Westworld Season 4, Episode 3 Review – “Annees Folles”

      Westworld Season 4, Episode 3 Review - "Annees Folles" Image

“Annees Folles” journeyed into a new cyborg theme park, The Golden Age — a Roaring ’20s reskinning of Westworld — as Maeve and Caleb stumbled further down the rabbit hole and into the clutches of Hale and William. It was the most exciting, and devious, Season 4 episode so far, saddling up very close to what might be the big secret of this new storyline, which is robots puppeting human beings as if they were machines.

To be fair, we’ve seen this happen already with William’s flies. We’ve witnessed people become A.I. playthings thanks to the black nano-goop being developed in the park’s sub-levels. Now we just have to, perhaps, broaden our scope a bit. Think on a macro level: the entire world. But also, to this end — and “Annees Folles” seemed like it was about to give us this reveal — the use of actual humans in theme parks and games. We didn’t get absolute confirmation but it sure felt like we were about to find out that the hosts in The Golden Age were actually humans.. humans who get gunned down and replaced by new humans. There’s a sinister poetic justice at work here, all in line with what Hale said last week, where humans would be unknowingly offing each other, thinking it’s all just part of the theme park theatrics.

Check out our video review of Westworld’s Season 4 premiere here:

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One thing you sort of have to ignore here, if you want to fully absorb the entertainment aspects of “Annees Folles,” is that this elaborate trap for Caleb was totally unnecessary. Taking him and Maeve into the park, knowing they’d head down to the labs, setting up a robot version of his daughter to trap him… they could have just knocked them both out on the train — you know, since the plan was that Hale wanted, and needed, him. It was a very “three left turns instead of one right turn” plan but it’s easy enough to shrug off because “Annees Folles” was fun and ferocious in a way that Westworld often struggles to be these days.

As an interactive, immersive amusment park, The Golden Age contained amusing echos of the original Westworld, with the Mariposa Saloon now standing as The Butterfly Club, a new “Maeve” in charge, a new “Hector” after the safe upstairs, and guests scampering about looking for a hidden game-within-the-game (which turns out to be the Westworld massacre itself on a fake lab level!). Watching Maeve and Caleb witness the chicanery and scoffing appropriately was a good way to keep things light and exciting before delivering on a devilish ending. Plus, between this episode and Stranger Things, Metallica is having one heck of a week as the player piano’s “Enter Sandman” morphed into a fully orchestrated version.