HBO's Westworld season three is officially over, and it was exciting, but where does that leave us going forward? We know that season four will happen, and we also know that despite what it may look like, Evan Rachel Wood will still be on the show. But beyond that? It's a world full of speculation. This past season left us to ponder some pretty deep questions about the nature of freedom and humanity, so where will the future go after the riots and overturn of the hyper-technological society? Will they all shun technology they once loved and revert back to the old west-style living?
At any rate, Westworld's future is one of unrest, but we knew that. The bomb goes off in the season 3 episode though with Caleb and Dolores fighting their way through the humans finally taking charge of something and revolting against the constraints of their society and breaching Incite to take down Serac, Rheobaum, and anybody who stands in their way. Well, sort of. There were a lot of moments where Caleb could have pulled the trigger – goodness knows that's how Dolores would have handled it, but these small encounters are where humanity, and lack thereof, lies: the freedom everybody talks about really just boils down to choices. Caleb isn't Dolores; there are similar views, but they are not the same, and that's okay. The fact that Caleb didn't even think about grabbing his gun and shooting the security guy on the spot and loading the endgame program into Rheobaum speaks to his humanity – no, not necessarily his value of human life, but his value of not judging people for their singular actions at one point in time. Delores would have gunned him down and loaded the program without a single hesitation.
On Westworld, Freedom Isn't Free But the Real Freedom Lies in the Choices We Make
Freedom is the power of choice, but so often it gets confusing for the constraints of society where we're all free to make the same nominal choices. That's not freedom, that's perceived choice. In the world of illusion, that's called a force – you've probably seen magic tricks where you thought you chose any card you liked, but in reality, the magician knew all along you were going to choose the three of clubs because he wanted you to, and he just let you think it was your choice. Just because you do not see the strings does not mean you aren't a puppet. So why am I ranting about the illusion of free choice? Because art imitates life, as is the case with Westworld. True, our society may not be controlled by a giant blinking AI globe that feeds off our every choice and spits out a perfect plan for your life, but it is ruled by something else: the media.
Back in the olden days before television cable news was introduced, the TV networks were mandated that they had to dedicate air time to serve the public in the form of an unbiased, informational program that told people what they needed to know. This was the news. It told people the facts, not how to feel about the facts; it showed them what was happening in the world and didn't push an agenda or tout endorsements from the President, and they weren't sponsored by a CEO with skeletons in the closet and a finger in everybody's pies; it just told people what was going on outside their little bubbles.
But then cable news was introduced and they didn't answer to the same standards. All of a sudden anchors could have opinions and they weren't shackled to the facts: if something made a better story or there was an interesting spin they could put on the story, that's what they did. We allowed ourselves as a society to be suckered in by networks whoring themselves out for the ratings, and that is where things started to go downhill. Now you can turn on any TV, find any article, some source with perceived power that backs up any view you could possibly imagine. We no longer universally know facts to be completely and undeniably true, but we have people who can find legitimate sources to back up their belief that the Earth is flat – something that was scientifically proven wrong hundreds of years ago.
My point being, we have slowly allowed ourselves and our society to be ruled by the news media conglomerate to the point where it's driven us apart as a society and turned us all against each other. Despite the fact we're all humans on this Earth together (whether you believe it's round or flat), we've been conditioned to think that we must all share the same beliefs, world views, religion, at least to within an acceptable degree of difference. The trouble is, the more people conform, the smaller that degree of difference gets until the world is one homogeneous mass of something that used to be humanity. Every single differing view you believe is completely unacceptable for someone to have is a manufactured opinion.
Do you really, genuinely hate people on the opposite side of the political spectrum as you? This partisan hate that we've recently taken so strongly to has its roots in media; I'm not saying all political differences are manufactured opinions, but it seems that now more than ever tensions run so hot when it comes to that, and I can't help but wonder why. What changed? What turned our world into a powder keg? Is it the perceived freedom and entitlement that came when we were given a veritable wealth of information at our fingertips or did that develop with the ability to substantiate our opinions with sources who agree with our views?
Whatever shape the future of Westworld takes, it will be another long wait, but the stories told will be just as exciting as before, I'm sure, and I cannot wait. Do you think we'll ever be seeing the Delos parks again? It looks like the company isn't completely buried, so there may still be a chance that they rebuilt. Parks or not, I'm sure Westworld will be back in full force with loads of twists and excitement once more.