"Westworld Showrunners Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy with Cast" by FredrikLundhag is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Westworld should have ended after Season 1

By: Chinmay Kulkarni

Few TV shows are just as well executed and successfully explore deeper meanings like Westworld. The 3-season spanning HBO science fiction show recreated and orchestrated by Jonathan Nolan’s mind specifically attempts to explore the definition of human consciousness along with the marriage of man and machine – in a dystopian timeline where extreme human-like robots inhabit a theme park for full human enjoyment.

Westworld follows the story of Dolores, a ‘host’ – programmed robots that play a role within Westworld. Dolores is having flashbacks of a past life before she was Dolores (the robots are reused to play different roles within Westworld). Along the way, the antagonist of the story William, is a regular at the park and wants to explore its deeper meaning, illustrated as a maze-like image that represents a convoluted quest for self-consciousness. As we later learn, Dolores can fully gain consciousness and breaks from her designed programming.

The story of gaining consciousness in Westworld is divided into several arcs, each driven by a certain character that furthers plot points. On one side, are Dolores and William, exploring the meaning of the maze and internal consciousness with respect to her own memories. The story of Bernard, who also explores man-machine consciousness and how it was developed within Westworld. Finally, the action series of Maeve, who also remembers her past and seeks to escape the park by manipulating Westworld employees.

As mentioned, the first season excellently weaves the exploration of consciousness with a compelling plot filled with action, romance, drama, etc. To a viewer, season 1 feels like a widely varied experience – as the Westworld park itself. Unfortunately, this show fails in further seasons, turning into a murder mystery in season 2, and completely shifting to the real world in season 3. In season 1, we see the root causes of the entire show – events that spurred seasons 2 and 3. Frankly, the cause is far more interesting and well executed than the effect and is evident that the writers ran out of ideas for the later seasons. Due to the popularity of the show and the nature of money for HBO productions, these factors were likely the most prevalent for the later series and can be attributed to the haphazardness of seasons 2 and 3.

Supposedly the fourth season of Westworld takes off. Frankly, the show has fallen so much out of relevancy with the vast amount of streaming content, that it may no longer be able to attract new viewers especially if they read the reviews of season 2 or the extremely poor season 3.

Final Review – Season 1: A-, Seasons 2 and 3 – Forgettable

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