Overall, this was a promising start to season 3. If you’re looking to give Westworld a second chance and a new start than I would recommend it… I’m giving this episode a B-, It could be higher as a new series, but is brought down a bit as a continuation. – Review summary
There are two ways to approach the new season of Westworld. The first approach is the continuation of the Westworld series. A series that started as a Western with sci-fi in its bones. Season 2 became a bloated mess that tried to smash genres, twists, and an unreliable timeline into a new start that was not needed. The second way to approach the new season is as a new series completely. It has a new setting and widely new characters compared to their season one counterparts. I’ll break down both approaches then review the episode as a whole.
Season one was fantastic. Season two was mediocre. But season three promises to refocus the series with a direct narrative and a return to the creators’ original vision. The episode does feel like they are scaling down and will be focusing on three stories, a fourth added later. The first is Bernard, he’s in hiding after the events of season 2 and trying to prevent Doloras from her revolution. Next is Charlotte, she returns to the board and looks to bring Delos back into order. Last and primarily is the story of Dolores and the new character Caleb, played by Aaron Paul. Dolores is setting up a master plan to overthrow humanity and Caleb is a lost vet, looking for something to live for. These are easy stories to follow and even have me wanting more. A feeling I thought would not return for this show at all. Dolores has a motivation, not just a murder-bot. She makes mistakes but is still in charge of the situation. A vast improvement over her season two version. Bernard is showing both sides of the coin and yet is still very Bernard. His character is acting exactly as he should be. Charlette gives you some of the mystery we are familiar with the series. Knowing her past, we question her future. As a continuation of the show, It’s not perfect but feels like the correct step. I would rather a massive restart and just be back into the Westworld park, but that’s not happening. This is a good alternative.
As a new series. I was constantly reminded of Altered Carbon. We follow a protagonist in an unfamiliar world as they quickly adapt, then dominate, their surrounding to overcome the corrupt powers that be. I think the episode serves much better as new series than a continuation. They reintroduce Dolores with a very Kill Bill/Girl With the Dragon Tattoo like scene. If you didn’t see the previous seasons than we would all be rooting for her. Bernard would be a mystery but with the subtle newspaper articles he reviews, you set up this “on the run” character that has us wanting to solve his troubled past. Charlotte comes off as the new villain in town. That may prove true but her history makes her far more complex than that. And Arron Paul’s Caleb serves almost like a “Finn from Star Wars” type. He is only trying to help but he’s mixed in with characters for more powerful in dynamic than he. He’s not quite the audience stand-in, but close.
Overall, this was a promising start to season 3. If you’re looking to give Westworld a second chance and a new start than I would recommend it. If you’re skeptical, then wait for a few more episodes and visit this post for an update to the story’s direction. We will follow up on the show’s progress. I’m giving this episode a B-, It could be higher as a new series, but is brought down a bit as a continuation.