Last month, one of Westworld’s science consultants stopped by my school. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist who advised the show’s staff for season two, and his co-author Anthony Brandt visited to chat with students about their new book on creativity, The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World.
When it was time for Q&A, I had big questions for him—but they weren’t about the book. I wanted to grill him on something from Westworld that bothered me for the duration of season two: the continuity of consciousness problem.
The tropes that the Fargo TV show shares with the film—the Minnesota accent, the quirky humor, and the “true story” title card—can make the franchise seem as blanketed in sameness as the vast stretches of snow that serve as the movie’s opening shot. But the appearance of uniformity is deceiving: beneath the snow, the terrain varies. Old dirt forms the shoulder for the newly paved road. Cracks and fissures split the hard frozen ground.