After years of hold ups, HBO's new series Westworld premiered this past Sunday, and instantly proved why it was worth waiting for.
The series, which is based on the 1973 movie of the same name, took us inside the immersive theme park of Westworld where guests pay over $40,000 per day to have an authentic 19th Century wild west experience. However, not is all as it seems in Westworld, and while the employees have their own secrets, it seems the android hosts do as well.
The pilot episode of Westworld was a 68 minute long roller coaster, and it was jam packed with a ton of tiny details which were hard to spot the first time around (or perhaps you did spot them, but the episode was such a mindfuck that you didn't recognize it as significant). So jump aboard the Westworld hype train, because this bad boy is headed straight for Sweetwater, and we're taking a look at five things you might have missed In the Westworld pilot episode along the way:
1. Be warned: Westworld will be full of misdirection
Following Teddy through the opening scenes, it was unclear whether or not he was a human or a host, and to be honest it wasn't until we repeatedly saw him replaying his day that I totally realized he was a host.
Given that hosts are so damn life-like — to the point of making the same subconscious gestures as humans — you can be sure that Westworld is going to use this for maximum effect. As the series builds and we meet more and more characters, there's almost certainly going to be moments when characters we least suspects will be revealed as hosts, or perhaps even revealed as humans. Consider yourself warned now, because you can be sure Westworld will fool you when you least suspect it.
2. When, and in what kind of world, is Westworld set?
While it was confirmed by creator Jonathan Nolan that Westworld is set in the 21st Century, however what hasn't been confirmed is when in the 21st Century the series is set. It's obviously more than a few years ahead of our time given the level of technology being used, but because we've mostly only seen inside the control center and the park itself, it's hard to gauge - though there was one hint that it could be decades from now.
Near the beginning of the episode, Bernard, Stubbs and a response team travel to cold storage on sub-level 83 to deal with some unscheduled activity. When they get there it's revealed the cooling system has been broken for some time, and the place is gushing with water. Weirdly, as the group walk through the dark area the camera pulls out and it suddenly looks as though cold storage is being housed inside an abandoned mall. You can clearly see an escalator, walk ways and even what looks to be a broken fountain with a globe inside it - something definitely out of place in a storage area.
But why had the mall been abandoned, and why had Westworld taken it over to simply use as storage? There are a few theories about this, including that the outside world had suffered some sort of apocalypse - perhaps not an extreme apocalypse, but enough damage that the idyllic world of the park had become an ultimate destination. Take for instance the family with the young boy: was Westworld the first time that boy had seen green grass, clean river water and wild horses? Maybe.
3. The bandit had an appropriate name
We first heard of the murderer Hector Escaton at the beginning of our journey into Westworld when the sheriff tried to recruit various newcomers into helping in the hunt for him. But while we knew straight away that he was a bad guy, having murdered the marshall and gone on the run, what you might not have noticed was the criminal's apt name.
Escaton is a clear play on the Greek "ἔσχατον" or "eschaton" which literally means "the last." In theology it refers to the final event in the divine plan, or basically the final event before the end of the world.
Of course, within Westworld, Hector Escaton's shoot out is supposed to be a big climactic moment - even more so in the Episode 1 when the saloon heist was brought forward and made twice as bloody to compensate for 200 hosts being pulled out of service. But for us viewers at home, Escaton's name takes on a whole new level of meaning now that we know the "creatures" of Westworld are malfunctioning and acting out, almost certainly symbolizing the beginning of the end for the whole park.
- 'Westworld' And The Man In Black's Mystery Scalp-Maze: Where The Hell Is This Going?
- Playing God: 3 Biggest Theories Behind Ford On 'Westworld'
- 'Westworld': 3 Biggest Theories Behind The Mysterious Man In Black
- Robots In Disguise: How Does HBO's 'Westworld' Turn Its Actors Into Robots?
4. Born in milk, die in milk
This was a nice catch from Redditor blissed_out_cossack, who thought it was weird that the two killer hosts calling card seemed to be spilling milk on the dead, considering how the hosts seem to have been brought to life.
We first saw milk surrounding the dead when Dolores' parents were killed by the mustachioed-killer near the start of the episode, and then again when the host Walter went on his unscheduled killing spree at the saloon. But true to the hosts inability to harm humans, neither killer turned their weapon or milk to guests, with Walter even telling two guests in the saloon "you can't have none, ain't for you," in regards to the milk
But what was even more interesting is that immediately following the unscheduled saloon kill-fest, the very next scene showed exactly how the hosts were created, effectively being "born" from a very milky-looking liquid. How weird does it seem that hosts who were born of "milk" also died being covered in it by a killer? It's almost as though the killer hosts were recalling their origins, despite that not being in their programming.
As viewers of Westword might have noticed, the series is full of literary references, and Redditor ThundercuntIII (yasss, killer username!) also pointed out that the Lady Macbeth quote about the milk of human kindness in Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5:
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be What thou art promis'd. Yet do I fear thy nature, It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way.
The milk of human kindness refers to people having natural kindness, compassion or sympathy. However in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth believes that no self-respecting man would have need for it, and complains her husband is too full of the milk of human kindness to kill his rivals and scheme his way to the crown himself.
Interestingly, later Lady Macbeth also talks about thickening her blood so she doesn't feel remorse for her evil plan. In Westworld we actually saw two images of blood mixing with milk, a pretty clear representation that the hosts more violent sides were beginning to overpower their more nurturing ones.
5. Teddy totally remembered
Having seen Teddy ride the train toward Sweetwater several times over the course of the episode, viewers knew how he carried himself on the train. But right at the end of the episode, something changed.
After he was shot through the back by Escaton's men in the the shoot out scene, Teddy died in the arms of Dolores, but thankfully, as is the case in Westworld, everything was reset, and the next day Teddy once again rode the train into town. However, as he looked out the window on the train, Teddy seemed to hold his chest right on the very same spot where he was shot the previous day, almost as though he remembered what had happened to him - something which should have been impossible given that he was given the all clear when he was taken back to the control center. It was a very subtle moment, but it seems as though Teddy could soon be — or possibly already is — as aware as Dolores.
Bonus: The flies are telling
Throughout Episode 1, we saw or heard quite a few mention of flies; Bernard mentioned that hosts "couldn't hurt a fly," we saw them buzzing over the face of Sheriff as he malfunctioned, and then at the very end we watched as Dolores squashed one. The significance of Dolores killing the fly was pretty immense considering she had recently told Stubbs that she would never hurt a living thing, nor would she lie to employees of Westworld.
Oh and before you go thinking that the flies were not technically living things, because they were created in the lab like the horses (or the cattle and scorpion), then take a look at what was buried in the "Terms of Delos Destination" on the Discover Westworld website:
Uh oh. Looks like Dolores is lying. I'd hate to be a fly on the wall when Bernard and Stuff learn what "good old Dolores" is actually capable of.