Title: Westworld Season 3 Episode 1: ‘Parce Domine’ Review
Release Date: March 15, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
Westworld is officially back, and we’re not in the park anymore. Of course, if you watched the end of season 2 or any of the trailers, you know this season was going to be different. While the first two seasons were all about the machines waking up and then trying to find their way out of the park, this time around they’re out in the real world and creating havoc. The show took some time off, almost as a kind of reset, but it hit the opening of this season running hard.
The first person we get to meet isn’t familiar to show watchers, but we soon find out old friend Delores is back and badder than ever. It should be pointed out that Evan Rachel Wood spent the first two seasons bouncing back and forth from the woman everyone wanted to save, to the woman everyone ran from. While it’s clear from this first episode that new addition Aaron Paul has fallen fast and hard for Delores, her hard-edged seductress is a new look, and we like it. It’s the kind of part Wood was meant to play.
Just what Delores is up to, other than some revenge fantasies, and what she wants isn’t clear. Even when we’re introduced to the McGuffin for this season. Incite is a kind of worldwide system to the one they had in Westworld, only this time it is in the real world. She appears to want it or wants to shut it down it’s kept intentionally vague in “Parce Domine” What we do know is that she’s no match for the people she runs across in our world because they simply don’t know who or what she is.
This episode of Westworld is divided into two storylines. The first and most filled out so far, is Delores and her return, along with Charlotte Hale. Or at least someone is wearing a Charlotte Hale skinsuit. The other storyline, one that’s bound to get more coverage in episode two, is Bernard. Also out of Westworld, he’s on the run because Delores and her crew framed him for everything that happened. He, too, is presumed to be a human and, therefore, one of the chief execs for Delos.
Trying to avoid the law, and any notice he’s taken to small villages halfway across the world. Working at a meat processing plant, a few of his fellow workers recognize him, and when he then finds himself attacked, turns on what appears to be an alternate personality. That personality is a bad mother who takes his opponents out quickly. If this storyline sounds familiar to you, then that’s because it almost has to be an homage to the Incredible Hulk.
At one point, Bernard even tells them something much worse is coming. It’s a cute parallel to “don’t make me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Once he’s dispatched his adversaries and “calms down,” he hits a literal switch and goes back to mild-mannered Bruce… err Bernard. He then sets off on a boat to find … Westworld.
Sleek and Shiny and New
One of the most striking differences between Westworld this season is, of course, that we’re no longer in the old west. There isn’t dust everywhere. There’s no grime. This version of the future is quite clean and shiny, even when we see the “dregs” of society.
Delores takes quite well to wearing fancy dresses and expensive sunglasses. It takes her no time at all to spend the money she takes at the beginning of the show and make herself shiny and new as well. The fact that even those who are poor and having to work hard to make a living are also living pretty high on the hog compared to today’s world shows that everyone has taken a step forward. There’s a complaint about Caleb about not being the top echelon, but he’s making that comment while sitting at what looks to be a pretty swanky club.
The new setting is obviously supposed to show us how stark the differences between the real world and Westworld are, and it does its job nicely. That this world is so futuristic and foreign, while the old west is more what we expect from the “real world” is likely intentional as well. The first episode does an excellent job of kick-starting the series again and making sure we know there will be some aspects of the first two seasons (such as the after-credits scene) but more “in-world” than not.
Delores, as a kind of anti-hero, almost a Batman character in our world, is also a nice touch.
Verdict: Westworld is always about misdirection and keeping the viewers on its feet. So far, that doesn’t appear to be the case here. It will be interesting if there were any “blink and you missed it” moments in this episode. Yes, a question of how Hale and Delores exist in the same world is one that will have to be answered. It could merely be more of the multiple timelines we’ve gotten so much of, but it feels like it’s simpler than that. The one big “reveal” was disappointing in how predictable it was. The only reason I knew it was supposed to be a reveal is because of how the music picked up as it happened. It will be interesting to see if this season is going to be more straight forward or deliver more twists and turns later on. So far, it’s off to a solid start.
- Evan Rachel Wood might just be the best of a star-studded cast.
- Bernard's "Bruce Banner" lifestyle is genuinely endearing.
- 'Rent a Criminal' App is a hilarious look into the future.
- Tessa Thompson playing Delores, playing Charlotte Hale seems too wooden.
- Bernard with a split personality trope could get old quick
- Caleb's big reveal isn't much of a reveal.