Warning: Contains the following full spoilers for Westworld: Season 4 Episode “Well Enough Alone”.
Read Click here for our recap of last week’s Westworld: Season 4 premiere, “The Auguries.”.
Well Enough Alone contained rudimentary Westworld intrigue and revelations – including notable revelations about Charlotte’s evil plan and the launch of a new theme park at the end – but it also felt very much like an addendum to last week’s premiere and was a bit focused too much on long scenes where host William is smug and defeating political enemies. This scenario was already at the heart of Season 4’s first AI move at Hoover Dam, so seeing William doing more of it felt like a waste of time.
It’s good that Ed Harris has more to do in Season 4, and Well Enough Alone even briefly told us that real William (even if it was just a scene where Charlotte woke him up, taunted him, and then put him back in the freezer), but as the host figure of Charlotte, the public face of her diabolical plan to enslave the world, his scenes are pretty carrying slim. Since William is so vague with his threats (many of which are very “do as I say, or else”), at a certain point you might think that he’s enjoying the metaphorical mustache-twirling villain game too much. If not, then maybe he should try to be more direct and say, “Listen, conform or I’ll kill you and replace you with a robot.” Float that idea. See how it lands.
Watch our video recap of the Westworld season 4 premiere here…
There wasn’t a lot of Something happened this week that added to the saga, although the episode wasn’t without movement either. Caleb and Maeve flirted a bit on their adventure, hinting at a romantic past we weren’t privy to that they might meet as a human/host couple in a lighthouse. Anyway, they hopped along and followed William’s treacherous trail of replacing celebrity characters with hosts and/or loading them with “flies” that they puppet while alive and awake (or recapturing old Dolores hosts, eh Angela Sarafyan’s Clementine). There was appropriate action and violence – including menacing guest appearances for Heroes’ Jack Coleman and Deep Blue Sea’s Saffron Burrows – but compared to what came before it, it seemed like a fairly simplistic puzzle trail on the show.
That tightening of the story is now most likely intentional (following criticism that Westworld is more of a structural gimmick than substance), though the show also feels very sparsely populated these days; many empty pavilions, commercial areas and wide open spaces with only a few characters present. Even when Caleb and Maeve walk into the “apparent trap” daytime opera, the auditorium is empty (as is all the grounds outside, which the duo didn’t seem to notice).
Of course, this week’s ending has dropped the curtain on how Season 4, despite being a decade away from the Westworld massacre, will return and deliver us theme park antics. Revealed to both Caleb and Maeve (in one go, complete with Lili Simmons’ returning Clementine 2), the Golden Age appears to be a roaring 20’s playground of no doubt nefarious intentions. What could be lurking beneath the fun here, behind the choice between white and black fedoras? Let’s dig through Charlotte’s naughty game a bit and throw Christina’s story into the mix as well.
In Westworld Season 3, humans were more or less controlled by machines. It was all background noise, of course, under the watchful eye of Rehoboam, but the script had been flipped accordingly. The only catch was that people didn’t know that their lives were being shaped and manipulated (and truncated). Now that humanity’s AI cruise control is gone thanks to the riots, Charlotte wants to get bigger and badder.
What Charlotte says to William (and also to the Justice Department guy) — about doing what humans do to humans — seems to imply not only the dominance of AI, but the gruesome added ingredient of incarceration. Much like how the hosts were treated in Westworld, humans could be destined for a world where robots they control are no longer a secret, almost like a global theme park where everyone’s life is charted and controlled by cheerful, merciless bots , which basically change everything humanity into NPCs. Is Charlotte after the Sublime Key so she can fetch all hosts from there or lock people in there Matrix style? Or both?
How does this relate to Christina? Well, she writes stories for NPCs and some paranoid dude just tracked her down (although apparently he died a while ago now – a game loop?) and accused her of controlling his entire life. Since we’re on a show that loves to fiddle with time, Christina’s story could be set years after the Caleb and Maeve drama, in a future where people are already “Free Guy’d” in life ‘ are like pawns. Is it the sublime? The twist here, right now, that seems to contradict Charlotte’s plan is that it is still a mystery and few can see through this matrix (and hear the “music” from “the tower”). There’s no doubt that these two stories – the only two stories for the first two episodes – are connected, but the details have yet to be learned.
The sci-fi writer you didn’t know wrote it all: Philip K. Dick