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Westworld: Murderous, Horrific, Fantastic

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With the rise of virtual reality technology on the horizon, many people are considering the implications of fully immersive digital worlds. What will the world look like if people have the ability to disengage from the current reality and live out their lives in a fantasy of their choosing? HBO’s most recent series to premiere, Westworld, gives a glimpse of this in all its adventurous, fun, murderous, horrific glory.

Two episodes in, Westworld is divided between the old west world, in which people pay to live in the world a while and play out their fantasy as a hero or villain, and the people behind-the-scenes that make it all work. We see patrons get in gun fights and sexual situations with the park’s animatronics, or “hosts,” as they are referred to by the characters. Then we see the people who clean and repair the hosts, wipe their memories, and create the storylines, while also taking part in corporate politics.

The formula is incredibly fun and thrilling to watch with its mix of Western and Science-fiction tropes in addition to hints of horror and mystery. Westworld gives its audience the violence and sexual content that has made other HBO shows like Game of Thrones such hits, but also includes some headier sci-fi questions. What is the line between human intelligence and artificial intelligence? As the show’s hosts continually become more advanced, is it right to allow people to pay to murder and rape them? What does a world in which Westworld exists look like?

Questions are the main take away so far from Westworld. Only two episodes in and the show has already established a tone of mystery and suspicion. After the famously maligned conclusion to Lost, the inclusion of producer J.J. Abrams has made some viewers worry that Westworld may be all questions and no answers.

To counter this concern, Westworld actor, James Marsden told Entertainment Weekly, “It wasn’t about getting the first 10 [episodes] done, it was about mapping out what the next 5 or 6 years are going to be.” So, according to Marsden, the entire show’s plot has been planned out.

Westworld is an ambitious show that has been incredibly enjoyable to watch. Check out the first two episodes on HBO. The third episode, “The Stray,” premieres Oct. 16, 8:00 p.m. CST.

lmckiddy@unews.com

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