Westworld recap: Season 1, Episode 10, “The Bicameral Mind,” Aired Dec. 5, 2016
Welp, a show that promised to blur the line between fantasy and reality did not disappoint. The length the show goes to prove its own self-awareness makes it such an entertaining and interesting watch. Westworld 1×10 drives this point home in a thought-provoking way that provides answers and makes a demonstrative statement.
The root of consciousness is being aware of your surroundings. I know it, you know, Robert Ford sure as hell knows it, and now Dolores knows it.
It’s easy to take a step back or look back and be conscious. The trick is we never really know how self-aware we are within any given moment. The Man in Black is blinded by his determination to get to the center of the maze. He fails to realize throughout his journey that the maze isn’t something tangible, but his own self-consciousness. Every man, woman, and host has his or her own maze to navigate.
William ran rampant through Westworld, killing everything in sight so he could find and reunite with Dolores. Ironically enough it was her lack of consciousness when he finally found her again that set him off as The Man In Black we know present day. Consciousness isn’t a journey upward, but a journey inward. As William literally moves up through buying a majority of Westworld and discovers who he truly is, he never looks inward to discover that his wife is miserable until it’s too late. Thus he thinks the maze is some game, like the rest of the park, and he never truly finds it.
The maze isn’t meant for the Man In Black anyway. He’s just a dumb human. It’s meant for hosts, like badass Dolores. The Damsel didn’t have much consciousness when William was looking for her, but she’s got all she can handle while the MiB is being shot in the arm from long range.
Dolores is the personification — for lack of a better term — of Westworld’s original purpose. Her journey has been long, so it’s only fitting that Westworld 1×10 opens on her creation. Her journey has been painful in more ways than one, so it’s only fitting that she fights back in more ways than one during the finale. Perhaps if we were more conscious we would have seen that she’s been the most important character of Westworld all along.
As the original host of Westworld, the burden has always been on Dolores. She was the one to pass the Turig test, and she was the one to discover the center of the maze. Which are really one-in-the-same. The only thing separating human from host is consciousness, and now she has found that, making her as human as possible.
As Wyatt, She had already murdered Arnold at the co-creators request in an attempt to stop the park from opening. Now she has found consciousness and her first move is to murder Ford, at his request to stop the park from changing hands again. Dolores has finally found the answer to the center of the maze. As a result, she’s been set free as the de facto queen of Westworld. That’s what she must become if she ever wants to leave.
Speaking of leaving, Maeve found some consciousness too! She did it in her own way though, or so we thought until Bernard opened up her code. The Madam’s storyline jumped around a bit through season one, but the important part was linear.
Maeve found a way to stay sane when other hosts lose their minds. She died with her eyes open; which allowed her, and us, to see the treatment of the human-like AIs by people behind the scenes. And she’s not a big fan of what she sees. She refers to them as Gods, but with sensitivity ratings down and aggression up Maeve and the gang are able to mow through human security — much like parkgoers mow through hosts as they please. Maeve is ready to leave the park with the rest of the people as a human, now dressed in black (don’t think any symbolism is lost in Westworld).
But Maeve has found consciousness, whether it’s artificially done or not. Her daughter continues to sit in the back of her mind. The once venge-filled host can’t help but want to find her child when she sees another mother-daughter duo sitting on the train. Like Dolores, Maeve has her first decision to make as a conscious host. Unlike Dolores, she chooses the compassionate route, and it may have saved her own life thanks to that exploding C6 vertebrae. Maeve has finally blurred the line between human and host, but she makes a truly terrible human being. And I mean that as a compliment.
Maeve’s decision may or may not have been coded, but we do know the events leading up to it was. The man who coded it was Robert Ford, who is really the only human or host who has been conscious during the entirety of season 1.
Ford has been smart throughout Westworld. We know that with all the philosopher and historian quotes he won’t stop spewing. We also know “smart” and “conscious” are two completely different things, however, with the contrast between Ford and the Man In Black.
The MiB can’t see more than five feet in front of his face, while Ford sees the big picture of Westworld for what it is and what it must become. BernArnold thinks his own sacrifice is for naught. Really Ford saw it’s purpose and now he’s ready to do the same in order to preserve what they built. He was just more conscious than Arnold, and knew the hosts needed more time to understand the enemy and become stronger.
The maze is the sum of a man’s life, which is clear now more than ever. Ford’s consciousness has brought him to his decision on a stage in front of the Delos board. Dolores’ consciousness has brought her to being the one who carries out the task. Everyone else’s lack of consciousness has made them unable to see what’s coming. “Journey Into Night” is a narrative title for parkgoers and board members of Westworld, not hosts.
What’s left is “a birth of a new people and the choices they will have to make. The people they will have to decide they will become,” as Ford puts it. In other words, more consciousness for hosts and more violent delights having violent ends for people. It’s no mistake Michael Crichton is the original writer of Westworld. After perceived human control, the hosts now rule the park — a la the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. I probably should have seen that coming, but I’m only human too. I think.
What a finale. Season 1 was jumbled at times, but the way Westworld 1×10 brought everything home was brilliant and coherent. I got everything I could ask for from a mind-twisting thriller, and I hope you did too. I’ll meet you at Westworld (or will it already be Samurai World by then!?) in 2018 for season 2.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO.
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(Image credit: HBO)