Kevin Wetmore, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

Kevin Wetmore, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

Kevin Wetmore is an author and professor at Loyola Marymount University.  His books include The Theology of Battlestar Galactica, Post-9/11 Horror in American Cinema, and The Empire Triumphant: Race, Religion, and Rebellion in the Star Wars Films.  For more information about Kevin, check out his website, Something Wetmore This Way Comes, and to purchase his non-fiction and fiction books, see Amazon.

End of the road.  Last episode of the season.  Yes, there will be a season four, but it is as likely to be radically different from season three as season three was from season two, not the least of which because Dolores is now gone.  Sorry – should have started by telling you, “Spoiler alert.”  But if you’re here reading this, I have to believe you have seen the episode.

Well, that escalated quickly.  Even after the excitement of Alien Day, (and if’d ya didn’t read those pieces, go check them out – especially Bryant’s piece on corporate dystopia in the Alien films, cuz let’s be honest, Delos and Incite are taking pages straight out of the Weyland-Yutani group of companies.  In the future, all corporations will have secret androids out to end humanity!), “Passed Pawn” is a big, ol’ slugfest that reveals as much as it conceals for the finale (and we finally got to see Dolores and Maeve go at it!  Yay!).

Westworld just has the most evocative, meaningful titles.  I fancy myself an educated, erudite fanboy/total geek. But when I googled the title of this week’s episode to ensure I knew what I was talking about, I went down a ninety-five minute rabbit hole because all the connections became so interesting. It’s not the first time that’s happened.  (Mind you, it happens a lot anyway with us writer types – I go to look up if a certain kind of wagon was made in the 1880s and two hours later, I’m pouring over early twentieth century Italian crop yields, because research, right?)

Okay, so I go to watch this episode on TiVo again on Monday in order to write this review. The description of the episode: “Just say no.”  That. Is. Brilliant.  See, the title “genre” carries with it two meanings. “Genre” is a category of artistic composition, be it music, film, literature, drama, etc.  The definition of individual genres tend to be circular and self-defining: All movies with superheroes are superhero movies, and superhero movies are the ones with superheroes in them.  Horror is the genre that consists of scary movies, so if a movie is scary, it’s horror. Yet in this episode, “genre” also refers to a new kind of drug that allows you to experience life within a genre of film and/or music.   

The Statue of Liberty.  That is the reference in this week’s title.  Well, it is in a roundabout way with more than one meaning, of course.  Everyone remembers the lines, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”, even if they do not know the title of the poem (“The New Colossus”) or the poet (Emma Lazarus).  But this week’s Westworld episode title also comes from that same poem: “her name / Mother of Exiles…” (Not true, her actual name is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” which we call “The Statue of Liberty,” just like we call Lesane Crooks “Tupac Shakur” or we call Marion Morrison “The Duke” or “John Wayne” – nothing in America is called by its actual name.)  So, the Mother of Exiles is the Statue of Liberty, the celebration of liberty and immigration.

Like much of quarantined America, I have binge watched and obsessed over Tiger King. While the craziness and over-the-top characters are fun (and sad), I admire the well-crafted narrative. The people are allowed to slowly reveal things about themselves. Sometimes, they reveal things about themselves that they themselves are not aware of. The story seems to unfold effortlessly. Where the remarkable craftsmanship is, however, is in a narrative structure that, untelegraphed and without fanfare, suddenly upends everything you think you knew about this story so far. (Tiger King spoilers ahead.)

Greetings, fellow Newcomers.  If you’re here, you either saw the second episode of this season’s Westworld and wanted to think about it some more, or you got lost looking for the "Geeky Parent Guide.”  (If the latter, just hit your back button, and then scroll down – you’ll see it.)  But if you’re here for Westworld, then we have a LOT to talk about.

Well, it’s the end of the world as we know it. Time to binge watch HBO, and just in time to do so is season three of Westworld: The Blade Runner Years.  

“Fundamental Comics,” a monthly editorial series that introduces readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to the sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level.  Each month, a new essay will examine a familiar or less-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant themes, and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.

I remember distinctly watching the series finale for Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The reason why I remember is that I was one of 125 people who won two tickets to watch the series finale as it was broadcast on the IMAX screen at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.  The excitement in the theatre before the show began was palpable.  We few, we happy few, we Trekkers who were going to see GIANT PICARD and company sail off into the sunset in “All Good Things…” on the big screen were excited to share in the end of the beloved show.  Two hours later, the feeling in the room was very different.  The episode was, frankly, meh.  Yes, seeing the show on a giant screen was cool (Yay, big Enterprise!), but the size of the screen was not matched by the scope of the episode.  

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