The ‘Westworld’ Confusion Index: Welcome To The Party, Ghost Nation

Editor-at-Large
06.11.18 17 Comments

HBO

The Westworld Confusion Index is your guide to what we know, what we kind of know, and what we don’t know about Westworld, one of television’s more confusing shows. We will make mistakes, surely, because we rarely know what is happening or why (and whenever we think we’ve figured it out, they go and change it on us), but we will try to have at least as many jokes as mistakes. This is the best we can offer. Here we go.

What We Know

HBO

Westworld is How I Met Your Mother now

This is not a complaint. Let me be clear about that. This week’s episode, in which we met the Ghost Nation and had a rather impressive amount of backstory filled in for a few characters, was terrific. There have been a few pretty great episodes this season. This was my favorite of the more philosophical chunk of episodes, though. Westworld can sometimes curl up into a tiny ball of gnocchi and swallow itself whole when it does that, but this week’s episode managed to get very deep and meaningful while still advancing the plot in a digestible way. The show about billionaires humping robots is becoming a fascinating exploration of consciousness and what it means to be alive. Sometimes there are samurai massacres set to covers of Wu-Tang songs. Hard to complain about any of that.

But yes, How I Met Your Mother. The majority of the episode was presented through flashbacks, as the leader of the Ghost Nation, Ake, told a tale of sadness and lost love and how all of that led to questions that didn’t have answers and a subsequent search for those answers. Flashing back and forward through time is nothing new for Westworld, but the difference this time was that instead of just diving in and making us figure out where and when the hell any of it was happening, it was laid out in a linear fashion as Ake explained his journey to Maeve’s daughter. (I mean, “daughter,” I guess.) The whole episode was structured like an episode of How I Met Your Mother. The only difference was that it was explained by a robot warrior instead of Bob Saget. And that it wasn’t technically his daughter. And that all of this would make Ake the Ted Mosby of the show, which is impossible because Lee Sizemore is so clearly the Ted Mosby of this show that it makes me angry sometimes.

Otherwise, exactly the same.

The hosts are getting to the same place but taking different routes

When I say “the same place,” I’m not talking about the Valley Beyond, or Glory, or whatever it is anyone is calling it right now. That’s another issue for another episode or for your favorite subreddit. No, I mean the path to consciousness. Dolores got there, kind of, thanks to Ford’s specific programming and the whole Wyatt thing. Maeve started getting there through anomalies and then sped up the process by screwing around with her settings or seducing/threatening scientists into doing it for her. And now Ake appears to have gotten there, in a way similar to Maeve’s but more solitary, over a decade or so, with a push from Ford to make him curious.

Meanwhile, my beautiful buffoon Teddy had to be held down and forcibly re-wired because he couldn’t wrap his head around any of it despite repeated, explicit explanations by Dolores, occasionally supplemented with visual aides. Poor Teddy.

The security in the Mesa is a joke

Delos, a company worth many billions of dollars, built series of theme parks, which cost many millions of dollars (if not more), but apparently nickel-and-dimed the security budget to a degree that a host dressed like a Ghost Nation warrior was just able to, like, wander freely around the facility, poking his head in this room and that until he found the warehouse where the company stores the fully nude hosts it has taken out of commission.

Come on, Westworld. I would have accepted any one of the following scenes to explain this:

  • Ake hangs a high-resolution screenshot of the empty hallway over the lens of the security camera so it looks all-clear on the monitors
  • A member of the Ghost Nation hacks the system and puts the cameras on a five-second loop instead of a live shot
  • A montage of Ake dying three or four dozen times and studying the security system a little more each time until he knows the exact pattern of their movements and can tip-toe through their blind spots
  • An unshaven slob of security guard dropping his sandwich and missing the action on the monitors while he reaches to pick it up

Give me that level of respect, at least.

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