Earlier this week, a most curious and bewildering thing happened. In preparation for the upcoming season of HBO’s sci-fi western Westworld coming out later this month, creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy announced on Reddit that if they received enough upvotes, they would reveal the entire season’s plot with a video, and divulge all the secrets they’ve been working on for two years. Met with reactions of confusion and suspicion that it was nothing more than a joke, Nolan and Joy nonetheless received the up votes required, and the following morning released a 25-minute video that promised to give all the secrets of the season.
Of course, it turned out to be a joke about 2 minutes in, an elaborate Rickroll that sees Evan Rachel Wood singing “Never Gonna Give You Up” while fellow cast member Angela Sarafayan plays the piano. Following that, there’s a 22 minute loop of the show’s haunting theme song playing over a black and white video of a dog just sitting there, a memorial for Bento the Keyboard Cat who died late last month.
It was disappointing for some, hilarious for others, but the afternoon and evening following that pre-video announcement were filled with conversations about what exactly the show would gain from just releasing its spoilers. Such blatant transparency has, frankly, never been heard of, and there was a legitimate worry about speculation-hungry outlets chomping at the bit for all the information HBO would provide with this move. It came off as a way to to absolve themselves of the pacing issues that plagued the show’s first season. Beloved as it was, at times the show came off as though its creators believed it was a lot more clever and deeper than it really was with some plotlines, such as Jimmi Simpson’s William turning out to be Ed Harris’ Man in Black.
For some those that were able to suss out what game the show was playing back in 2016, it was a little tedious to see the show take its sweet time dropping its bombs. And if there’s one thing that can be agreed upon, regardless of the show, it’s that once you hear a theory that sounds plausible enough, it begins to consume you, and you’re waiting to see if it’ll come true or not. To that end, it made a certain degree of sense to believe Nolan and Joy might actually give away all of Season 2’s plot points; by doing so, they would have made it so that no one can fill their head with too many theories, shifting the focus instead to how well executed the storylines are.
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