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The Hollywood Insider Westworld Season 4

Photo: ‘Westworld’

‘Westworld’ since its initial airing has been a series that has received much acclaim and praise. One of the series’s most talented actresses, Thandiwe Newton, won a Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress,” in 2018 for her role as Maeve, a conscious AI (Artificial Intelligence). ‘Westworld’ has always been a show imbued with mystery. It relies upon this dramatic sense of thrill in order to invest the viewer, and entice them to continue watching. Now with the release of the first episode of its latest season, Season 4, ‘Westworld,’ follows the same formula of earlier seasons by containing action, mystery, and existentialism.

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The beginning of Season 4 places the series’s main characters into a new world, free from their previous prisons. They are living lives (to some degree) of their choosing. The latest season features the same quality of filmmaking and production as earlier seasons, and yet the first episode of Season 4, “The Augaries,” struggles to draw in the viewer as it has in the past. Despite “The Augaries,” slow start, there are still parts of this episode that reflect the excellence which first made ‘Westworld,’ a fan favorite. Not only does ‘Westworld,’ contain outstanding writing, its acting, sound, cinematography, camera work, and mise-en-scène all contribute to making this series exceptional at times.         

Season 4 Struggles To Pick Up Where The Series Left Off

The first episode of Season 4, “The Augaries,” was, overall, a pretty under dramatic start for a series like ‘Westworld.’ ‘Westworld,’ in its birth, was a series that was always certain of the direction it was headed. There were points where the show would leap back and forth between the present and the past, and yet each time the period changed, the importance of each aspect of the story unfailingly contributed to uncovering the larger mystery. With “The Augaries,” the evidence of a larger plot is evident in the way that ‘Westworld’ chooses to convey and share certain information with the audience. Much of the story is unrecognizable, despite the returning characters, and yet the plot seems to carry the same general themes and challenges as it has in earlier installments.

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The main villain has not changed and continues to hunt the sentient protagonist robots, as they attempt to flee from his control. Season 4 struggles to invest the viewer in quite the same way as it has in the past. “The Augaries,” contains familiar aspects of what has made ‘Westworld’ great, and yet this episode is filled with moments that fail to draw the interest of the viewer. Most of these moments come from scenes that contribute little to furtherly advancing the storyline. This issue essentially comes down to monotonous script writing and dialogue, where the author fails to realize what is truly most important in making a television series addictive for the audience.                    

‘Westworld’: Can The Series Ever Return To Its Former Glory?

‘Westworld,’ despite its most recent season’s slow start, is a series that can easily attract viewers once again. With its past three seasons, ‘Westworld,’ has transformed from being a series about autonomous AI, to portraying the existence of worldly oppression, and the dangers of advanced technology. It is a series filled with philosophical dilemmas while still depicting a vision of the future that appears eerily accurate. The first season of ‘Westworld’ is arguably its best. It reaches heights of anticipation that are difficult to match, even for the creative minds of the show’s filmmakers. “The Augaries,” does a fine job of establishing the characters and their motivations which will guide them on their journeys’ throughout Season 4. While containing epic visuals, and elaborate scenes of violence and action, “The Augaries,” did not contain dialogue or writing that truly drove the first episode of the new season. It seemed like this first episode simply mimicked the rubric for success that the series has already utilized in the past.

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There were times when the conversations between existing characters and new ones felt banal, and other moments where events happened solely because that is how the writers chose the plot to unfold. There was no sense of true realism between both dialogue, and action, and this is what led to the audience’s disconnect from the story. Season 4 is still beginning to air and in order for it to win over viewers once again, it must return back to what made it initially unique. That being that the series must revert back to being a suspenseful thriller that drives all main characters along a story where not even the audience can guess what will happen next. “The Augaries,” contained hints of that storytelling ability, and yet in many ways lacked that essential aspect that earlier seasons held.                                             

Review Of Season 4 And Overall Critique 

If the first episode of the newest season of ‘Westworld’ is a good indicator of the quality of the direction that the series is headed in, the show appears to be moving towards a more alluring storyline. The plot throughout the first episode begins to thicken, as new dynamics and old characters are introduced. One aspect of the new episode that is exceptional is the way that the series gives ample time for each character’s story arc to build. Additionally, the first episode is not without its fair share of action and excitement. Although, what ‘Westworld’ now struggles with is not its camera work or attention to detail, but rather the problem of failing to convince the viewer that what they are watching truly is a reality. There are moments when certain characters are placed in precarious situations that would normally lead to bodily harm, if not for the writers’ complete disregard for the laws of physics and reality.

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It is easy to convolute the points of a story with fantasy, when that very story is borne from an imagination, although it is critical to still treat this imagined world, and fantastical realization as if they truly did exist in order to fully engross the viewer. This sadly is something that the creators of ‘Westworld’ have forgotten, and it is a critical aspect of why this particular series was so popular in its earlier seasons. The mistakes that this first episode has made are not unforgivable. That is precisely why the future of this season looks especially bright, as although this first episode contained a lot of filler plot and interactions, the foundation of the potential for the grand scheme of the story is still being set.                              

Directors: Richard J. Lewis, Paul Cameron, Craig William Macneill

Cast: Thandiwe Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Tessa Thompson, Angela Sarafyan, Aaron Paul

Writers: Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan, Jordan Goldberg, Denise Thé, Matt Pitts, William Bromell, Christina Ham, Wes Humphrey, Desa Larkin-Boutté

Producers: Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan, Keri Bruno, Denise Thé, Alison Schapker, Skye Wathen

Cinematographers: John Conroy, Peter Flinckenberg

Editors: Amelia Allwarden, Sarah C. Reeves

By Thomas Jacobs

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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