Westworld: Season 1/ Episode 2 "Chestnut" – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

As it seems more hosts begin to gain memory functions beyond their design, in the distance trouble is coming possibly from corporate.

Trigger Warning(s):
Gratuitous Violence (Gun Violence)

Main Plot (with Commentary)

Topic 1: The Man In The Black Hat

It is finally revealed that this mysterious man, one who has been playing the game for nearly 30 years, is not only known to the staff but seemingly has such a privilege that everyone is to leave him be. All the while he rips through multiple hosts and storylines either for demented pleasure or in pursuit of this maze. A maze which is the deepest level of the game he believes.

{Commentary}

According to the first episode, the Westworld game has been around for about 30 years, so with TMITBH (An acronym I’m using for the character for now on) being in the game for nearly that long, that  makes him one of the first customers. Yet, with all this talk about how expensive this experience is, you have to wonder how is he making his cash? The man seemingly never leaves, knows damn near every storyline, and is now on the search for this maze which perhaps is the last frontier. One which requires scalping and threatening the in game children’s lives for answers. Why is he so hellbent on finding this place and what is his life outside of the game, I wonder?

Topic 2: An Introduction to How Things Are (Lee and Ford)

In the episode, we are introduced to the initial intake before someone enters Westworld. Be it the hosts bringing newcomers into a changing room and offer themselves, or the door which leads them to the train which takes them to the town center.

Alongside it is foreshadowed to expect corporate issues soon. Not just because of the continuing issues with hosts, but also because they want a new storyline. Something which usually isn’t a problem for Lee comes up with something, goes back and forth over the number of hosts he needs, and that’s it. However, for the first time in a while, Ford denies a storyline due to him feeling the story is more about Lee and his need to tantalize versus the experience of the newcomer. Though another factor is Ford working on something himself.

{Commentary}

Focusing, shortly, on the initiation, I remain perplexed where exactly is the western world environment? Is it virtual or within a Grand Canyon environment? I thought I knew due to the train ride to get there, but with the newcomer going from a room in the corporation to a moving train, I became rather confused. Plus, with what we see in Topic 3, and in general when it comes to the whole shooting aspect of the show, how in the world did they make some aspects of this place possible? Could it be we are to just write it off as some future technology allows all this?

That aside, it seems the corporate politics are going to heat up and honestly I’m unsure how interesting that maybe. A coup against Ford seems possible, but with Ford being your usual eccentric, Lee a madman craving autonomy and power, and Theresa simply a QA with the usual stone cold woman in power demeanor, can they make something interesting of it? Much less, what is this storyline Ford is planning?

Topic 3: Count Backward From Three (Maeve [Thandie Newton])

Maeve, the parlor’s madam or the motherly prostitute, gets the Dolores treatment this episode. But while Dolores met her creators, Maeve meets the people who repair the bodies after the shootouts. Leaving her further traumatized, on top of a nightmare featuring TMITBH, with seeing all her peer’s dead bodies carted around by men in white lab jackets.

{Commentary}

As noted in Topic 2, I find it difficult to comprehend some aspects of this western world that the company has created. They create each host individually, as seen when Lee is throwing a tantrum over a 1st world person, but where are these memories from? We are told they are given nightmares as a fail-safe to if they ever did have access to what newcomers have done to them. However, did Lee write these nightmares? Much less, why is TMITBH in Maeve’s? Has his long-term presence created such an effect that he is now their collective nightmare man?

Things To Note

Bernard and Theresa Cullen seem to have something going on, and Bernard is secretly having conversations with Dolores. Perhaps even being responsible for her ability to trick the others into thinking she is alright and capable of handling her usual duties.

A part of me wonders if the child Ford was speaking with was a version of himself as a child.

I still wonder about that “Horror Narrative” spoken about in the last episode and whether it took place in this desert environment? But like with many things when it comes to this show, I think while 90% of questions may be answered, 10% was just conversation which we aren’t supposed to take note of.

Collected Quote(s)

You can’t play God without being acquainted with the devil.
—           “Chestnut.” Westworld

On The Fence

I really do hope if corporate politics are going to become a serious matter on this show they make the players involved interesting enough to want to take sides. For, as of now, while I adore the eccentricities of Ford, he doesn’t seem like the type of character who can make a war for the direction of the company interesting.

Then, when it comes to the hosts’ awakening, while I did enjoy seeing and learning about Maeve, I wonder if this shall be the pattern of the show? Focusing on one at a time, establishing them, and setting up the rebellion. For while interesting now, once you get used to the sex and violence I think I might question if this can keep its luster. Though with only, around, 10 episodes, as least you know things won’t be dragged out.

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