Warning: Spoilers ahead for the “Westworld” premiere.
The debut episode of HBO’s latest series “Westworld” is a whirlwind of violence, technology, and a mind-bending robot theme park. Its opening scene may have left some viewers confused about who is a robot and who is human, as well as wondering exactly how the park itself works.
Thanks to the original 1973 “Westworld” movie, on which the HBO series is based, we have a basic idea of how the immersive theme park is supposed to function.
The biggest question you might be having is how guns work. In the opening scene, we watch as Teddy shoots and kills several men attacking Dolores’ home, and then confronts the Man in Black. But when Teddy moves to kill the Man in Black, the bullets seem to evaporate into thin air.
So why won’t Teddy’s gun work on the Man in Black? Who can kill who in this fictional Wild West? The answer may lie in original movie. 1973’s “Westworld” follows two human protagonists — Peter and John — as they shoot and drink their way through Westworld.
When Peter (a first-timer) asks John (a veteran parkgoer) how he can be sure the “people” he kills aren’t really alive, John tells his friend to try shooting him to see what happens.
Peter points his gun at John, and tries to pull the trigger.
“The gun has a sensing device,” John says. “It won’t fire at anything with a high body temperature. Only something cold like a machine.”
“Hmm. They have thought of everything,” Peter replies.
Though the HBO show has yet to provide a direct explanation for how gun safety works in the theme park, it’s safe to assume there is a fail safe mechanism in place that is similar to the movie’s version. Hosts can kill other hosts, but guests in the park cannot be wounded by the hosts or one another — at least, not yet.
The premiere’s ending shows Dolores smack a fly on her neck, killing the small insect. The host’s are not supposed to be able to hurt any living thing (even a fly), and yet we are already starting to see this programming fail in small ways. How much longer until real damage is done? For that answer, we’ll have to wait and see. “Westworld” is just getting started.
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