A lot of answers were given in the Season 1 finale of HBO’s Westworld but not all of them. Considering the show won’t be returning until 2018, that’s a long time for fans to simmer. Thankfully the producers are offering up at least one direct answer. Thandie Newton’s Maeve has been on what is arguably the most interesting ride of the series so far which culminated in a big decision at the end of the episode. Would you like to know the exact motivation behind it?
Westworld spoilers ahead!
As we learned in the finale, Ford’s new narrative was actually a lot more involved than most of us previously thought. He was not only well aware of Arnold’s belief that the hosts were becoming sentient, he was actively working towards helping them succeed in that goal. Albeit, at a snail’s pace because he thought that was part of what was needed for it to happen. While many of the finale’s revelations had already occurred to me over the course of the season, that one hadn’t and neither had the thought that Maeve wasn’t in control of her awakening.
When Bernard reveals to Maeve that her “escape” was in fact a storyline of its own, I thought she might go on a rampage. Instead she persisted in the belief that her choices were her own and kissed her “friend” Clementine goodbye. So when she walked behind a mother and daughter on the Westworld exit train I had a feeling that looking at them would give her her first true choice. Felix had already handed her the location of her host daughter which, unless he’s also in on the storyline at Ford’s behest, is a pretty compelling piece of information for her to consider as any human would. She seemingly made her choice and got off the train, but was it really her choice or just the next step in her story?
Vulture got the exact answer from producer Jonathan Nolan on its recent Vulture TV Podcast. He apparently explained there were some technical hints to the answer. Steadicam shots are used when hosts are following their intended protocols but handheld cameras are used when they’re going off book. Here’s Nolan dishing on Maeve (emphasis added):
“In the finale, when Maeve gets onto that train … the Steadicam is leading her over. Now, it’s just keeping pace with her as she makes the decision. What we understand in the moment is it’s the first real decision she’s made all season,” Nolan said. “Which is, she’s not going to fulfill the script she’s been given, which is to take this train wherever it’s going, and do whatever else she’s programmed to do. She can get off the train. At which point, we shift to handheld camera, which we’d held back on throughout the entire season until one moment with her, and one moment with Dolores, when Teddy comes to rescue her.”
I admit I wasn’t paying close enough attention to notice that particular camera shift, I was focused more on Newton’s facial reactions, so I wonder if anyone else picked up on it. Did you, or did you assume the choice regardless of camera movement?