In Review: Westworld – Dissonance Theory

Episode 4 of Westworld simultaneously revealed some secrets and created new ones.

Synopsis: While Westworld is in the midst of a power struggle between Dr. Ford and the Board, Bernard continues to study Dolores in secret, and how her recent experiences with William and Logan continue to evolve her artificial intelligence. Maeve, the madame of the saloon, remains haunted by dark visions and attempts to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, the Man in Black continues on his hunt for “The Maze” by any means necessary.

Review: Episode 4 of Westworld simultaneously revealed some secrets and created new ones. Many assumptions, such as the linear storytelling, were undermined yet reinforced. In a world where everything is false, it makes sense that what the viewer perceives is just as unreliable as what the hosts experience. Dolores and Bernard’s continuing sessions feature a large amount of emotional turmoil. Dolores is distraught, yet Bernard is able to strip away the physical expression of her emotions. So while Dolores explains her emotional state, her words are muted by an outside force. It can then be inferred that her emotions never existed. Similarly, Maeve’s arc explores authenticity from a different perspective.

Maeve’s visions are the epitome of disturbing. They force her to walk in multiple worlds like a fairy (Maeve is the name of the fabled queen of the fairies). Not only does Maeve catch glimpses of past story arcs, but she remembers the carnage of her deaths and being repaired from the operations team. To Maeve, the operations team are beings for which she has no point of reference. Until she receives proof that these fragments have some veracity (a powerfully creepy scene made palpable by Thandie Newton’s performance), Maeve doesn’t know what to believe. In this instance, the operations side of Westworld is Faerie, and true to the folklore, it nearly drives her mad. Consequently, Maeve finding bloody evidence to the greater forces at work imbues her with power, and power in a central part of this series.

Dr. Ford has fashioned a world where humans live like kings, but he lives like a god. With a command, he is able to arrest the progress of any hosts within the park. Ford’s new narrative arc is a massive undertaking. It literally is changing the landscape. When Theresa, the head of Quality Assurance, attempts to question Dr. Ford’s vision, his show of power is grand and drives home a critical idea. This is a world where the powerful thrive. And although there are varying degrees of power, only one person actually has control. He obviously views himself as this person, yet even his power has limits. Dr. Ford discusses how visitors to the park disregarded the positive narrative stories for the brutality and lawlessness. Forced to acquiesce to the guests, Ford faded from the forefront, but now Zeus has returned. He is determined to reclaim his position and full control over the world he has wrought.

Change is drastically transforming Westworld from both within and outside. Some characters are struggling to obtain the power to liberate themselves. Some characters struggle to maintain a hold on what they once had while ascending to new heights. Westworld continues to be an enigmatic and intriguing series, and it remains a must watch event.

Westworld - Dissonance Theory
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music
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