review of the new Westworld on Amazon


Who has never fantasized about living another life, another place, in another time? If you know of any, we would like names. In any case, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her brother Burton (Jack Reynor) do not miss an opportunity to put on their virtual reality headsets, both to immerse themselves in a world where anything is possible, but also to earn some precious money to help their blind mother. It is this tension between pure addictive pleasure and more pragmatic responsibilities that serves as an emotional barometer for the two protagonists.

When Flynne finds herself driven (pretty much only?) into the future to occupy an envelope not her own, she suddenly embodies two essential science fiction characters: the enhanced human and the artificial double gait. She can actually perform physical feats worthy of Lara Croft and take the blows without flinching too much. Quite handy when you have to face enemies ready to do anything to bone you, like Doctor Cherise Nuland (T’Nia Miller, charismatic as hell), at the head of the research institute, determined to recover ultra-secret data , which Flynne stole in spite of herself.

Hey brain, bobo

This is where the series wins points, in this two-part construction of the narrative, first with stakes located in both 2032 and 2099, and then the double portrait of the heroine, then an ordinary young woman on the one hand and savior of humanity’s humanity. Other things. Again, nothing new on the horizon, Matrix, Avatar Where Ready Player One (and we could also mention Upload in the series’ radius) have already had fun splitting reality in half, and here it’s really the balance between eras and identities that gives Peripherals, Flynne’s Worlds his best playing card

And when the simulation, by the way, more real than life, causes side effects in the heroine, with cramps in the hand or hematomas in the eye (yes, for real “body horror”, we’ll come back), then we glimpse a rather clever reflection on addiction to video games and more generally to new technologies. Relying on these tools, the characters forget to question the truth of what they see, like this crowd of walkers, a veritable cosmetic trap used to maintain a life where everything is only death and absence.

A loss of bearings maintained by this dystopian London universe and the sprawling power wars that govern it, each new piece of information or outside intervention complicates an already convoluted plot. “I think one thing I’ve always loved about Gibson’s work is its inaccessibility, the trust it places in the reader’s intelligence to create a world. You have to study how the characters use certain expressions and gradually come to terms with them.“, Scott Smith declared in an interview given to the site Gizmodo.

Peripherals - The Worlds of Flynne: photo, T'Nia MillerAn antagonist as ruthless as it is elegant


If there are indeed a few strokes of genius to be credited to the series, they must be found in the more intimate interactions between the characters, and in particular in this brother-sister relationship at the heart of the plot. Despite their differences, Flynne and Burton quickly find common ground to the point of merging in the pilot episode, where the former invited himself in the guise of the latter, landed sometime in 2099. And if this configuration only occurs in this one and only occasion, their symbolic assimilation will gradually strengthen their bond and help them to synchronize almost naturally with each other.

An idea that will be explored more romantically in the future when Flynne shares her consciousness with Wilfred (Gary Carr), a member of a mafia clan called “Klept”. By agreeing to navigate their respective memories, both will then realize their mutual connection, somewhat like the phenomenon of “the drift” in Pacific Rim. In this sense, the series has more to do with post-cyberpunk, a somewhat bastardized terminology to denote a less one-sided nightmarish cyberpunk universe (although the London presented here would scare away legions of tourists).

Peripherals - The Worlds of Flynne: photo, Gary Carr, Chloë Grace MoretzSuper campaign: two armchairs for the price of one. Why deprive yourself?

Alas, the series sabotages itself when it multiplies the subplots. Tertiary characters are thus thrown to the fore, as nothing predetermined them to carve out the lion’s share at one time or another. In this regard, we can mention the role of Jasper, the nephew of the local king Corbell Pickett, whose screen time suddenly increases at the end of the season. But the reverse is also possible, characters who appear to be the protagonists disappearing from the equation without much explanation before reappearing in extremis during the fallout. A defect that could already be identified in Westworldwhich sometimes lacked cohesion.

Still, some arcs stand out, like that of Conner, Burton’s former brother-in-arms, who returned paraplegic from the war and regained the use of his legs as soon as he grabbed the envelope for his own artificial doppelganger in the future. “That’s why life is so hard. No restart possible“, he confides to Flynne, once back from the front. Technology therefore becomes a means of repairing what has been left undone, of rehumanizing those who have been disempowered, where reality prevents any return. Some flashbacks even go so far as to replay a situation previously seen from a different angle, applying this “reset” logic at work in video games (the famous “die and try again”).

Peripherals - The Worlds of Flynne: photo, Jack Reynor“Flynne, get out of this body!”

If Scott Smith, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have already expressed their desire to re-sign for a season 2, we still regret that these eight episodes are not enough to tell a standalone story. The final cliffhanger, which we obviously won’t reveal, is more of a promise than a conclusion, hence the feeling of being let go along the way. Still, interest is maintained from start to finish, and the comfortable budget ($80 million in total and for all) gives the series a pleasing breadth.

Peripherals – The Worlds of Flynne is available in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video from December 2, 2022

Season 1: Official Poster


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