‘Années Folles’ was an incredibly exciting addition to the fourth season of Westworld. It felt reminiscent of the first season and brought us full circle to where it all began.
Maeve and Caleb have found themselves deep in the new 1920s-themed park. It’s clear the Delos habit of recycling plots is still alive and well. We get the exact same tavern scene playing out in a new setting for the third time. I don’t really mind that as a viewer of this show, though. Everything else about the sequence was spectacular. My favorite aspect was the Armistice equivalent with the machine guns.
I will never tire of seeing this sequence of events happen in different genres, even though the implication of it is that the Delos writers are clearly very unoriginal. My only complaint with how they did it is that we didn’t get a new cover of Paint It Black, but I can make peace with that. The covers we did get this episode – Metallica and Billie Eilish – were fantastic. I’ll be downloading them both as soon as they become available. Ramin Djawadi is brilliant.
Seeing Caleb take in what life is like for the hosts was incredibly interesting to watch. He’s sympathetic to them, and seems both horrified but in awe of what’s happening around him. When it becomes clear that Maeve is at a disadvantage there, since the weapons work on her and not him, he leaps into action to defend her. In the real world, she is clearly the stronger of the two of them, but the script has been flipped. He’s a true ally to the cause.
Maeve’s plan to get into the basement level of the park has a surprising twist when it’s revealed that the upper basement level has become part of the game. Their lack of originality continues when the Dolores equivalent shows up underground in a very clearly scripted attack. I suppose since Sizemore is dead, their writing staff is in a bit of a lurch. Sure, years have passed since he died, but I doubt they found anyone more capable. Even he recycled plots out of desperation.
The lack of original clear plots isn’t the only clear mistake Delos has made. The fact they are still subjugating hosts and treating them like non-sentient toys shows that they haven’t truly learned their lesson. They’re even making fun of the incident that nearly ruined them. Delos is, quite simply, ridiculous and I hope it comes back to bite them again. If Maeve has any say in it, it absolutely will. I can’t wait to see more absolutely killer scenes with her. Besides the mere presence of Tessa Thompson or Evan Rachel Wood, seeing Maeve go full ham on people is my favorite thing.
Speaking of Evan Rachel Wood, ‘Christina’s’ plot continues to be entirely separate from anyone else’s and I’m growing quite suspicious. She wasn’t even in this episode at all. My initial instinct was that she had had her mind wiped somehow and was being forced to play this ‘Christina’ character. The appearance of what I assumed to be Teddy at the end of the first episode only strengthened this feeling. This doesn’t entirely make sense, though. Why bother placing her in the real world at all? Why not just take the little host brain-ball thing and lock it in a safe.
I’m starting to think we’re being fooled like we were in the first season. Is her plot even taking place in the same timeframe? Is she not actually Dolores? Maybe she was the person Dolores was based on. But why was Teddy there? Is he not actually Teddy either? There has to be a reason that she’s so separate. She wasn’t even in this episode at all. What’s going on here?
However, a couple of people who were in this episode – Stubbs and Bernard – were an incredible delight. There’s a level of unhinged chaos between them that’s just so appealing to me. Stubbs knows what he is and he’s comfortable with it. Bernard is still getting used to his nature as a host, but is incredibly determined to accomplish his goals. And those goals have become a lot more complex now that he’s essentially become an oracle for the world.
The scene where Stubbs is just casually eating lunch while Bernard completely wrecks the two men in the parking lot got the biggest laugh from me for the season so far. I want more of this energy. Considering they seem to be drafted into a weird desert adventure by some rebels, I’m thinking we’re about to get a lot of it. I’m totally here for this!
Lastly, I have a lot of feelings about Caleb’s wife and child back at home. His wife was initially skeptical of all of this, but as soon as it became real to her, she started taking it seriously. Both she and her daughter, Frankie, have been trained for this. They’re ready. They shouldn’t have to run for their lives, but Caleb prepared them for just such a scenario. I hope they both make it to the end of the season alive and well.
Things aren’t looking too great for Caleb, though. They used the love of his daughter to trap him and sick those flies – whatever they are – on him. His fate is uncertain this week, which is tough because I won’t be able to watch next week’s episode right away and it’s going to bother me. Is Caleb okay? Please let him be okay.
I conclude this week’s review with a warning. I will be missing two weeks of this show due to San Diego Comic-Con. Once I return I’ll be quickly sucked into GISH, so that’s three weeks in a row where it’s doubtful I’ll be able to write up a review. Worse comes to worst, I’ll do a season wrap-up because I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say!
While we’re waiting for my triumphant return in August, give me a follow on Twitter for all the SDCC and GISH excitement.
See you in a few weeks!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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