Westworld (TV series): "Phase Space"

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Westworld (TV series): "Phase Space." Season 2, episode 6 (27 May 2019).

Opening segment has Bernard[1] speaking to Dolores,[2] with Bernard apparently in charge, with a reversal that occurs with Dolores's commanding Bernard in a formula of human commanding Host. They've run this scene before, and Dolores notes that Bernard has deviated slightly from an earlier script; with a bare hint of a double meaning, Dolores says "she is testing him for 'fidelity,'"[3] with the main meaning fidelity to her — Bernard in «human master mode» had been hinting at shutting her down.

In the now corpse-rich Westworld theme park, Dolores and Teddy[4] discuss whether or not to get on the train right then and head out, including a couple lines by Dolores on the large number of times Teddy had ridden that train to his scripted death. Teddy resolves the immediate issue by shooting a human prisoner who has no more information to give. Teddy says he'd been weak until Dolores had changed him: changed him into a man who will follow but can now go against Dolores. The train here is background — developed later — and trains on rails can be objective correlatives for a straight-line fate, or for escape; that straight line has been complicated: here, Teddy can choose to contradict Dolores, but Dolores programmed him to be a man who could contradict Dolores. The freedom/constraint theme is reinforced in the portion of the Park recreating Shogunate Japan of the Edo Period, where the dialog, translated out of the Japanese, has Hosts talking of the need to choose one's fate, in a paradox like a mechanistic reading of "Character is fate" — To what degree does one choose one's character? — or in warrior-caste ideas in places like the Greco-Roman world (Moira), among the pre-Christian (and later) Anglo-Saxons (Wyrd), and aristocrats in at least film versions of samurai Japan (e.g., Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD, a k a THE CASTLE OF THE SPIDER'S WEB [1957]) — where people make choices that take them where they were fated to go (making for what is sometimes called "Necessity").

The scenes in "Shogun World" also reinforce strongly the theme of love among the Hosts, especially mother/daughter love, if bloodily expressed. (In the Westworld park, it's father/daughter issues among the humans and the theme of consequences: the importances of recognizing that choices and actions have them. And then Maeve arrives to take up the mother-daughter motif with her daughter.)

For the "host"-robot/cybernetic interface, note scenes in "the Cradle," where the data for the Hosts are stored: "It's like a hive-mind" in which "Every single one of them is in here, alive" — and which we earlier learned is capable of acting on its own. What we see of the Cradle in the material world is banks of supercomputers, descended to by stair-case with red backlighting. Bernard says "It's just data" — which it is in the Cradle in its cyberspace aspect — but data aren't what we see in the material world. Bernard goes inside the Cradle as program by way of a restraining device in which he stands and has his marble-like[5] CPU (?) removed and read — followed by a quick cut to him on the Westworld train. Later we get fuller shots of Bernard standing in the device, for an image of the superimposition upon the highly-humanoid robot of the mechanical and cybernetic, with Bernard entering a cyberspace Westworld ... imaged with him on a 19th-c. train. A bit later, walking into the bar in this cyberspace/mental Westworld, Bernard encounters with a very much non-old West dog, Robert Ford[6] at the piano, and is welcomed in the final shot of the episode.

(Minor point but a nice touch for the series: Note also that Bernard initially enters the high-tech underworld carrying an old-West, lever-action rifle, for a bit of subtle defamiliarization of a nicely-done buy standard underground "lab" by juxtaposition of one unusual technological element [also Bernard's old Westish suit, but that's getting too subtle for this Wiki].)


RDE, Initial Compiler, 4Ap19