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Westworld, HBO’s bold sci-fi dystopia from creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Pleasure, returns for a fourth season with its probing questions in regards to the essence of human existence balanced towards the societal fallout from a mass knowledge breach and a robotic rebellion as bigger forces plan for a giant takeover. Evan Rachel Wooden, Thandiwe Newton, Aaron Paul, Tessa Thompson, Ed Harris, and Jeffrey Wright all return, and West Facet Story star Ariana DeBose joins the forged.

Opening Shot: A person considers the cityscape of a futuristic Las Vegas, Nevada from the window of his spacious trendy residence. He attire, checks the magazine in his 9mm, and stories to the Hoover Dam, the place his prison operation’s huge knowledge facilities reside.

The Gist: “Nobody with that a lot cash is with out sin.” The person and his cartel colleagues are discussing a brand new shopper who seems to be William, “The Man in Black” (Ed Harris), who arrives in a Delos-made luxurious quad-copter and promptly calls for that they promote him their total knowledge mine. One thing was stolen from him eight years earlier than. It stays encrypted on this facility. And William desires to maintain it that manner. And if the cartel gained’t promote, he’s ready a extra extreme methodology to persuade them.

Christina (Evan Rachel Wooden) awakens in a metropolis not not like New York, the place promenades of greenspace mesh with the darkish glass and metal of the constructed setting. Most individuals sport glossy, articulated clothes. Christina, considerate and reserved, is a author on the online game firm Olympiad Leisure, the place her boss prods her to write down extra violence and intercourse into her video games, even when she’s most within the NPC’s, non-player characters that work together with the primary attraction. Encouraging her to get out and meet folks, Christina’s roommate Maya (Ariana DeBose) gestures to town. “Check out this world. No person desires straightforward. Or pure. Artwork is a lie that tells the reality. And actual life could be disappointing.”

For Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), actual life is now a secluded existence in a rural cabin, however she at all times knew somebody would come. And after they do, she subdues the chief and jacks into his host cortex, which reveals that the kill workforce was despatched by the Man In Black. She burns the cabin, and seeks out Caleb (Aaron Paul), the soldier-turned-HVAC repairman who loves his spouse and daughter however hasn’t absolutely reckoned with the violence of his previous. When an assailant makes an try on Caleb’s daughter’s life, Maeve seems to run him by means of together with her sword, after which tells her outdated ally that the Man in Black is again. It figures. “As quickly as you cease working, everybody else begins catching up.”

Again within the metropolis, Christina is accosted by a person who’s been phone-stalking her. “Why are you doing this to us?” he shouts, however she has no reminiscence of doing something to him. Later, she takes notes for a brand new story. She desires it to have a contented ending, the place the primary character finds all the pieces she’s trying to find, and all the pieces is smart. And simply then, a person from her previous steps out of the shadows.

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld Season 4
Photograph: HBO

What Reveals Will It Remind You Of? Within the well-received Apple TV+ collection Severance, an omnipotent company messes with the recollections of its workers, separating work life from private life and hiding some fairly large secrets and techniques. And in 2020 Alex Garland introduced Devs to Hulu, with its bigger questions on human determinism wrapped up in a slick visible package deal.

Our Take: Westworld was already set sooner or later. However now that it’s superior a number of years into its personal future, the bits and items of its storytelling have histories of their very own. Evan Rachel Wooden’s Christina was as soon as often called Delores Abernathy, a number within the Westworld theme park that broke away from her restrictive narrative, grew to become sentient, and led a robotic revolt. Is Christina a distinct – older or newer – consciousness contained in the Delores physique? Thandiwe Newton’s Maeve is a liberated host nonetheless preventing in a conflict of robots versus people. And she or he has much more work to do now that hosts have secretly infiltrated the very best echelons of human society. It’s not about whether or not she will be able to exist, or how she does. Maeve’s well beyond all of that, and waiting for what bigger evils are brewing. And whereas Ed Harris’s Man in Black was at all times a psycho, the model of him that seems in season 4 of Westworld has weaponized his insanity with a whole lack of scruples. This collection continues to be in pursuit of solutions in regards to the nature of life’s spark. But it surely’s going to struggle just a few totally different battles earlier than confronting that greater image.

Elsewhere within the Westworld universe, there’s lots of enjoyment to be derived from watching characters climb out of luxurious quad-copter autos, seeing these issues airborne, or observing the autonomous employed sedan Christina takes to analyze an out-of-town lead on her stalker. The present can provide some nightmarish visions of the longer term – evil sentient robots, out-of-control social algorithms, and pharmacological “tabs” to handle any ailment, actual or imagined. However lots of its imaginative and prescient simply tweaks and refines what’s already occurring. Are we additionally heading towards a conflict with the machines? Possibly, possibly not. But it surely’s possible we’ll additionally take flying automobiles to get there. 

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None.

Parting Shot: Christina is on her hearth escape, looking on the metropolis at evening. “I wish to write a brand new story,” she says into her recording system. “A couple of lady. A lady who’s looking. A lady who doesn’t know what she’s trying to find. She simply is aware of there’s an vacancy in her life.” What recollections does Christina have of Delores?

Sleeper Star: Aaron Paul brings a cagey weariness to Caleb that performs properly towards the character’s persona, the place post-traumatic stress competes for area along with his want for home bliss and a hair-trigger readiness to return on the offensive. 

Most Pilot-y Line: “The previous is the previous. Nothing goes to harm you besides your personal thoughts.” Caleb’s spouse desperately desires to imagine this, however the truth is that, on Westworld, the previous isn’t gone eternally, and hurt is decidedly not contained throughout the human thoughts.

Our Name: STREAM IT. Led by sturdy work from Evan Rachel Wooden, Thandiwe Newton, and Aaron Paul, the glossy visible aesthetic Westworld works with permits it to coast by itself cool weirdness every time the plotting begins to chase its personal tail.

Johnny Loftus is an unbiased author and editor residing at massive in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Information, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Comply with him on Twitter: @glennganges

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