The Tantalizing Pain Of Good Ideas

Westworld Telegraph

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Hi Engelbert, Tom and Elvis,

Wow – I wasn’t expecting that much criticism on the Telegraph but I couldn’t argue with most of them. My feelings were mixed on the finale but perhaps I just got there a bit earlier?

One of the most tantalising parts of Joy and Nolan’s third season is that there were some really interesting ideas which if they had been explored more thoroughly could have led to a more subtle story about the nature of Rehoboam controlling the human world.

Without getting into fan fiction, when I look at these elements that were introduced by the show itself then it’s a puzzle as to why they weren’t developed further in the script process.

1) Engerraund Serac’s love for his brother

2) Rehoboam need for simplicity by removing outliers

3) How the Delos data would have enhanced Rehoboam and/or helped Serac

4) How Delores and Caleb could operate in the shadows

When I think of Engerraund and Jean Mi relationship, it is one filled with tragedy and pain. I understand the impulse to want to control their lives so completely. To build Rehoboam is a rational response. The pain of losing his brother to mental illness must be a driver for Serac and the placing of Jean Mi on ice gives hope for a rescue and reunion. And yet Engerraund Serac is turned into a sock puppet in the finale.

This relates to Rehoboam removing and storing outliers. This has to serve two purposes. The first is that Rehoboam isn’t all seeing so needs to simplify the story that people experience. The second purpose is that you would only need to store people if you wanted to bring them back later when you could integrate them into society. Both of these conflict with the world we are presented with.

If the show had established Rehoboam’s limitations, it would have made Serac’s desperation for the Delos data meaningful. The opportunity to rescue his brother and many others to integrate them into society would have been a powerful motivation.

And Rehoboam’s limitations would have allowed for Delores and Caleb to operate in the shadows rather than imagining an all-seeing but scatty AI who seemed to have a secret death wish. It feels far better that there isn’t an understanding of the small places and moments where sentient beings interact.

It’s like the challenge of measuring a coastline. Different metrics produce different measurements. So Rehoboam measures by ignoring the fractal dimension and uses large plot plots. It would be very apt that it is in the design of Rehoboam that the seeds of its downfall occurs. That even a super intelligent AI cannot predict the souls of humans and hosts.

And I cannot help myself thinking that such an exploration would have been more in keeping with the Westworld we saw in season one. My sense is that having a defined world to work with helped Joy and Nolan to explore ideas in season one. With the third season, there were a lot more moving parts to establish and none of them really paid off. Everything was too loose.

Just as Benioff and Weiss turned out to be decent adaptors of the tighter first three GRRM novels but struggled with the expanded fantasy Ice and Fire universe (let alone the need to become creators to finish the show), perhaps Joy and Nolan are best suited to playing in the sandpit of an established world rather than having to world build in order explore ideas? We as an audience were more willing to go with the flow of ideas when we had preconceived ideas about the world we were being presented with.

It would explain my problems with this season. It also gives me a little optimism as these are solvable difficulties if addressed. Whether the showrunners are capable of this? Jury is out.

Thanks for a fantastic companion podcast, it has enhanced my enjoyment of the season. Take care Shat family.

Yours building castles out of sand
John Lish

p.s. I was looking at your merchandise thinking I would like a couple of mugs and there’s no Ashley Schlafly merch as yet. ?? If there was an “Ash’s Post-Structuralist Sass” mug then my wallet would be out.

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