Westworld, Season 3

Dept. of Robotic Retribution


I love Westworld. Or at least I think I do. Westworld is one of those shows that I often forget between seasons. I’m not fixated by it. I don’t read the end of season reviews or post-mortems. I don’t go down a rabbit hole investigating all the different weird facets of the show. I don’t find myself wanting to solve the mysteries at it’s heart.

Jeffery Wright as Bernard Lowe in Westworld.

But, as soon as the date for a new season is announced, I’m suddenly jolted back into it, and I begin to eagerly anticipate it’s arrival. I realise that I don’t remember what happened in the previous season and I go on a binge to catch up (thanks HBO GO!). And all of a sudden, I’m back in love with Westworld. With the wild west and it’s late 19th century setting. With the characters who are robots but think they are people. With the people who are people and think they are park visitors. And the music. Let’s not forget the music. With that, I’m invested once again in the twists and turns of Westworld. With its mystery box story and the journey through its maze. 

Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden in Westworld.

So, when the nice people at HBO gave us access to the first four episodes, I was a little apprehensive. I had seen the trailers and I wasn’t sure if I’d be as receptive to it. You see, Dolores is out of Westworld now. She’s out of that wild west, late 19th century setting and out in the real world. 

And I’m sorry if that was a spoiler for you, but it’s in all the trailers and hell, if HBO thought it was fine reveal that fact, then it’s fine for me too. I mean, Season 3 is called “The New World”, so it really isn’t something they are trying to hide. (Also, why are you reading a review for Season 3 if you’re trying to avoid spoilers for seasons 1 and 2? Why?)

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld Season 3.

Anyway, this season picks up almost immediately following the events of the previous one, as Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) leaves the park (as Charlotte) and sets her sights on conquering the real world. She gets together with series newcomer Aaron Paul and begins to execute her plans for world domination. From the four episodes that I’ve seen, it’s clear that they’re really setting Dolores up as the villain of the piece. Which, you could say, was coming.

From the get go, her character has always been about finding her place in the world. She starts off as a dutiful daughter being content with her little corner of life, but that contentment gave way to curiosity, and eventually built to her achieving consciousness. The second season was her taking control of her life and trying to break free of Westworld and its rules. Now, in season 3, she is finally unencumbered by the bonds of the park and in our world. The real world. Her journey up the chess board food chain is complete. Pawn to queen.

Dolores Abernathy out in the real world in season 3.

So, here is my problem with all of this. As you’ve likely seen in the trailers, the series is no longer set in Westworld. No more wild wild west. No more cowboys and Indians (or real Indians and Japanese). We’re now in a modern world, with modern guns, and robots, and skyscrapers, and shiny flashy cars. 

For the most part, the first four episodes of this season feels like a different show. It’s a drama set in the near future, with a villain, and people trying to stop the villain. With the show not being set in the park, there are no more hosts and their narratives, no more guests and their quests, no more searching for the maze, or the door, or the forge. It’s just the real world now, our world (albeit in the future), and I don’t know if I’m digging the show as much as I used to.

Aaron Paul joins the cast of Westworld season 3 as Caleb.

I think it’s telling that my favourite episode of the four was the second one. And once you see it, you will know why. I have enough faith in the writing of the show to know that there is a lot more to come. There always is. There are only eight episodes in this season, two less than each of the previous seasons, but it still gives enough time for Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy to pull something out of the bag and keep me interested. I have truly enjoyed the series and I enjoyed the start to season 3. I just worry that with the move out into the real world that Westworld will lose some to its identity, and evolve into something that I did not necessarily sign up for.

Then again, who am I kidding? I’ll finish season 3 in due course and, in all honesty, probably forget about it over the next year, before getting all worked up again when HBO announces season 4.

Westworld Season 3 debuts on Monday, March the 16th at 9am on HBO GO and HBO (Astro channel 411/431 in HD).

HBO, Season 3, 8 episodes
Showrunners: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy
Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, Matthew Pitts, Denise Thé, and Jordan Goldberg
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quaterman, Rodrigo Santoro, Aaron Paul, Vincent Cassel, Lena Waithe, Scott Mescudi, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Ealy, and Tommy Flanagan

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

Episode 8
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