How Westworld - Kiksuya outdid Stranger Things
By: Brenna Gonzalez │@Brennagonzalez5
[Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers for “Westworld” Season 2, Episode 8, “Kiksuya”- Don’t read on if you haven’t seen it, unless... you really get off on suffering. Then do whatever your weird heart desires. ]
Ghost Nation for the win.
Remember that really weird episode of “Stranger things” in season 2 that purely focuses on Elevens journey through the crowd of outcasts and into the deep emo culture of the 80’s in a strange search for her mom? If you are among the few who remember this universally forgettable episode of television then congratulations you remember what a waste of an hour it was.
If it was just irrelevant to the plot but actually had a cool and intriguing storyline for the viewers to follow along with tight writing attached to the script then it would have maybe worked out in the series favor. Well, the search for that actually really good “what does this have to do with the plot” episode ends with “Westworld” Season 2 episode 8.
In this beautifully crafter episode of modern television we, as viewers, are gifted with endless “golden hour” stills and many many one liners full of pure wisdom and elegance. For an episode mainly held together by minimal dialogue, lots of walking around, and subtitles, it was a risky move to incorporate this episode into an already wildly inexplicable season. Chucking it towards the final stretch of the season though, amidst the climax of the storyline, that is a power move. It was a refreshing break from the seizure-like storytelling we were forced to get used to… and I’m totally okay with that. My mind can only handle so many analytical thoughts at a time. A slow episode such as this one soon turned into much more as it went from a side characters perspective back to tie into Maeve’s manipulation and love for her pretty much nonexistent daughter.
SHAKESPEAREAN VIBES ONLY
The only thing I love more than beautiful costume design and cinematography that utilizes brown hues within natural light is being thwacked over the head 5 times an episode regarding what consumers need to take out of this show. There are many things to take out of the show that the writers seem to shed light on every once in a while such as consumerism and just overall capitalistic motives but that’s not what we should be focused on. Yeah, I understand that our world seems to parallel the dark and disturbing customs that Westworld upholds but, again, it’s not the message we should be internalizing.
Love and loss go hand and hand when it comes to “Westworld” and it is a constant in our lives too. Think about it. Dolores has lost everything, she has lost her love time after time yet she continues on living; unconventionally but who cares, it’s still a life. Maeve has lost everything she truly cared about including the one person that was holding her together, her daughter, but yet she still fights for the battle of life for her kind. Everyone in this show is dealing with something, even the minor characters seem to be facing demons. No one in this world has come out unscathed and to me, that is fairly representative of Shakespeare's tragedies. So much blood, so much lust, so much loss. Both are similar to each other in those ways and for me, that is enough to feel the need to point it out.
Does that mean the ending of the season will be as bleak as “Romeo and Juliet”? In all honesty, yes, if not bleaker. All I know though is the fact that life is always going to be troubling so there is really no point in trying to escape it as that is where you get hit the hardest.
“This. World. Is. Wrong.”- Akecheta
It always has been and always will continue to be.
LEES PATHETIC GUILTY CONSCIOUS
Do we show him sympathy if he does understand how massive of a tool he really is? Lee Sizemore is a fragile man with no courage and no understanding of moral responsibility outside what a good paycheck looks like. On the bright side though, we have seen a good amount of character growth stemming from his life crisis. That’s something I can get behind when it comes to rooting for someone. One question I do have… Was Lee created to be seen as a bad guy turned good or was he just a plot device for exposition and comedic relief? Are we supposed to forgive his ignorant role in the creation of all the hosts and their underlying trauma? Okay, that is actually 2 questions so I apologize on behalf of my racing mind and typing fingers.
I think that he may be showing the correct human response to the entire meltdown of his corporate lifestyle because his relationship with Maeve isn’t based off the fact that she is hot as hell, but it’s a genuine connection that formed between them. Yes, he was the one who single-handedly wrote her daughters death arc so he feels not only the responsibility to fix her broken soul but to help seek justice for his creations in a world where they are not welcome. Maybe having direct contact with each host and their storylines helped him to remember that there isn’t much to fear as long as you show respect and acceptance.
I believe he is a good guy who did a bad thing for a long period of time. He didn’t understand the consequences of his writing and I mean can we blame him? His pay doesn’t include predicting his characters actually have human-like consciousness. But now with his knowledge, he is able to show sympathy to the hosts, doing everything in his power (which is a surprisingly large amount for such a small man) to right his wrongs. In order to free his oh-so-guilty soul, I am willing to assume he would sacrifice his life for that of one of his subjects (Maeve? A random host? Dolores?). Who knows. But I will say that I have hope for him. I have hope for everyone, even if in an unconventional sense...