The first rule of #Westworld Fight Club is, "you don't talk about Westworld Fight Club." Where the robo-romp of #HBO's latest addiction may be great for letting off some steam on the toaster or the TV, for those who feel like knocking seven bells of sh*t out of your fellow man, you had better find somewhere else to spend your family vacation. Delos has a strict policy on its guest-on-guest violence, but I hear Disneyland has a lax policy on underground beat em' ups.
It has been a question on my mind since Episode 2, "Chestnut" when Ben Barnes's Logan casually plunged his knife into the hand of an old prospector. As well as ruining a perfectly good dinner, I was puzzled at the question, "what if he hadn't been a host and you just went and mutilated a fellow paying patron?"
The Westworld website discoverwestworld.com includes the more than helpful A.I. bot Aeden, whom you can ask anything and everything about your stay in the wild, wild West. When pushed on how Westworld can assure your safety, his answer isn't exactly helpful, so let's go under the hood of the dangers in Westworld.
A Can Of Whoop Ass
Westworld offers an unrivaled world of doing whatever the f*ck you want — which sound like Bam Margera's dream — but there must be some rules to the dusty deserts of Delos.
As the journey starts in quaint little Sweetwater the action is mild, then as you move further out, the experience gets more intense. We have all seen the heads on pikes and ghost nations. However, it was in Sweetwater that Jimmi Simpson's William first got shot. As his lowdown partner Logan said:
"Well, we can't get killed. Wouldn't be much of a game if they can't shoot back."
We have been told that you can only get hurt "the right amount," which is a relief when someone decides to start shooting up the town. Ed Harris's Man in Black has taken a fair few bullets, but with the projectiles being described as "simunations," you will just feel a sting. Used by the US military in training, they are a non-lethal alternative, so think of it as slightly more aggressive paintballing. While MiB has obviously become used to being shot over his 30+ years of visiting Westworld, being shot came as a shock to William. Of course William is rumored to be MiB, so maybe he will grow to not feel it!
While the hosts are there to serve as cannon fodder, the same can't be said if you want to take a pop at one of your fellow guests. Shooting your fellow man with non-lethal force might just not cut it, so what happens if you fancy yourself a bit of a Rambo against the other guests?
The Good Samaritan
Subreddits are filled with people asking the same question, and it is something that hasn't gone unnoticed by showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Something called the "Good Samaritan Reflex" is assured to save your life and Joy herself took to the internet to address the issue:
Ah yes, the Good Samaritan reflex - we saw this kick in first hand when the Man in Black threatened to F. The Discover Westworld site goes into it a little further: So say you’re in a bar fight and some guy has a knife and maybe there’s even another guest that you didn’t know and he thinks you’re a host and he’s gonna stab you in the back. In that instance, a good Samaritan host would seamlessly intersect and get in that fight and literally take that knife for you. Now accidents can happen – falling off a cliff and things like that. But you know it’s mitigated somewhat because even the animals – aside from the flies – are hosts, so no horse is going to buck you to your death.
It is back to Aeden to probe further and discoverwestworld goes into it a little more:
Within the confines of the park, you will never be in any risk of bodily harm. In fact, our Good Samaritan reflexes as good as guarantee it. What more can I explain?
If you notice, guests are always accompanied by a host, who will engage the fight element of fight or flight to save one guest from another. Sadly, this also explains how they can get away with claiming Theresa Cullen's murder was an accident. If a drunken guest starts to drown in a trough in Sweetwater, a host would save them, but evil Dr. Ford claims that Theresa wandered off course where there was no one to help her.
To Protect and Serve
So, we may seem safe from the hosts and other guests, but are we actually? All firearms are controlled, but this still doesn't account for the dangers of melee weapons. We have seen that the security team has to authorize a host to use weapons like an axe, but with all the ongoing glitches in the system, I'm guessing some humans will probably take a hatchet to the cranium before the season is out. Also, the hosts may be there to protect us, but the biggest drawback of the Good Samaritan protocol is when you find yourself as Theresa did and without a guardian robot to save you.
Secondly, what if an agitated guest uses their weapon to take out all the nearby hosts and therefore renders the "Good Samaritan" useless? When there are no more bots to protect you, nothing stops a guest from continuing their human-hating rampage. Take for example the scene in the secret cellar; what if Theresa had shot Bernard and then lunged at Ford? With Bernardbot down for the count, nothing would have stopped her from slitting his sweet Hannibal Lecter throat and exposing the lies of Westworld. That would of course render the rest of the show pointless, but at least Theresa could live *sob*.
There could of course be a very high-tech workaround for a rampaging Rambo. A strange comparison, but since Westworld finds itself in a dome-like structure, could everything be controlled a'la The Hunger Games? We know that the guests all wear Westworld provided clothing, so the #technology could be in there. Imagine if a guest gets out of hand, only to be zapped by lightning or immobilized from the comfort of the Mesa Hub. We have already seen that Luke Hemsworth and his security team are pretty on top of the goings on down on the plains and it wouldn't take long to spot an incident.
There are also theories that knives could be made of a metamaterial that turns to rubber when in contact with a real guest, but that sounds a little too sci-fi, even for a park occupied by robotic clones. Deactivatable weapons may cover some of the risk, but it doesn't account for good ol' fashion strangulation (so far the preferred method of dispatch down in the park). More likely than not, it is just up to you as a guest to look after yourself. Similar to a theme park's "Enter At Your Own Risk" disclaimer, you are waving your right to sue the park. Also a company as big as Delos is probably insured up the wazoo!
Dig yet deeper into the many layers of the corporate website and you'll find that Delos's contracts have several clauses if your neighbor decides to get a little stab happy:
Any mention of human-on-human crime admitted to a Delos, Inc. employee must be brought to the attention of Delos, Inc., and if falling within the laws of the Territory, may have to be reported to local authorities.
It is unlikely you would be able to make it out of the park without paying for your crimes — you would have to be pretty stupid to try and commit a murder in the world's most sophisticated theme park. It would be like killing someone live on Big Brother (which was the story of a Ben Elton book). Just as nothing stops some psycho coming at you at Disney, the same applies here. Personally, I think it looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen, "The People vs. Delos," which could make a great American Crime Story spin-off.