Violent Delights: Westworld Finale

Pete Postlewaite’s voice echoes with Shakespearean significance: “violent delights have violent ends”. No wait, it was Anthony Hopkins, I’m thinking about a different film.

The first season of Westworld has been and gone with its HBO serious tone of adult importance. Has HBO ever had a good comedy? Entourage maybe? Even then it was as much drama as comedy. It is the serious adult nature of Westworld that defines it as an distinctive property. You know when that HBO logo appears with all that static you are going to see some boobs and naked ass cheeks. With so much pornography so readily available, HBO is the final bastion of softcore. The cheesy 70s movie from a Michael Crichton novel about a futurist theme park is a faded memory, erased like the unwanted memories of so many hosts. Do you think Crichton was on retainer with Disney or Universal, because he certainly promoted theme parks. Or maybe not if you consider Jurassic Park and Westworld both contain lots of death paying customers. Not good for business.

The Westworld series gave us parallel narratives separated by different time periods. A usual collection of undecipherable clues, more origin narratives than there were characters and dramatic realisations a plenty. Or at least that is what we were supposed to think. Remember the boobs and naked cheeks? Well, you can add killing because other than a child’s toy, the final reveals in Westworld were a little empty.

Ed Harris’ man in black turns out to be William? No really? Dolores achieves freedom? I’m shocked. Bernard is brought back and the old town that seemed so hard to find turns out to be pretty boring. So what at the end of the series carried all that HBO seriousness? It is probably more the repeated images of naked and dead hosts than any insight realisation about human existence. If we pretty much know how this all plays out, what are we watching for except the dead bodies and naked cheeks? Which inevitably leads me to the question of whether to watch Season 2: the hosts rise up because they get tired of all the fucking and killing, when do we rise up against shows that can’t seem to see past dead bodies and naked cheeks?

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