Westworld 3×5 Review: Genre
Every episode seems to focus on one main character to hold it all together. ‘Genre’ seemed to focus on the music. And I couldn’t be more delighted.
‘Genre’ was actually a drug that Caleb took that cycled him through various genres within the episode as the story unfolded around him. Each genre came with a specific style and musical score that drove the point home. I’m already a big fan of Ramin Djawadi’s instrumental covers of modern music, so having an entire episode use not only those, but a wide range of other music to drive the plot was delightful. I was particularly enthusiastic about ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ playing during a car chase. How cool was that?
And we did get a classic Ramin Djawadi cover, too. We got an instrumental version of Major Tom, which was spectacular. Unlike last week’s cover, however, I can’t seem to find a recording of this one on any official HBO social media so I can’t post it here to enjoy with all of you. Guess we just have to go back and rewatch the episode over and over again to enjoy it, huh? Oh well!
Many fans have noted that Aaron Paul is once more playing a character under heavy influence from drugs, just like Jesse from Breaking Bad. The context was quite different, of course, but fans still seemed pumped for the little glimpse of Jesse they got here since it was such a notable part for him. I doubt ‘Genre’ will become a common thing in the show, but still, Breaking Bad nostalgia ya know?
Beyond the music and Breaking Bad reminders, ‘Genre’ did move the plot forward quite a bit in several ways. First and foremost, it sort of threw a wrench in a common theory that Serac only exists in a virtual space. Yes, I got this theory from Reddit too. While their theory about multiple Doloreses was correct, this one seemed to have been squashed pretty thoroughly. Serac very clearly has a history as a living, breathing human, and that history seems crucial to the overarching plot.
Additionally, we see POV shots of him as he’s projecting into the virtual world, showing us that he’s a living breathing human right now too, so we can’t even assume that he died at some point and continues to live on virtually.
He’s human. He is human now. He was human back then.
We are also seeing things develop between Caleb and Dolores in interesting ways. As I mentioned before, I’m not always the biggest fan of main opposite sex characters getting thrown together into a romantic relationship out of nowhere, and I cringed a little bit at the romance genre bit where it seemed to imply that that’s where this is headed. However, I did enjoy Caleb’s reaction to Dolores being shot up and hardly phased at all by it. He knows she’s different somehow, but he just doesn’t know how. That is far more interesting to me than a romance between them, personally.
Whatever happens between them, I enjoy their dynamic. Dolores set him free from the cage he’d been put in, and he seems to now be incredibly devoted to her. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not curious about the deeper meaning behind what’s going on with her. He has questions, even if he hasn’t verbalized them yet. I’ll be interested in seeing how he goes about questioning her and if that leads to a split between them, or if he’ll be even more dedicated to her cause when he learns the truth. I’m hoping for the latter, but I’m prepared for both.
Also, was I the only one who noticed the face masks this week? I noticed two background extras wearing face masks, which I’ve never really noticed before. I can think of three possibilities for this sudden appearance of face masks in a show that was filmed many months before our pandemic began.
First, a lot of the scenes in this show take place in countries where face masks are common. I know several scenes have taken place in Singapore, for example. I have to admit I’ve lost track of where all the characters are located, though, so I’m not sure if this is the cause of this or not.
Secondly, it could be a completely coincidental costuming choice. Perhaps the costumers felt that face masks made the show futuristic somehow and decided to put them on a few characters to give it a slightly different vibe. Perhaps our future is more polluted than it is now, or perhaps wearing face masks has become a trend in numerous other countries at that point for sanitary reasons. If this is the case, it was weirdly prescient of the costume designers.
The third option is that they went and added these in after the fact to reference our current situation. One of the shots with a person wearing a face mask was a wide shot of a crowd, so that could have been easily shot later. But another one includes someone behind the main characters on an escalator, which likely would have been edited in digitally later. I follow Evan Rachel Wood on social media and I know she’s been isolated from people for many weeks, so I don’t think they’d have called her in out of lockdown to reshoot a scene just to add a mask.
I hope it’s not the third option, honestly. As we discussed in our recent episode of QUARANTINED FEELINGS, I’m not quite ready for fiction to start referencing the pandemic so casually quite yet. It’s already begun a little bit, and it just feels way too soon. We’re still in the middle of this crisis and I’m not ready to start processing this heavy set of emotions through fiction quite yet. Fiction can help a great deal so I might feel more comfortable once the worst of it has passed, but right now I’m using fiction as an escape. I’m just not ready for it yet.
Whatever is going on, I’m still incredibly grateful for this show for giving me an escape each week. We only have three episodes left of the season and I’m not sure what I’m going to do when it’s over. The real world sucks right now and this is a great break from it all.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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