*Light switches on* It’s time for film theory these youtube delights will have memish ends *Cinematic Music* *Woosh* *Film Theory Theme Song* Hello internet! Welcome to Film Theory, the amusement park for your mind! Sure, we don’t have any roller coasters or cotton candy or Ferris wheels, but we do have science, math, and history lessons! Wait, where are you going? Come back, come back! Fine, I know what you all really want– excessive violence and gratuitous nudity, am I right? Right! And when it comes to blood and boobs, no one beats HBO I mean who doesn’t love “Game of Thrones” and um, uh .
. . huh– “Game of Thrones” and . . . Hmm. Well, those Crafty HBO Executives knew exactly how to solve their programming woes make a show with even more nudity and more gore than” Game of Thrones.” That’s right, today I’m talking about “Westworld,” the show for everyone who ever went to Disney world and thought to themselves, “You know what this would be so much more magical? If I could just shoot Mickey and then get it on with a cast of ‘It’s a Small World.'” By the way, in case you haven’t noticed yet this episode might get a little NSFW.
Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar, “Westworld” takes place in the not too distant future where mankind is on the brink of a new technological revolution– machines that not only pass the Turing Test, but can behave, think, and act like actual human beings. So, obviously, we stuffed them into a Wild West show where rich people can kill and sex with them. I mean, I can’t think of any other practical use for such Advanced AI Robotic technology than put them into an x-rated Six Flags. (campy music) Nope, can’t think of one single better use for a robot than a wild west themed amusement park. NAILED IT, fictional television future! Anyway besides all the blood squibs and boobs, there’s one thing that keeps people tuning into “Westworld” the show week after week, and that is the mystery.
There are so many different mysteries, It’s honestly hard to keep track of them all! Who’s the man in black? What’s at the center of the maze? Who’s Arnold? And that’s just naming three. Yet, “Westworld” over the course of its fantastic first ten episodes answered every single one. Suck on that, “Lost”! Amd I really wanted to do an episode covering some of these issues as the show was running because 1) I really wanted to talk about it, And 2) I really wanted to introduce you guys to a show that I think you’re really going to enjoy, but I couldn’t because when a typical episode of “Film Theory” takes two weeks or more to make, it makes it really hard to come up with videos that didn’t get answered in the following week’s episode.
But now with the season done and people slowly catching up on everything that they missed there’s one mystery still left standing, one mystery that “Westworld” hasn’t revealed yet, and that’s the location of the Westworld park, and this isn’t just some random piece of trivia It’s an important question for the show. In fact, in an interview right before the season finale, co-creator Jonathan Nolan offered up this cryptic tease on the Park’s location, quote “By the end of the first season if you’re paying close attention, you will know where the park is” end quote.
He was then immediately interrupted by his co-creator and wife Lisa Joy who disagreed. But of course, this spurred on every single over-analyzer online to theorize on just where the park was set. Could it be on its own private Island, or perhaps mainland Australia, or Mars, or an asteroid in space? Well, let me tell you, after carefully going through each episode of “Westworld” and its online marketing, none of those theories actually hold water. Nope. Today I’m trolling through television’s most cryptic show to solve the last lingering question from its first season– Where is Westworld? The answer will be revealed by the end of today’s episode, but if you want a hint, well, you’ve already gotten it. *Dramatic Gopher Music* Let’s start by debunking the most common theories. First, an island–Sure Westworld may be based on a film and book by Michael Crichton who, yes, definitely had a thing for islands. (bad harmonica music) But if Westworld was set on an Island or any body of land on Earth, you would naturally expect some sort of Indigenous livestock: bugs, birds anything really.
But, per the Westworld terms and conditions website, only the flies that you find within the park are actually real. Per the website, Quote “All Livestock within the Delos Parks are hosts,” –that’s Westworld terminology for the robots– “with the notable exception of flies” end quote. Thus, all islands on the surface of Earth are automatically ruled out of consideration. So then, what about Mars or space? Well, I’ve looked at all the internet’s best evidence and it all stems from a single shot in the deepest bowels of the Westworld headquarters where a globe is visible for just a split second.
This globe, according to one person online looks suspiciously like it has continents of Mars, and not of Earth. However, the way that the light plays on the image, it’s just clearly a globe of Earth that was misread You can even make out the light underside of South America on it. So that theory feels a bit dead in the water as well. But what if Westworld was in the one place that you would never think to look, one right under our noses and under the sea? (laughs) Oh now, this is my favorite part ’cause it’s time to gather some evidence! “Someone left some evidence.” Point number one–size. If we know nothing else about Westworld, we know that it’s really big– really, really big! In an interview with Jonathan Nolan he estimated that Westworld is roughly 500 square miles. For comparison, Disney world is only 40 square miles, and that’s the biggest amusement park in the world! At 500 square miles, New York City would be half of Westworld Park So, getting your hands on land almost twice the size of NYC is gonna S-U-C-K, but the ocean covers 141,600,000 square miles! Let me repeat that– 141 million square miles, more than enough room for a sprawling adult version of Freddie’s Pizzeria.
Point number two–the weather within Westworld never changes. It’s always the same, calm, static Western hue. Again, per the Westworld terms and conditions site, quote “Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to die from a lightning strike than to die while in a Delos park,” end quote. But if that’s true, which obviously it must be since it’s online and everything online must be true, then the desert must have a very non-desert-like temperature considering a typical desert in the summer sun could reach highs of 140 degrees Fahrenheit before plummeting below 50 at night, and that level of fluctuation can and does kill! So if the Delos Corporation claims that Westworld is basically the safest place on Earth, that means that they have complete control over the weather. It can’t actually be a real desert, but if it’s not then what exactly is it? Well, in another interview with Jonathan Nolan, he revealed one of the biggest influences on “Westworld,” the video game “Bioshock” Quote.
“I was a big fan of the ‘Bioshock’ video games which I thought were among the most literate and thoughtful pieces of entertainment that I’ve seen in the last ten years,” end quote, him and me both, and in “Bioshock,” we follow our protagonist Jack as he navigates an art Deco Wonderland built entirely– you guessed it–under water contained in biospheres created by the mysterious business tycoon, Andrew Ryan. Sound a bit familiar? “Westworld” even has a super-subtle reference to “Bioshock” in the background of the third episode. In Robert Ford’s workshop, There’s an eerily familiar head in the background, the head of one of “Bioshock’s” most famous characters– Sander Cohen. And no, I’m not just hallucinating or seeing things! This was actually confirmed by the creators. These references could hint at Westworld being in an artificial, underwater biosphere, which makes a ton of sense. In a biosphere, Westworld employees would have complete control over the desert environment and could absolutely guarantee complete safety.
Just look at the shape of the Westworld’s park hologram, an almost perfect circle, just like a biosphere. This underwater setting would also work perfectly with Westworld’s complete isolation from the outside world. Throughout the series, the only events we see are contained either in the park itself or in the hallways of the company headquarters. The brief glimpses of the outside world come in via an unreliable Skype function. “Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. You know how hard it is getting an open line out here.” Given the technical marvels of the near future– I mean then crafted sentient robots for crying out loud!– it’s odd that something as simple as Skype would be so unreliable, but wireless communication has always been dependent on radio signals traveling from a transmitter to a receiver. These signals, though, start to break down when they have to move through electrical conductors– electrical conductors like, you guessed it, ocean water. If Westworld is under the ocean, it makes perfect sense that communication would be so spotty. “But what about the satellites?” I hear you saying, and I knew I’d have to contend with some really smart fellow theorists while talking about the show since, man, you guys solved so many of these shows mysteries early.
Some people solved, like, the biggest mysteries of the show within the first two episodes. It was wild! And yes, we do hear about different satellites flying around the park. Early on in “Westworld,” Bernard and LC discovered that a rogue android had smuggled a satellite uplink in its arm, and on the employee’s screens we even see options for a satellite view. Now obviously, satellites are typically found in space, yet many of these satellites could be disrupted, and as such, the Department of Defense recently set up satellites in a place far more secure, hundreds of feet under the ocean. No joke! This is real life and not just the universe of “Westworld.” It’s called the Tactical Undersea Network Architectures program or TUNA. I see what you did there, DARPA! So, TUNA uses optical fiber based tech to, quote, “integrate a military tactical data network into an undersea network,” end quote. The fact that the Delos Corporation in Westworld has to resort to smuggling data outside the park suggests that they don’t have access to more traditional satellite uploading tech,but rather a much-harder-to-crack undersea satellite network.
But THE biggest clue that Westworld is set under the sea, the one that convinced me that this theory is correct, lies in the fine print. Throughout the course of this episode, we visited the “Westworld” website a couple of times, the whole page dedicated to the terms and conditions of going to the park. Well, these terms and conditions are filled with really specific and really weird word choices. The entry of the park is referred to as “the port of entry.” Quote, “Upon entering the Delos destination’s port of entry, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions as laid out in this document.” Later on in the contract, the area outside the park is called the mainland. Quote again, “If Delos Inc. or any Delos entity believes, in its sole discretion, that a violation of these terms has occurred, it may take any and all corrective action it deems appropriate without notice, including contacting local authorities on the mainland,” end quote.
And finally, after guests have left the park they have to stay at a decompression chamber. Final quote, “Westworld is an experience like no other, and we’ve designed the world’s finest decompression chamber: the Mesa Gold,” end quote. All of these words– port, mainland, decompression chamber– are all nautical or sea-related terms. Sure, maybe one would be a coincidence, but three terms directly referencing the ocean, that’s way too big to ignore. So I did some further digging into the terms and conditions website, pouring over each section, and then it finally hit me. In the section on Crime, the page specifies that all crimes within Westworld will first be investigated by the owning Delos corporation and that quote, they’ve “successfully avoided .
. . outside court entities for [their] entire existence,” end quote It’s basically saying Delos, a business corporation, has absolute judicial power within its borders. It would be as if Walt Disney could try any crime that happened at EPCOT, which means that the park is treated as practically its own sovereign nation for all legal purposes. Now, any sort of land-based park would be subject to the laws wherever they’re located, but out in the sea things start to get murkier.
Per the United Nations convention on the Law of the Sea, article 87(1) states that “the high seas are open to all states, whether coastal or landlocked.” The same article reveals that within the sea you have the freedom to construct artificial Islands, as long as it doesn’t interfere with trade routes, just like a biosphere underwater. Thus, it’s only under maritime law that the Delos Corporation would have complete judicial control over its park, just as the terms and conditions website states. But if you’re still, STILL not convinced, let’s just jump back to that scene with the globe in episode one. There’s one really simple detail here that a lot of people have missed.
“It’s, the simplest solution.” “Ah, it’s Occam’s Razor.” The Occam’s Razor of this situation is the water pouring in from the walls. Where’s it coming from? If we go by the Delos corporate map, the final level is barely at the base of Castle Rock, barely at ground level! So then why is there so much water cascading around their feet when we’re underground? The only solution that makes any sort of sense that fits all of the conditions–the size Isolation legality, and leaking water–is if Westworld’s actually surrounded by water on all sides, deep within the ocean itself, literally 20,000 leagues under the sea. Now, doesn’t that make the wait for season two even cooler? Not just samurai world, but underwater samurai world! I told you all you’d like this show. But hey, that’s just a theory–a Film Theory! Aaaaaand cut! Welcome back to the (echo) Super Amazing Endcard Tournament! Back by popular demand, but now we have to do it a little bit differently since Youtube is getting rid of annotations. So “Westworld,” have you seen the show before this episode? Have I convinced you to go watch it or do you still not care? Click on one of the options and let me know.
This is honestly also me testing out a new way of doing the (echo) Super Amazing Endcard Tournament (stop echo) because that whole annotation thing, this is the new way to do polls here. So hey, help me out, test it out. I’m excited to see how it works. And hey, if you want more mind-blowing coverage on “Westworld,” then lasso the button that just appeared onscreen to check out a fascinating look into the philosophy of “Westworld.” After watching this video you see onscreen, I went and re-watched the series, and oh my gosh! I got so much more out of it! Now if you excuse me, I need to go give myself a dose of eye bleach.
That opening moment, oh boy! (sucks air through teeth) I may have crossed the line on that one..
As found on Youtube