NO OFFENSE BUT

That ‘Westworld’ orgy was boring as hell

HBO

On this week’s episode of Westworld, host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and guests William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) ride up to Pariah, a “city of outcasts, delinquents, thieves, whores and murderers.” We’re led to imagine that this, the most depraved town in a depraved alternate universe, will make familiar Sweetwater—even with its brothel and periodic shoot-outs—look quaint by comparison. And considering that the very appeal of Westworld is that guests can live out their wildest fantasies with the theme park’s lifelike android population, expectations for Pariah were high.

Before long, the three characters find themselves at a candle-lit orgy, scored with dramatic and vaguely menacing strings. There are gorgeous hosts in head-to-toe gold body paint. There are plenty of bare breasts and butts. There are multiple heterosexual couples having sex, and a few pairs of women, too.

orgy-2HBO

If this is as wild as Westworld sex gets, then it’s not very wild at all.

I’m not asking for a gynecologist’s-eye view of events, nor for anything that could objectively qualify as porn, just for some creativity, some kink, something we didn’t already see rendered in Eyes Wide Shut. There didn’t appear to be any guy-on-(robotic or otherwise) guy action at the orgy—if there was, then it passed by so quickly, in a blur of glimmering gold genitals, that I missed it. Westworld’s sexual imagination continues to be very limited, and very heterosexual.

The orgy does provide for one satisfyingly reflective moment. As Dolores strolls through the halls, staring in awe and dismay at the various group sex scenes unfolding around her—which, again, are choreographed to cater to the straight male gaze—it’s like she’s a stand-in for anyone who watches a show like Westworld that is explicitly not designed for their pleasure.

It’s both depressing and confusing that, in a world of limitless possibility, with no prejudice and no social norms to speak of, only a fragment of the spectrum of human sexuality is on display. Why wouldn’t the creators of Westworld empower their characters to take full advantage?

On the bright side, there’s still more than enough body paint to go around.