REVIEW: ‘Westworld’ Season 4 Highlights the Danger of Rapid Technological Advancement

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Westworld Season 4

Westworld Season 4 premiers this Sunday exclusively on HBO Max as we once more step into a futuristic world of advanced technology that attempts to control the chaos. Season 3 pried back the iron curtain into the world outside of the hedonistic park system owned by DELOS to reveal that the real world wasn’t any better than the simulated one.

While humanity still had its free will intact, Rehoboam, a quantum computer embedded with artificial intelligence whose primary focus is on predictive statistical analysis pertaining to the human species, uses the data collected to keep everyone in their lane so as to control the safety of the future. Now that the system was destroyed, and the truth behind Rehoboam exposed, people are free to live their life as they see fit. One small wrinkle though, there’s still a handful of very pissed-off sentient hosts (human-like robots) out in the real world with a score to settle with humanity.

This brings us very aptly to Season 4. Written, and created by, Lisa Joy, and Jonathan Nolan, the new season takes a small jump into the future with a world free from predictive societal modeling as we take a moment to catch up with the series’ favorite characters; Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), everyone’s favorite bad guy the man in black (Ed Harris),  and last seasons newest addition Caleb (Aaron Paul).

You know it’s been two years since Season 3 and I’ll admit, I had to watch a few recap videos to remind myself of everything that happened. As any fan of this show will tell you, the narrative is so densely packed that if you’re not paying attention to the nuanced flow it’s very easy to find yourself absolutely lost. I can not stress enough that before diving into Season 4 take a beat and watch a recap of Season 3, because I was shocked at just how much happened in the events of the story. Take for example one reveal from the prior season in which it was announced that Dolores had copied her identity and placed it into two other hosts. It gets even more convoluted from here because each copy of Dolores begins to diverge and becomes a new wholly new identity as they experience life very differently in comparison to their counterparts.

To no one’s surprise, Season 4 continues to play about with these themes of self and sentience like no other show has quite done before it. Westworld is constantly grappling with the psychology of nature vs nurture, or in this case programming vs nurture. The expansion of these themes becomes ever more apparent when Charlotte’s vendetta against the human race takes a terrifying, incredibly dark path that leads to some jaw-dropping moments.

Be prepared to settle in, however, and again fans of the show likely won’t be surprised, but the story drops you in on the world with very little exposition as to what’s happened in the time between seasons. The foundation for the plot is a deliberately slower pace with the appearance of being quite messy at or without a point. Stick with it, and keep note of the details. As small elements are revealed it adds up to the plot’s overall centerpiece. Once you hit that moment of realization it’s fantastically spine-chilling in a way that is adeptly characteristic of narratives within Westworld.

One monumental element that this series hinges on is the remarkable character performances because just look at that cast list it’s incredible. Leading the line for the past three seasons has been two fierce women in Wood, and Newton. Based on the four episodes I’ve seen currently Wood actually has a fairly muted role in comparison to what we’ve seen from her in the past. Newton continues to kick ass and take names, and her dialogue and delivery is just so on point. Aaron Paul however gets a very large role to play, and while I’ve not always been a fan of his work his performance here is sensational. As the one consistent human role he has to embody so much more emotive reaction.

There are so many great reasons to watch Westworld Season 4, and while the tone and narrative are undoubtedly heavy the payback is well worth your investment in time. While the series has always served as a warning sign around the dangers of advanced technology beyond our full comprehension, Season 4 dials this entire notion up to 11 to the point you’ll want to move into the words away from all smart devices.

Westworld Season 4 will release weekly with Episode 1 to air exclusively on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, June 25th.


Westworld Season 4
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

There are so many great reasons to watch Westworld Season 4, and while the tone and narrative are undoubtedly heavy the payback is well worth your investment in time. While the series has always served as a warning sign around the dangers of advanced technology beyond our full comprehension, Season 4 dials this entire notion up to 11 to the point you’ll want to move into the words away from all smart devices.