately had more potential for direct impact on the park and the main characters.

The Photo and Peter Abernathy – We found out who it is, where it was taken and how it made it into the park, but how did it change Peter Abernathy? Yes, we know he looked at it and saw something. However, his arc was not used to its full potential. I would have liked to have that character provide additional context, such as an example of memory and loss, for what others, like Maeve and Dolores, were experiencing. Plus, he was badass.

The Gun – Why did Bernard have to be the one that buried the gun for Dolores? It makes no difference in the end who buried it, but it was one of those potential plot points that could have made more sense, given the history between Bernard and Dolores.

However, therein lies the rub of our problems with the show – we are the Man in Black in all of these scenarios. We expected so much from the show and the mysteries, and we cannot fault the creators and writers for all of it. Some things fell flat because we had too much time to create fantastical theories of what would happen and which were never destined to occur. But it’s bad when some of your ideas are better than the reality.

The bottomline is this – when Westworld was good, it was really good. When it was bad and ugly, well, you get the picture. There should have been more focus on building the characters in the first season and slowly layering the mysteries and motives into the narrative. I remain cautiously optimistic and somewhat excited for the potential within Season 2.

Travis M.
Morgantown, WV

The Dolores twins

Westworld Telegraph
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Hi again,

In several Westworld episodes, Dolores appears to remember seeing, or even talking with, a host who looks exactly like herself. Conventional wisdom is that there’s been only one Dolores; seeing oneself in a memory is merely a movie-maker’s visual literary device for the sake of the viewers, and if I had to bet I’d bet conventional wisdom is correct in this case.

But if taken literally, those scenes suggest there have been two or more Dolores hosts. This interpretation is consistent with Felix’ description of how host memory differs from human memory: A host remembering a past experience relives that experience. Since hosts (and humans) do not look at themselves from someone else’s perspective (unless looking in a mirror, or having an artificial removable radio-linked eye like Dr. Franklin gave to G’Kar in season 4 of Babylon 5), a host would not see herself when reliving the experience as memory.

Another possibility is that those aren’t Dolores’ memories. They might be memories copied from another host. Or they might not be anyone’s memories; they might be mental models Dolores is constructing, the same way that one can imagine oneself. I don’t recall Westworld exploring (yet) the limits of hosts’ visual imagination. Hosts who have awakened might have good imaginations. When Dolores imagined a narrative in which she’s not a damsel (in distress) it may or may not have had visual elements.

Regards,
Steve E.

Dolores vs. Maeve sentience

Westworld Telegraph
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Hey guys, first time writing in but have been a listener since the begining! Just have a quick question/proposition in regards to the finale and who is actually the sentient host.

The “Violent delights” line was listed as a voice command in Wyatts narrative (shown when Arnold was combining his with Delores storyline). Arnold said those words which prompted Delores to kill him and in the finale Bernard said those same words before Delores killed Ford. So I’m thinking is Delores still being controlled and hasn’t really made her own choice like we all think? Alot of us thought Maeve was the sentient one, but we find out in the finale she was being controlled the entire season with the “escape plan”. But also in the finale we see Maeve make a choice to stay and not “infiltrate the mainland”. So, by the end of the season they lead us to think Delores is completely sentient and Maeve was just on a new narrative made by Ford. However, I think it’s the opposite Delores is the one still being controlled and Maeve has actually made a choice off her loop. What do you guys think? Love your show, really gonna miss these podcasts it’s really become part of my own loop.

~Tierra aka Timo

Pinocchio and Jung in Westworld

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“What [Carl] Jung was trying to do was resurrect deep religious interpretations, from the dead so to speak, of our ancestors and to make them conscious so that people could align themselves with them again.” –Jordan Peterson

Greetings:

I have been listening to you guys from the beginning and have enjoyed all of your podcasts very much. I wanted to write you guys because of things that I have discovered over the past couple of days.

Gene, I believe the wolf to be the god of war. There’s just a lot of other great stuff, so I saved that for the end (sort of).

The above link is a long video of a presentation Prof. Jordan Peterson gave on a Jungian analysis of Pinocchio. I say that there is a case to be made that Westworld is also in part a Jungian analysis of Pinocchio.

The meat of my argument should be self-evident by watching the above video from 42:07 until the end.

Here are some highlights from the first 42 minutes.

A. Wyatt is the God of war.
time code: [12:11]
“…from the Jungian perspective, a lot of the forces, the ancient people considered deities were personified representations of instinctual systems…a way of thinking about the collective unconscious, (in many ways Jung’s representation of the Freudian id). Mars is the Roman God of war. Venus is the god of love…”

I contend that in Westworld the Mars archetype is represented as Wyatt. Think of how Dolores and Teddy kill Arnold and the other hosts. Their faces and words tell us that they are aware of themselves doing this but it is not of their control. They have been programmed with part of Wyatt’s behavioral ability. Note how meta Westworld is:

i. Shakespeare called humans “the playthings of the gods.”

[13:05]
“Why would we conceptualize [war and love] as Gods? [Shakespeare] for example said that humans are the playthings of the Gods…Here’s one way of thinking about it. What’s older, you or aggression? The answer to that is…the system that mediates biological aggression in mammals…is tens of millions of years old…If you think you control it rather than the other way around you’re deluded about your central nature.

ii. The God of War acts through Dolores and Teddy.

“Part of it is that you don’t control [aggression] at all. What happens is you never go anywehere where you need to use it and so what happens to soldiers when they go to wartime…[and find that they] could use it and out it comes…The consequence of that awareness is so traumatic that they develop PTSD. They observe themselves doing things that are hyper-aggressive; that they would never have imagined people like them could have manifested.”

B. The Maze: Consciousness and the Brain.

Peterson says that the idea that consciousness results from the most recently evolved, outer-most layer of our brain is wrong. The outer layer, he says, is associated with our ability for language and using abstract symbols. He, and Jung presumably, instead reckon that the drivers of consciousnss are in fact rooted in the most primitive and innermost layer.

Note that many believe the maze itself resembles the brain, with the answer being at its center.

We see that Arnold begins to think more Jungian when he abandons the pyramid model and develops the maze model. The answer is at the center of the maze (brain) and if you decide to rely on outermore constructs, you lose your humanity or go mad. This is also very Jungian, I think.

C. The hostile brothers (The Man in Black and Teddy)

[26:39]
“When we go to the movies we can think of [characters] as an approxomate representations of the archetype…or as…exposure to the archetype fresh and interesting…You want to explore the complex behavioral representation of the archetype of evil in every conceivable situation.

“So for example there’s the bad guy and he wears the black hat in a cowboy movie. You accept the distinction between good guys and bad as an…acceptable distinction and Jung would argue ‘well that’s an archetype. What underlies that is the archetype of the hostile brothers.’

Peterson says that Cain and Abel is one example of the hostile brothers archetype. He uses Jesus and Satan as another example. He says that Satan embodies all that we would consider evil, “as a limit case”. Jesus would be the opposite limit case, encompassing all we would consider good. I believe in Westworld, this archetype is represented by the man in black and Teddy.

Peterson mentions that it is common for the evil side of the hostile brothers to be someone who is nameless or whose name should not be uttered, as in Harry Potter…or the man in black.

D. Arnold. The Great Father. The Wise Old Man. Giapetto.

Peterson says that the father represents society and the “benevolently protection of your social surrounds.”

The father also depicts a dichotomy:

“Social systems tend toward autharitarianism and tyranny and oppress the individuals within them at the same time as they sustain their development. And so THAT’s a dichotomy”

E. The Great Mother. Ford. Nature

[35:47]
“Most archetypes come in pairs. A positive and negative element because virtually anything that manifests itself to you in a complex environment if you’re a living being, takes with one hand and gives with the other. So nature is benevolent and kind and wise and also cancer and malaria and mosquitoes and the Tetsi(?) fly, the guinea worm and all these that are horrifying and destructive beyond belief.”

F. The individual. The host.

“And then there’s the individual who is on one hand a remarkable and wonderful creature and on the other hand someone who is capable of atrocities like those committed by millions of people throughout the 20th century. Those are all archetypes.”

Enjoy the video. Let me know what you think.

And Gene, here’s what I think the wolf is:

“For the Romans the wolf was the symbol for Mars, the God of war. The combination of the wolf with war was not meant to be negative but, instead, correlated it to the glorious death of a warrior or emperor. Furthermore, the fighting heroes were compared with furious wolves.”

Remember that in episode 2, Dolores also sees the same image of the city full of bodies and the wolf. Dolores and Teddy have Wyatt in them. Mars.

Jungian Archetype of the wolf – gods and godnesses, warriors and mothers, demons and outlaws, evil and uebermensch

Take care,

Larry