Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
HBO: WESTWORLD SEASON 2
What an insane finale. Got to give serious credit to this show going to places where I thought it wouldn't go and that post credit scene was the icing on the cake.

Westworld is playing with some very interesting ideas and the non-linear structure of this season made for some very intriguing television. Count me in on Season 3!
Originally Posted by ImmortanNick 

Saw Batman v Superman.
Now I know what it's like to see Nickelback in concert.

That's my review.
Reply
That was a PACKED finale. At about the one hour mark, I was wondering what else they were going to do....and then they went and did it.

I'm sort of in a "jury's still out" on this season; I suspect that it will, like Season 1, benefit from a rewatch knowing where it's headed. (My opinion of S1 improved greatly on rewatches.)

Joy and Nolan have done some post-mortems on the finale and season. I'll post links, then I'll write up some spoilers revealed in the interviews.

https://www.thewrap.com/westworld-season...-lisa-joy/

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-f...-3-1122744

https://deadline.com/2018/06/westworld-s...202416356/

http://ew.com/tv/2018/06/24/westworld-se...interview/

~~~

So:

- MIB/William was NOT a host in the "present" timeline. He shot his real daughter. She's really dead.
- Post-credits scene takes place in the far, far future.
- "Hale" on the mainland is not a second Dolores. We do not yet know who she is.
- Stubbs not only knew that "Hale" was a host, he is likely one himself, planted there by Ford as another failsafe.
Sounds like a lot of regulars from first two seasons are goners, one way or another.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
On another board, somebody absolutely nailed my main issue with the show:
WESTWORLD tells stories the way a 90 year old grandfather does.

'So then Bernard plugged himself into the machine. This was important because he'd been in the forge before. That was two weeks prior. This was a secret area, by the way. Bernard knew about it but didn't know that he knew about it because he'd scrambled his memory to hide his knowledge of the Forge. We'd find that out in a half an hour but whatever...he plugged himself into the machine...'
Reply
I don't think it's quite that bad.

The first season's "confusion" was deliberate, a cinematic way of depicting how the hosts experience memories (versus how humans do). Because their recall is "perfect" - it doesn't degrade or alter with time, and isn't affected by personal biases and quirks - memories can't easily be discerned from the present.

Similarly, the second season's fragmented storytelling is meant to be reflection of Bernard's decision to fuck up his own memories, in order to protect "Halores" and help her get to the mainland.

HOWEVER. The reason being story-internal and deliberate doesn't mean it's effective or the best way to tell the story. First season, the storytelling style (once you know why it's that way) feels organic and almost necessary. This season it feels arbitrary, chosen by the showrunners as a way to obscure what's going on for DRAMA rather than being a necessary approach.

As I keep saying: I'm really curious to see how it plays on a second (and subsequent) viewings. First season plays MUCH, MUCH better on rewatches.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
But it's the LOST syndrome all over again where you need external (outside of the show) explanations from show runners to understand what's going on. When you need Lisa Joy to say 'yep, that post credits scene takes place in the far, far future' to understand how it relates to the show, then you've failed. Utterly failed. Everything needs to make sense inside of the television show itself otherwise you're cheating the audience out of relevant information and clarity.
Reply
Re: the post-credits scene: completely agreed. That was a huge misstep.

On first blush, it feels like their self-imposed need to tell the story in a convoluted manner got the better of them. The main plot of S2 would've made for solid storytelling told in a linear, chronological fashion. From reading those interviews, I'm thinking that both Nolan's own penchant for playing with timelines, desire to express themes, and pressures of episodic TV all led to a season that was unnecessarily tangled.

Again, my opinion on this may change on subsequent viewings. Which I do think is fair: Nolan & Joy are clearly crafting a story meant to support repeated viewings.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
(06-25-2018, 11:00 AM)MichaelM Wrote: Which I do think is fair: Nolan & Joy are clearly crafting a story meant to support repeated viewings.

I just want it to support ONE viewing.

And to be clear, I don't mind dealing with multiple timelines. The problem comes from when you have so many timelines in play AND you don't do anything to visually distinguish them from one another.

Take MEMENTO. This film could be really, really confusing if handled incorrectly. You've got two timelines running (one backwards, one forwards), all racing towards the middle of the film. To help distinguish the timelines, the film switches from black and white to color. Visually, your brain is able to make a reference check whenever the colors fade/disappear so that you know where you are in the overall story being told.

Take DUNKIRK. Multiple stories are happening in different timelines BUT they're all going in a forward direction...just at different paces. As the stories overlap, you end up seeing different events from different points of view. You have these reference checks so that you always understand where you are in the overall story being told.

Take SLIDING DOORS (yes, the Gwyneth Paltrow film). The film diverges into two timelines near the beginning of the film. After the big event happens causing the split, she gets a bandaid on her face in one timeline so that...again...you have a visual reference as to what's going on to place you in the correct timeline. Later on, that version of the character gets a haircut. It's never hard to dial in on what's going on.

Here, there really aren't any visual references. If they'd allowed Bernard to change his damned clothes, get a scar, or have SOMETHING going on to help you visually place the character in the overall timeline, it would have helped immensely. I'm generally really quite good at following really complex plots and so forth, but come one...give us something to visually go 'ok, this was two weeks ago. OK, now this is present.' Something. It also didn't help that the purposely tried to confuse the issue at many points.

Whatever. I'm kinda done. I honestly don't know if I'll watch S3 at this point because I really don't feel like the show is playing fair with the audience.
Reply
Sounds like I made the right choice to skip S2.
Reply
Funny you mention a scar. Because Bernard clearly has it in some shots....and then doesn't in others.

I'm actually surprise no reviewer picked up on that and no one asked Nolan and Joy about it.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
I'm not sure I know or even understand where they're going, but I'm enjoying the ride. Plus there's some gorgeous visuals in this. That shot of the steer plowing the security guard over the railing and following it down was pretty amazing.
My karmic debt must be huge.

----------

My blog: An Embarrassment of Rich's
Reply
Just reading parts of this thread makes me not even want to start season 2 honestly.
“I call upon you to stop this musical now,” she said to the board. “You tear a community apart if you don’t.” -Prachi Ruina                                                            
Reply
It's a challenging show playing with some big ideas and with some incredible cinematography to boot. Season 3 is going to be wild.
Originally Posted by ImmortanNick 

Saw Batman v Superman.
Now I know what it's like to see Nickelback in concert.

That's my review.
Reply
Very good finale, wild rollercoaster of a season.

They rode the line between wacky and clever very precariously. I'd much rather have a show that goes for it than one that strives for consistent competency, though.

Most other showrunners would have kept the park operational and the story in "business as usual" mode until the last season or two.
Reply
I just finished the finale. If we end on Bernard going to the door and never have another season, I am happy. I like what the show was trying. I really like that the "free world" is basically a program for the hosts and cuts the body out. It is another illusion, just one shut off from outside interference (like Star Trek TNG's Moriarty solution). There is a heck of a philosophical conversation to be had here. It is a hell of an ending, and I don't need the Angel "Brave Bear" Bernard fighting the Devil "Sorrows" Dolores across the world stage. I am content to let the show stay done.


{SPOILS}
The post-credit scene seems like a copout in that the MIB is clearly there with Dolores and Bernard in the flooded timeline. He clearly gets up and rides the elevator during that same time line. I said to myself, "Wait, we didn't resolve the MiB." But the post-credit sequence was unneeded. Why have the host William come to that place at that post-apocalyptic far future? A sign that we are never dead once you have been in the park because some part of us lives on? That man can truly never change? Argh. I am going to watch the Wire. Omar never left me feeling this way.
"Wilford Brimley can't be bothered to accept praise. He doesn't act because he thinks people will enjoy his work. He acts because it's his goddamned job." --Will Harris, AV Club
Reply
Hey, I loved these last few episodes. Tied together the show fantastically, IMHO, and I actually may have enjoyed this season more consistently than the first.

I couldn't have been more excited to see Valkyrie take over as Dolores, though it looks like Wood will be back.
[Image: latest?cb=20130405010724]
Reply
(06-26-2018, 12:06 AM)MrTyres Wrote: {SPOILS}
The post-credit scene seems like a copout in that the MIB is clearly there with Dolores and Bernard in the flooded timeline. He clearly gets up and rides the elevator during that same time line. I said to myself, "Wait, we didn't resolve the MiB."   But the post-credit sequence was unneeded. Why have the host William come to that place at that post-apocalyptic far future? A sign that we are never dead once you have been in the park because some part of us lives on? That man can truly never change? Argh. I am going to watch the Wire. Omar never left me feeling this way.

Well, he was wearing his hat when he went down and presumably the med-evacs took that off him when he was airlifted to the beach. I'm guessing he was uploaded into the Forge at that point. Dolores purged the system but it could still have been getting Guest data still and he was really close to the Forge itself.

So essentially that copy's last memory would be him losing his hand to the gun. When he wakes up and goes into the Forge, that's not him doing that in the same timeline as Bernard and Dolores but a point in the future where his copy has been reactivated in a new host body. A bit of trickery with the scene placement, but this show has always done that.
Reply


Reply
MrTyres, you should read the interviews I linked. The showrunners confirmed that the post-credits sequence takes place far, far into the future.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
Still processing but I think I kinda really hated the post credit scene.

I did do a little fist pump when Akecheta made it to the new world with his love. That one episode hooked me on the character.
"Every romantic comedy should just be called "Tryin' to Fuck" - Patton Oswalt
Reply
Westworld Season 2 Finale: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy Q&A | BFI

The co-creators of Westworld, the HBO TV series based on Michael Crichton's 1973 sci-fi thriller, talk to Lauren Laverne about the show's season 2 finale, the pressure of keeping the story's secrets close and hint at where Delores, The Man in Black and Bernard may end up in season 3.
I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. -Grandpa Simpson
Reply
Along those lines:



"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
Fuck, yeah count me among the people who thought the finale was incredible and actually redeemed a lot of the second season (which felt sort of meandering). I actually couldn't believe that it's only a season 2 finale of what's purported to be a 5-season show - for the most part it felt like a series finale, what with most of the hosts either dying or going to a digital recreation of earth.

I also had no problem with the timeline fudging since it worked as a representation of Bernard's confusion and none of it felt like they were trying especially hard to mystery box it - there wasn't any of that "is this the past or the future???" stuff that LOST had. Apart from the Hale reveal I actually thought it was just a straightforward and gripping conclusion to this chapter of the story.

The post-credit sequence I can do without but eh, I actually missed it during my first watch and it feels like one of those things that'll make more sense once the third season is behind us. I only hope it won't consist mostly of hosts exploring our world, minus any of the Westworld and Shogun World shenanigans.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
Reply
Just caught up on this spoiler-free, and while I wouldn't call it "straightforward", I didn't feel like it was difficult to follow, or required an explanation from the creator. It's dense, and planned out like a magic trick, but there's no magical shortcuts involved.

Pretty sure you can safely ignore the post-credits scene. I definitely agree that it's intended to be a fun little Twilight Zone-esque aside, not an important plot turn. It's just showing that long after the Hosts' story plays out and the Forge is abandoned and reclaimed by the earth, it will be endlessly resurrecting, fucking with, and incinerating copies of William the Black. The owner getting owned until the end of time...

I find the story very interesting, the acting and directing top-notch, and the questions raised to be thoughtful and captivating... buuuut... The comparisons to LOST here are surprising, because I find the two shows almost diametrically opposed. LOST was about characters; its' plot explanations were often revealed to have been mythology telling you more about the people who believed it than the plot itself. Some of LOST's best episodes barely touched the plot, essentially spending 35 minutes exploring a character to show why they make one plot-advancing action in the remaining 5 minutes.

Westworld, on the other hand, is so focused on plot that it frequently forgets to give us characters worth rooting for. Every human is either evil, or so thinly sketched as to be not worth more than a shrug. The hosts are by their nature impossible to fully identify with; their experiences are far more inhuman than their bodies. The result is a bunch of leads who are vicious psychopaths, a handful of supporting characters who aren't fleshed out, and Bernard... who the story requires to be utterly impossible to understand. Westworld has a lot to say, but often forgets to make me care about who's saying it.

It's surprising since Nolan's previous series Person of Interest managed to explore many of the same themes with a much more human touch (all while pretending to be a simple real-world Batman series for CBS' main demographic). That show delved deep into the ideas of Big Brother, safety vs freedom, AIs gaining sentience, whether an AI would or should serve man or dominate him, and more. Yet it also never stopped pushing strong character moments to give the audience reason to desperately care about their fates, even as the plot barreled forward.

The Indian's moment in the finale was the biggest emotional payoff in Westworld for me so far, which is a problem considering he was only a real character for a little over one episode.
Gamertag: Tweakee
Reply
(07-07-2018, 07:45 AM)farsight Wrote: Westworld, on the other hand, is so focused on plot that it frequently forgets to give us characters worth rooting for. 


I haven't seen POI (I watched one episode which was something of a turdburger) but it's interesting that this seems to be something of a recurring Nolanism: stories in which plot and theme take far greater precedence over characterization (and/or empathetic emotional arcs). I've never agreed that C Nolan's films are "cold" as in without feeling or passion - but they're definitely more concerned with the gearing than the heart (outwardly, at least).

Both Nolans seem to be moving away from that with films like INCEPTION and INTERSTELLAR (and even, to a degree, TDKR) but DUNKIRK felt like a retreat to completely safe, familiar storytelling ground. It's a structural achievement (DUNKIRK) but I don't think I'm alone in saying it really does very little to engage the viewer in the actual lives and feelings of the people we follow.

S1 Westworld seemed like a healthy balance between the precision plotting and the passions and lives of the characters - and, on first viewing, at least, I'd agree that S2 seems primarily concerned with how it all unspools, with only brief (and arguably meaningless) diversions into the actual lives and characters involved.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
POI starts out looking like it will be a completely safe and non-challenging riff on a guardian angel story. But as it goes on, it morphs into a story that mixes prescient discussions on AI and surveillance (it predates/predicts the NSA surveillance scandal) with Batman-esque heroes and villains, topped with a strong emotional core. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's probably the last great network show.

Dunkirk's a good comparison. I was going to say that Westworld seems like the perfect series for people who thought Interstellar would've been great if not for the family stuff. But for me, "I wonder how this will turn out?" is good... but, "I care how this will turn out!" is great.
Gamertag: Tweakee
Reply
POI is AMAZING, but I don't know that there's much more of a focus on characters in it. They had great moments but overall, can you really say that Reese or Finch were that well drawn? They never feel three dimensional to me in the way that LOST's characters did.

Anyway, despite my one for Westworld, the character issue is definitely one I can sympathise with. The characters are either cyphers with shifting motivations or thinly drawn - no matter how much they focus on the Man in Black, he never quite seems like a living breathing person. But once in a while they do knock that out of the park as well. Maeve's episode was a highlight and they managed an amazing job with Akecheta in almost no time at all.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
Reply
POI managed to have... at least 7 major characters that I found compelling and interesting (Reese, Finch, Shaw, Root, Carter, Fusco and Elias), plus a number of side characters (helped by some phenomenal casting of even the one-episode roles). I bring it up just to prove that Nolan -can- find an emotional through-line when he wants to.

But with Westworld... I don't think there's one major character that qualifies, just a couple of side roles. We spend a ton of time with Maeve and Dolores, and the two actresses are really knocking it out of the park, but I find it impossible to care about mass murderers whose emotional core is a lie. They both spend the season desperately hunting loved ones when their memories of them are 99% fiction, and the rest a single, repeating day. That's a tough sell. Then there's William and... Tessa Thompson, who are fairly boring assholes (the worst kind!). Harris is trying, but Thompson seems stuck on a single note (her attempt at playing Dolores was embarrassing). Lastly (unless there's someone so boring that I forgot them) there's Bernard, a kind-of Memento-esque character, that I think shows that Nolan & Co are greatly overestimating my ability to treat a Host as a Human.

"Does it matter if your memories are false?" would be a tough question to wrap your head around on its own. Add to it, "And you're a machine that just gained sentience", "And you've been living the same day over and over for decades", "And you're nearly immortal", "And you have a guy living in your head who sometimes makes you kill people", "AND you're remembering things out of order"... it's too much, even for Wright's great performance to make relatable.
Gamertag: Tweakee
Reply
(07-08-2018, 05:22 PM)farsight Wrote: POI managed to have... at least 7 major characters that I found compelling and interesting (Reese, Finch, Shaw, Root, Carter, Fusco and Elias), plus a number of side characters (helped by some phenomenal casting of even the one-episode roles). I bring it up just to prove that Nolan -can- find an emotional through-line when he wants to.

But with Westworld... I don't think there's one major character that qualifies, just a couple of side roles. We spend a ton of time with Maeve and Dolores, and the two actresses are really knocking it out of the park, but I find it impossible to care about mass murderers whose emotional core is a lie. They both spend the season desperately hunting loved ones when their memories of them are 99% fiction, and the rest a single, repeating day. That's a tough sell. Then there's William and... Tessa Thompson, who are fairly boring assholes (the worst kind!). Harris is trying, but Thompson seems stuck on a single note (her attempt at playing Dolores was embarrassing). Lastly (unless there's someone so boring that I forgot them) there's Bernard, a kind-of Memento-esque character, that I think shows that Nolan & Co are greatly overestimating my ability to treat a Host as a Human.

"Does it matter if your memories are false?" would be a tough question to wrap your head around on its own. Add to it, "And you're a machine that just gained sentience", "And you've been living the same day over and over for decades", "And you're nearly immortal", "And you have a guy living in your head who sometimes makes you kill people", "AND you're remembering things out of order"... it's too much, even for Wright's great performance to make relatable.

Couldn’t agree more with the last part. I have no idea how I’m supposed to even begin to empathize with Bernard.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)