HBO’s Westworld came onto the scene October in The Year That Shall Remain Unnamed…2016…to satisfy our premium cable desires while we all await the next season of Game of Thrones. After binge-watching all ten episodes in a single weekend, I can officially say that Westworld has deposed the reigning television monarch of my esteem (sorry Jon Snow).
Of all the amazing things to be said about the show, and the actors in it, Evan Rachel Wood’s portrayal of Dolores, an artificially intelligent android, and the oldest Host in Westworld, is singular in her ability to portray a myriad of emotions and levels of consciousness within just a few moments, not to mention over the season’s entire arc. Beginning the first episode as a rather typical “damsel in distress” type, Wood quickly shows us that there is a veritable labyrinth of nuance behind the archetypal fairytale princess exterior.
What intrigues me most about Wood’s Dolores is the quality of her voice. Several times in the series Dolores must turn on a dime to dramatically shift from her sweet southern tones to a rich and accent-free alto when called upon by her handler to “remove accent” or “emotional affect.” The effect is something akin to watching a mechanical switch being flipped and presents an uncanny subject for the viewer to reckon with. Evan Rachel Wood is able to convey the depth of humanity as deftly as she does the cold detachment of an android.
In an interview with Seth Meyers, Wood called the show “the acting Olympics” and it is clear, particularly in the season finale, that she deserves a spot on the podium.
by Ashleigh Bowers
Ashleigh is a 20-something grandpa from Durham, North Carolina. If you make it past her fortress of books you might find her chatting endlessly (to no one in particular) about the sonic characterisations of women in film. To that end, she is currently pursuing a dual masters in Cinema Studies and Sound Design from Savannah College of Art & Design. She knows every word to The Princess Bride, is a sucker for Centre Stage and Bring it On and consiers director Todd Haynes her queer spiritual soulmate. You can follow her music-making alter-ego Brett.Ashleigh on Soundcloud here, or read her irreverent tweets @13cupsofcoffee.