Westworld S1 now streaming

6 July 2017

Westworld S1 now streaming

They might look human, talk like humans and act like humans. But the robots (aka hosts) in Western sci-fi series Westworld are lacking the one thing that will make them human: self-awareness. They want to think for themselves without computer programming dictating their every move and thought. Watch now »


Westworld is set in a Wild West world – hence the name. It features bandits, sheriffs, saloons and the local General Store where you can buy everything from soap to bullets. But there is a difference. Some of the residents are more used to cellphones and flat-screen TVs than rustling cattle. Westworld is a theme park – a very adult one where rich people “take the ride of a lifetime”.

They mingle with courtesans and take part in duels to the death – except they always win because their opponents are cyborgs programmed to not hurt humans. These “hosts” are programmed to fulfil specific jobs and they do so without question. That is until a software glitch and a little outside interference from the park’s control team see a handful of robo hosts realise that everything is a lie and that they actually have the power to become more than just a chunk of metal.

Achieving self-awareness is a whole new ball game and throughout the series there are little hints, symbols and Easter eggs that guide viewers through the robots’ goal. If you’ve blinked and missed them, here are a couple in slow-mo that’ll make you think again…

Da Vinci’s touch 

“The opening sequence holds the key to the Westworld story,” explains series creator Jonathan Nolan. “It’s all about being human.” The first big give-away is a robot emerging from a milky glue-like bath – it’s based on The Vitruvian Man by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. The anatomical drawing and now sci-fi series scene gives the story an epic take on the formation of human beings,” explains Patrick Clair, who directed the opening sequence, “In contrast, this image shows the human-like robots as alienating, cold and mechanical.”

Eye see

The construction of the human eye in the opening sequence also has a deeper meaning. “The human eye is an incredible, soulful thing,” says Patrick. “A giant portion of our brains is dedicated to figuring out the emotional connections that we feel when we look in someone’s eye, the truism that they are the windows to the soul,” explains Patrick. And that is something the robots are after: a soul.

A-maze

From the word go, The Man In Black (Ed Harris) is on a mission to find a map. But it’s not just any map – it will lead him to the secret of Westworld. In episode 2, The Man In Black scalps a degenerate gambler and finds the map under the scalped skin. It’s an image of a maze with a man in the middle. Solving the maze and finding that man holds the key for self-awareness and finding humanity inside a machine.

Coming to life

Dr Robert Ford (Sir Anthony Hopkins) is the creator of Westworld and he’s flat-out against allowing the hosts to evolve. He’s aware that one or two hosts have “awoken” and started to question their existence and actively hides these “troublemakers” so that they’re not discovered and destroyed. Ford is particularly interested in Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood): she’s the oldest robot in Westworld and has a backlog of program memories, however there’s a mistake in episode 1 where she reboots and has memories of a previous life. By episode 3, Delores commits murder, which is strictly against robot programing laws.

In episode 4, Ford’s right-hand-man Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) gives Dolores hints for finding her humanity: “There’s a game I would like you to play. It’s a maze. The goal is to find the centre of it. If you can do that, then maybe you can be free.” With this info, Dolores starts to unravel, have feelings and show signs of self-awareness, but she still needs to find the man at the centre of the maze to become truly alive – the host-turned-human that she was always destined to be.

Get hooked on Westworld. Watch now »

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