Season three, Episode 5: ‘Genre’
“Which genre is this?”
“It’s reality, man.”
Let’s get that completely atrocious trade out of the way in which now, as a result of it was one of many few bum moments on this week’s episode, the perfect of the season to date. “Westworld” had spent a lot of the previous few hours teasing out the concept that extraordinary persons are like hosts in their very own world, tethered to a complicated algorithm that not solely predicts their destiny but additionally goes a great distance towards engineering it. The actuality, man, is the chaos that inevitably erupts after people have been free of their very own loops and allowed to make actual decisions, moderately than undergo a numbing phantasm of getting them.
The third season has been unfolding like a mirror model of the primary, solely now it’s the people who’re unknowingly locked into an automatic and punctiliously managed routine. And a lot as with Dolores and different key hosts within the first season, change begins to occur the second they obtain self-awareness. Companies like Incite have an curiosity in controlling the plenty with the personal info they’ve stolen from them, which is the pure endgame to what Delos meant with the Forge. The extra an organization may anticipate — and, higher nonetheless, dictate — shopper habits, the extra it may manipulate mankind to serve no matter ambitions it may need.
There’s plenty of speak about how the system in 2020 serves the billionaire class; sooner or later, with males like Engerraund Serac pulling the strings, its serves the trillionaire class.
Yet the state of affairs isn’t so lower and dried. It’s simple sufficient to decry a system through which persons are on the mercy of a deathless algorithm. But this episode begins with a younger Serac and his brother witnessing the leveling of Paris and everybody they knew and liked. “Humankind was hurtling toward extinction,” explains Serac, so whether or not God existed or not, He wasn’t doing sufficient to maintain oblivion at bay. Another omniscient being must be created to interchange God, and the Serac brothers make it their life’s work to get it completed. Serac could be the villain of the season, corrupted by monstrous hubris, however his place to begin was the essential survival of the species. That’s an idealistic purpose if there ever was one.
The episode proceeds elegantly alongside two primary tracks. One tells the story of the Seracs and Liam Dempsey Sr. as they construct the spherical AI deity often known as Rehoboam, and the opposite follows Dolores, Caleb and a kidnapped Dempsey Jr as they take motion to dismantle it. Serac is the important thing participant throughout each subplots as a result of he has a robust curiosity in holding anybody else from accessing the deeper layers of Rehoboam. He could also be pretty accused of enslaving his fellow man together with his creation — and, extra diabolically, of enhancing out the behaviors of these anomalies who threaten it — however his predictive mannequin isn’t optimistic about what is going to occur to the world if it weren’t below strict supervision.
Caleb is a kind of anomalies, which is why Dolores has deputized him for the battle, however the episode closely suggests questions on his personal id. In a pitiful bid to flee his captors, Dempsey Jr. injects Caleb with the celebration drug “Genre,” which works slightly bit just like the experimental gum in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” solely with films as an alternative of meals. Each stage prompts him to see the world by a brand new filter, just like the black-and-white of postwar noir or the shiny romance of “Love Story.”
The present doesn’t do sufficient visually to replicate the change in filters: Music cues for movies like “Apocalypse Now” and “The Shining” anticipate a shift within the motion that by no means fairly arrives. There’s an excessive amount of on the agenda to fuss over Caleb’s addled perspective.
But the battle over Rehoboam does yield some thrilling futuristic motion, as Dolores and Caleb blast their means by an ambush by Serac and his goons. A heat-seeking rocket launcher and a detonated motorbike present many of the pyrotechnics, however the present provides slightly little bit of symbolism to the spectacle by questioning how a driverless automobile may determine right into a car-chase sequence. In this future, residents have ceded management over their very own vacation spot: They little question get escorted the place they wish to go safely and effectively, however the system can flip them from passenger to prisoner at any time. That’s the trade-off.
But there are, as Serac explains within the opening narration, “flies in the ointment,” and he hasn’t discovered a large enough swatter but. A facility that Serac builds to “edit” the habits of human anomalies, together with his personal brother, seems conspicuously just like the glass enclosures within the Mesa the place technicians do their tinkering with the hosts. The Delos brass have been all the time assured that they might restore and reprogram the hosts to convey them again to compliance. How’d that work out for them?