Movies · TV

Dreams Within Dreams: The Recurring Images of HBO’s ‘Westworld’

A new supercut reveals the discomfort of familiarity.
By  · Published on March 28th, 2017

A new supercut reveals the discomfort of familiarity.

One of the most brilliantly unsettling aspects of the HBO series Westworld, I think, is how it toys with familiarity, making almost a menace of what would traditionally be a comfort. The show is thematically based on repetition and manipulation, namely the repetition of events and the manipulation of our expectations. Each time we see a repeated image or sequence, we compound upon it all the knowledge we’ve picked up about the involved characters and the overarching narrative since the last time we saw it, thus altering both our interpretation of it and its impact on us. Dolores starting her day has different, practically sinister connotations the second time you see it as opposed to the first, in which it’s perceived as more normal and innocent.

Repetition in Westworld is never a simple case of visual kinship, it is a specific narrative device that forms the backbone of the show’s delightfully-labyrinthine structure. To illustrate this notion, take a gander at the following supercut from Michael McLennen that gathers these cracked-mirror sequences into a grid where they play simultaneously, accompanied by the staccato tinkle of an off-tune piano that transforms the experience into something bordering the hypnotic, just like the series the video’s showcasing.

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