5/10 “I’m tired, Maeve.” – Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) in episode seven of season four. I know how you feel, Bernard. After season one (9.5/10) got everyone hooked on what could be HBO’s next “Game of Thrones” type of event show and season two (8/10) still continued the intrigue and mystery from the debut season, the turd…uh, I mean third season left the park…and the high quality (4/10). Now we get season four and while it is a slight step up from season three’s low point, if you compare the first two seasons to the second two seasons, it is really night and day. Before I get into why season four ends up simply being mediocre, I will begin with the positives. This show has always looked incredible with everything from the cinematography/lighting to the visuals and the realistic looking violence always impressing and this season is no different. Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) were a great odd couple to spend time with and the gallant return of Teddy (James Marsden) was easily one of the highlights all season. Ramin Djawadi’s score was fantastic, even if the first episode of the season sounded a little too similar to the music of “Blade Runner”. The second half of the season was better than the first half, climaxing in a finale that had the most action found in the season, which brings me to the negatives this time around. Despite the finale, this season had the least amount of action across all four seasons. More important than the action however is the overarching plot. What I adored about the first season and even that bled over into season two was the mystery and unsolved riddles. Once an episode ended I had to watch the next one immediately to get my questions answered or dive further down the rabbit hole. Season three and now four have no interesting mysteries and plot points like “this human is actually a host” has been done so many times that it has become a recycled cliché. A big problem is that most of the characters we know and love are either in the Sublime or are dead and we are just seeing robotic versions of them. The stakes feel low when everyone is already dead and/or gone and all that’s left is the 100th copy of the same character. This season also had the weakest villain in Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson). While her character actually has a decent arc, what makes her such a weak villain is that she never really does anything. She always sends her henchman, The Man in Black (Ed Harris) to do everything for her, making her seem too weak or lazy to do it herself. One character who has been around since season one has the real, human version of themselves die and it was such an anticlimactic way for them to die, which was extremely disappointing. Another problem is that there are three or so groups of main characters this season but they remain separated the entire season. At least with the other show that began in 2016 and just had its fourth season debut (“Stranger Things”), all of the characters were brought together by the end of the season. That never happens here and the subplot with Dolores/Christina, despite the strength of Teddy, felt the weakest and least eventful out of all the events going on with other characters. Her subplot felt eerily similar to Neo’s awakening in the original “The Matrix” film. At the end of the day, I just cared so much less about these characters and what was happening with them as they keep repeating scenarios and characters. I know I am not alone as ratings for the show have been tanking since the third season and continued to this season, meaning that showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan may not make it to the fifth and final season that the finale sets up. Even though a final reason that returns to the original Westworld Wild West theme park sounds promising, the underwhelming last two seasons have made me feel ok if the show ends here. Whenever this season brought up “the maze” or showed it, it only made me realize how weak these last two seasons have been in comparison to the first two seasons and just made me want to stop watching and go rewatch the first, superior season. Add this to the list of J.J. Abrams projects that start off promising and flounder as they reach the finish line.

#TheGoldenRage / #MaeveNewWorld / #BetterDeadThanEd / #BernardLoweringTheBar / #TheOldBaitAndGlitch / #BladeShowRunner

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