Westworld Series Premiere Recap | The Original

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Welcome to Westworld! Every week, Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Jo Garfein (@jopinionated) will discuss the new HBO series about an old west theme park built in a futuristic world, populated by robot hosts and human guests. Theories, analysis, and overall madness is sure to ensue.

With the series premiere upon is, Josh is joined by special guest host AJ Mass (@AJMass) while Jo is away in Hawaii World (not to be confused with Lost World, a different Michael Crichton story). Josh and AJ break down the first episode of the series, “The Original,” and sound off on what’s working and what’s glitching out as of the first episode. Plus, AJ drops some theories about Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris), while both hosts speculate on the true motives of Anthony Hopkins’ character Robert Ford.

Oh, and don’t drink every time you hear Josh say “Westerosworld,” unless you’re looking to lose consciousness.

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Send your questions and theories in through our feedback form, and ping Josh and Jo on Twitter.

Read Josh’s THR Pieces on Westworld:
** Westworld producers break down the series premiere
** Evan Rachel Wood on the show’s violence and Dolores’ future

  • Zack Coffman

    I find Aj’s commentary on this pilot is incredibly grating. I don’t at all understand his critique that the pilot left us with nobody to root for, did you miss the beautiful southern belle and classic good guy cowboy, but also who cares? Since when did great tv shows need clear cut heroes? Its kind of a shame that your first podcast about this show has him on it as its the show people will check out to see if they should listen to you guys cover the show…

    • J-me not Hi-me

      Yeah, as soon as the show ended I turned to my husband and said, “Well, I’m 100% Team Dolores.”

  • Laura Robinson

    I agree with Zack. I really enjoyed the episode and found AJ’s criticism a bit over the top.

  • Banglayna

    Jeez, Could not disagree more with AJ on it being an underwhelming pilot, It was the most blown away I have been with a pilot in a very long time, if not ever.

  • Brendan Fitzpatrick

    I talked about this in another thread, but I loved the way that the show used modern music through the Organ, as a tool. First, with Black Hole Sun, placed at a point where the Visitors are “threatened” by the Hosts, to take them out of the moment and put them at ease and remind them it’s all just a show. THEN, they double down with Paint it Black, when it’s Host on Host Violence, to remind US THE VIEWER that it’s all just a show. F’ing brilliant.

  • kamikaziemelon

    Yeah a bit underwhelmed by this first podcast for such an intriguing Pilot. I disagree with AJ on so many points especially the good/bad character thing. Besides Dolores, Teddy and most of the hosts probably coming off as good characters, I like the idea of Ed Harris the man in black is ambiguous – I hate him for raping Dolores – but in the “Weeks Ahead” promo he looks like he’s looking to set the hosts free – so maybe he’s good? By comparison for 6 seasons of Game of Thrones I don’t even know if Jaime, Varys or Littlefinger are good or bad characters and they’re some of the most interesting in the show.

    Also on the whole I can’t blame visitors for enacting horrible acts on the hosts i.e. killing or raping them – like if you don’t find it disturbing on some level just that some people could be capable of doing those acts and lack of empathy it’s a bit psychotic. I think the show is very much showing the visitors as not characters you root for.

    I think the whole show is about blurring the lines between human and synthetic, where do our emotions end and where do they start.

  • TrentC

    I was quite small when the original movie came out and recall that throughout the 70’s it was quite a popular sci-fi movie. There’s a line from the movie that I’m going to screw up, something along the lines of – These are very high tech robots made by computers and we’re not sure how they work.

    It was one of the first mainstream movie references to AI (other than my friend Hal 9000) and it gave the public a taste of that scary idea before shows like The Terminator and reimagined BSG took machine sentience to a whole new level.

    I feel that’s where this series is going and I thought the premier did a lot of things right in terms of tone and creating a sense of foreboding. In a show like this I don’t think you can reveal everything in episode one and conversely it shouldn’t be so cryptic for 10 episodes that viewers lose interest.

    Unlike AJ I felt it struck a good balance and like AJ, I will certainly be tuning in for future episodes. I like the point that Josh brought up about the fly. Such a subtle, yet powerful moment when you realize the hosts are not supposed to harm any life forms.

    Elon Musk made a statement about AI calling it “the most serious threat to the survival of the human race” if not handled properly and I tend to agree. The idea of an artificially created life form breaking free from it’s programming constraints is terrifying.

  • I think it’s really tough to get people hooked in on one pilot episode, usually takes me a good 3 or 4 eps, but I’m all in on Westworld already. Set up all of the intriguing plot points right off the bat, premise is established clearly, great acting, so much room to speculate and theorise, looks beautiful. I can’t find anything to fault about it, not sure how AJ found so much to but each to their own – he has good taste generally.

  • Jai

    I like AJ but dam dude, it’s one episode. why do you want clear cut stories? why you want to take sides? the pilot was just providing a world building experience. it’s sci-fi dude. let the show breathe.

  • Scott Dawson

    Josh is so good on these recaps! It’s so fun to listen to him break everything down with such joy and humour. Oh, and AJ was there too.

  • gabriel caswell

    Haven’t had time to listen to the podcast yet. Did you all hear Black Hole Sun playing on the piano? What does that mean?

    • TrentC

      That and Paint It Black during the shootout scene near the end. Brendan has a theory in his post above. I’m not sure on the meaning and wasn’t even sure if it was meant to be part of the what the characters were hearing or just for us, the audience.

      Watched the second episode and I’m really liking where this show is going.

  • GeekFurious

    I normally love when AJ is on anything… but I actually stopped listening to this episode because he turned me off so much with his drawing lines in the sand stuff.

  • Megan

    Loved the first couple episodes of Westworld! Although every time I hear the title I think of the little laser tag place that used to exist in my hometown when I was a kid also called Westworld…western themed laser tag. lol

  • Albino Oprah

    It’s hard to get attached to characters in a show when half of them are robots, and the other half are snobbish corporate overlords. Josh couldn’t say much for obvious reasons, but I thought AJ made a lot of good points. Good podcast. I hope there’s more coverage in the future.

  • Geoff Peterson

    I agree with many of the comments below. AJ’s repeated need for absolute black and white characters really brings down this recap show. I’m really hoping that the recaps to follow will be more open minded and exploratory.

    Strong start for Westworld. Weak start for Post Show Recap.

  • Amy Murphy

    Like others have pointed out, AJ was way off base with these comments. I felt that he was just being contrarian in claiming the show didn’t “hook” him, since there were so many times he contradicted his own arguments. Given that Josh wasn’t in a position to give any opinions, this podcast episode felt like just an onslaught of criticism from.AJ and it was quite wearing. Not the first time I’ve questioned the logic of AJ’s discussions (12 “archetypes” about fantasy football somehow map perfectly onto Survivor except they never actually do????)

  • Karen Foster

    someone please spoil me to the future of this podcast. I couldn’t wait for it to end. AJ, all of the comments below! talk about negative nancy. Love Josh, miss Antonio here.