HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 1, “The Original” Recap

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, The Original, Dolores wakes up

HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 1, “The Original,” Dolores wakes up [Image via HBO]

Welcome to my recap of HBO’s latest offering, Westworld. Here’s what I thought of Episode 1 of Season 1.

Now, this is HBO, so we have a checklist to run first though.

Gratuitous female nudity. Check.
Gratuitous violence against women. Check.
Male eye candy. Check.
Plucky female lead. Check.
That dirty feeling that doesn’t leave you even after you have finished watching. Check.

We start with just an ordinary day in Westworld. The robots — or “hosts” – are just happy to be alive and accepting the Newcomers (the paying monsters humans). This day loops over throughout the episode just to show us how fucked up humans can be when there is a theme park with hosts that have no idea they are being raped and murdered over and over and over again. HBO clarifies this by sending in the Man in Black (Ed Harris) to literally rape and murder on repeat. He does, however, get sick of this when the robots start glitching out and he decides to find the game within the game.

But, over this continuous loop we learn some valuable information.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, The Original, Dr Ford

HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 1, “The Original,” Dr Ford [Image via John P. Johnson/HBO]

Firstly, the hosts have just had an update. Well, only 10% have and the updates are just randomly uploaded by the Westworld overlord, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). He gives zero fucks about protocol and the fact this is obviously a cautionary tale about giving robots too much of a conscience because he has another agenda, namely making the hosts better than the humans. Which, really they already are, or, well, better than the arseholes they let into Westworld.

The hosts look completely like humans to the viewer but apparently they aren’t really as lifelike as we think (hence the update). They run on specific loops that have been programmed into their core. This means that each day they wake up and live their lives like some sort of rapey version of Groundhog Day. When they go to bed (or are so badly damaged that they have to be taken offsite for repairs) and wake up again, the day starts again. The loop that they are on allows for exceptions, so when a human interacts with them or changes their normal daily path, they can accommodate this. If a human walks up to them and tells them they are fake, they generally just ignore it and walk away.

All the way through Episode 1 of Westworld we are reminded the hosts aren’t real not only via their personalities which are basically a sunnier version of the Stepford Wives, but by the flies that land on them. Even when the fly crawls over their motherfucking eyeball, they will not blink. It’s horrible, but, also, extremely important as we’ll see at the end of the episode.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, The Original, Fly on Dolores' eye GIF credit Esquire

HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 1, “The Original,” Fly on Dolores’ eye [GIF via HBO/Esquire]

Another thing to take note of is the conversation had between the Plucky Female Lead Host, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), and her paired host, Teddy (James Marsden), about the Judas steer. If you are a farmer, you will know this term, if not, it is basically the head steer that all the others blindly follow. Hmmm … I wonder who the Judas host is?

Just because we get introduced to the hosts via the characters they are playing, it doesn’t mean they have always been that character. The people who control Westworld will swap out hosts as required. Dolores’ dad, for example, was a sheriff and a cult leader before he was a farmer. What could possibly go wrong if those old professions resurface?

Over the whole episode of Westworld, Dolores is being quizzed by lab technicians. It’s not really clear at first why, but when the 10% of updated hosts start bugging out, it becomes more obvious that while Dolores isn’t one of them, she may be somehow involved with it all. And, it turns out she is thanks to her father being the lead bugout robot. He glitches so badly that it is like he has developed a conscience and memories. He warns his daughter she needs to get out of Westworld and that his maker, AKA Dr. Robert Ford, better watch his back because shit is about to get real. Except Ford can just retire poor old dad’s sorry arse and put him to rest in the back room. Because nothing will go wrong with storing all the decommissioned rejects in the one room together … But, hang on, is daddy crying?

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, The Original, Hector and his gang arrive

HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 1, The Original, Hector and his gang arrive [Image via John P. Johnson/HBO]

So, the people behind Westworld come up with an ingenious plan to get all the glitchy hosts together in a scenario that won’t send them broke or alert the hosts to the fact they may not have very many variations left in their core loops anymore. There is this bad guy, Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), that is the generic wild west threat to Westworld. He comes in on a regular loop and robs the saloon. So they move his appearance forward and program him and his gang to take out all the potential glitches. This gives the humans the exciting show they paid for and once everyone is shot, the behind the scenes crew come in and clean up. This is how Dolores ends up gratuitously naked (because clothes are not wasted on the hosts when they are not on the clock) and answering questions about her perception of reality. Being the oldest host she answers all the questions correctly and she is reprogrammed with a new dad (AKA Trevor from GTA V) in her loop and sent back onto the job.

Except, now she slaps those motherfucking flies away and I am pretty sure she is not only the Judas host but totally clued in to they horrible shit that goes on in Westworld.

What did you think of Episode 1 of Westworld? Let us know by commenting below!

Episode 2 (entitled “Chestnut”) of Westworld will air on HBO on Sunday, October 9 at 9:00 PM. The synopsis is below.

“Lee pitches his latest narrative, but Dr. Ford has other ideas; Bernard and Theresa debate whether a recent host anomaly is contagious; The Man in Black conscripts a condemned man, Lawrence, to help him uncover Westworld’s deepest secrets.”

[Image via HBO]

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8 thoughts on “HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 1, “The Original” Recap

  1. I watched this on Sky Atlantic in the UK. It reminded me, a little, of Doll House, where people with money get to carry out their wildest fantasies, on or with people that have no say in the matter. Until the programming goes wrong and the people, or Hosts in this case, learn the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 1, “The Original” Recap | Rachel Tsoumbakos

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