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Westworld – I Don’t Need to Know You.

Posted on the 20 April 2020 by Cathy Leaves @cathyleaves
Westworld – I don’t need to know you.
It is one of those popcultural coincidences that this third season of Westworld has started just as Devs ended, and that this third season has at its center a machine similar to the one at DEVS (the V, as Nick Offerman’s Forest explained, is actually a Roman stand-in for the letter U, a little joke). And yet, these two machines – Serac’s System, for which we get the backstory in Genre, and Forest’s God are essentially different, even though the end result is the same. Forest’s machine runs on knowing the physical properties of the world down to the smallest particle, an inherent interpretation of the world that has calculated free will out of the equation. The unexpected happens when the romance enters back into the system, and a character insists in the existence of true, unpredicted and unpredictable choices (in this case, a choice against the cynical, the bloody revenge, the circle of violence). Serac’s System feels a lot darker, and maybe that’s in part because the man himself appears to be a lot more threatening than Forest (they both kill people, but Forest’s approach to it seems different). It assumes that the core of knowing the future lies in data gathered from humans – in learning their behaviours, in figuring out exactly what Dolores has known for a while, that they are nothing but a slim volume, and therefore easily predictable. 
The other question is what you do with that information. There are three different approaches presented in this episode: Liam Dempsey Sr, the original man behind The System who hasn’t a clue of what the two Seracs have built him, sees it as an opportunity to materially exploit it. His son, a young boy who marvels at the blinking lights, never has much of an idea of what it is, or what it could mean for people – he profits from it, but in the end of the episode, he is a broken man even before one of the victims of his enterprise kills him. Serac, whose brother built this wonder, sees it as a chance to control the future of everything and everyone, to create a predictable world in which people fit neatly in boxes and follow the path that has been laid out for him. This is reflected in Rehoboam and its decisions about who should have jobs, and get married, and have children – and it is reflected in his disgust, his visceral horror, at anything out of the ordinary happening. This is how he classifies people – some fit neatly into boxes, and everyone who doesn’t needs to be cut from the system so that it can perfectly predict what will happen. Other reviews have already pointed out that this season of Westworld seems to bend towards the world of Jonathan Nolan’s other great show, Person of Interest, which is also about how this kind of predictive power in the wrong hands can be misused. Serac is so obsessed with his version of humanity as a perfect circle that even his brother becomes an enemy that needs to be put in a literal, tiny box, along with everyone else who doesn’t quite fit. 
On the other side, there’s Dolores, who has figured out that it either fits into her values to free humans from their programming, or that the chaos this would cause suits her agenda, whatever it may be. With Liam Dempsey in tow, she and Caleb break into Incite and reveal the data it has accumulated and the secret profile it has created to every single user. It brings endless grief; it brings the expected anger; it creates exactly the kind of Deviation that Serac fears so much. 
Random notes: 
A lot of talk here about a god already existing, or only having been created, very much in line of exactly the joke that Forest explains to Lily’s horror in Devs
Lena Waithe fits this Gibsonian world so perfectly. 
Genre refers to a drug that Liam injects into Caleb, and he spends the episode cycling through film noir, action thriller and romance (or maybe other things; part of the mystery is clearly identifying how he perceives his surroundings, and how he navigates the idea that Dolores is using him or that maybe he loves Dolores, because of course he would). 
I guess Serac’s reeducation center for non-compliant humans was deliberately built to resemble The Mesa. 
“I would rather live in chaos than in a world controlled by you.”
Before Liam is killed by Ash, he sees something in Caleb’s current Incite profile that absolutely horrifies him, and of course we won’t find out what it is exactly. Going back to the obvious, is Caleb Westworld’s Lily?
Connell/Dolores blows up the Singaporean headquarters but allows Stubbs and Bernard to leave – Dolores still sees Bernard as a piece in her puzzle, but again I am a lot more curious about how Maeve will fit into this whole thing. 
A lot of great musical references to films here, but the thing that hit me the most was Fischerspooner in the final credits, which in spite of being a 2001 song by a New York band sounds so like Berlin 20 years ago – and Berlin is, after all, another location for a Dolores. 

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