Westworld: Season 1 Episodes 7-9 (Television Review) – Bernard…….

We have only one more episode of this season of Westworld left which really saddens me because this has been a wonderful show to watch. For me personally, this is a show which has got progressively better and it was already really good from the start. It is visually stunning, the acting is superb, the characters are layered and each episode has built upon the previous both in the progression of the story and fleshing out the lore of Westworld. It has been a pleasure to watch and the past three episodes have been fantastic television.

Dolores and William in Westworld Season 1 Episode 7 Trompe L'Oeil

My Thoughts on Episodes 7-9 of Westworld

One of the main reasons why this is the case is due to the reveals in these episodes, particularly in relation to Bernard. In ‘Trompe L’Oeil‘, we learnt that he is indeed a host and in ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier‘, we also discovered that he is a host version of Arnold. Both of these reveals have been theories amongst fans that went down the rabbit hole of speculation since the early episodes of Westworld. Still, it was fascinating to see the way these revelations played out and they were big moments.

The quality of acting in Westworld continues to be consistently brilliant. As I have said many times, Anthony Hopkins is brilliant and continued to be in these recent episodes but others have come to the forefront. For instance, I like how Tessa Thompson brings a cold, arrogant nature to her character.

Jeffrey Wright in Westworld Season 1 Episode 8 Trace Decay

Moreover, the presence of powerhouses like Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris and particularly Thandie Newton, who plays Maeve, elevate the show. Certainly, Maeve has become an absolute boss in Westworld, so much so that she is rewriting stories in the park which shows just how powerful and how much of a threat she has become.

Multiple Timelines

In addition, we also have the added element of multiple timelines/time-frames which has near enough been confirmed in these recent episodes, particularly when we focus on Dolores’ story. Clearly, if we dig deep enough we can infer that Dolores seems to be relying on her past experiences with William (who is really embracing the park and has to be the Man in Black, I mean seriously it is so obvious!!) to guide her in the present. This has really added another layer to the show and makes Westworld quite unique compared to a lot of other shows.

Logan surrounded by dead bodies in Westworld Season 1 Episode 9 The Well-Tempered Clavier

All of this means that we are set up nicely for the season finale which I am sure will deliver and have a few surprises up its sleeve. I am sad to see this first season of Westworld come to an end as it has been a fascinating show to watch but the fact that it has been renewed for another season really excites me. It seems that HBO has a lot of faith in this show and I hope the season finale reinforces this feeling with the fans.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 Episode 9 (Television Review) – A Good Heist Episode

We are edging closer to the mid-season finale of this season of Star Wars Rebels and what we have had so far are a blend of episodes which have focused on the main story-lines in the show and episodes which have been side-quest episodes. The past few episodes have been the latter.

This episode, titled ‘The Wynkahthu Job’, is another side-quest episode which will understandably cause frustration amongst fans who want the show to focus more on the main story-lines involving Maul, Thrawn, Ezra/Kanan and the birth of the Rebel Alliance.

Ghost in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 9 The Wynkahthu

Why I Am Not Frustrated

However, for me, the side-quest episodes we have had this season are considerably better than the similar type of episodes which were in Season 1 and 2 of Rebels. This means that it does not bother me that, for the time being, we are not focusing on the main story arcs. Certainly, these episodes have been enjoyable and I found ‘The Wynkahthu Job’ to be a good episode.

My Thoughts on ‘The Wynkahthu Job’

The main reason why I enjoyed this episode is because we saw the return of Hondo who provided some good humorous moments in the episode. While I believe that Ezra is still naive about Hondo’s true intentions/character, he does provide a different personality to the show and it is nice to see him pop-up once in a while. One character I could have done without was Azmorigan as he is a bit annoying but it didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the episode.

Imperial Sentry Droids in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 8 The Wynkahthu Job

Seeing AP-5 back was also nice as the dry delivery of his dialogue also provided some comedic moments in this episode. Indeed, particular bits of dialogue throughout this episode were really funny. One line which really made me laugh was Ezra’s reply to Chopper during a battle which was “What do you mean every-man-for-himself, you’re a droid!”. In the moment it was said, it did make me chuckle!

The actual story in the episode, i.e. the heist, was fine. Unlike other episodes, I don’t know how relevant this heist will be in future story-lines but overall, it was enjoyable. Still, we do need to get back to the main story-lines sooner rather than later to quell discontent amongst fans of the show and to progress the story and I think we will seeing as we are very close to the mid-season finale.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 Episode 8 (Television Review) – Another Enjoyable Side Story

The past couple of episodes of Star Wars Rebels have been stories which have been separate from the main story-lines established in the series. Yet, they are bound to have some relevance in future episodes and this recent episode, titled ‘Iron Squadron’, is just the same. However, I found it to be one of the best of these side story episodes which have been in this season so far.

Thrawn

One of the main reasons was due to the small part that Grand Admiral Thrawn had in this episode. This guy just oozes confidence and class to such a large degree that he just stands head and shoulders above the rest of the Imperials. He is my favourite villain that Star Wars Rebels has had and that is down, in part, to the fantastic voice work by Lars Mikkelsen (Brother of Mads).

Thrawn and Admiral Konstantine in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 8 Iron Squadron

My love of Thrawn is also caused by how patient, strategic and calculating he is as a character. Certainly, he is playing the long con in regards to dealing with the flourishing Rebel Alliance and this episode also established that he has a past with Commander Sato which could be an interesting dynamic in future episodes.

The Kids

I also really liked the comedic elements of this episode which were largely seen between the interactions between Chopper and R3, a droid who was part of Iron Squadron which itself was largely formed of three kids who, to be honest, were a bit whiny and naive which was a bit annoying.

Still, it didn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment of the episode, especially as the kids featured in some really good space combat. Certainly, the space combat was a pleasure to watch and it just added to the episode which, while a side story, will have larger significance in the future.

Westworld: Season 1 Episodes 5-6 (Television Review) – The Best So Far and It Will Get Better

I will get straight to the point; the past two episodes of Westworld were fantastic and the best this television show has given us so far. Don’t get me wrong, the first four episodes were great at setting up the characters and the world. It was a fantastic foundation which has now been built upon thanks to past two episodes which have given us some really interesting developments.

What were these developments?

The most important of these developments happened in ‘Contrapasso‘ and this was the fact that we got close to confirmation that William and Logan’s storyline is taking place in the past. This is a theory that has been going around amongst fans of the show for some time and it was a theory seemingly proved to be correct throughout various stages within ‘Contrapasso’. It would take too long to fully explain in this review but reasoning behind this theory being proved in ‘Contrapasso’ can be found here.

This is a really exciting development, especially as it could eventually lead to the proving of another theory which is the thought that William becomes Ed Harris’ Man in Black. Certainly, William is showing signs of slowly becoming corrupted by the park and moving away from his strong morals. His relationship with Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood is also fascinating, especially as Dolores is rapidly evolving and becoming more self-aware with each episode that passes.

Dolores in Westworld Season 1 Episode 5 Contrapasso

Again, Hopkins is the Star of Westworld

Still, the best part of this show is the character of Robert Ford played by the brilliant Anthony Hopkins. I have praised Hopkins in my previous reviews of Westworld and he continues to enhance the show in these episodes where we see a vulnerable side to his character in both episodes. In fact, some of the scenes where we saw this vulnerability were really sad and made me feel a deeper connection towards Ford even though he is a morally ambiguous character.

Still, while we saw this different side to Ford, he still showed his power within the park, especially in his interaction with Ed Harris’ Man in Black in ‘Contrapasso’ which was fantastic. In this scene, we learnt more about the history of the park, the state of the outside world and the motivation of these characters which do seem to differ which goes against my previous opinion that they wanted the same thing.

Additionally, we see that Arnold is having a greater impact within Westworld and I have my doubts about just how ‘dead’ he is due to what occurred in these episodes, especially ‘The Adversary‘ which itself had my favourite opening scene of the show so far thanks to the use of music. Certainly, the piano renditions of contemporary music have been a wonderful element of this show and it was great again in the beginning of ‘The Adversary’ with the use of ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ by Radiohead. It’s a song which perfectly fitted the tone of the episode and, if you think about it, the show as a whole.

Maeve in Westworld Season 1 Episode 6 The Adversary

Maeve and Teddy

Another great thing within these episodes was the character of Maeve, played by Thandie Newton, who is becoming an increasingly important character in Westworld. Her arc in these two episodes heavily suggested that she will have a significant bearing on the exciting events to come. Additionally, Teddy, played by James Marsden, is also being developed as a character that has a greater purpose and his use of a certain weapon in ‘The Adversary’ was great to watch and reminded me of playing Red Dead Redemption (which is always a good thing!).

All of what was discussed above continued the good work of the previous episodes and made these two episodes fantastic and, in my opinion, the best this show has given us so far. Still, even though these episodes were the strongest in the show so far, I feel as though Westworld will continue to improve as we edge closer to the end of this season. We have four more episodes to go and I am expecting greater things to come.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 Episode 7 (Television Review) – A Fun Side Story

Imperial Supercommandos’ was the title of this episode of Star Wars Rebels and the focus was on Sabine and the Mandalorians which is the race that Boba Fett belonged too (Well, he did until the Prequels ruined him and made him just a generic clone of his Dad). We are now well into Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels which, on the whole, has been an improvement over Season 2 and even side story episodes like ‘The Last Battle’ have been entertaining and worthwhile in their own right.

Gar Saxon in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 7 Imperial Supercommandos

My Thoughts on ‘Imperial Supercommandos’

This episode is another side story that is self-contained and entertaining. One of the positive aspects of this episode was that we learnt more about Sabine’s background in terms of her past and also her mother who is bound to show up in a future episode. It was really good to see some character development with Sabine who I hope has a bigger presence in Season 3 going forward.

Additionally, we also saw the return of Fenn Rau who was first introduced in Season 2 in ‘The Protector of Concord Dawn’. It was nice to see that he was not a throwaway character and his arc in this episode leads me to believe that he will become a more important character in the future. While he probably won’t appear in every episode, I have little doubt that he will be more involved in the show in relation to the wider conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire.

Ezra, Chopper and Gar Saxon in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 7 Imperial Supercommandos

These were the most interesting developments in this episode which are most likely going to have some importance in the future. Nevertheless, this episode still took place away from the main story-lines in this season and, while it is not a filler episode, it does make me wish that we can get back to focusing on other elements of the show such as Maul and Thrawn sooner rather than later.

I understand the need for episodes like ‘Imperial Supercommandos’ but I just hope they are not the majority of episodes going forward. Overall, while this episode was not part of the main story-lines within Star Wars Rebels, it was a fun side-story with interesting developments for both Sabine and Fenn Rau which I’m sure will be important in later episodes.

Westworld: Season 1 Episode 4 (Television Review) – Lore, Motivations and Awareness

Westworld is a slow television show. Anyone who is watching this show knows this and while this may be frustrating for some, I find it to be necessary. This is due to the fact that the lore of Westworld is so deep, layered and embedded into the storytelling that it would be foolish to rush a show like this.

As I have said before, we are slowly building to an exciting climax (I hope anyway!) which means that the show, for now, must rely on aspects such as the quality of its visuals, the acting prowess of its main characters and character development and these were abundant in this episode.

Clementine Pennyfeather shot in Westworld Season 1 Episode 4 Dissonance Theory

Certainly, the cinematography is fantastic in this episode as it has been in every episode so far. You can tell that a lot of time was spent to make sure that each shot looks as good as it can be and it is a great tool which can be used to tell the story. Still, the visuals are a luxury in this aspect. There is really no necessity for this to occur considering that the acting is as good as it is, especially from Anthony Hopkins.

Hopkins is the Star of Westworld

Without a doubt, Hopkins is my favourite part of Westworld. He is extremely captivating and his monologue in this episode was delivered with such calculated class that it is impossible not to be enthralled by him. He elevates the standard of this show to such a degree that it is easy to forget that the cast around him is just as impressive.

Moreover, the overriding message I got from this episode was that the motivations of these characters are becoming more apparent and that, for me personally, the characters played by Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris want the same things.

Man in Black in Westworld Season 1 Episode 4 Dissonance Theory

The Hosts Are Developing

The other thing I took away from this episode is that the A.I in the park, i.e. the hosts, are dangerously becoming much more self-aware about their reality which builds upon the themes which were established in the previous episodes such as free will. I do not think it will be long until we see the hosts progress to a stage where they start to openly rebel and cause utter chaos, though something tells me that the humans in this show will further exacerbate the issue.

Overall, this episode built upon the foundations of the first three episodes while still being able to deliver the high level of quality in its visuals, acting, world-building and patient storytelling.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 Episodes 1-6 (Television Review) – A Strong Start That Expands Star Wars Lore

Star Wars Rebels is a show which has become progressively better. While this should be the normal expectation for every show, it is much easier to say than it is to pull off in practice which is a credit to the talented people behind Star Wars Rebels. The show has gradually improved in terms of its animation, its storytelling and, most importantly, its consistency.

Season 1 was a very mixed season with some episodes being great while others were just filler. Season 2 was a much improved effort with better story-lines, character arcs and world-building and Season 3 has continued this upward trend.

My Thoughts on Season 3 Episodes 1-6 of Star Wars Rebels

Certainly, the start of Season 3 is, for me personally, the strongest we have had to date in Star Wars Rebels, especially in terms of world-building. The episodes released so far have added to the mythology of Star Wars by, for the most part, strongly focusing on the main story-lines that the show has set up.

These story-lines include the relationship between Kanan and Ezra, Ezra’s flirtations with the Dark Side and the overriding focus of the show which is the birth of the Rebel Alliance. Indeed, so far in Season 3 we have found out how the Rebel Alliance were able to gain Y-Wings (which would be used for the assault on the First Death Star) and how Wedge Antilles (the unsung hero of the Original Trilogy) was recruited into the Rebel Alliance.

Ezra in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 1 and 2 Steps Into Shadow

Thrawn

Nevertheless, the strongest elements of Season 3 have been seen when we focus on arcs involving the main antagonists such as Grand Admiral Thrawn. For those who don’t know, Thrawn was one of, if not THE most beloved character in the old Star Wars Expanded Universe. The old-EU was re-branded as Legends in 2014 and, as a result, it was no longer canon which therefore meant that Thrawn was no longer canon.

However, the beauty of this was that Lucasfilm, if they wanted, could cherry-pick from this wide range of material and add particular elements of the old-EU into new-canon story-lines told in books, comics, video games or TV shows such as Rebels. They made the great decision to cherry-pick Thrawn and make him a part of Rebels. While he now exists in a new period of time, this popular character is now canon to the delight of many who adored him in the old-EU.

Hera Syndulla and Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 5 Hera's Heroes

Personally, I had never delved too deep into the old-EU (partly because it was so convoluted and confusing) so I never had an affinity with Thrawn like other Star Wars fans did….until now!!! Undoubtedly, he has been my favourite part of Season 3.

The character of Thrawn is cunning, calculated, articulate and a very layered villain which I believe has been lacking from Star Wars Rebels, at least on a consistent basis. Sure, we had the Inquisitor in Season 1 and Darth Vader in a few episodes in Season 2 but we have not had a long-standing villainous presence in Rebels.

Maul

However, now we have Thrawn who I think (and hope!) will be a big part of this show for the foreseeable future. In addition to Thrawn, we have Maul (formerly Darth) who will also play the role of antagonist in Season 3, although probably to a much lesser extent than Thrawn.

Nevertheless, Maul was in my favourite episode of Season 3 so far (‘The Holocrons of Fate’) and the way that episode played out expanded the lore of Star Wars and sets up some really exciting things for the future. When we put all of these things together, Season 3 has been great so far.

Still, it is not without fault but, for me personally, this is confined to the most recent episode (‘The Last Battle‘). The purpose of this episode was to bring closure to The Clone Wars and, in essence, the Prequels (REJOICE!!!!!!!). Still, why this thought gives me great feelings of joy, it did mean that this episode was a distraction from the main story arcs in this show which we discussed above.

Maul in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 3 The Holocrons of Fate

However, despite this and the amount of Prequel influences in this episode, it was enjoyable. In particular, the humour was very good in the fact that this episode poked fun at the battle droids (the roger roger’s) and their stupidity both in the way they act and they’re creation by George Lucas in the first place. At least that’s how I saw it. Additionally, Ezra’s thoughts about the meaning of The Clone Wars along with the themes of PTSD and letting go of the past gave the episode depth and a mature, poignant message.

Therefore, even with this episode, it was still able to add something to the Star Wars universe. Overall, Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels has started in a very strong way by, on the whole, pushing the main story arcs within the show forward while still being able to add to the lore of Star Wars. Moreover, the addition of Thrawn and the use of Maul in these early episodes give me hope that this consistency in quality will continue throughout the season.

Westworld: Season 1 Episodes 1-3 (Television Review) – An Impressive Start Which Has Me Excited Yet Nervous

Westworld has been one of the most anticipated shows of the year which, in normal circumstances, would be a remarkable achievement. Certainly, you would never expect a TV show based of a sci-fi film which was released in 1973 to garner the amount of anticipation it had prior to its release on HBO. However, the cast, the people behind the shows inception along with the fantastic trailers which have been released have got fellow nerds like myself super excited to see what Westworld has to offer.

Dolores and Teddy in Westworld Episode 1 The Original

Indeed, when you have a show created by Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher, executive produced by J. J. Abrams and Jerry Weintraub which stars Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris, it deserves attention. Moreover, it also gives the show a very high level of expectation which has to be delivered upon, especially as HBO probably hopes that Westworld will have enough quality to lessen the blow which will eventually come once Game of Thrones ends.

My Thoughts on Episodes 1-3 of Westworld

I have to say, from the three episodes released so far, the signs are very promising. Westworld has captivated me from the very beginning. Visually, the show is stunning and the acting is absolutely superb, especially from Hopkins and Wright who are brilliant in their roles. The characters in this show are wonderfully introduced in the pilot and, in the following episodes, we delve deeper into their back-stories (even though some never existed in the first place!) and their motives. Yet we still don’t know the whole picture which is fantastic as it hooks us in and builds anticipation for future episodes.

The main reason why the cast give such commanding performances is because the way this show is written gives us an indication that these characters and world have depth. While the pacing will be slow for some, the themes present in Westworld are interwoven in such a way that, for me personally, I never find myself to be bored or not invested in the story and the characters. Indeed, Westworld is an immersive, layered show which draws inspiration from a variety of genres and it touches on very important themes.

William in Westworld Episode 2 Chestnut

These themes range from free will, control, technological progress, the nature of humanity and artificial intelligence. There is so much in play at this stage of the show and it leaves me excited for more. Nevertheless, the one thing which leads to be cautious is that another show, similar in nature to Westworld, left the same impression on me at the start but, in the end, it left me bitterly disappointed.

What was this show?

That show was Battlestar Galactica. This was a show that touched on many of the same themes as Westworld does and, like Westworld, it started brilliantly. Undoubtedly, the mini-series which kicked off Battlestar Galactica and the first episode of its first season was some of the best and most captivating television I had ever seen. However, it never recaptured that level of brilliance, at least on a consistent basis. For me personally, the direction Battlestar Galactica went in became scattered, confused and it ended on so many loose ends that I couldn’t help but feel it was a show which was wasted potential.

Robert Ford in Westworld Episode 3 The Stray

I hope Westworld does not go down the same path. There is so much potential which they can build upon as the series progresses. I hope it maintains the standard set by these first three episodes and becomes HBO’s next flagship show for years to come. For now, the show has started off on a very strong note and I highly recommend that you check it out.