REVIEW: Westworld – “The Bicameral Mind”

westworld-review

The following is a spoiler review of the tenth episode of Westworld – Developed by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy

In the final episode of the first season of Westworld, Ford (played by Anthony Hopkins) presents his new story to the Delos board, we finally find out who Wyatt is, Teddy (played by James Marsden) finds Dolores (played by Evan Rachel Wood), and Charlotte (played by Tessa Thompson) tries to force Ford to retire.

I am not going to lie. A part of me feels slightly disappointed with the final episode of the season. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good episode, and the very end of the episode with Ford’s final speech was very entertaining. That worked well. But there are some pretty glaring issues with this episode.

While I’ll never complain when a show gives us a supersized episode, I am not sure the plot in this episode warranted a 90-minute finale. The identities of the Man in Black and Wyatt took way too long to reveal and confirm. You see, it was made even more obvious in the early stages of The Bicameral Mind who the Man in Black was, and it felt like it had been overexplained when they finally got to the scene where the Man in Black tells Dolores that he is, indeed, William.

I’m sure there are some people that were truly surprised by that scene. But every fan that has been discussing this show online has known for quite a while that this was coming. I also don’t think the Wyatt-Dolores connection was all that difficult to figure out either.

In the end, fan theories did manage to ruin almost all of the things Westworld was planning to reveal for us this season. But it didn’t help that the William-scene wasn’t executed as well as it could’ve been. I don’t think they needed to wait to reveal the Man in Black’s identity in the final episode.

But let’s move on from William and Wyatt. Maeve finally had her chance to get out, and she even brought back Bernard, which I couldn’t be more happy about. But apparently her desire to escape had been programmed and planned from the beginning. This was something this show needed to do. There were some disappointing parts about Maeve’s storyline this season, and it does salvage the storyline a little bit if her desire was planned.

I liked that Maeve didn’t decide to kill Felix, even if he was a pretty unbelievable character in the worst possible way. I loved the scene where Felix wasn’t sure if he was real, that was a lot of fun. And you can’t really blame him, it’s tough to really understand who’s really real there and who isn’t in Westworld.

I think it was somewhat disappointing to see that Maeve wouldn’t go out in the real world. It would’ve been really interesting to follow her there. Instead, she’s stuck in Ford’s murder park. Speaking of that park, I thought it was really interesting to see that they had a SamuraiWorld behind the scenes – or, at the very least, were planning to make a SamuraiWorld. That would be really cool to see at some point.

Now, the one reveal that really did work for me was the fact that Ford wasn’t exactly the villain we thought he was. He wasn’t just against the hosts, he actually did, eventually, want something better for them. I think they could’ve executed the reveal a little bit better, but it was a nice surprise.

I loved seeing the look on William’s face when he was shot in the arm, and I really liked that that was how they were going to end the season. It’s a somewhat satisfying end to a season where the hosts were the protagonists. And it would also work as a series finale, if HBO weren’t already planning to do a second season.

It is sad that the season finale probably means that Anthony Hopkins is no longer going to be on the show. Sure, they’ve brought other characters – like Bernard – back before, but until we see otherwise I’m going to assume this was Hopkins final episode. Hopkins was truly wonderful on Westworld. He gave one of the best performances this season.

The excellent first season had a very violent end. The often-quoted line from Romeo and Juliet was absolutely right. And as it turns out, it was all planned from the beginning. Fans did ruin elements of the show for themselves, and that is a shame, but the show was still entertaining at all times, even if most of us saw a lot of the reveals coming.

In the next few days, I’ll start to write my full season review of the debut season of HBO’s Westworld, and I’m excited to do so. Even though Westworld was never perfect, it has been one of the most enjoyable first seasons of television I can remember. It sounds like we may not see the second season of Westworld until 2018, which is a shame. But I’m a fan of what Nolan and Joy have done with this show. I’m excited to see the next chapter in Ford’s final story.

B+

– Jeffrey Rex

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