Westworld Season Four Review: A Temporary Return to Form.

Beginning Season Four of Westworld, I was not sure what to expect.
I had loved the first two seasons but found Season Three to be a drop in quality, and I hoped that Season Four would return the show to its former glory.
For a time, it did exactly this, before falling back into old mistakes.
The Fourth Season picks up years after the events of Season Three, with various characters in different situations.
Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul) now has a family but after they are threatened by Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and host William (Ed Harris), he teams up with Maeve (Thandie Newton) to take the two down once and for all.
Meanwhile, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) awakens from his journey in the Sublime and, armed with knowledge of what is now to come, goes on a mission with Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) to save the fates of humanity and the hosts.
Most mysterious of all, a new version of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), named Christina, is working at a video game company, yet slowly coming to realize that there is more to her world than it seems. 

Dolores is somehow back in Season Four. Her storyline across the season gradually reveals why this is, to mixed results by the end.

The first episode which established the various plot lines admittedly did very little to grab me.
Episodes Two and Four, however, did a much better job of getting me back into the show, and this all built up to Episode Four, “Generation Loss”, which got me back on the Westworld hype train.
“Generation Loss” made me feel the exact same way I did when watching the first two seasons of the show and the subsequent episodes kept up this level of engagement, supported by the great score from Ramin Djawadi, and fantastic performances from practically every cast member.
Of the old cast, the best of the bunch is definitely Aaron Paul, who delivers an amazing performance throughout as Caleb. 

Aaron Paul’s performance this season is among the best in all of Westworld.

As for the new characters, Aurora Perrineau is a welcome edition to the cast and I liked her role and performance.
Then there is the returning cast from the older seasons where, surprisingly, I would say that Teddy (James Marsden) really stands out.
I was someone who was not attatched to the character all that much in the first two seasons but he was honestly one of my favourite this season.

The first few episodes featuring Teddy made me care about him more than the first two seasons of Westworld ever did.

What with all of the great acting and story telling from Episode Four onwards, I was expecting Season Four of Westworld to have a great ending, which would at least put it on par with Season Two for me.
Then we got the last two episodes, which dropped the ball, in my opinion.
I was really not a fan of the direction these last two episodes went, as it felt like they had twists just for the sake of having them.
A lot of the character fates also felt quite stupid, in particular Maeve’s and Stubbs’.

The way Stubbs’ character concluded for this season was both abrupt and unceremonious.

Not to mention there was a lot of convenience in the final episodes, with quite a few fights in the final episode suffering from bad logic.
As for the ending of the season itself, it left me feeling as lukewarm as the ending to Season Three did.
All in all, this made Season Four quite the conflicting experience for me.
It started off slow but, by Episode Four, felt like it had reached the same high quality of the first two seasons, only to stumble at the finish line with the last two episodes.
I would rank Season Four above Season Three but below Seasons One and Two.
I just hope Season Five can be great throughout but, at this point, I would not hold my breath. 

Westworld Season Three Review: A Fall From Grace.

3 stars
Created by Jonathon Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld is a series that I have been invested in right from the beginning.
As soon as it started airing I was hooked.
I loved season one and, even though season two gets a lot of criticism, I personally think it is just as good as the first with some of the show’s best episodes.
And now we have season three, which was… okay?
I put a question mark there because I am genuinely unsure of how to feel about this season.
It certainly wasn’t bad but, unlike the other two seasons, there were very little standout moments that had me on the edge of my seat.
Season three honestly feels like an entirely different show and that is not exactly a good thing.
The story picks up with the setting changing from the titular Westworld park to the outside world, where Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) is beginning her plans to take over all of humanity with a Host Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thomspon) at her side.
Enter Aaron Paul’s character, Caleb Nichols, who is recruited by Dolores to help with her revolution.

Caleb
Aaron Paul does a good job as new character Caleb.

However, at the same time, the mysterious Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel) revives Maeve (Thandie Newton) with the intention of using her to take down Dolores… oh, and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and William (Ed Harris) are in this season too but they really don’t matter.
I’ll start by saying that I liked the roles Dolores, Charlotte, Caleb and Maeve had in this season.
While their stories aren’t anything spectacular they are still enjoyable, with Caleb being a welcome addition to the cast.
There are also a few surprise returns from minor characters that are well used.
But then there are Bernard and William who, as I said, don’t really matter.
They honestly felt like afterthoughts this season, which is such a shame because they are among the series’ best characters.
I especially don’t like how William’s story appeared to end.

William
They did William dirty with his screen time this season.

Thankfully, there is one great scene with Bernard in the final episode, although I wish this scene had more build up to it happening.
Then there is the action, which seems to fluctuate in quality across the season.
For example, there are some fights that are very good in the final few episodes.
However, there is a fight with Ashely Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) in the second episode that was just atrocious in quality.
One thing I can definitely praise the season for though is Ramin Djawadi’s score because it is amazing, as always.
Along with this, the CGI is also well done.
The season is surprisingly short too, with only eight episodes compared to the original two seasons’ ten each.
I actually got to the final episode not realizing it was the finale so I was pretty surprised when I learnt that it was over.

final episoe
The finale does leave some characters’ fates in question though so here’s to hoping we get satisfying answers in season 4.

All in all though, season three is still pretty good overall.
But, with its story having almost no epic moments, some characters being mishandled, and a few action sequences being laughable, it does fall miles short of the first two seasons.