Whereas splendorous, this publish has spoilers by Westworld season 2, episode 2, “Reunion”
I can’t imagine it took me this lengthy to see it, however once I did it was like a schooner rising in a Magic Eye puzzle. Westworld‘s The Man in Black (Ed Harris) and Prepared Participant One‘s Wade (performed by Tye Sheridan within the movie model) are two sides of the identical arcade token. They’re each profoundly obsessed players on an Easter egg hunt, who solely really feel utterly themselves when traversing digital worlds created by eccentric geniuses. Every are on an immersive quest by the hidden underbelly of a well-liked leisure system to deliver change to the skin world.
Possibly it was inevitable for 2 properties so steeped in–and so eager to touch upon–gaming, digital worlds, and popular culture. But whereas Wade is the plucky underdog heroically battling in opposition to a soulless company behemoth, it’d be beneficiant to name The Man in Black an anti-hero. Undoubtedly he’s extra difficult than Wade. Much less hero and fewer villain than he’s purely self-motivated.
However we already know what motivates him.
In three conversations, “Reunion” did extra to attach the emotional dots between William (Jimmi Simpson) and his future as a black hat than the whole thing of final season. The primary was the dialog The Man in Black had with Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) within the bar, the place he tells the newly re-rescued bandit, “They wished a spot hidden from God, a spot the might sin in peace, however we had been watching them. We had been tallying up all their sins.”
Judgment’s not the purpose. They’d one thing else in thoughts solely.
The second was William’s pitch to James Delos (Peter Mullan) that the magic within the park wasn’t within the expertise, however within the private information they may covertly mine and revenue from. It’s the origination level of what the Man in Black references within the bar. Knowledge mining and who is aware of what else.
The third occurred underground within the park, when William had Dolores (Evan Rachel Wooden) sitting bare and weak. He domineered, towering over her, completely in management. “You actually are only a factor,” he stated. “I can’t imagine I fell in love with you.” Actually, William? Actually? You possibly can truly see Simpson go full Ed Harris within the second, finishing the circuit. We don’t even have to see the intervening years to know what occurred: William had management over his obsession till it took management of him.
Collectively these conversations supplied context for the character’s grand revolutionary change. From meek, to mesmerized, to crushed, to bent on crushing. William began as a Good Man, fell in love with a damsel in misery, felt betrayed by her when she didn’t fulfill what he felt was owed to him, and started perversely pondering of his violence towards her (and towards Thandie Newton’s Maeve and presumably numerous different ladies) as some ingredient of his self-actualization. Of his story. However it’s all the time, all the time, all the time been about Dolores and her tacit rejection of him–which she, as a re-programmable, exploitable object had no management over. He in all probability nonetheless says, “I can’t imagine I fell in love with you,” earlier than nodding off by the campfire each night time.
His single-minded obsession with experiencing one thing actual in Westworld all stems from that first want for her emotions about him to be as actual as his for her. The pinnacle-slapping irony of all of it is that she would someday be able to selecting the form of relationship he wished if he’d merely waited and supported her. His unique sin was accepting that she was an object.
Distinction that with the PG-13 bravery of Wade browsing by the OASIS, studying about inclusion as he makes use of another person’s nostalgia to mine secret nerd treasure. It’s good enjoyable! His real-world isolation makes him an everyman! His life-eclipsing passion is broadly socially accepted! In the meantime, even in a sci-fi universe through which Westworld and the opposite parks are regular leisure choices for bored elites, The Man in Black is a freak. He’s the one individual on the earth who chooses to dwell on the Las Vegas strip. He and Wade are each nerds, however most individuals in Prepared Participant One aspire to Wade’s stage of geekdom. Completely nobody is on the market making an attempt to beat The Man in Black’s excessive rating.
Finally, Prepared Participant One lionizes trivia information and popular culture ardour as one thing uplifting and hopeful, whereas Westworld exhibits what enjoying the identical online game for a number of many years can rot a person’s soul.
It’s completely unbelievable to have Simpson again, and the sequence the place Angela (Talulah Riley) bought Logan (Ben Barnes) on the park with a reverse triple axel Turing check was chic. However the atomic bomb on high of the sundae was Giancarlo Esposito rolling in heavy as the brand new El Lazo, dropping a monologue about mighty elephants staying trapped by small wood stakes and the oppression of their indoctrination. Perfection. I hate to see him go, however I form of love that he’s gone. He got here, he conquered, he went.
It’s additionally shrewd of the present to not focus a lot on The Man in Black’s quest, significantly as a result of it isn’t specified by some Sherlock-esque puzzle. Up to now he’s picked up a well-recognized ally, gone again by a well-recognized city, handed some speech checks, and can proceed on presumably to Sweetwater. It doesn’t look like he has to resolve something, a lot as he has to get again out with out being shot too many occasions. He needs to burn all of it to the bottom, however thus far that is much less King’s Quest and extra Fallout four. He’s positively not gonna should know all of the traces to The Good, The Unhealthy, and The Ugly for a recreation or something.
Our trek by reminiscence with Dolores was additionally excellent (significantly juxtaposed along with her scenes as a sentient badass). It’s clear that each Ford and Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) knew on some stage that they had been digital pimps within the early years. Ford leaned into it, and Arnold leaned away from it. At the very least when it got here to defending his favorites. With out these treks into the skin world, Dolores can be extra like Neo in Matrix Reloaded, pondering she’s a superhero preventing a winnable battle solely to be taught that she’s solely been programmed to assume she’s exterior her programming. The information of what the hosts are really up in opposition to, that there’s a world exterior the park, is a serious piece of intel that permits her to strategize. Her cockiness is what permits her to steal a complete regiment for her bidding and to imagine she will be able to persuade a colonel to hitch forces. It additionally helps that she’s taken a god hostage: a tech who can deliver hosts again to terrifying somnambulistic life.
By no means content material to revert to one-dimension, Maeve’s bristly interplay with Dolores unraveled the tapestry of the latter as a Chosen One. Maeve is on her personal mission, and she or he doesn’t want or search permission to take action from the individual telling others to earn their freedom by following her orders. It’s troublesome to know which host is extra harmful, and it’s doable this gained’t be the final time their paths collide.
- Can we get an El Lazo spin-off present starring Esposito?
- What does Dolores imply to do with these large earth-movers?
- Have you ever ever seen something so stuffed with splendor?
Pictures: HBO, Warner Bros.
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