‘Westworld’ 1.02 “Chestnut” Review: Be Whoever The F*** You Want

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  • The Man in Black reveals himself as the ultimate renegade RPG gamer

Chestnut

Another person talking about chaos this week is the devil to Ford’s God and that’s the Man in Black. A bit of behind-the-scenes tragedy: the actor who played Kissy in the premiere was going to stick around, until he died just after the pilot was shot. It does make me wonder if the scalping scene was always there or just a way to write out the character in a way that made sense to the story.

In any case, the Man in Black has a new target this episode: Lawrence, played by character actor Clifton Collins, Jr. a host acting as outlaw to be hanged. His execution is interrupted by Mister Gunslinger, who drags him back to his hometown. See, he’s killed, raped and tortured to his delight for 30 years. At a certain point, you need more or as he calls it, the “deeper level.”

For the Man in Black, the reason he prefers Westworld to the real one is because the latter is chaos. Meanwhile, everything in the park is purposeful, a big puzzle waiting to be solved. Like most RPG gamers, he is obsessed with 100 percent completion. While most other guests are preoccupied with the side-quests (leave the Hinterlands!), he’s interested in the main story. According to poor Kissy’s scalp, that main story is “the maze.”

See the Man in Black is looking for the end of the game and he doesn’t plan on coming back from his quest. He’s not just a man in a virtual reality; he’s a man in a virtual reality with nothing to lose. No outside life he’s willing to go back to, no compunction from slaughtering Lawrence’s whole town and even his wife. The show doesn’t let him get away with his hubris entirely here, as Lawrence’s daughter tells him he’s not meant to go there (you, like me, might be wondering how the Man in Black gets away with such unscripted carnage in the park. The show has got us covered there: after seeing aftermath of the town massacre, the head of security Stubbs explains this guest can do “whatever he wants”).

Thanks for reading! Promos and trailers for episode 3 will be on the site as soon as HBO publishes them. In the meantime, let’s talk about the episode in the comments!

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Sam Flynn

Sam Flynn

Sam is a writer and journalist whose passion for pop culture burns with the fire of a thousand suns and at least three LED lamps.