Michael Crichton, the best-selling author and creator of Jurassic Park and the 1973 film, Westworld, had a peculiar habit. He seems to really have enjoyed writing about theme parks that seem like fun at first, but ultimately end up being deadly.
These days, his story about a pricey getaway in which guests can act out all manner of fantasies on lifelike robot hosts, is getting a 21st century makeover on HBO. Thanks to Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s careful attention to detail, the Westworld series has not only taken on a life of its own — it’s managed to captivate viewers. In the show’s first season, there have been plenty of, “Oh my god!” moments. There have also been more than a few, “Wait, what?” moments, too, though. It’s not just that we can’t wrap our minds around them — it’s that they don’t make any sense at all. Here are five of Westworld’s most confusing plot points.
1. How do guests not get bored with the loops?
By now, we’ve got a pretty good idea of how Westworld’s hosts maneuver from day-to-day. When they’re not becoming sentient and breaking their loops, the robots stick to a predetermined schedule. They’re able to ad lib, and they can follow guests if they feel like taking them for a little one-on-one action. But for the most part, they seem to begin and end each day in a nearly identical fashion.
This all makes sense from a managerial standpoint: Park operators can keep track of all the hosts and can minimize the already enormous number of variables at play in any given time. But imagine being a guest at the park for, say, two weeks. Does this mean that every single day, they encounter an identical storyline? Do some stories go on longer than others? If so, how can the hosts continue to interact consistently?
And — perhaps more importantly for Westworld’s bottom line — how do guests not quickly tire of the repetition they’re bound to encounter at least once or twice? The whole point of the experience is that it feels real to those that pay to have it. It seems nearly impossible that the hosts’ loops would never get in the way of that.
2. How exactly does the weather work?
There’s a lot we don’t know about where Westworld is set. As far as we can tell, it’s a pretty remote and enormously large park set somewhere in an arid climate. Whether that’s in a futuristic Earth setting or on another planet is anyone’s guess. But thus far, it seems like there’s one thing that we can be sure of, and that’s the fact that the weather seems a little too perfect. It’s feasible that the whole of Westworld is in some sort of massive climate-controlled bubble — but that could be enormously cost prohibitive if the park’s owners ever decided they wanted to expand its terrain. If we believe that Westworld is really just out in the open, how do they account for guest satisfaction when it’s too hot, or too cold, or a sandstorm rolls through?
3. How do guests avoid getting seriously hurt?
We know that, at least for the most part, the hosts can’t harm guests at Westworld. But we’ve spent a season watching William, Logan, and the Man in Black careening through the Old West like they’re invincible, even though there are a lot of non-robotic dangers that they could encounter. For one, guests could easily hurt themselves falling off a cliff, or off a horse, or out of bed at the brothel. If they have a serious health condition, like a heart problem or diabetes, it could be aggravated when they get caught up in all the commotion of the park.
Or guests could have altercations between themselves that end with serious injury. Given all of the potentially lethal elements at play, it’s not very plausible that we haven’t seen more guests being carried out of the park on stretchers yet.
4. How anyone can afford to go to Westworld?
Sure, Disney World isn’t cheap. But by Westworld’s standards, it’s a dime store holiday. While HBO has done an amazing job of creating the world within the theme park, it hasn’t exactly explained to us how anyone is actually able to go there. From what we can tell, it must cost tens of thousands of dollars to get suited up and live out your fantasy in the Wild West. And while that’s all well and good, it’s not exactly a sustainable business model if you’re trying to appeal to a broad audience. After all, it seems pretty unlikely that the average American would be able to afford even a day in the park, let alone a whole week. How can they keep guests flowing in and out of the park if only a handful of people can cough up the cash to buy a ticket?
5. How could there ever be a family-friendly version of the park?
Westworld seems like a great place to visit if you love idyllic landscapes, and lots of sex and murder. While there’s plenty of all that to go around, it seems like it would be pretty difficult to avoid the latter two experiences while in search of the park’s more family-friendly loops.
That’s why it’s truly bizarre that the park invites guests of all ages. Sure, if you brought the kids and just hung out in a deserted field, you might get a true taste of what the Old West feels like. But that limited experience hardly seems worth the price of admission — and you could still wind up running into other guests who are in search of some violent delights. Are there areas of the park that are strictly for families? Or does everyone who brings their children have to take their chances wandering through each town, hoping not to encounter a prostitute or a shoot-out?
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