Even her fellow celebs were rattled.
Westworld dropped bombs (literal and figurative) on fans with this week’s episode, “The Mother of Exiles.”
We finally learned who’s been operating Charlotte Hale’s skinsuit — some Redditors guessed it weeks ago — and we were teased with some more background info on our favorite (fake?) Frenchman, Serac. His sob story about watching Paris go boom felt real, but is it? We’re just not sure.
In fact, we’re not sure about a lot of things on this show which is why we’re once again relying on the terrifyingly astute minds of Reddit to help us theorize what’s in store with just four episodes left this season. They’ve got things right before, so if you want to avoid potential spoilers, now’s the time to make a graceful exit.
1. Ramin Djawdi Is The Key
Game of Thrones fans already know the power of composer Ramin Djawdi. The man is behind some of the most iconic scores, from the show’s opening theme to the dread-filled “Rains of Castamere.” But Djawdi does more than consistently serve up straight bangers. His melodies and compositions often hint at things to come. They contain entire character arcs in just a handful of repetitive notes, and some Redditors are starting to notice just how useful these episode scores can be in predicting connections and outcomes. A careful re-watch reveals that Djawdi used the same background music when we first see Dolores swimming in the pool with Hale’s intro earlier this season. The shared sound may have alluded to the two hosts’ shared identity – we now know Dolores planted a copy of herself in Hale’s body.
Honestly, we should’ve known that Westworld wouldn’t hire someone as masterfully talented as Djawdi without using him to f*ck with us all a bit, but it’s now confirmed. We need to be paying more attention to the background noise.
Dig into Djawdi’s spoilery role here.
2. Dolores’ Big Mistake
Speaking of Halores, the episode’s biggest twist was the discovery that Dolores is 100% that b*tch. (The b*tch we’re referring to here is, of course, Charlotte Hale.) We can’t fault Dolores for stanning herself but should we be worried that her intense distrust of literally everyone but herself might lead to her ultimate downfall? Yes, yes we should. For one thing, how like Westworld to turn a character’s own nature against her as it seems Hale is slowly beginning to do, but Reddit has also pointed out that creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have already warned us about the consequences of this “nature vs. nurture” theme. Nolan hinted that Halores might be integrating some key parts of Hale’s psyche into her own consciousness, hence the bizarre behavior she’s been exhibiting, behavior that should really worry Dolores. If Halores turns against her maker, she might become the biggest threat to the character – she knows her plans, she knows how she thinks, she knows some of her deepest fears, etc.
It’s entirely possible that Dolores, in being careful to assure the success of her plan, literally created her own demise.
3. It’s All A Test
This episode had some of us sympathizing with Serac – the probable holographic Rehoboam lackey. Look, if your hometown happened to be Paris, home of the baguette, and you watched someone nuke the hell out of it when you were just a child, you’d have some issues too. Serac was all up in his feels while sharing his past with Maeve but even the news that he’d witnessed a mass murder as a pre-teen felt a little, well, fake. In fact, some Redditors think Maeve and Serac’s storylines are still happening in a simulation, and that Maeve’s mission this episode was all just a test put to her by Rehoboam to see how she’d react – and to gather more intel on Dolores. Did Serac really survive that explosion, or is his just another A.I. built from the memories of the real Serac? Why did the sequences with Maeve witnessing a man’s murder, then stumbling into a Yakuza distillery, feel so disjointed? Why would Dolores choose Musashi as a host for her pearl? Rehoboam, from studying Maeve, might know of their connection and look to exploit it but that seems a random bit of knowledge for Dolores to have, and then act upon.
Warning: Reading this thread will make your head explode.
4. Always A Step Behind
Bernard spent this episode stumbling around in search of a purpose. He’s clearly intent on stopping Dolores from enacting her final plan – and on annoying poor Stubbs who can’t even off himself to escape the man’s constant melodramatics. Interestingly enough though, Reddit has pointed out that the latest interaction between the two enemies might foreshadow an eventual team-up. Right now, Bernard is operating under the assumption that Dolores intends to subjugate humanity based on what she’s told him, ideas she’s planted in his mind. Ideas are powerful things, and we see this belief fuel Bernard’s thinking. He guesses she’s already killed Liam. He thinks Caleb might be a host. He expects Dolores to dispose of humans once she has no need of them, but maybe Dolores has evolved beyond that? She’s enlisting Caleb’s help. She seems determined to free them both from their loops. Meanwhile, Bernard is still reprogramming Stubbs to suit his own needs and constantly assessing his tech to make sure he hasn’t been compromised. Perhaps Bernard will come to realize Dolores isn’t the monster he believed her to be and they’ll join forces.
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5. The Matrix
Of course, now that we know what happened to Paris, is it really that much of a stretch to assume that was just the beginning of this apocalyptic future? Maybe it’s bleak, but this Reddit theory that supposes most of humanity was killed in bombings like the one Serac modeled for Maeve, and that the rich are trying to find ways to import their consciousness into host bodies feels just dark enough to align with the themes of this show.
Resistance is futile. Just read the thread.
6. Six Degrees Of Dunder Mifflin
Theory or fact, you decide, but we can’t help but notice the parallels between this week’s episode of Westworld and a couple of iconic Office scenes. It looks like NoJoy are Dundies, just like the rest of us.
ScrantonWorld is real.
Back in 2013, a little horror movie called The Purge spawned an absurdly successful franchise that includes four feature films and a two-season USA Network TV show. Currently, Purge-overlord/producer Jason Blum is hammering out pre-production details for the (supposed) final movie, The Forever Purge, while social distancing in Santa Monica, but The Purge is inadvertently doing the real-life scares thing in Crawley, Louisiana, where police accidentally used the movie’s infamous siren to launch a 9:00pm quarantine curfew. Yikes.
Residents are already hunkering down over the pandemic, so this must have been an unsettling experience. Here’s footage from local ABC affiliate KATC.
Yup, that’s definitely a familiar sound, and you can hear it in this The Purge trailer.
People definitely complained, and understandably so. Crowley Police Chief Jimmy Broussard subsequently explained that he wasn’t aware of this signal’s cinematic resemblance. Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson also issued a statement:
“Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew. We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ‘Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose.”
Fortunately, there was no “your government thanks you for your participation” that followed the siren, as with the Universal Pictures movies. Still, it’s not a great look — using the noise that’s used to signal the franchise’s legalization of all crime for 12 hours — for rattled people at home to behold. Stay safe out there, folks.
As the coronavirus-related quarantine persists, pop singer Charli XCX is finding ways to stay creatively motivated. The singer first began sharing daily journals that detailed her state of mind in isolation. Later, Charli hosted daily livestream sessions with other musicians like Clairo and Diplo. Now, Charli has revealed another project in the works. The singer is collaborating with fans and using all the tools she has at home to create new music.
Though her announcement was only just made recently, Charli has already offered snippets of one of her first tracks. She shared multiple clips of “Forever” yesterday, and true to her word, she is collaborating with fans, as she seemed to change the song’s outro based on a suggestion she received.
Forever (demo) snippet pic.twitter.com/kbKARFyB1p
— CHARLI XCX UPDATES (@FckyeahCharli) April 7, 2020
— Charli (@charli_xcx) April 7, 2020
lyric writing process for the new outro for “forever” pic.twitter.com/tDDnqwSR4G
— Charli (@charli_xcx) April 7, 2020
On an exclusive Zoom call with 1,000 fans Monday, Charli detailed the upcoming album. Titled How I’m Feeling Now, Charli said the record will be made entirely from her home: “The idea of the album is that it’s gonna be DIY and very in with the times we’re in. I’m basically going to making it live from scratch. There are a couple of ideas in the works, but I’m starting with nothing.” The singer followed-up her announcement by posting an instrumental song she has been working on. Now, Charli has added a vocal track and shared her creation with fans.
Listen to snippets of “Forever” above.
How I’m Feeling Now is out 5/15. Watch the countdown here.
Charli XCX is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Kanye West and Joel Osteen have linked up multiple times before, and will do so again in the future. The two have a Yankee Stadium show in the books for May, which now seems unlikely to happen as planned thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it looks like the pair will come together this upcoming Easter Sunday (April 12), and like a lot of performances these days, it will all take place online.
Osteen spoke with TMZ about hosting a livestream Easter service this weekend, which is also set to include Mariah Carey and Tyler Perry. He confirmed that Kanye and his choir will participate, but that he’s not entirely positive what Kanye has planned. Osteen also said he asked Perry, who has visited Lakewood Church before, to speak at the event, and he agreed to join in on the service.
He also spoke about how Carey got involved, saying, “I had known Mariah from years passed. We had talked about doing some things, and they actually contacted us because she wanted to show some support and honor to the first responders, so she wanted to share a song and put some video footage of the first responders, just to do her part to bring hope and uplift the nation.”
Watch Osteen speak about his upcoming service here.
The great John Prine, who survived two cancer scares and various other calamities during one of the most storied careers in modern American music, died Tuesday at the age of 73. He had been in intensive care for 13 days at a Nashville hospital before succumbing to complications from COVID-19. While Prine — a humble giant with a self-deprecating wit and unassuming manner that belied his beloved and universally acknowledged genius as an artist — would shrug off such a distinction, his death is nothing less than a national tragedy. This shouldn’t have happened now. He had earned more years, with interest.
When I interviewed Prine in 2018, upon the release of his excellent final album, The Tree Of Forgiveness, he did not behave like a man who was content to simply wind down his career. “Things are going real well,” he insisted. “I’ve had cancer twice, and when you go through scares like that, you end up with more doctors, in a good way. When I got my second cancer, the doctor saw that coming down the line. I said, ‘Just go ahead and cut it out and come back and don’t tell me I have cancer.’ And that’s exactly what they did. The doctors, as rotten as my whole body is, they know everything about it, and they can see stuff.”
In his final years, Prine was still an in-demand touring act, playing dozens of dates in front of sold-out theater audiences all over the country. He was also one of the most respected patriarchs of American folk music. From the time that Prine first emerged with his instant classic self-titled 1971 debut — loaded with iconic songs like “Sam Stone,” “Hello In There,” “Angel From Montgomery,” “Paradise,” and many others — he was the consummate songwriter’s songwriter, valued for his ability to convey profound truths about everyday existence as experienced by normal people, via the simplest language and an elegant, witty finesse. His peers heaped praise upon him, starting with Bob Dylan, who summed up Prine’s style as “pure Proustian existentialism,” while also identifying the essential middle-Americanism of his perspective.
In recent years, Prine was a touchstone for up-and-coming singer-songwriters, one of the rare old lions that seemingly every generation could agree upon. Seemingly every young artist in the rock, folk, or Americana genre that I’ve interviewed has cited him as an inspiration: Jason Isbell, Justin Vernon, Miranda Lambert, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis, and Kurt Vile are just a small handful of the young turks that have proclaimed his greatness.
In “Sam Stone,” a harrowing story song about a Vietnam veteran who turns to heroin in the midst of a troubled homecoming, Prine wrote one of the most despairing lyrics in all of modern music: “Jesus Christ died for nothing, I suppose.” But more often, Prine had a lighter touch, leavening a tough truth with the grace of an incisive (or plain old corny) joke. That was the essence of his humanity as a songwriter — he was both the funniest and the saddest guy in the room, sometimes simultaneously.
One of my favorite John Prine songs is “Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone,” from 1978’s Bruised Orange. The logline is pure farce: A young actor stars in a B-movie in which he plays an elephant boy, and a craven producer wants to send him on a promotional trip to the midwest to bail out the failing film. But while the set-up is comedic, the details are ultimately gut-wrenching. Prine not only dwells on the humiliating plight of the actor, but also the producer, who is “staring at the numbers on his telephone” and wondering how he and this kid ever ended up in such a dehumanizing business.
It’s the kind of eccentric tune that makes you laugh the first 10 times you hear it, and then cry the next 100 times. It is, in other words, a prototypical John Prine song. As the Hank Williams of the upper midwest, Prine was perfectly attuned to his region’s emotional temperament. While Prine lived for the past several decades in Nashville, he still felt most at home in the region where he came up. “The midwestern thing doesn’t leave you,” he told me. “Whenever I get back up to Milwaukee or Chicago, you walk into a burger place and everybody looks like your kind of people.”
On the outside, he always girded himself with a crooked smile. In his earlier years, he would also keep a cigarette in his mouth at a downward 45-degree angle, along with a stiff cocktail at the ready and several one-liners locked and loaded to be dispersed at a moment’s discretion. But beneath all of that was a well of empathy reserved for anyone and everyone who might not otherwise be acknowledged in durable songs by nationally recognized recording artists.
In life as well as his art, John Prine seemed like the best of America — unpretentious yet well-read, grounded yet forward-thinking, funny as hell but never at the expense of others, salt of the earth but also aspirational toward something higher and greater than himself. When I talked to him, I expressed amazement that he had written so many of his most famous songs when he was employed as a mail carrier in his early 20s. For years, he would go door to door, delivering letters and packages to strangers like a genius playacting as an automaton, all the while working out the lyrics to masterworks like “Hello In There” and “Angel From Montgomery” in his head.
“My daydream back then was songwriting,” he said. “That was my hobby, but I wasn’t thinking about doing it professionally. I had a lot of time on my hands and I was on the mail route, and I wrote some of those earlier songs out there because I didn’t have nothing else to do.”
Speaking to Prine was a bit like listening to his songs — he was so charming and engaging that you could almost overlook the profound wisdom of what he was revealing to you. This was a man who found a way to create something extraordinary while performing utterly mundane tasks. And he did it because there simply was nothing else to do. If you’re alive, you live, simple as that.
A song from The Tree Of Forgiveness I can’t help but think about now is “When I Get Heaven.” Based on the title, you might assume it’s a maudlin meditation on death. But if you assume that, you don’t know John Prine. It is, in fact, the most side-splitting song on the record. Prine fantasizes about the afterlife — not because he has a death wish, but because he imagines that heaven is the one place where he might once again smoke a cigarette that’s “nine miles long” while also enjoying a delicious vodka and ginger ale cocktail.
“I love smoking, and I quit 20 years ago when I got my first cancer,” he told me. “When I see somebody fire up outside a restaurant, I want to go over and stand by them so I can get that first whiff. I miss it that much.
“Before I had the subject matter, the song was like waiting for happy hour,” he continued. “You know, like, ‘I can’t wait to have my favorite drink at five o’clock, and I might as well have a cigarette that’s nine miles long with it.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Where could I do that?’ I can go have the drink, but I’ll never be able to smoke until I get to heaven. I couldn’t have any cancer there, and why would they have ‘no smoking’ signs in heaven? So, that’s why I made the song that way.
“It’s the lengths you’ll go to,” he concluded. “Like what you’ll do for love, you know?”
Soon after that, our interview ended. We each hung up the phone, and he was gone.
If you’ve been on Twitter at any point over the last two weeks (I pray that you haven’t), you could probably guess that Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is a hit for Netflix. Now we have the data to back up the assumption: Nielsen reports that docu-series was watched by 34.3 unique viewers during its first 10 days of release. That’s bigger than Stranger Things season two, and a shade below Stranger Things season three, which ranks among Netflix’s most-watched programs ever. (I say “might,” because Netflix is famously private about its viewership; even the Nielsen numbers are unofficial.)
“[Tiger King] topped season two of Netflix hit Stranger Things, which had 31.2 million unique viewers in its first 10 days, and was within shouting distance of Stranger Things season three, which drew 36.3 million over the comparable 10-day span,” according to Variety. “On an average per-minute basis, Tiger King pulled in an audience of 19.0 million among United States viewers from March 20-29, Nielsen reported. That also was higher than Stranger Things season two (17.5 million) and nearly matched Stranger Things season three (20.5 million).” I can only presume that both Tiger King and every season of Stranger Things finished behind Girlboss. It was too popular for this world!
Buzz built quickly for the show, with Tiger King’s daily average minute audiences jumping to over one million by day three; two million by day seven; and four million by day nine. From March 20-29, it was the number one most-tweeted TV show tracked by Nielsen over that time period, with 1.8 million total organic (non-paid) interactions on Twitter about Tiger King.
Tiger King has been the most-watched program on Netflix for over two weeks, a new record for the streaming service. Much of the show’s popularity can be attributed to people being stuck indoors, with nothing else to do than fire up Netflix. But if “Here Kitty Kitty” hits the Billboard Hot 100, then things will have gone too far.