The One Line In Westworld You Need To Pay Attention To

Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO.
This story contains minor spoilers for the premiere of Westworld. Beware!

There's an unnerving moment about halfway through the premiere episode of HBO's Westworld when the inevitable finally happens. One of the hosts — or artificially intelligent androids — who populate the Wild West-themed fantasy world, finds a strange artifact left behind by a careless guest. This discovery is jarring. It completely screws with his mind, or more accurately, his core code.

This host is Peter Abernathy, father of Dolores Abernathy, the lovely fresh-faced painter played by Evan Rachel Wood.

The discovery of this object (which we won't give away — watch the show!) causes Peter to reassess the world around him. He asks his daughter if she's ever seen anything like it. She hasn't.

Suddenly, he grabs her and whispers something in her ear that truly frightens her. It's a moment that's easy to overlook. Don't. Those words, later revealed to be, "These violent delights have violent ends," hold the key to what Westworld is all about.

Some context: The line is from Act 2, Scene 6 of Romeo and Juliet:

"These violent delights have violent ends.
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."
Friar Laurence says this right around the time Romeo asks him to speed up his marriage to Juliet. In Shakespeare's play, the "delights" metaphorically refers to the couple's sexual passion, which he predicts will burn out as it reaches its peak — as violently as it began, "like fire and powder."

On a more literal level, the Friar is warning Romeo of the potential conflict that their union will stir up between their feuding families.

And, if you remember your high school English class, you'll know that it doesn't end well for our dear star-crossed lovers.

In Westworld, the words take on a similar meaning. Guests pay absurd sums to visit a remote amusement park and experience the wild-west alongside the hosts, who seem as real as possible without actually being human. They drink, they fuck, they shoot, they hunt, they go home, repeat.

Peter's reaction to his discovery indicates that the hosts may have hidden depths. But while these artificial beings seem to embrace their more human characteristics, the guests — the so-called "real people" — seem to be losing their humanity. They come to this world for its excess — there are no rules here.

But that moral vacuum could end up being their own undoing.
Westworld airs on HBO on October 2. Make sure to check out our recap!

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