Growing up in the 1980s, I was raised with strong, female role models. Girls had their pick of strong women in movies, TV, music, and books. It was a time that we were proud to be young women, and we couldn’t wait to grow up. As a tomboy, I still looked to some incredible women to find strength in my own life, and front and center of those heroes was Wonder Women.
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.