Two Complete Me: Why Westworld hosts work in pairs
I never understood why they paired some of you off. It seems cruel. Then I realized winning doesn’t mean anything unless someone else loses. That means you’re here to be the loser.
With those words, the Man in Black entered “Westworld” as the Big Bad. He was a rapist, a sadist, the worst kind of guest. But we’ve since learned there’s often wisdom in his caustic diction. Could it be Westworld’s creators paired their hosts for more than just entertainment? If so, why?
Blacks and whites but no grays
Westworld hosts play their roles perfectly. Hector is the sexy rascal. Maeve is the sexy manipulator. Teddy is the sexy bullet sponge. OK, pretty much everyone is a sexy something. It’s like Halloween at Arizona State University.
Anyway, we have forces of good and evil because that’s what the guests want. Make a character somewhere in between, and a White Hat might feel bad about shooting him. Make a host too complex, and someone with a two-day Westworld pass won’t know what to do with his adventure.
But if you’re interested in pushing the envelope with host intelligence and affect, you need to circumscribe the binary nature of their core personalities. Sure, you could write a code that incorporates both sides of the coin, but what if that abrupt insertion makes a host volatile or insane?
Perhaps the answer is to create orbits, much like planets in our solar system. If Dolores is Earth and Teddy is the sun, she can move at great speed but be pulled back by his gravity. It keeps her on her loop but allows her elliptical variation. Pairing hosts together flexibly keeps them in line, and it could do something more. Could it be host pairs are two sides of a mind, driving to create a complete entity without inducing a bicameral meltdown?
Dolores and Teddy are just the beginning
The rancher’s daughter and her brave-but-doomed man are the most iconic pair in Westworld, and Season 2 seems to suggest they have a great or tragic destiny ahead. But one pair doesn’t set a trend. That’s where things get interesting.
Maeve and Hector
Maeve, the brothel madam, and Hector, the swarthy Sweetwater bandit, bring us loads of on-screen sizzle. But their Shakespearean sparks in Season 1 took us a level deeper: Hector keeps robbing the Sweetwater Saloon. Maeve keeps getting robbed. He brings chaos into her order. She brings meaning to his flash. Through countless lives (and two seasons), they develop together. And even as the most powerful being in Westworld, Maeve maintains her bond with Hector.
“But she left him to face certain death in the park when she boarded the elevator without him!”
But she came back.
Rebus and Walter
They murder. They pillage. They steal your milk.
Westworld’s target-practice thugs, Rebus and Walter, rarely are seen apart. They’re great for suspense, terror, or even comic relief. But is there a reason to pair them? And what about when a host is replaced, the way we get a “New Walter” in Season 1? Does that impact the bond? Something to watch as the casualties mount in Season 2.
Lawrence and Man in Black?
The Man in Black probably is human. We’ve seen him as young William. And unless you subscribe to the “body swapped every time he visits Westworld” conspiracy, he’s aged.
But if William or the Man in Black ever were swapped out with a host, his bond with Lawrence would make a lot more sense.
The Man in Black’s reunion with Lawrence in Season 2 Episode 2 almost brings a smile to your face, like two old friends setting off on an adventure together. The way MIB brings Lawrence up to speed on the new world they’re about to explore—he almost seems giddy to do it.
“Dead isn’t what it used to be, Lawrence,” isn’t a line uttered by a cold, calculated gamer. There’s a warmth to it.
But what’s he point of pairing these two? We might just find out as they ride west.