Title: Westworld Season 3 Episode 5: ‘Genre’ Review
Release Date: April 12, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
Five episodes into Westworld, one thing is abundantly clear. Westworld was a lot more fun when Westworld was in … Westworld. I like probably everyone else who watched the first two seasons thought it was going to be a lot of fun to see the hosts run amok in the real world. Unfortunately, we only get to see Delores doing Delores things. The other hosts either never showed up or have taken a distant back seat.
In their place, Aaron Paul, as Caleb, hasn’t been able to carry the show. In fact, his character has largely been the fern in the corner of the room you only notice because it doesn’t quite fit.
The good news is we got a bit of something a little bit more interesting about Caleb in this episode. The bad news is, if the other big payoff is any indication, it’s going to be rather underwhelming.
As for that other payoff … there has to be more coming, right? That wasn’t really what Delores and her crew have been working towards for five episodes, right? It certainly didn’t have the explosive conclusion of an entire park’s worth of guests all being mass murdered. Remember when that was actually the point of the show and the movie that came before it? That the robots turns on their masters and took over, creating mass chaos? Now the chaos is… people learning a computer program they knew existed all along, knows everything about them, and has quietly guided them towards a predicted end.
It feels like maybe the showrunners don’t understand there are plenty of people out in the world who understand the effect of societal norms. They don’t know that people realize “the invisible hand of fate” gently pushes us forward. The “revelations” on the train didn’t ring out to me as some highly dramatic moment. It was more of a “my god; these people really are sheep” moment. Is that what they were going for?
Westworld’s big bad finally had his motivations revealed, and I’ll give this to the writers, he’s plenty entertaining. I’m still not sure he’s on Ed Harris’ level. I enjoyed the Man in Black’s level of evil incarnate more, simply because the dude just did not care. Cerac’s evil is far more measured, far more “hands-off,” even if he did get his hands dirty at the end of “Genre.”
Part of the difference is simply that Harris seems to be an agent of chaos, and that’s always far more entertaining to watch than someone desperate to maintain order. Westworld has its most fun when crazy stuff is happening. That’s another reason why season 3 has been not anywhere near as fun. Even when things go haywire, they’re largely planned. Honestly, when it comes to Cerac and his story, I’d be much more interested in finding out why exactly, Paris got nuked.
I understand why the story of his brother was included in the show. It just didn’t me of anything other than the dude is kind of a crappy person. Throwing aside someone who is suffering from a mental breakdown is a terrible thing to do. It doesn’t rise to the level of “supervillain.”
Let’s Talk About That Chase Scene
Yes, there was William’s brother-in-law, who was a drug addict, but that was essential to the story because it showed why William took over Delos instead of his brother-in-law. There was also William’s wife, who was an alcoholic. This was to show how The Man in Black had destroyed his family. What we saw with Caleb getting injected with the street drug Genre, was something else entirely.
The only reason the writers could have had to put that in there was to show the kind of drugs that are available in the future. The weirdest part was how they illustrated how Caleb was going through the different genres with music, but the scene was so short, we never really got to see how it changed his mind. Flight of the Valkries came on, and he was ready to shoot some stuff. But wouldn’t he have been doing that anyway? They were running and shooting before his “war” genre took over.
Same with the romantic music. He’s already got a thing for Delores. He doesn’t need a drug to fuel it. The entire scene and the drug issue was a massive waste of time and energy. I’m also not sure why Marshawn Lynch merits multiple appearances in a program known for having some of the greatest actors of our time on the cast.
Verdict: Even a show as good as Westworld gets it wrong from time to time, and “Genre” definitely got it wrong. From the public not freaking out anywhere near as bad as we were led to believe they would once their information was released to the lame chase scene, this was easily the worst episode of the season and probably the worst since a few stinkers hit the airwaves in season 1. There’s still enough there to hold attention, but there needs to be an uptick moving forward.
- Stubbs and Bernard. Always a Pro. Always
- Caleb's unknown backstory is a return to the mysterious part of Westworld I didn't know I missed.
- The "Genre" drug scene was both pointless and unfunny.
- Why does Marshawn Lynch have multiple appearances in this season?