Both Episode 4, The Riddle of the Sphinx, and now Episode 5, Akane No Mai, of Westworld have had a clear focus on answers rather than questions. With the first Season of Westworld slowly building up a lot of intrigue over the course of the season, only to answer most of it with some huge twists right at the end, it seems as though Season 2 is out to give us those answers a little earlier, leaving the direction of the final few episodes even more of a mystery.
In that vein, I’m going to focus more on some general observations this week as there wasn’t a whole load of obvious new theories and questions coming out of the episode, at least not in the way we are used to with Westworld.
Multiple Parks, Same Stories:
One of the highlights of the latest episode was how it introduced us to shogun World. After heading down a very familiar looking street we see an awesome Shogun World version of the Mariposa robbery that introduced Hector and Armistice in season one of Westworld. Everything from the layout of the town, to the buildings, character reactions and interactions, and of course the music were mirrored here in Shogun World. And through the sequence we learned that Delos (or at the very least Sizemore) recycle stories from park to park.
With Sizemore explaining that he may of duplicated some of the Westworld storylines simply due to not having enough time to write so many stories for numerous parks, it’s clear that even though Shogun World is intended as a more intense and violent park, for those who don’t get what they need from Westworld, a number of the storylines and characters are echoed.
Although on the face of it that might seem like a smart business decision, using something you know works in one park in the others as well, it does seem a little odd that an enterprise as expensive and detailed as the Delos parks simply duplicate their assets.
We’ve seen the huge amount of work that goes into maintaining Westworld behind the scenes, and given that there are little to no references of these people working for the other parks as well (in Season 1), we can assume that each park has a similar level of behinds the scenes work and dedication, or at least we could. Now it seems that Sizemore was the chief writer to a number of parks, and presumably the behind the scenes work involves a lot more crossover from park to park than we’ve seen so far.
This leads on to a deeper idea and the notion that the parks are way more of a simple business enterprise than we’d assumed, forgoing the care it looked was put into Westworld, by simply duplicating that work but with a different theme for the other parks.
Dolores is Acting Out Animal Farm (Sort Of):
Orwell’s 1945 book ‘Animal Farm’, tells the story of an animal based uprising, drawing direct comparisons to the real world and in particular the transition from the Russian Revolution to the Soviet Union. The story starts with the animals on the farm oppressed by the human owners, and eventually leading a rebellion.
Soon enough the animals are running the farm, and everything from peace to resources is shared and enjoyed, all based around seven commandments the animals establish, the most important one being that “all animals are equal”. Eventually however the pigs who led the rebellion turn on the other animals, enslaving them, the pigs then becoming more and more human, even moving into the old farmers house, wearing human clothes and making deals with other local (human) farmers. Changing the commandments to one simple statement; “”All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” The very end of the book, sees the pigs indistinguishable from the humans that they once led a rebellion against, and all of the other animals are no better, or are in fact worse off than before.
The comparison between Animal Farm, and Westworld is pretty obvious, and clearly centres on Dolores. From a story point of view Dolores is one of the pigs from the farm, leading the charge against the human oppressors, and outwardly flaunting the mantra ‘all hosts are equal but some hosts are more equal than others” (mercilessly killing some but not others).
At the end of this episode we see Dolores alter Teddy’s code massively (even though the tech warns that Teddy might not hold together afterwards), changing him to suit her purposes and in short doing just what the humans have done to her for years (.i.e becoming more and more human herself). I’m pretty certain Dolores changing Teddy will end up being a mistake, or at the very least be a big factor in why Teddy is dead (in the huge lake we saw at the end of the first episode), and in all honesty what’s more human than making a mistake.