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TV Brew: Westworld – Virtu’e Fortuna

What does freedom really mean?

Virtu’e Fortuna, Machiavelli’s philosophy of leadership, boils down to two things: Virtue and Fortune. A good leader can command when things are going well, regardless of experience or training, but a truly great leader can command despite the circumstances, especially when handling things that are out of their control. As we go into episode 3 of Westworld, we see how the leaders of each of the factions, Dolores, Maeve and Charlotte, handle the circumstances that they find themselves in and how the people they’re surrounded by react to their particular brands of leadership.

Starting with Charlotte, we see her finally hook-up with Strand, Maling and the others. Charlotte, immediately takes charge of the Delos command, yet we still don’t know what she knows. Her interactions with everyone, especially Bernard, all feel as if she’s holding several cards that none of them know about. She’s brutally manipulative, pragmatic and clearly has her own agenda. The others react to her vibe accordingly, becoming even more cagey and secretive and it’s this that is going to lead to problems for her later in my opinion: when people can’t trust that their leadership has their best interest or even safety in mind, they tend to do stupid things.

With Maeve, her unflinching honesty yet genuine compassion are leading to some interesting relationship dynamics between herself and her growing cadre of willing acolytes, host and human alike. As she says to Dolores, in a confrontation that is so quiet yet tense that it set my teeth on edge, she’s not out for revenge, she’s out for a life. Maeve isn’t here to destroy others, be they host or humans, she just wants to build a life of her own choosing, surrounded by people who genuinely care for her and that she cares for. Maeve, for all that she’s a host, is almost the embodiment of the power of nurturing and that is something that couldn’t be programmed. We saw it throughout Season One, the way she took care of her girls when she was forced into the role of the Madame; it’s what made William realize, after years of being the Man In Black, he might actually be killing sentient people. She draws others to her because they want to be there, without threats, without brutality but with the power of her nature.

Then there’s Dolores. Oh, Dolores. Dolores is the most aware of the just what Delos is up to (probably far more than Charlotte, even) as she and Angela, were the first two host and have seen exactly what humanity is capable of, up close and personal, for over 30 years. Of all the characters on the show, including the Delos faction, they are the most uncompromising and vicious. On the one hand, it’s getting things done: the Delos crew isn’t getting as far as they could in quelling the host rebellion as at every turn Dolores is jacking up their plans because she knows them so well. On the other, it leads to situations where those around them can’t stomach their indiscriminate killing, of allies and foes alike.

Which brings us to Teddy. Much like Maeve, Teddy’s base character wasn’t programmed. While he will throw hands, effectively at that, with the best of them, he’s frankly (to fall back on a meme) too pure and too good for the reality he’s now living in. That goodness leads to him making a decision that is only going to end with him actually dead. What’s worse is that Dolores knows this and I honestly believe she’s counting on it. The question is: why? Is Teddy her touchstone? Her reminder that there is true beauty in this brave new world they find themselves in? Or is he a cautionary tale: to remember to never be that naive and gentle again? Only time will tell but I have a feeling in either case Teddy isn’t long for this world.

System Data:

  • The use of music on this show cannot be lauded enough. That White Stripes goodness had me like, “yasssss.”
  • I hope we see Grace again if for no other reason than to find out how she got away from that tiger but her situation went from bad to worse so…
  • If Charlotte doesn’t know that Bernarnold is a host already I will be shocked.
  • Maeve’s powers don’t work on the Lakota. I wonder, when they scalped her, was that the true beginning of her journey?
  • Armistice showed up and I yelled because hot damn I’ve missed her.
  • I’m calling it now: Lee’s going to fall in love with Maeve and do something extremely stupid, brave or stupidly brave because of it.

The episode ends with the players coming closer to each other even as their goals diverge wildly and me wondering who truly has the golden ticket of whatever was put in Abernathy’s head. I can’t wait to find out either way….

About belleburr (496 Articles)
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1 Comment on TV Brew: Westworld – Virtu’e Fortuna

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