Westworld's True Nature Begins to Show

SPOILER WARNING - Don't read if you don't want Westworld Season 1 spoilers!

Now that I've only got two episodes left to watch, I'm pretty sure on the general area where Westworld's storyform lies. The funny thing is I'm not certain on the Throughline Domains, but I think that will become clear once I finish the season. (It's also been tricky figuring out who are the Main Characters, since there seem to be at least two -- Dolores and Bernard. I've wondered about Maeve too -- her flashbacks to her child being killed -- but Maeve seems mostly an Overall Story character, perhaps the Protagonist.)

For now, I'm guessing the Overall Story Domain is Manipulation (also known as Psychology) -- there is just too much behind-the-scenes manipulation and scheming going on. In fact if you watch the opening sequence with the piano that continues to play after the skeleton-host's fingers pull away, something about that screams Manipulation to me. The music too, something very spooky and psychological about it.

Inertia and The True Nature of Things

Anyway, there are two things in Westworld that have stood out to me from the very beginning:
  1. The continuation of the same events and processes within the park. This is shown as the same daily routines, repeating the same script, etc. Of course they do make reference to changing narratives, new scripts, so you know that it's not always exactly the same -- but that's still the continuation of the park's larger process. This same concept is shown in other areas: the park visitors always causing the same kind of mayhem, Ford's references to things that have come up before (having to reset Bernard from time to time, dealing with the park's board of directors testing him), that kind of thing. All of it feels like there is a weight behind it, a kind of momentum that makes it hard to easily break out of this loop. Which is how they refer to it in the show as well: the hosts all have their loops. "Go back to your loop, Dolores."
    (The player piano featured in the opening and several times in the show also shows this continued looping, the inertia of keys continuing to play even after the hand is taken away.)
  2. A theme that is addressed constantly, in different ways by different characters, is the idea of the true nature of things. Finding out who you really are, figuring out what is really going on, being surprised by what someone does ("I didn't know you had it in you"). Surprising yourself when you see what you're capable of (think of William here).
In Dramatica, point 1 describes the Inertia element to a tee, while point 2 describes the State of Being variation. And what's really incredible is that, in the Manipulation domain (which is where I think the Overall Story lies), Inertia fits within State of Being! Or another way to put it: if Inertia features in the problem quad* of a Manipulation Story, Dramatica tells you that the Overall Story Issue must be State of Being. Isn't that incredible!
Materials from Dramatica.com ©1995, 1999 Screenplay Systems
In fact, it's a point that even someone without knowledge of Dramatica can understand and realize, "whoa, there must be something to this Dramatica theory". That's exactly what happened when I was chatting with my brother Rob about it:

And what blew my brother away even more, once you decide that Inertia and State of Being figure into the story somewhere, Dramatica says that both Memories and The Past will be super-important concerns in other throughlines. (This is true even if I got the Domains wrong.) If you've seen Westworld, you know that Memories and The Past are incredibly important concepts in Westworld; they come up all the time and drive all sorts of conflict.
 

 * At this point I'm not certain whether Inertia is the Problem or Symptom, or I guess possibly even Response. I'm guessing Symptom, since the characters seem to be quite aware of it and consider it a problem. And they respond by Changing -- trying to Change their lives, to Change things around them, to become better or different...


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