What Makes Westworld’s Hosts Different from Humans?

Season two will have the answers

Angela Sarafyan as Clementine Pennyfeather in Westworld

In Westworld’s first season, we were treated to stunning visuals of Delos employees manufacturing hosts. As fascinating as their creation was to watch, it wasn’t terribly revealing about how the androids actually work. Luckily for us, it appears we will gain more insight into their (biological? Mechanical?) functions in season two.

Westworld’s executive producer and co-creator, Jonathan Nolan, revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the second season would focus more on the hosts’ “construction and their power source.” While they are more biological than mechanical, “they don’t suffer brain death” – they can’t be killed the way a human can. The trade-off is that “their cognition is controllable and malleable.”

What will that mean for the hosts as they gear up for a conflict with the humans? A nearly-invincible android should easily outmatch a mere mortal. Humans can decommission the hosts, which we saw in season one. It appears that process has its limits, though; those retired hosts in cold storage were brought back online in the Westworld finale, after all.

When asked for specifics about how this procedure affected Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan), Nolan replied that “the person we know as Clementine is largely gone.” The decommissioning method involves drilling holes in the frontal lobe, “containing most of the code for [the hosts’] personality.” When we see Clementine back in action, she is a mere automaton – completely capable of killing, and utterly without emotion.

Can these “lobotomized” hosts be repaired? In the Westworld finale, Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) informed Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) that he created a “semblance” of a personality for Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum) in order to smuggle the Westworld data out of the park. Perhaps we’ll see this in action next season.

A powerful, emotionless, conscience-free host able to pass for human could be a very dangerous weapon, indeed.

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