Decrypted: Westworld: This series is our current obsession

Enlarge / Kindly robot Dolores meets the Man in Black, a vicious human gamer who has brutalized her repeatedly over the past 30 years. Of course, Dolores doesn't remember that—or does she? (credit: HBO)

I was blown away by the first episode of Westworld, and now it's time to analyze it obsessively on Ars Technica's podcast Decrypted. Previously, we plumbed the depths of Mr. Robot, and now we're ready for a show with actual robots.

In our first episode, I'm joined by award-winning science fiction author Charlie Jane Anders, who co-founded io9 with me back in the day. We disagree about a lot of things, but not this show. Our conversation covers the major themes and conspiracies introduced in this episode and explores where Westworld seems to be headed this season.

Topics discussed: how memory is key to human identity (and robot identity), whether Westworld can be the next Game of Thrones (maaaaaybe?), Anthony Hopkins (annoying or not?), Ed Harris (holy crap scary), the big reveal (a nice twist), Westerns and backstage musicals (key to thinking about the story), the future of game design (obviously), and why Bernard makes the Professor/Mr. Abernathy cry. Also: what's up with all the flies?

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