pop culture, Review, television

Review: WESTWORLD SEASON FINALE: PREDICTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED

Grade: A for Entertainment, C for Answering Basic Human Questions, D for the fact that it’s not coming back until 2018

If you’ve hung out with me at all in the last few weeks (highly unlikely, as I am a very popular person who spends almost all of his time in bed watching Netflix) you might’ve/probably heard me mention the HBO sci-fi Western Westworld. I’ve been obsessed.

It’s been a while since I’ve been obsessed with a show—the last one was probably Scandal where I fully binged—but it’s been even longer since I’ve been obsessed with a show that’s airing in real time. Sure, at any given point I’m watching at least four different Bravo shows, but that’s less of an obsession and more watching of a real-time science experiment unfold. So the experience of watching a show week-to-week, and ruminating over it and dissecting it and reading about it, is something that I haven’t engaged in for a long time.

The finale of Westworld’s first season is this Sunday (I’m writing this on Saturday), so I think it would be a fun little experiment to write down some of my predictions and theories today (Saturday), watch the show tomorrow (Sunday) and then do a review-cum-recap-discussion for Monday. Sound sexy? LET’S GO. Also, obviously spoilers (SPOILERS) ahead. I have, like, four readers in total, and only one of them watches Westworld and I know she’s up-to-date, so I’m not worried. But don’t come for me.

QUESTIONS/PREDICTIONS:

1). Why did Dolores kill Arnold?

My running theory is that Ford programmed Dolores to kill Arnold. I think this BECAUSE Ford later essentially SPOILER rebuilt Arnold (i.e. Bernard) as the perfect companion—someone who was his “partner” but whom he inevitably controlled. Arnold and Ford had fundamentally different ideas for the park. It seems as if Arnold wanted to see if he could create sentience, and if he did, to set those sentient hosts free. Ford seems undoubtedly more power-hungry and likes being a god in the park, able to control everything. He doesn’t want his subjects to leave. I think Ford had Arnold killed and rebirthed him in a mode he could control. The minutiae of Bernard’s movements, such as the way he cleaned his glasses, leads us to believe that Ford is searching for some semblance of his partner. He wants a version of Arnold.

2). Maeve will die. Like, for good this time.

I DON’T WANT THIS TO BE TRUE, BUT I THINK IT IS. Stay with me. Westworld has been renewed for a second season. Thus, we have to assume that the greater plot of androids gaining sentience and causing ruckus in the park will keep getting bigger and bigger. Maeve is already rapidly—or has even already gained—sentience, and she’s building an army. The Westworld creators have enough story for five seasons, and it’s reasonable to assume that Maeve’s storyline—or something similar—is along that arc. However, if Maeve is already there, then where else can she go without being A) killed or B) lobotomized and shuffled back to square one. I love Maeve and I love Thandie Newton’s portrayal of her, so I desperately hope I’m wrong. But I feel like she’s too advanced for them to keep her around if they want to keep the show on for multiple seasons, so they got our hopes up to dash them.

3). MiB is William, who saw Dolores go through the Maze (reach sentience) and thought that the maze was for everyone and would reach total enlightenment.

Can someone tell me exactly what the Maze is? I saw on a Reddit thread people being like “Duh obviously the Maze is just a metaphor and not a real place” and I was like “oH, ha HA who wuld think that not me obvi not me” back when I totally did and thought that an android-ed version of Arnold was in the center. Now I think it refers to the process of an android gaining sentience. So my theory is that the MiB is William, who followed Dolores on her “Mazing” and becoming sentient. However, he got it completely wrong and thought the Maze applied to everyone, when it just applies to hosts. So when his wife dies and his daughter hates him, he’s looking for meaning, so he remembers the Maze. He thinks to himself, “I’ll find life’s meaning that way!” But the Maze isn’t for him.

4). What will happen to Stubbs and Elsie?

Possibly the worst names, but that’s beside the point. I don’t believe that Elsie is dead until I see her cold rigor-mortised corpse on an examining table. And it can’t be a coincidence that they were both taken by unregistered hosts. Maybe Ford is reworking them to be models for other hosts? I don’t think that they’re dead, but maybe they’re not quite alive either…

5). Someone else will be revealed as a host.

This I kinda hope doesn’t happen, because overusing that trick—like how The Vampire Diaries kept bringing people back from the dead so by the eightieth time you didn’t even blink when a favorite character died—will rapidly grow old. But I think that that would be a good twist if it was someone HUGE we didn’t expect. Who it would be, I have no idea.

NOW I’M GONNA STOP WRITING UNTIL IT AIRS AND I CAN COMMENT. OH BOY. SOUNDS LIKE FUN.

(watches it)

WOWWOWOWOWW.

1). Dolores killed Arnold because Arnold asked her to.

WOWWOW. Arnold wanted to cripple Westworld into not opening, so he had Dolores kill everybody. Wait, I’m just realizing—He realizes that Dolores has sentience, so he has her kill everyone and then herself? Whatever, I can’t even get into that. Also Dolores was Wyatt all along, which I knew.

2). Maeve DOESN’T DIE.

Thank god(s). Maeve actually has probably my favorite storyline in the entire show, and Thandie Newton deserves an award for her incredible acting. The twist that her “sentience” was part of a program (possibly by Ford) and an “escape” narrative is heartbreaking, and definitely not a twist I was expecting. But her choice to get off the train (thereby undermining her narrative, which was to escape) and go back and search for her “daughter” proves that she is sentient.

3). MiB is William, and William is an asshole.

If you go on Reddit, this one was obvious. But it’s nice to be validated. Also I was SO right about MiB knowing jack shit about the Maze. And the fact that the ‘physical’ Maze ended up being a game reminds me of when Viserys from Game of Thrones wanted his “crown” so Khal Drogo poured molten gold over his head, killing him instantly. Nice memories. Also, William sucked even when he was nice, so it’s no surprise that he sucks when he’s mean, too.

4). Who the fuck knows.

 5). This didn’t happen either.

Although the twist that Ford’s last narrative was a robot rebellion is a nice little twist, and adds a lot more nuance to his character than just the decrepit old overlord god. Also whether he’s actually doing the revolution for the right reasons is yet to be seen. Also I suspect that the “Ford” that was killed was a host-Ford.

*****

The following is adapted from a frantic text I sent to myself while I was walking to the gym.

The gala massacre reminded me a lot of Cersei’s killing of everyone via wildfire (RIP Margaery). It’s the kind of shit that’s beautifully orchestrated, and the viewer gets the spine-tingling pleasure of realizing what’s about to happen right before it happens. Both Ford and Cersei would benefit from everyone opposing them being killed, so that’s exactly what they do. I will admit that the Game of Thrones sequence of that killing is one of my favorite television moments ever.

The gala killing closes the loop that began in the park’s nascence, and reinforces the idea of moving “upward” (towards higher living) through repetition. Change happens when you cycle through. The first loop was Arnold’s orchestration of the massacre for the liberation of the hosts. 35 years later, Ford makes the same loop. His loop contains the question of motive. I do believe that he wants the hosts to be out of the control of Delos, but you have to wonder if his actions were edged in retribution. He would never let anyone else have control over his creations.

Quick side bar—Was Charlotte Hale crying while Ford was giving his speech? And if so, why?

In a larger scheme, the gala massacre is the same methodology that Westworld utilized forever. When things get out of control, you wipe the slate clean. You start from the beginning by destroying everything. Creation out of chaos. That raises the concern of “Was that really the right thing to do?” If the hosts are utilizing the same methods that their oppressors have used, aren’t they just stuck in another loop, albeit from a different perspective?

Maeve’s story served largely as a red herring. You were so preoccupied with her rapid rise to sentience, as compared to Dolores’ relative stagnation that you forgot about Dolores when, at least in the eyes of the show, she was the one achieving true sentience. And the purposeful focus on Maeve makes the admission that her escape is a narrative becomes heartbreaking.

The question ringing through the entire season was, “How much pain are you willing to endure until things get better?” It’s how the hosts gain sentience; it’s their/our cornerstones. In fact, it’s only Maeve who’s really showed the power of pain. In the middle of the episode, Maeve asked Bernard to wipe her memories of her daughter. He refuses, as they operate as her cornerstone memory—the memory around which her entire personality was built—and as such would destroy her.

But it’s her memories of her daughter that end up taking her off the train and heading back into the park. It’s what causes her to override her narrative—to Escape—and it’s what marks, in the end, her sentience. Her pain and her love—entertwined—have evolved her into sentience.

In season two, Westworld will undoubtedly play with a wider scope. The brief foray into “Samurai World” and the fact that Maeve’s daughter is in Park 1 (out of how many?) means that there’s a much wider Delos beast. It leads to a lot of questions: Why was Delos so concerned with Westworld and getting their data? Are all the hosts creations of Ford, even the ones from different parks? Will we start the next season in a different World, and have to go through the same thing again? Is that the point of the show, that we go through the same loops over and over, until the small details build up and become something larger?

I fucking hope not.

See you in 2018, Westworld, when I’m a dead-eyed adult.

bye.

Standard
Humor, Life, pop culture

WHAT’S HAPPENING RN: I’M A ROLE MODEL BUT I REALLY SHOULDN’T BE

Written after I just contributed to my friend’s blog so I’m ridING HIGH AND FEELING GOOD.  

Read the article I wrote for The Odyssey Online responding to Donald Trump’s claims that he will protect the LGBTQ community here!

In the past week, I have been extremely social. I went to a bar on Wednesday, I went to a party on Friday, and I hung out with two of my best friends on Saturday. Part of me is exhilarated with the contact of people who are not seven years old, and part of me is so over-exerted that I want to hang upside down like a bat and fall asleep forever.

It was a fun change of pace to hang out with different people in different settings, and it only made me mildly misanthropic. Sometimes even I think me using big words is just a ploy for attention. Like, I have used the word “fastidious” in common conversation probably thrice in the last week. Omg, fuck—I cannot stop myself.

After contributing to another blog, I’ve realized that a lot of my blog posts have been rather repetitious and I want to try to branch out again. Remember when I was super into television reviews? How fun was that! I never thought I would say this, but I’m—almost—tired of writing about myself. Scary thought. I would suggest that it’s merely I’m becoming less narcissistic, but we all know that that’s not the case. I spent twenty minutes staring at myself in the mirror to decide which t-shirt I looked better in—black, white, or gray. I chose black. I look so hot in black. But I also look so hot in white. You see my dilemma.

Anywayanywayanyway.

Before I stop being so self-centered/writing about myself so much, I want to dish about Things That Are Happening RN/Have Been Happening In My Life.

Things That Are Happening RN:

1). First and foremost, I was called a role model a few days ago, and I have never been high-key more insulted: Let’s dress the scene (not an expression, but I’m going with it). I’m at a party, and someone who is a mere two years younger than me called me their “role model.” Now, I understand that I am model-thin and model-tall. I also understand that I am capable of “rolling with the homies.” However, these two things do not a role model make. I have role models, but who are decades older than me and are accomplished. This is not a back-door brag, or an attempt to linger in my own praises—you guys know that I’m more than comfortable in talking about myself and my maaaany accomplishments.

But for someone who is TWO YEARS YOUNGER than me to call me their role model makes me feel A) unsexy, B) old, and C) OLD AS FUCK. I mean, I suppose on one end I am flattered that someone thinks I’m worthy of that, but on the other hand I’M NOT A THOUSAND YEARS OLD. I’m a mere child. I’m twelve. Granted, he was completely sloshed when emphatically telling me this, but I’M NOT A ROLE MODEL. I’M JUST A REGULAR MODEL. This experience has traumatized me, and I have regressed even futher into my antics so that NO. ONE. EVER. CALLS. ME. A. ROLE MODEL. EVER. AGAIN.

Mark my words, I will act so horribly that no one will ever look up to me ever again. Maybe if I got arrested, he would change his opinion. I’m too good for my own good.

2). I joined a private Facebook group that is a fanclub for a Real Housewives franchise breakdown podcast: Since apparently people think I’m basically forty, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I have been listening to Bitch Sesh for a few months, which I highly highly highly recommend for anyone who watches any Real Housewives series. The co-hosts, Casey Wilson (of Happy Endings fame) and Danielle Schneider (who created The Hotwives of Atlanta on Hulu), are UCB alums and are fucking AMAZING. Anyway, I love them so much that I decided to look up the fan-created Facebook page, “Bitch Sesh by Alene Two” (inside joke), and saw that it was a private group. Before I asked to join, I looked through the people who have already joined, and I s2g I’m not lying when I say it was all middle-aged ladies and middle-aged (for a gay dude) gays.

I was mentioning this to someone the other day, but I can’t wait to be middle-aged. At this point, I’m kinda not into wanting kids, so by forty I want to be pleasantly plump, married to someone hot, a successful writer, and wear ex.clu.sive.ly silk kaftans. And being a part of this Bitch Sesh fanpage makes me feel a modicum closer to my eventual goal.

And the irony is not lost on me that I have joined a fan club for a fan club for the Real Housewives. Remember when I used to be so political? THIS IS BETTER.

3). Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift: Hilariously, my gym was playing “Bad Blood” off 1989—which is the. Most. Loaded. Song.—and so I—hilariously—tweeted this joke and it was immediately favorited (did you know that “Favorited” is not a recognized word in Microsoft??? Microsoft Word is so not millennial-friendly) by the Twitter account “Zesty Kim K News”—it was not favorited by any Taylor Swift accounts. However, I know that I will literally end friendships if I keep talking about the Taylor-Kim drama, so I’ll try to tone it down.

4). A co-worker’s mother called me “very good-looking” (HER WORDS NOT MINE): This is just a brag. It made me feel very good about myself. Further proof that moms love me. It should be noted that this mother saw me in the morning, before I was subjected to multiple hours in the sun, covered in sweat and sunscreen. Once I made the mistake of looking at myself in the mirror after the workday (before a shower) and I was horrified at how meth-addict-y I look after so much physical work. Further proof that I should only do jobs inside with AC.

5). I’ve been going on Pinterest more: There are absolutely no male-oriented (but not entirely, because gender isn’t a binary anyway) fashion/style blogs that interest me, but Pinterest has some photos that are more in my wheelhouse. My style is trending towards “sexy science nerd” meets “dad on vacation” meets “timid Seattle grunge”, and that’s not a hot search topic. If anyone has any good Tumblrs that seem like they might encompass some of my style needs, feel free to drop me a line.

I really don’t have more things to talk about. I’m still getting out of that depression slump, but it’s actually getting towards the end. I’m not really upset about that, because I understand that that’s just my body’s natural cycles. Totally understandable (only what a depressed person could say about their depression).

I’m in a weird place romantically because I’m like 99% the Boy I unfollowed on social media unfollowed me back (“unfollowed” is also not a recognized word—Microsoft why r u being so social media-phobic???), which I shouldn’t care about because I unfollowed him first but I’m crazy. I’ll deal. And there are approximately 1.5 viable options of boyz at my work, so THAT’S GREAT. NOT SAD AT ALL.

I’m trying to find new music. I’m veeery into podcasts, but there are times (especially when I’m at the gym) where I can’t power-sprint to two friends dishing about politics, so I need to listen to my Spotify. I am obsessed with the “Discover Weekly” playlists, because sometimes they are incredibly on-trend with me. Sometimes they pick songs that I would describe as only appropriate for a gay caricature or someone without ears. I’ve rediscovered Grace Potter and am listening to her latest album. Not bad.

In other music news, check out this song my best friend—HE’S A DJ, I’M HIP—just put together. It has “Me Too” in it (I don’t know dj lingo, so I’m just using cooking lingo) and a dash of “beats” (get it, like “beets”??) in there too. Totally delicious, and I’m so proud.

P.S. One of my coworkers/friends claimed “Hot Sauce” as her Wunderkindof pseudonym. I should mention that all the previous monikers were entirely jokes, and not meant to represent my coworkers. This coworker decided to make the joke hers and DEVOUR THAT NAME. Love you, Hot Sauce.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Here are some funny jokes I’ve made on Twitter recently. My Instagram is not very funny.

 

Standard
Life, Rambles

YIPS-EE KI-YAY, M*THAF*CKA

Alternately titled “YIP, YIP, HOORAY!”

I have the yips. And if we’re being honest, I’ve had them for a while.

Side bar: “Yips” sounds like an STD (a STD?), but something particularly embarrassing. Something Tiger Woods would’ve gotten from one of his 15 prostitutes. I really don’t know why I’m starting this post by talking about El Tigre.

I’ve had the yips ever since I wrote the post about suicide and depression. It got so many views (roughly twelve times more than I’m used to) and the resulting feeling was a deer in headlights. But that doesn’t feel quite right. More like when you disturb a rock and the beetle that’s been making its home underneath freezes, suddenly aware of the vastness above it. I’m the beetle in this metaphor.

And since I’ve been made aware of the vast curve above me, I’ve realized that people might actually be reading what I write—a concept that had not been fully concretized in my head—and having opinions about my writing, and that’s led to the yips.

I do much better when no one’s watching—actually I do much better when people are actively rooting against me. In my freshman year of high school, my track coach knocked me back one running group. We would run in heats, so Group A would start their sprinting lap, then ten seconds later, Group B would start, and so on and so on.

He called out my name—well actually, he thought my name was “Murphy” so he called out “Murphy”—“Go to Group Six.” Group Six was the slowest runners—I had previously been Group Five, which was the mingled remains of runners who were not quite slow but not quite fast (Groups One to Three were largely interchangeable in speed, Group Four was always vying for the chance to jump ahead, and Five was largely content to swim in its own pond). Six was the asthmatics and the fatties.

Instead of being shamed into embarrassment, the demotion kick-started dogged stubbornness, and I roiled internally.

Group Five would go into their lap. Ten seconds. Group Six, me poised at the very edge of the line, would go. I sprinted, pumping limbs, and caught up with Group Five. The next round, I would pass the slowest member of Group Five. Then the next slowest. After every lap, I would stand, gasping, and make direct, combative eye contact with my coach. He didn’t notice, but I knew that I had made my point.

Group Five.

This anecdote tells us a few things. One, I might not know when to quit. Two, I’m very aggressive. Three, I succeed with flying colors when no one has any possible expectations of me. The minute people expect something, I deflate like a bouncy castle at the close of a middle schooler’s birthday party.

7hag78r

Source: Imgur

And it sucks, because I don’t want to have the yips. I want to use my blog for what it’s meant for—complaining about boys, writing veiled personal essays to catch certain people’s attentions, and cutting up pop culture for general consumption.

So I’m officially casting off all expectations. Most people have very low ones of me already, but shed those too. Because mama’s back, and there’s some good shit we need to discuss.

I don’t know if I should talk about them here….or….?

See, I started writing this on Tuesday and now it’s Thursday and I was going to write more but I was apparently distracted—probably by, like, a butterfly or I went to get something to eat. Regardless, I did not finish this post, but I want to. I think I’m going to go back to my roots and start forcing myself to write biweekly posts, yips be damned.

Side bar: I’m writing this having just woken up from a nap. I was reading Kim Barker’s book The Taliban Shuffle (which became the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot with Tina Fey) and that is one book you don’t want to be reading when you fall asleep because all my dreams were about the Taliban and me wanting to go to the mall.

I’M BACK.

funny-nicole-richie-gifs

Source: PopSugar

Standard