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Review of Westworld 1.4

by Paul Levinson 5 years ago in artificial intelligence / scifi tv
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Vacation, Connie Francis, and Kurt Vonnegut

nominated for 22 Emmys 2017

"Vacation" — it was the name of a Connie Francis song in the early 1960s (Wikipedia says 1962, and that it was Connie's last big hit, and I remember hearing and singing it in high school), and it was probably the most important word spoken in Westworld 1.4.

Well, definitely one of the most important. And music does have deep relevance to Westworld, which is why we see so much android hand on piano in the opening credits, a nod to Vonnegut's 1952 novel Player Piano (his first, as a matter of fact), and the automatic player pianos in the 19th century on which the title of that fine novel was derived.

But as to Westworld, "vacation" is what the Man in Black angrily says he's on in the park — "fucking vacation," to be exact — and that's important information, indeed, along with his talk of Arnold, because it adds evidence to the likelihood that he's some kind of special guest, not a host, which seemed pretty much the case before, seeing as how he is immune to bullets.

Of course, given Ford's ambitious reprogramming, which we still don't know too much about, it's still possible that the Man in Black is a very sophisticated new kind of host. But that's appearing less likely — and there's also the conversation we see him having with Ford in the coming attractions, which doesn't seem like the conversations we've seen Bernard having with Delores, that's for sure. But those conversations are like nothing else we've quite seen on this show yet, either, with Bernard showing signs of moving from the equivalent of her therapist (programmer) to feeling something much more, as in this episode not wanting to see, maybe not being able to bear, Delores overwrought with emotion.

Delores is becoming more human by the hour — as is also Maeve, who is beginning to realize and approach in a more strategic way than Delores that there's more to her than what her programmers intended, though it's not clear exactly what Maeve is beginning to see as she puts some of the pieces together. But this leads, again, to what is becoming the central question of the series: are what Delores and Maeve experiencing malfunctions, or deliberately intended, embedded routines and subroutines — or, to put a finer point on this, the result the bicameral mind in the hosts starting to come together? (So far, without Julian Jaynes, the creator of that theory, yet to be acknowledged by name.)

Hey, come together, will there be some mention of John Lennon in Westworld, too? Probably not. But I bet he loved Connie Francis spelling out Vacation in her song, too.

artificial intelligencescifi tv

About the author

Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.

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