4/10 After I gave season one a 9.5/10 rating and season two an 8/10, imagine how disappointed I am that one of the former best shows on television has completely run out of steam and now lands at a 4/10. It is ironic that J.J. Abrams executive produces this show since like “Lost”, “Star Wars” and other projects he has worked on, it feels like the showrunners are making things up as they go and didn’t properly map out this series from the beginning. This season spends about 20 minutes total in Westworld and the rest of the season is all outside of the park, which was far less interesting. It is hard to pick a spot with where to begin in regards to all of the problems this season but we can start there. The show is called “Westworld” and the first and vast majority of the second season took place there. Now that we have abandoned it, I largely stopped caring. It would be like a “Jurassic Park” film with ten minutes on the island with the park and the other two hours in a big, cliché city like LA or NY. I remember watching the first season and even lots of the second and I couldn’t wait to start the next episode because I was so enthralled by the mysteries, phenomenal acting, intriguing characters, twisted narratives, etc. However, it wasn’t until episode four of this season that I had an excitement whatsoever. The first three episodes didn’t give me the motivation to keep watching. And even after episode four, my excitement was always inconsistent. The overarching plot felt repetitive and recycled twists (look who we thought was human but was actually a host!!) and the themes and messages brought up about free will, artificial intelligence, freedom vs. security, etc. have been done so much better not only in previous seasons but other science fiction films, shows and books. I had many moments during this season that made me want to stop watching and go re-start Alex Garland’s “Devs” on FX, a limited series that was smart enough to quit while it was ahead. Another massive issue this season are the character arcs. The couple of new characters didn’t do much for me (Aaron Paul’s Caleb is just Dolores’ bitch and having Marshawn Lynch in the show completely distracted me and had me waiting for him to start eating some Skittles) and strong characters from previous seasons either had absolutely nothing to do (Bernard) or have been completely neutered/destroyed (William). It was really sad to see complex characters I loved become completely useless and the characters that the show tries to make badass like Dolores, Maeve and Charlotte, become completely cold and unlikeable, with their motivations jumping all over the map with little explanation of why their minds change so suddenly. Some of the identity politics of the show have become much more apparent and as I stated in the beginning, I have just stopped caring. Characters die but then just get re-uploaded so many times into a new body that there is no sense of danger with anything bad happening to them because they will just be back in a few scenes. There is an Easter egg from “Game of Thrones” that was more of a giant distraction and HBO patting itself on the back for a show with a terrible last season that we could have done without. The final ending shot (before the post credit scenes) felt like a rip off of “Fight Club” to me too. As for what worked, the production design and special effects paired with the costume design and futuristic props do make the show look incredible. You can tell this is an expensive show to make but at least the money is put to good use. Composer Ramin Djawadi creates an amazing score and although it was used a bit repetitively, the futuristic techno side of his music was enthralling. Individual scenes do work really well (the opening scene of the first episode impressed me) and most of the performances are still strong, despite having much worse content to work with this season (as even Ed Harris has admitted). If you are like me, once you start a show you will finish it no matter what so all I can do is hope that season four massively course corrects from this fall from grace. If you aren’t like me however, I suggest watching the first season, maybe the second season and then stopping to go off and watch “Devs” instead. How I long for the wild, wild west world of season one…
#StressedWorld / #HaleReformAct / #dIeRobot / #BreakingData / #CriesOfTheMachines / #StunningAndMaeve

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