North Texas Daily

So far, ‘Westworld’ season 3 is less poetic than the first, but still a potent watch

So far, ‘Westworld’ season 3 is less poetic than the first, but still a potent watch

So far, ‘Westworld’ season 3 is less poetic than the first, but still a potent watch
April 14
13:00 2020

When the season three trailer for “Westworld” dropped earlier this year, I was both elated and apprehensive. My excitement came from my positive feelings about the first two seasons — when I watched season one back in 2016, and then watched it again (because it’s “Westworld,” and you simply won’t understand the show after a single watch), I was convinced this was going to be the new “Game of Thrones.” I found season two, while excessively confusing at times, almost equally as dazzling. It had been two years since we’d visited Delos’ park and I was itching to go back.

I was apprehensive, though, because this show looked entirely different, namely because we weren’t actually in “Westworld” anymore. The season two finale made it clear Dolores was leaving the park for the human world, meaning we’d be spending far less time in the place that made me fall in love with the show. I was worried “Westworld” might lose its heart.

Five episodes into the eight episode season, I can say this — while the show has lost some of its poeticism, “Westworld” season three builds on its philosophical exploration and offers a gripping storyline about free will, humanity and our propensity for destruction.

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), who was dead-set on exterminating the human race in season two, finds herself in a world where the humans aren’t the bad guys. Instead, they’re at the will of Rehoboam, a system that uses predictive algorithms to collect data on humans and predict every aspect of their future — what career they’re most suited for, how many kids they’ll have, and when and how they’ll die. This information is withheld from the individual themselves, and they’re boxed into a system with no control over their lives. I was relieved to find that season three Dolores doesn’t hate humans anymore, but rather pities them, and her actions are now more consistent with who she was in season one (I found her too Wyatt-infused, too unfeeling in season two). My criticism of her character is that we’ve only seen her act in season three, and she has yet to simply exist. Much of the introspection we saw in season one has been traded for plot progression, and we haven’t gotten the chance to see her humanity in a long while.

This is the basis of my critique for the season as a whole. “Westworld” is typically home to the most beautifully imaginative language. Anthony Hopkins, who played Ford in the first two seasons, was the apex of this poeticism, and he left us enthralled with every magnificently crafted piece of dialogue. While the writing is still elevated far beyond most other shows, some of the more lyrically powerful lines have been diluted, and the quickened pace of season three has traded pensiveness with talk-throughs of the actions unfolding around the characters. With the plot progressing as quickly as it is, there’s little time for the thoughtfulness that was the cornerstone of season one.

And yet “Westworld” has still maintained its brilliance. This show isn’t just cinematic, it’s art. Violin and piano-centered ballads, like season two’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” play over slow-motion action sequences or car chases. Visually, it’s stunning, featuring sleek technology and top-tier special effects. Even though Dolores’ character is more shallow than we saw in the first season, season three has featured some profound rumination from characters Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), William (Ed Harris), Maeve (Thandie Newton) and newcomer Caleb (Aaron Paul). Along with Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld” hosts a compelling ensemble of actors who continue to outperform themselves.

This artistry is mixed with some of “Westworld’s” strongest concepts to date. The theme of the show has always been about what makes us human, and we get to explore this in new ways now that a few hosts have made it out of the park. Season three provides a masterful contrast against what we saw in season one — while hosts like Delores and Maeve were fighting for their sentience and free will, humans have been giving up theirs. They wear t-shirts that express their current emotion, take dosages of mood stabilizers and get implants that connect them to Rehoboam. Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy continue to chisel at the relationship between humanity and technology, using the show to mirror the real world. What started off as a desire to use technology to gain more control has turned into dependence on and subjection to the very technology we created.

My hope is that “Westworld” won’t forget what it is as the show continues to progress. While the first four episodes were solid, episode five was where we got into way too much plot and not enough reflection. If Nolan and Joy can just slow it down for the last three episodes and focus in on our characters, we’ll end the season up-to-par with the first. Despite this, though, season three continues to dazzle.

Final rating: 4/5

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

About Author

Haley Arnold

Haley Arnold

Related Articles

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
From the Back to School publication: What to know about each North Texas sport as a new school year approaches 📝 @JohnFields0 🖼️ @ooopsrobynn https://t.co/cxu3aG0a9i
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
DOSE: Four shows to check out this August 📝 @gmtittle 🖼️ @GishhyOrange https://t.co/FccU3EkjgI
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
DOSE: 'Old' shows M. Night Shyamalan’s style is outdated 📝 @OberkromJaden https://t.co/lg1Eenlgcu
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
NEWS: University's Center for Young Children reopens with new curriculum and mission 📝 @yarylira 🖼️ @ooopsrobynn https://t.co/j7r6YoHEHm
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
Happy Thursday! Check out our eleventh and final issue of the summer online now! Also, find our special publication, Back to School, on newsstands around campus today! https://t.co/s5wKVV6Hxs
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad

Instagram