REVIEW: Westworld – “Chestnut”

westworld-review

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

In the second episode of HBO’s Westworld, which was released early (apparently, to avoid clashing with a US presidential debate), we experience the park from the perspective of a first-time visitor named William (played by Jimmi Simpson). Meanwhile – behind the scenes – Elsie Hughes (played by Shannon Woodward) fears that whatever happened to Abernathy may be contagious.

If the first episode – The Original – was primarily seen from the perspective of the hosts – like Teddy and Dolores – then this second episode – Chestnut – was seen from the perspective of the newcomers. William – Jimmi Simpson’s character – is a great new addition to the show, and could become the one guest to ‘root for,’ as it were.

I did really enjoy seeing Jimmi Simpson in the show, but his character and his friend were unsubtly introduced. William – the nervous first-time visitor who has problems with ‘acting out’ in this episode – wears a white cowboy hat, and his clothes are beige-colored.

On the other hand, you have Logan (played by Ben Barnes) – the rude returning visitor who knows exactly who he wants to be, and what he doesn’t want to do – who is dressed in black. His hat, his clothes – everything is black.

“These violent delights have violent ends.”

No one will be surprised to learn that Dolores is slowly remembering things, after the end of the first episode of the show. She doesn’t feature in a lot of this episode, which was a bit of a surprise to me, but it didn’t harm the episode at all.

Dolores interacts with Bernard, Maeve, and, finally, William in this episode, but it was another scene that’s going to keep audiences speculating until episode three. Dolores found a hidden gun. If I were to speculate, then I’d guess that this gun can harm the newcomers.

The most impactful of her scenes this week, though, is Dolores’s scene with Maeve (played by Thandie Newton). In the first episode, Abernathy said the line from Romeo and Juliet to Dolores, and now she is passing the line along to another. To what end? Now, we can only guess.

But it definitely had an effect on her. Maeve started to remember a previous scenario, wherein she was scalped by the Man in Black, interestingly. And then she woke up. The most exciting sequence of scenes this week was the one where Maeve was wandering around behind the scenes. Imagine what can happen if sleep mode doesn’t work on any of the hosts at some point.

“I’ve been coming here for thirty years, in a sense, I was born here.” – The Man in Black.

The Man in Black is currently still looking for ‘the deepest level of the game,’ but this episode didn’t really reveal anything we didn’t know about his mission. The little girl gave him a location after he took down his second group of hosts in this episode.

Surprisingly, this was the storyline I was the least interested in, in Chestnut. We still don’t know enough about the Man in Black’s mission to be completely invested in it, but there’s enough in this show to compensate for that. And I’m not just talking about Teddy’s third gruesome death scene.

“You can’t play God without being acquainted with the Devil.” – Dr. Robert Ford.

Sir Anthony Hopkins got more to do this week than he did in The Original. He had two great lines in Chestnut: the one written above, and the one about what magic means to a magician. He also had some great scenes here, including the one with the little boy out in the park.

I also really enjoyed seeing Hopkins’s character – Dr. Robert Ford – take charge of the narrative development in Chestnut. Lee Sizemore (played by Simon Quarterman) was being particularly childish and obnoxious in this episode, and I loved seeing Ford take him down a peg when he said no to ‘Odyssey on Red River.’

Seeing as they released Chestnut a bit early this time around, the wait for episode three will be a bit longer. At the end of this episode, I found myself wishing the entire season was available. This show is addictive, and I’m already completely hooked.

A-

– Jeffrey Rex

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