Human Enough To Walk The Earth?

Westworld Pt. II: Maeve’s Quest For Freedom

By: TJ Rotolico

     As the host, it’s their job to enthrall the guests. They are what makes the park called “Westworld” a real deal experience sold for the guest’s delight. With so many storylines, paths, personalities, and phrases, it’s fairly difficult to choose just one favorite host, especially if you’re able to make a connection with that host as well. For 7 days, they will remember, feel, and experience your decisions during your stay. Almost exactly human-like, the hosts are designed for any action or consequence, they are designed to be like you and me. While Westworld is a paradise for guests, it has been perfectly designed for the hosts. However, could the hosts survive the real world outside of Westworld? If the hosts are treated and designed as real people inside the park, what deems them unworthy of living a normal life on Earth? Should we take their feelings for freedom into consideration? Are they able of making their own choices outside their storyline? While we see a few main hosts struggle with reality and the idea of an outside world, there is one character who pushes the envelope to see if there’s life beyond the park.

One of Westworld’s most noted veterans is Maeve Millay. Maeve is a brothel madam in the town’s local saloon, she runs and calls the shots for the other girls working with her. A few important characteristics to describe Maeve would be elusive, manipulative, and hard as nails. Without even tampering with her core characteristics, she is already the sharpest tool in the shed. Her charm, presence, and composure make it easy for her to persuade others. She is able to see into a person, what they desire, or what they may need. Maeve becomes the first to question her reality. Even though Westworld was created for her to exist, she can’t help but feel off. A popular and often brought topic of conversation for Maeve is the idea of dreams and flashbacks. From the first episode, we see her take into account repetition, routine, and inconsistency.

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     When a host needs analysis, tampering, or repairing, they are believed to be in a dream. Real life people are able to work on the hosts without fear, suspicion, or conflict. The dream is simply a safety precaution, as the hosts only know of Westworld as their world. During the second episode, we get a first look at Maeve in analysis mode. With some tweaks and a physical, she is ready to wake up from her “dream” and hit the ground running. However, just when we thought Maeve would shake off her flashbacks and questions, we were wrong.

Maeve’s Flashback – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65qFTkswkbc  

     We get to see Maeve’s first giant breakthrough. While things are smoothing over for Maeve and her success, a guest fires a couple rounds into Teddy Roosevelt, a main character and host. As she watches Teddy die, she has a violent and vivid flashback, but out of nowhere, Maeve wakes up on an operating table being worked on by two technicians. Maeve is able to grab a scalpel and momentarily flees the room and down the hallway. She’s able to spot Teddy, gunshot wounds and all, just like she had seen in the saloon. Surrounding him are other damaged hosts to be worked on. While Maeve is in shock, the technicians are able to get ahold of her, ultimately then deciding to hide the fact that she woke up and to carry on. This is the point where Maeve realizes that Westworld seems more of a dystopia. She doesn’t want the pain of flashbacks or memories, nor to die a million times while being commissioned. If this is the life she is lead to live, then she wants out. She’s made her decision on leaving, she feels fit enough to handle herself in a life beyond Westworld. If all the hosts were able to grasp and distinguish this information, wouldn’t they want to leave too?

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     From this point on, there is zero turning back. One of the most brilliant examples the show uses is the sketch bit which takes place in episode 4. In the bedroom above the saloon, Maeve sketches out the protective suits of the employees she sees in her “dreams” and attempts to hide it under a floorboard. To her surprise, there are a great number of drawings already there. Since the operation table, Maeve has recalled a few of her numerous deaths, Westworld employee protective suits, and event cycles of Westworld. The show uses the example of the heist-loop, which entails a heist of the saloon’s safe performed by a band of robbers. This takes place once a week with a few different variables, but often the same end result, death and destruction. When the cycle plays through, she is able to swindle Hector (the robber leader) upstairs and make him believe her dream. She tells him about getting shot in the stomach, dying, the people in the protective suits, and the repairs made to her. She has him cut into her abdomen where the bullet wound once was and they are able to find the shrapnel, Hector is a believer. She wants Hector and Armistice to join her in departing Westworld. She knows that they are mentally and physically strong enough to make it on the outside.

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     Just when you think that there is no turning back, there is REALLY no turning back. Maeve is able to devise an entire plan to prove her theory and to see the world beyond Westworld. It even starts to seem like some of her deaths are on purpose. Her ticket out is a new, naive worker by the name of Felix, the same one that witnessed Maeve wake up. While Maeve is able to use her charm to deceive Felix, they actually do become friends when Felix decides to do what’s right. Felix treats Maeve as if she is another human being, he sees her human enough to understand why she would want to live a life on the outside, so he ultimately agrees to her plan when he figures it out. While even having a bit of a crush on her, his technician co-worker reminds him that she is a droid and to forget about her. In the last episode making a run for it, she navigates the building, breaches security, and suffers a loss of Hector and Armistice. Maeve is able to make it to the final subway service that connects the outside world to the park buildings. Getting on the train, Maeve knew she was ready to go, but ultimately had one last flashback of her daughter. Knowing what she had to do, she got off the train and headed back to the park. Even though her chance at freedom slipped right out from under her, she decided she needed to save her daughter. This leaves us with a few different questions, such as “Would she have been strong enough to survive a normal life? “Would she have gone back to Westworld if the going got tough? “Will she try and make another escape with her daughter? But lastly, the most important question: “Was she human enough to make her own choice to leave or was it destined in her story to escape for something bigger brewing in the park?” Surely we will have to wait until season 2 to see what Maeve has up her sleeve.

Maeve’s Tour With Felix – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqDKk55MsJQ 

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