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Westworld - (S01E02)

Western . Mystery . Drama . Science Fiction . Sci-Fi

A pair of guests, first-timer William and repeat visitor Logan arrive at Westworld with different expectations and agendas. Bernard and Quality Assurance head Theresa Cullen debate whether a recent host anomaly is contagious. Meanwhile, behavior engineer Elsie Hughes tweaks the emotions of Maeve, a madam in Sweetwater’s brothel, in order to avoid a recall. Cocky programmer Lee Sizemore pitches his latest narrative to the team, but Dr. Ford has other ideas. The Man in Black conscripts a condemned man, Lawrence, to help him uncover Westworld’s deepest secrets.

Episode Title: Chestnut
Airs: 2016-10-07 at 21:00
  • Mary McNamara

    It isn’t just great television, it’s vivid, thought-provoking television that entertains even as it examines the darker side of entertainment.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    Westworld isn’t easy to understand at first, but you will be hooked nonetheless by unusually intelligent storytelling, powerful visuals and exceptionally nuanced performances.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    The depth of Westworld lies not in asking questions about memory, free will, and what makes us human, but in whether we can become more human than what we let ourselves to be, whether our stories can be richer and more meaningful than what the culture allows.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Ben Travers

    Some [episodes] are better than others, as the Nolans do their best to balance exposition and action; consideration and decision; questions and answers. Helping carry the load is a truly outstanding group of actors, led by the limitless talent within Evan Rachel Wood.

    Indiewire Full Review
  • Terry Terrones

    What if the hosts remembered what happened to them? What if these androids became more than what they were designed for? These are the questions Westworld asks in its first few episodes and its thought provoking.

    Colorado Springs Gazette Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    If all this sounds heady, pretentious or derivative, then Westworld may eventually turn out to be guilty as charged. But from at least from the first two episodes sampled, Westworld is also a genuinely different new series that offers something even better than that: It’s genuinely engaging.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Julia Bembenek

    With a star-studded cast (notably featuring Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, and Jeffrey Wright), lush production design, epically sprawling story, and astonishingly huge budget, HBO is banking on the J.J. Abrams-produced Westworld to become a tentpole series. In a rare case, the network's investment pays off.

    Under The Radar Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    Westworld is a bonafide E-ticket of a show. Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    Lavishly produced, deeply fascinating and chillingly provocative adaptation. [3-9 Oct 2016, p.22]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Daniel D'Addario

    Its carefully chosen details add up to a pulp spectacular that’s more thoughtful than any other of this fall’s new dramas.

    Time Full Review
  • Mitchel Broussard

    Westworld has its head near-bursting with new angles on old sci-fi themes, honoring the source material’s creator in the process, but it’s also a crowd-pleaser in the vein of HBO’s most pristine, top-shelf geek offerings that slowly eke out existence in the mainstream.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    The reward, beyond the visual splendors you’ve come to expect from big-budget HBO productions, is a set of characters who grow ever more complex.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    Like the park, Westworld operates on many levels, and the ones that take place below the park are less successful than the vibrant but violent world the programmers have built above. ... The saving grace is the interplay between Ford's sensitive second-in-command Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), obsessed with tweaking the code to imbue the hosts with ever more humanity, and the hosts, particularly Wood's Dolores, who can shift from sunny self-denial to clinical self analysis at a word from Lowe.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Erik Adams

    To endure as a TV series, Westworld will need to bridge the gap between its fascinating ideas and the blank canvases they’re projected upon. Fortunately, it’s not so lost in its thoughts to forget that a robot-cowboy show ought to have the occasional shootout, heist, or daring escape. And while it’s never as plainly satirical as the original film, it still exhibits a sense of humor.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Charlie Mason

    Whether you’re intrigued by the characters, you’re still likely to be sucked in by the series’ mythology, a seemingly impossible puzzle that Ed Harris’ ice-cold gunslinger is dangerously determined to solve. ... In the nimble hands of the series’ creators, the disaster for which things are headed is guaranteed to be one of the beautiful variety.

    TVLine Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    Westworld is an adults-only drama with characters who seem a bit abstract and thin in the first couple of episodes but who grow more complex the longer you spend in their company.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    Westworld gets a little cluttered as the four episodes sent to press unfold. And it’s a really difficult program to judge without knowing where it’s going. In other words, this could be totally goofy nonsense by Thanksgiving. But what I’ve seen so far has stimulated me philosophically while also just being incredibly entertaining, well-made, well-performed television. Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    Westworld has fewer heroes than “Game of Thrones,” which makes it a bit harder to warm up to, but like a good, thought-provoking puzzle, it is compelling and addictive.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Tim Molloy

    Westworld gives you a lot to consider, and immerses you so completely in its manufactured reality that you’re never distracted from its complicated questions. The best thing I can say about it is that after seeing the first four episodes, I’m very eager for more.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    Where Westworld is at its best is in the deeper issues that will unspool slowly, like a good mystery. Early episodes are adept at getting at the base attractions of the park and why people would come, but also in setting up a sense of confusion about motives. ... The series benefits from a number of standout performances.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Allison Keene

    The series--with a solid logical foundation and world-building--is lovingly crafted, marrying its Wild West aesthetic with cold sci-fi elements of the labs that run the park in a way that feels believably connected.

    Collider Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Jonathan Nolan, working with his wife, Lisa Joy, under the umbrella of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, has turned out a dazzling-looking thriller that is also a thoughtful exploration of the possibilities and hazards of artificial intelligence.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    You want to see the robots turn on their masters. Canny series creators Jonathan Nolan (co-writer of “The Dark Knight”) and Lisa Joy know it, and they cleverly string you along with some disturbing questions about human nature.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Aaron Riccio

    Beneath that bloody surface [where guests indulge their most violent and debauched selves] is a cerebral drama intent on questioning such base desires.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Tom Long

    The question of whether artificial intelligence can gain consciousness is obviously timely. The question of whether Wood and company can make Westworld as emotionally viable as it is fascinating to watch remains to be seen. Still, try looking away.

    The Detroit News Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    Through these first four episodes, Westworld flexes its lavish production values and has the kernels of what could turn into an increasingly absorbing morality play.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Emily Nussbaum

    Westworld is explicitly, and often wittily, an exploitation series about exploitation, full of naked bodies that are meant to make us think about nudity and violence that comments on violence. It’s the kind of trippy conceptual project that would be unbearable if it weren’t so elegantly made. So far, it works, mostly--not because it’s perfect but because it gets under your skin.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • David Sims

    Westworld is a slow start, and a slightly frustrating one; after four episodes, it feels like it’s just begun to probe deeper into its own high concept. The sequences inside the control room are fascinating, but the dialogue is often circular, swerving away from simple exposition into loftier ethical discussions.

    The Atlantic Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Handsomely produced, there's certainly enough here to sustain interest and curiosity, without fully cementing the show's must-watch status just yet.

    CNN Full Review
  • Kevin Fallon

    Even if occasionally baffling and a little disjointed, the very idea of the show and the production value is worthy of investment, even if there’s a lack of feeling to provoke intense passion for it.

    The Daily Beast Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    The raw material's there; the show just needs more time in the lab to hopefully get it right.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Robert Rorke

    Ed Harris, picking up where Yul Brynner left off in the film, cuts a menacing figure as the Man in Black, a killing machine determined to find a maze that may lead him out of the park. In between these golden nuggets are meandering scenes that take a long time to acclimate park visitors (Jimmi Simpson, Ben Barnes) to the repertoire of narratives on display.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Todd VanDerWerff

    Even though it’s sleek, frequently thoughtful, and always cool, Westworld’s scattered self never coheres into anything. Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    Hopkins and Wright are excellent, as is Ed Harris as a guest who’s grown so comfortable in his role-playing of the Gunslinger that he says he rarely leaves Westworld. Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton--playing an innocent farm girl and a jaded brothel madam, respectively--do very well in the context of Westworld’s inherently problematic sexual element. ... But much of the necessary scene-setting--of happy guests arriving and discovering the joys of shooting and screwing to their hearts’ content--becomes repetitive quickly.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    WestWorld is intriguing, but it gets off to a very slow start. Despite all the shootouts, very little happens in the first couple of episodes.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    It’s an ambitious, if not entirely coherent, sci-fi shoot-’em-up that questions nihilistic entertainment impulses while indulging them.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    It is the definition of a slow-burn series, a program that should be exciting rendered as kind of dull.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Josh Bell

    From a plotting standpoint, the show doesn’t always make logical sense, but it looks amazing (every penny of the huge budget is evident onscreen) and features multiple strong performances (Thandie Newton and Shannon Woodward are additional standouts).

    Las Vegas Weekly Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    I’m therefore hesitant to write Westworld off as a dreary trot from start to finish; parts of it are as imaginative and intriguing as anything that’s been on TV recently, particularly in the sci-fi realm. It’s definitely not the cyborg “Deadwood” that some HBO fans were actively wishing for, nor does it roll out the welcome mat as a riveting, accessible adventure.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    When the guests--and we--have trouble telling the robots from the humans, things can get murky. Particularly when some of the "hosts" begin to show signs of remembering the traumas they've endured. It's as though the targets in a first-person shooter game suddenly developed PTSD. I think this is meant to bother us, but I don't know how long it will, based on the four episodes I've seen (there are 10 this season). ... The opportunity to watch Anthony Hopkins in a weekly series would alone be reason to watch, and here he's surrounded by people who can play at his level.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Westworld’s first episode is very strong, and its second nearly as good. It swiftly builds a world built on a deeply disturbing power dynamic that could make a decent metaphor for just about anything you choose. And then it backs away. ... Having achieved nuclear fusion, they abandon it for a backup generator, focusing on a needless mythology and quest narratives swiped from Lost’s discarded ideas board.

    Slate Full Review
  • Melanie McFarland

    Lacking much in the way of humanizing balance in that world behind the curtain, Westworld eventually feels cold and cynical and is yet another HBO series peddling violence, marvelous costume design and poet dialogue in the guise of some great philosophical statement about humanity. What that observation may be exactly is unclear.

    Salon Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    Westworld looks terrific; its directors have shot its Western locations to stunning effect. But its warmly saturated outdoor scenes and its surface slickness aren’t enough to mask the indecision, condescension, and hollowness at its core.

    Variety Full Review
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