“The farther that we get from Sweetwater, the more grandiose, the bigger the narratives become,” Logan explains as he, Dolores and William arrive in Pariah, a border town on the outskirts of Westworld. “Some of the park feels like it was designed by committee and market-tested, but everything around here is more raw.”
“Whoever designed this place,” says William, “You get the feeling they don’t think very much of people.”
In Pariah, we meet a number of unsavory characters: Confederados, gold-painted women, coffin salesmen, all to much dramatic effect. It is unpredictable, where Sweetwater is like clockwork. In Pariah, danger feels real.
“We had always talked about Pariah as this place on the outskirts near the edge of the park—not totally on the edge, but close to it,” explained producer Richard J. Lewis in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. “Pariah, we always wanted it to be a strange city that exists near the edge of the park where you can get into a whole lot of trouble.”
“We wanted it to feel like a border town, so that there’s a Tex-Mex feel to it. We wanted it to land somewhere between an American culture and a Latino culture. We were inspired by Buenos Aires and the really beautiful grave sites there,” he continued:
There’s a lot of Spanish flavor to this. Credit to our great production designer Zack Grobler for that. We did a lot of research and felt there was a nice almost Haitian feeling as well. We played with various looks. We played with full body makeup, we played with an African feeling that felt more... there was an ideal of cannibalism we were messing with for awhile. We landed in this border town Tex-Mex feeling.
The entire park is based on the idea of dropping yourself in a foreign situation where you can live out your fantasies guilt-free as a cultural tourist in android-land. That the show’s producers took inspiration from traditionally “exotic” cultures to signify the more depraved town gives me just the slightest bit of pause, even though the Pariah that ended up being shot ultimately looks like a regionally-appropriate border town with splashes of the intentionally spooky Dia de los Muertos, and an HBO-worthy opulent orgy that felt like it could have been an homage to Rome World in the original film.
Still, I would advise white producers against using brown cultures as inspiration for their most fucked-up town and then speaking proudly of it. But that’s just me!!!
But Pariah is worth the visit, at least narratively speaking, because we get to see Dolores put on pants and shoot up some Confederados, saying she imagines a storyline in which she isn’t a damsel-in-distres.
The Pariah storyline works so well because not only is it one of the rarest, most exciting storylines in the park that we’re all getting to experience together, but we’re experiencing it with a newly self-aware Dolores, who has her own secret motivations. I hope she keeps getting badder and badder!
- When the Man in Black kills Lawrence to drain his blood, Lawrence is able to appear scenes later in Pariah as El Lazo (what we later learn is Lawrence’s gangster alter-ego). Does this mean Lawrence was somehow immediately taken, rehabilitated and put back to the beginning of his loop? Does each host have multiple copies? (Remember, there seemed to be two Maeve bodies in the repair shop, and this could explain how Dolores is able to speak with Robert Ford so seamlessly and see herself in the Dia de los Muertos parade.) Or, are we on multiple timelines?
- I can’t stop thinking about how old host says, “Let’s drink to the lady with the white sheeoooz.”
- We got some full-frontal dong footage last night. Glad there is bush equality in Westworld.
- Re: Dolores and Ford’s intense face-off scene, Evan Rachel Wood told the Hollywood Reporter that even she doesn’t know what it means. “When Anthony and I did that scene, he did every single take differently. I thought I might be able to get clues from his performance, and then it changed every time. So I was like, ‘Aw, man! It could be anything!’ He blew me away with his acting.”
- Would U: A gold person? Pros: They are gold, which is fun; Cons: Spray paint could get into your cooter.