This Video Examines Westworld's Second Season and the Art of Narrative Stalling

Dolores on the move.
Dolores on the move.
Image: HBO

Writing a complex ensemble cast in an ongoing television show is tricky. Sometimes, you want to build up the major conflict, but you just... can’t let it happen. It’s a problem.

In the new video by Just Write, the YouTube critic looks at the ensemble plotting of Westworld, particularly focusing on his complaints with the second season and its approach to narrative conflict. Specifically, that there’s not enough of it, for reasons having to do with the way the cast and their conflicts are structured throughout the plot.

I always enjoy Just Write’s stuff—he focuses on the pure mechanics of writing that it’s easy to lose track of while watching or even reading about TV like this. Beneath the ciphers and mysteries, Westworld is just a story, with rules like any other, and Just Write has a clever way of demystifying and then critiquing those rules.


Be warned, the video has some spoilers in it.

Now, I’m interested in hearing what y’all would change about Westworld in its upcoming third season. Is it a great show? What would it need to get there, if it’s not? Let’s have a nice critical chat this Sunday.

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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Fred Fuchs

It would be nice to have a more linear story. Season 2's jumping around seemed largely pointless beyond, “hey, we did this in season 1, let’s keep it up.”

It would also be nice to have the writers make up their mind over weather we should sympathize with robots murdering humans or not. They had a pretty big problem with trying to make the robot rebellion a cause to get behind while also making it something we should be against.

Finally, some consistency in the show with fighting would be nice. All the gunfights in season 2 felt like the actors were just going through the motions until they reached the point in the script where they were supposed to die. There was literally a scene of two armed mercs staring at an armed robot for about 2 seconds just waiting to be shot. Not to mention Dolores can get shot up and be fine, but Red Shirt robots get a single gut shot and they’re dead.

ETA: Season 2 also went off the rails with the entire “We’re using the park to determine human nature,” and, “We’re just going to assume a mind is perfectly copied when they reenact something perfectly, even though that’s not how brains work.” It’s an absurd plotline that just makes no sense at all.