April 17, 2020
Bring yourselves back online.
After a wild episode of Westworld that felt more like a season finale than a mid-season episode, we're back with another edition of Analysis Mode, where we try to ask — and maybe answer? — some burning questions heading into this week's episode of the show. But before we get into that, we're going to try something a little different this week.
A few weeks ago, I saw one of my favorite local rappers, Chill Moody, tweet out the following:
Westworld. Season One. Episode One.— Chill Moody (@ChillMoody) March 31, 2020
let’s see how this goes.
And watching him tweet about the show in realtime was a pleasant reminder of what a wild ride this show has been through two and a half seasons that sometimes feel a lot longer. And once you've seen it, you can never go back and watch it with fresh eyes again, especially when you spend as much time as I do parsing every scene of every episode.
That's why it was so enjoyable to see tweets like this as his viewing continued.
it’s only a matter of time before these jawns figure out they’re robots— Chill Moody (@ChillMoody) April 1, 2020
And, given what he does for a living, it was awesome to see him appreciate the music, which is one of the best parts of the show, as much as I did.
Season 2. Episode 5.— Chill Moody (@ChillMoody) April 4, 2020
this wu flip.
Now that he's all caught up and waiting for new episodes to air each week like the rest of us, I thought it would be as good a time as any to check in with him to see if the show lived up to the hype, where he thinks it's headed, and what reveals he figured out before they even happen.
[Warning: Contains some NSFW language, but nothing worse than you'd hear on any given episode of Westworld.]
PhillyVoice: Did you know a lot about the show before you started watching?
CHILL MOODY: "I didn't know shit about it before I started watching it. I knew people were talking about it. I know HBO really doesn't miss, especially the characters. I love the characters in most HBO shows; they're always good for quality characters that sometimes you talk about more than the show. So I knew to expect good, but I had no idea what it was about. Nothing.
"I remember last year I was down at SXSW and they had different companies down there and do different installations and stuff like that, and Showtime had a house where they had a concert, but one of the bars was recreated to be The Alibi from 'Shameless.' And V [Shanola Hampton] and Kevin [Steve Howey] came and they bartended and it was dope. And everybody's like, 'Oh, you got to check out Westworld. They've got a bus trip to take you out to Westworld.' And I'm like, 'I've got no idea what the hell ya'll talking about.' I'm so mad I didn't go! It probably was crazy. And it's in Texas so they probably had a nice plot of land to put on a quality installation."
And what's been your reaction?
"I enjoyed it right away. I've said on Twitter a couple times that the storytelling is reminiscent of Lost. And I was a big lost fan. I was one of the 30 people that watch that show. [laugh] I was a really big Lost fan. I loved how they told a story, how it jumped in and out of the present, so you've got to really pay attention. I enjoy shows like that. Right off the bat I was hooked, and then like the concept of it — and how timely it is. Like, even before Season 3, a lot of this shit seems like it could really be going down. I could be a host, who the fuck knows?
"So it was cool, just digging into that, just getting to nerd out on some shit like that. But as the story developed — and I talked about those characters — Thandie Newton (as Maeve) pops up as like the bad ass of all time, like a really, really quality character. I really enjoy that character."
[Editor's note: A lot more than 30 people watched Lost.]
That was actually going to be my next question, who is your favorite character? Maeve?
"Yeah, right now it's Maeve. Right now it's her. Jeffrey Wright (Bernard) is one of my favorite actors, so unsung. So he's killing it. I really like to dig into the intricacies of shows, and right off the bat I noticed every time Anthony Hopkins' character would say something about Bernard's son, he'd walk away. And I'm like, nah, that's his trigger. He's a robot. He's gotta be a host."
Oh, so you got that quick then, huh?
"Yeah, right away. You remember Denzel had a movie called "Manchurian Candidate?" And every time they'd say somebody's full name, they'd snap into it and they were in a trance or whatever. And the way he was saying, 'Well, what about your son?' every time, I was like, oh no, there's something about that. That's a command for him to walk off or something. So yeah, he's a host. It didn't make the reveal any less appealing, but it was like, yeah, I knew that."
If you could visit any Delos park, whether it's one they've shown on the show or one that you'd like to see made, what would it be?
"Shogun World was live. [laugh] It was a little cutthroat, but Shogun World was live. I thought it was Samurai World when they give you the little tease the episode before, and I was like, 'Oh, shit. They got samurais coming.' And then you pop up into Shogun World. Plus, they had that little C.R.E.A.M. flip. That was one of my favorite scenes."
That was another question I wanted to ask you. There's been a ton of great music in this. Was C.R.E.A.M. your favorite? Or were there others that popped out at you?
"C.R.E.A.M. was crazy. They're not going to do better than that. The Weeknd song "Wicked Games" was really good too. Because it took me a while to even catch it. C.R.E.A.M. you catch right on — I grew up on Wu-Tang so I could that right off. But The Weeknd jawn, I'm like, 'Oh, this is fire.' They could've put the original in that scene and it would've been just as dope, but for them to go that extra mile and tie it in to the atmosphere and all that, that was really dope."
There have been a lot of great moments and reveals so far in this show. What was the biggest "Oh shit" moment for you?
"The bull rush [in Season 2] was crazy. When Maeve pulls out the bulls and unleashes them, I'm like she's arrived, that was her moment. That was cool. Then there was when you found out that Dolores — my whole thing is I'm trying to figure out who she brought with her in those orbs, and you find out she done cloned herself. She's just out here doing it. I'm like, she really is that bul. She got a plan. She's like, I ain't trusting nobody else. Ain't nobody else fuccking this up. I'm out here going at it myself.
"And I also really like when they unveiled that William was the Man in Black that whole time. I caught on that those were at different time periods, because nobody was really interacting with them like that. People in the park weren't really interacting with those guys [young William and Logan] when they were moving around. I knew there was something up with it, but when they unveiled that he was the Man in Black the whole time, that was cool.
"And the last thing that really got me, that I missed, is when they put the hats on — the last thing you do is pick which hat you're going to wear — and then later on they're like, 'How did you get everyone's information?' and they tell you they were using the hats to scan it. As soon as you put it on it starts sucking your information out."
Speaking of hats, what would you be? White hat or black hat?
"I'm black hat. I root for the villains. Magneto is my favorite superhero, supervillain, whatever you want to call him. I root for the villains. They've got way better stories."
So do you have any big theories for the rest of this season?
"It's all over the place a little bit, I ain't going to front. Marshawn Lynch is throwing me off — he keeps popping up. [laughs] Nah, I like that character, like a little henchman. ... His shirt is out of control.
"I don't know. I'm waiting to see what this Kid Cudi situation is. Why is he there? So I feel like that's going to be kind of big. I feel like you're not going to throw Kid Cudi on a show if it's not going to be for something. But they did have my guy on there, Gustavo Fring [Giancarlo Esposito in Season 2], for nine seconds. I was all excited because Gus was going to be on there, and then they just killed him, so Cudi might already be dead and it's a wrap. But that's the reveal I'm looking for. That, and seeing who Caleb [Aaron Paul] is. Because when he says, 'Who does he think I am?" — there's definitely something going on there too. So I'm waiting to see those two things."
* * *
A big thank you to Chill Moody for taking the time to discuss Westworld. You can check out his work on ChillMoody.com and by signing up for his newly-launched THEnicethingsNETWORK, where you can be the first to access his new content. You can also check him out on the NBA's Instagram, where he'll be performing on Friday night at 9 p.m.
And now, onto some unanswered questions heading into the sixth episode of this season of Westworld. We're going to keep it relatively short this week with just two main questions that have several sub-questions buried within.
I was a little confused by some of the events that took place in this episode, specifically with regards to Dolores' plans to take over the world. Does she want to kill all humans, which seemed like her goal coming out of Season 2? Does she simply want to create a world where robots can thrive alongside humans? Or does she want to simply change the world for the better, and just find a place for herself in it?
It clearly doesn't seem like it's the first anymore, as Dolores has learned that the people who have been coming to the park and terrorizing her for decades are not the majority, but rather the "haves" that control the rest of the population. And those "have-nots" are not in a much better position than the hosts were living inside Westworld. In a sense, they're on the same sort of loop she was on, with no way to break out or climb up in society.
Still, she winds up hurting them greatly in this episode by sharing all their data from Rehoboam, even though Liam warns her that doing so would lead to murders and suicides. She, however, doesn't seem to care. Does she not believe him, or is this what she wanted all along? Or perhaps, she simply doesn't understand the repercussions, given that she herself is not a human.
Beyond that, there's the question of why she shows them their futures as well. Her larger plan seems to revolve around sending people off their loops, and Bernard even has an exchange with Conells that essentially confirms this.
Bernard: "She's sending them off their loops."
Conells: "The right information at the right time is deadlier than any weapon."
However, if Dolores is trying to free humankind, why is this information considered a deadly weapon, as if that's almost what she wanted in the first place. Beyond that, there's the question of whether or not that future data is even relevant any more now that everyone's seen it — not to mention the fact that Dolores seems intent on continuing her
If, to borrow a phrase from another HBO show, Dolores intends to break the wheel, wouldn't she be rendering those future projections moot anyway? I know that's a big trope in classical literature — the self-fulfilling prophecy — but that tends to fall apart on such a grand scale. Like, it's possible for Oedipus to wind up with his mom after being told of his future, but would it really be possible for that scenario to play out a billion or more times if everyone knew what was ahead for them? Or is it more likely that all those ripple effects would eventually collide and create totally new unforeseen paths?
Furthermore — and this is arguably my biggest complaint with the episode, if Dolores had already extracted Serac's data from Rehoboam, which seemed to be her main goal, as well as the data for every single person in the system, why didn't she just have Conells blow it up when he had a chance. Conells seems to have access to pretty much anything at Incite, and he was standing right next to the massive machine after sending out the data. Why not destroy it?
But now, with three more episodes left and the mission looking more like Dolores vs. Serac than Dolores vs. humanity, we're left to wonder what exactly is Dolores trying to accomplish — and how it's going to take her three episodes to get there.
Either way, it seems like she's well on her way to a victory. There are still at least three Dolorii in play after Conells sacrifice at the end of the episode. Let's just hope she doesn't 3-1 lead.
We've touched on this topic before — and Chill Moody even mentioned it as one of the things he's most looking forward to the rest of the season — but the issue of Caleb's past was again thrust into the forefront of this episode, beginning when Liam reads Caleb's file in his glasses.
After trying unsuccessfully to read Dolores, Liam tries (also unsuccessfully) turning Caleb against her, saying that if he helps him escape, he'll be taken care of. Caleb tells Liam that he's already taken care of him, that he sent him and his friends off to war and had them slaughtered, and then tells him to read his file. Liam looks legitimately terrified after reading his file and starts backing away from him.
Liam: "You think I killed your friend?"
Caleb: "What did you see?"
Liam: "Who are you people?"
Caleb: "What did you see?"
Liam: "Get away from me!"
Liam then stabs Caleb in the neck with the party drug Genre, which was introduced in Episode 4 and was the title of the most recent episode.
The most interesting part of all of this is that Caleb seems to have little memory of his past, only seeing flashes (not unlike what was happening with Bernard's de-addressed memories in Season 2).
Later in the episode, we learn that Serac was building a facility for the outliers he believed were causing the divergences within his system. He says that after he and his brother were exposed to radiation, he realized, "We have the ability to edit people."
Is there a chance Caleb was one of those people? Or perhaps he was one of the people working for Serac to help round up these "agitators." Either way, it seems like portions of Caleb's memory have been intentionally hidden from him, although we don't yet know why. Perhaps an answer will come when we finally get a reliable look at exactly what happened to him.
There have previously been continuity issues in the flashbacks with Kid Cudi's character, Francis, and in many of them it doesn't look like Caleb was working for the military at all, or if he was, it was for some sort of black ops mission, perhaps lending to the idea that Caleb was working for someone other than than the military and had his memories changed to make him think he was soldier, rather than a mercenary.
Something is clearly going on here, and given that there are still three episodes left this season and Dolores is wiping the floor with Serac, maybe we're indeed going to get some resolution on who Caleb is, what he's done in the past, and why he's such an important character in this story.
I guess we'll have to keep watching to find out...
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports