Review of Westworld 1.5
The Voice Inside Delores
An altogether excellent Westworld 1.5, with real progress in our understanding of what's going, mostly from Delores, and a little from the Man in Black. In both cases, conversations with Ford elicit some of the best moments.
I should mention that the conversations with Ford are much better than the conversations with Bernard, which are pretty good, too. But that's as it should be, since Ford is one of the two creators of Westworld — along with the ineffable Arnold — whereas Bernard is just the head programmer and a sensitive builder of individual models.
But this means that Delores will say things to Ford that she wouldn't say to Bernard, and Ford knows how to elicit at least part of that. The other part comes, of course, from Delores herself, and we see this tonight point blank when she lies to Ford about her continuing relationship with the voice inside her — presumably Arnold's — a voice that also says her destiny is to leave Westworld, presumably with William, which is what she convincingly tells him.
Let's stop for a minute at "convincingly." William's convinced — no surprise, Delores is fulfilling a very deep need of his — but so are we, the audience. And here Westworld is ineluctably partaking of a paradox, or at least an insoluble puzzle, that afflict or animates or maybe just affects every story on screen about human-like androids.
The androids are all played by humans. And this means that, no matter how well they act — I mean as actors and actresses on the screen, playing androids — their humanity, the humanness of the actor, will shine through. So when we see Delores behaving so humanly, part of that stems from the actress being human. It was the same dynamic which made some of the androids in Bladerunner, for example, so appealing.
But back into the narrative — not the narratives that Ford has created, but the narrative of the series Westworld itself, based on the movie by Michael Crichton — an important question is: how much does Ford know or suspect that Delores is lying?
Ford, like the androids becoming human, knows a lot more than he tells us (and certainly more than he tells the hosts and guests he talks to). He presumably does not have a bicameral mind — the source of the voice inside Delores — but he has a lot more in common with his evolving creations than even he realizes, though who knows how much he realizes, which was the point of my question in the first place.
His conversation with the Man in Black is tantalizing, once again leaving us just a little short of knowing if the Man in Black is a special guest or a special host, though he moved a tiny bit more in the direction of being a guest, i.e., human. Teddy stops him from stabbing Ford with a knife. That knife presumably would have hurt Ford, even killed him, but only if the Man in Black was human himself, right?
Come to think of it, it's not quite clear what kind of real damage, if any, guests can do to guests in Westworld. Well, that's as good a place as any to conclude this little disquisition. Each week grinds our lens of vision a little more clear, and I'm looking forward to more.
The Chronology Protection Case
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About the author
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.