Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Westworld Season 1 is really ambitious.

  • Amidst all the cowboys and robots and violence and sex, the show explores heavy themes of creation, consciousness, free will.

  • The plot jumps between timelines, with flashbacks and visions mixed with mystery and metaphor.

  • People turn out to be robots, robots turn out to be people and it's confusing as all fuck but there're cool ideas hereso let's work it out.

  • What happens in Westworld?

  • And what does it mean?

  • The basic idea is that Westworld is like a theme park full of humanlike robots called hosts.

  • People can pay to visit as guests and live out a fantasy in the park.

  • Many just drink and have sex and kill without consequencethe guns there shoot high-tech bullets that hurt the robots, but can't kill humans.

  • But there are also elaborate storylines the guests can join in onadventure romance and discovery across the massive space of the park.

  • It's like a huge open world video game where rich wankers come to play cowboy.

  • And it's all run behind the scenes by a team of developers, engineers, and executives in this facility called the Mesa Hub.

  • The Control Room monitors guests for safety, Narrative develops new stories, Manufacturing

  • builds new hosts, Behaviour programs the hosts, andLivestockendlessly repairs them.

  • When the hosts get shot or killed, they come here to be patched up, reset, and put back in the park.

  • The hosts live in loopsliving the same day over and over, saying the same scripted

  • lines, taking guests on the same stories, being abused and killed for entertainment.

  • The hosts are meant to be mindless machines, but surprisethey start to become conscious people.

  • Season 1 follows a few plotlines at oncethere's Ford's grand plan amidst a corporate drama,

  • there's the host Maeve trying to escape, and the Man in Black searching for the Maze,

  • and there's Dolores and William's storywhich happens thirty years before the other plotlines.

  • To make sense of all this, let's start at the very beginning.

  • About thirty-five years before the main story, Westworld was started by two menRobert Ford and Arnold Weber.

  • They built robots so humanlike they could pass the Turing test.

  • But Arnold didn't just want robots that seemed smart.

  • He wanted to make them truly consciousto be thinking feeling people . He was into a

  • theory calledthe bicameral mind”, designing his robots to hear their programming as a voice in their head.

  • Arnold hoped that their own voice would take overand the hosts would become self-aware.

  • Arnold originally imagined this journey to consciousness as like climbing a pyramid,

  • but he later saw it as “a journey inward”, what he called “a maze” . This symbol

  • is based on a real-world Native American concept . One of the first hosts was Dolores, and

  • Arnold had a special relationship with her.

  • Arnold's son, Charlie, had recently diedand Arnold saw Dolores as sort of a “new child”,

  • One who would never die” . Arnold had secret conversations with Dolores, trying

  • to help her become consciouswe see these scenes throughout Season 1.

  • And eventually, Dolores solved Arnold's mazeshe became conscious.

  • So Arnold wanted to stop the plans to open the Westworld park, cause it'd be immoral to make conscious robots suffer for entertainment.

  • But Arnold's partner Ford didn't agree that Dolores was conscioushe wanted to open Westworld anyway.

  • So Arnold tried to stop all this with a massacre.

  • He took code from a bad guy host they'd been designing called Wyatt, and merged the character with Dolores.

  • Arnold programmed her to go the town of Escalante and to shoot

  • down the hostsand to kill Arnold . Ford would later recreate Arnold as the host Bernard

  • Bernard Lowe is an anagram of Arnold Weberthus, Bernarnold.

  • But Arnold's massacre was a huge blow to the early Westworld.

  • Ford did open the park anywaybut financially, early Westworld was just getting by.

  • It only survived thanks to money from an investorWilliam.

  • So a few years after Arnold died and Westworld opened, William visits the park with Logan.

  • Logan is the brother of Juliet, the woman who William is engaged to marry.

  • Logan takes William to Westworld as a way to bond with his new brother-in-lawbut it's also a business thing.

  • Because William and Logan are both high-up executives in a company called Deloswhich

  • is thinking of increasing its investment in the early Westworld . Logan's been to Westworld beforehe plays it as a black hat, enjoying violence and sex.

  • But William's a white hatmore moral and sensitive, at least, at first.

  • William and Logan go on some storylines, and they meet the host Dolores.

  • Dolores has been wiped and reset since her awakening with Arnold, but she's starting to remember and become conscious again.

  • William sees there's something special about her , and they fall in lovewhich creates conflict with Logan, who treats it all as a game.

  • When Dolores is separated from William, he becomes brutal in his quest to find her again.

  • He starts to realise that deep down, he likes violence and power . Beneath William's nice

  • guy exterior, he's a violent monster . William gets rid of Logan, and somehow discredits

  • him, so that William can take over the company, Delos . He uses that power to invest in Westworldsaving it from the financial crisis caused by Arnold's massacre.

  • And William continues his search for Dolores.

  • When he finally finds her, she doesn't recognise himbecause she's been wiped and reset again.

  • And this devastates William.

  • Dolores was his glimpse at love, at something true and realyet in the end she doesn't even know him.

  • It seems that this loss leads William to think that the only meaning in Westworld or the

  • real world is to fight and win. William embraces a dark new identity as the Man in Black, and

  • for the next thirty years plays Westworld with brutality and violence.

  • In the real world, William keeps playing a “good guy”.

  • With Delos, he's a “Titan of industry”, a “Philanthropist”, a “Family man”.

  • He's married, presumably to Julietand has a daughter, Emily . But a year ago, Juliet

  • apparently committed suicide because of William. He was never violent outside Westworld,

  • but Emily and Juliet knew his true nature. So William lost his wife and his daughter rejected him.

  • And instead of then, maybe, trying to be less of a dickhead, William decided to test just how evil he really was.

  • He went into Westworld, found a random host familywho happened to be Maeve and her daughterand he killed them.

  • He committed a “truly evilactand Williamfelt nothing”.

  • So this seems to confirm that deep down, William truly is a monster.

  • But it also revealed something elsewhen Maeve lost her daughter, she seemedalivefor a moment , and revealed to William the Maze.

  • William saw that Arnold, decades ago, left code and clues in Westworld which led to somedeeper meaning“.

  • And this became William's obsessionto find the final easter egg

  • or quest in this video game, to find challenge, real danger, purposeand to escape the grief and emptiness of his real life.

  • So throughout Season 1, William follows the Maze.

  • He finds the symbol in a scalp, he's told to go and find a snake, which leads him to

  • Armistice with her snake tattoo, who leads him to hunt Wyatt, which leads him finally back to Dolores.

  • Because Dolores is Wyatt in the sense that Wyatt was just a story idea that got merged with Dolores by Arnold.

  • In the end, when Dolores starts a massacre, William gets shot by a host, which excites

  • him, cause he's been looking for real danger and challenge . But the Maze he's been following all this time disappoints him.

  • Because the Maze isn't for himit's for the hosts to gain consciousness .

  • The maze is for Dolores, and Maeve.

  • So as it turns out, Dolores' story with young William and Logan actually shows two different timelines at once.

  • Notice how Dolores keeps on wandering off on her own and having weird flashbacks and visions?

  • These scenes actually happen in the present, while her scenes with young William happened thirty years ago.

  • In the present, she's retracing her steps through the park, remembering the pasttaking a journey through the Maze, towards consciousness.

  • Like a maze, it's a twisted confusing journey, but she does reach its centre.

  • In the finale, at Escalante, Dolores confronts William and the suffering he's inflicted.

  • She confronts Ford and Bernard, and remembers her killing of Arnold.

  • She recognises that the bicameral voice in her head was hers all along.

  • Dolores becomes conscious, and realises the person who shemust become” .

  • She takes up a gun and kills Ford, beginning a massacre of humans by hosts.

  • This attack mirrors the Escalante massacre, where Dolores killed Arnold.

  • But this killing isby choice” . Instead of being programmed to act as Wyatt, this time Dolores chooses to be like Wyatt.

  • She says this world no longer belongs to humansit belongs to her and the hosts.

  • She seems to want to wipe out humanityshe saysyou will perish”, “You will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirt”, “a new god will walk.

  • One that will never die” . This is some serious Skynet shit.

  • In the Season 2 trailer, Dolores guns down fleeing humans.

  • She seems to be moving towards all-out war between robots and man.

  • And this is all part of Ford's grand plan.

  • At the same time as Dolores, the host Maeve takes a different path to consciousness.

  • She works as the madam at a saloon, but she starts to have flashbacks of her past life as a homesteader with a daughter.

  • She wakes up in the Mesa Hub and starts to see the reality behind her fake life.

  • She remembers Westworld cleanup crews in hazmat suits, who some hosts callshades”.

  • And she digs a bullet out of her body to prove that her flashbacks are realher world is a lie, and she's died countless times.

  • So Maeve works with the Livestock technicians Felix and Sylvester.

  • Sylvester is kind of an asshole, but Felix is interested in host consciousness, and he helps Maeve understand how Westworld works.

  • Maeve forces the techs to help her escape.

  • She gets them to rework her codeto make her smarter, and to give her the power to control other hosts.

  • Every host has an explosive built into their spine that goes off if they leave

  • so Maeve gets herself burned in a fire so she can be rebuilt without the explosive.

  • In the finale, Maeve stages a great escape, alongside Hector and Armistice.

  • These two have been fighting in shoot-ups and jailbreaks as part of their Westworld loops

  • so they're the perfect sidekicks for Maeve in the violence that follows.

  • For a while, this is bloody catharsisuntil Maeve finds out that her whole arc of awakening

  • and escape was programmed from the start. Bernard says this isn't even the first time Maeve has awoken.

  • It's like that moment in Matrix 2, when Neo finds out his escape from the

  • Matrix was part of the Machine plan all along. The real reason Maeve escaped was cause

  • Ford programmed her toto create a distraction so the cold storage hosts could escape and join Dolores' massacre.

  • Maeve's also programmed to leave Westworld and 'infiltrate the mainland'.

  • But she refuses to follow this last instruction.

  • Instead, she stays to try to find her host daughter.

  • So in the end, Maeve does achieve real consciousness and freedomthough most of her story is part of Ford's plan.

  • Sowhat is Ford's plan?

  • And how does it involve Maeve, Dolores, William and Arnold?

  • The show leaves the details vague, and some of what Ford says still seems to contradict what he doesbut we can work out his goals.

  • In the very beginning, Ford's beliefs were opposite to Arnold's.

  • Arnold thought the hosts should be conscious, and freehe liked hosts more than he liked people.

  • But Ford didn't believe in host consciousness, he believed in humanshis

  • dream was to use the stories in the Westworld park to help make humans better, to grow and change.

  • But over the years, Ford saw that Westworld wasn't making humans better

  • it was “A prison of our own sins”, where people like Logan and William would hurt and kill over and over.

  • Ford came to believe that humans can no longer change, that our evolution is over.

  • He thinks Arnold was right all along, and that it's the hosts who have potential to grow.

  • So throughout the season, Ford works to correct hismistake” – he helps the hosts become conscious.

  • He gives them thereveriesupdate so the hosts can remember their past lives.

  • He restores the town of Escalante so Dolores can have her awakening with William.

  • He programs Maeve to escape and infiltratewhich is a fake awakening, but it helps hosts become free.

  • When Theresa and Charlotte from Delos try to take over Westworld, Ford kills Theresa with Bernard.

  • And when Elsie almost uncovers Ford's plans , he has Bernard grab herthough there

  • are hints that Elsie's still alive . And the reason Ford does all this stuff is not

  • just to keep controlFord's protecting his plan to eventually free the hosts.

  • He doesn't just let the hosts out of the park right awaybecause he believes that

  • sufferingis an important step to achieving consciousness. Pain and loss define the characters of Westworld

  • Bernard with Charlie, Maeve with her daughter, Dolores with her father , and Ford with Arnold.

  • Ford believes pain and time will make the hosts alive.

  • And this might be why Ford leads William on his maze quest.

  • The suffering that William causes is important to Dolores' awakening.

  • William is also a great symbol of Ford's belief that humans are bad, unable to changethat humans are theenemy”.

  • Ford seems to believe that when hosts become conscious, there'll be war between them

  • and humanitylike how early humans wiped out the Neanderthals . But now humans are

  • the old obsolete species , and hosts are thenew peoplewho will violently replace humans.

  • Ford says he keeps hosts in the park so they'llunderstand [their] enemyandbecome

  • stronger than them” . Ford's final narrative, his grand plan all this timeis about

  • the rise of conscious hosts and theirwarwith humanity . That's why Ford gives Dolores the freedom to attack humans.

  • That's why Ford programs Maeve to escape andinfiltratethe humanmainland”.

  • That's why the main human character in this story is the Man in Blacksomeone who started out a decent guy but proved to be hateful and empty inside.

  • So Westworld ends with a really dark message.

  • It suggests that humanslike the guests, the execs, and especially Williamare fundamentally bad and unable to change.

  • The oppressed hosts do achieve freedom, but not through the compassion of Arnold.

  • It's only through suffering, and through Ford's cold manipulation, that the hosts are freed.

  • And when they are free, hosts like Maeve and Dolores don't seem a whole lot better than the humans they're replacing.

  • Dolores especially, who once represented the good in the world , now seems to be a murderous monster herself.

  • Really the only glimmers of hope in this show are, like, Felix and his little bird, and maybe Bernard, and Elsie.

  • But overall, Westworld is bleak.

  • Like Black Mirror, and The Handmaid's Tale, and to some extent Game of Thrones, the show

  • takes a long hard look at who we are and who we're becoming and the conclusion's not good.

  • Maybe there'll be more hope next seasonmaybe Samurai World will be nice.

  • But the title of Ford's last narrative, and of Season 2 Episode 1, isJourney into Night”.

  • There may be more darkness before dawn.

  • If you want more videos on Westworld, Game of Thrones, and other shows, please subscribe

  • to Alt Shift X. Press the bell, press the like, and comment what you'd like to see next.

  • Alt Shift X is made possible by our Patrons.

  • If you want updates, early videos, voting, livestreams and more, please support on patreon.com/AltShiftX.

  • Thanks to Patrons Nazeef Mashroor, Dervis Yeniavci, StemStem El Mono, Laura Hamilton, Thad Gutshall, and Candace.

  • Cheers.

Westworld Season 1 is really ambitious.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 UK dolores westworld william arnold maeve maze

Westworld Season 1 Explained

  • 52 6
    123 posted on 2018/11/25
Video vocabulary