Every episode of HBO’s ‘Westworld’ is dense with literary allusions and references to obscure concepts, but it’s good to know the creators of the series won’t forget where they got the idea for the show in the first place: Jurassic Park.
The fifth episode of Season 1, “Contrapasso,” featured a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it nod to Jurassic Park, the other theme-park-gone-wrong story by original Westworld creator and author Michael Crichton. At the midway point of the episode, we find out that Westworld “butcher” Felix Lutz has smuggled a robotic bird and behavior tablet to the livestock management floor of the Mesa Hub facility where his sole job is to refurbish “dead” park hosts. As far as the company’s HR department is concerned this is a big “no no” because there are strict rules governing the upward mobility of the employees at Westworld. But Lutz fancies himself a programmer and tries to woo the little bird to “life” by coding a computer sequence himself.
“That’s it. Come on little one,” he says to the little bot before punching in some key commands and witnessing the glory of technologically enhanced life.
Any Crichton superfan should recognize that small turn of phrase is the exact same dialogue said by John Hammond, the elderly mastermind behind Jurassic Park, played in Steven Spielberg’s film by actor Richard Attenborough, in the scene where the baby velociraptors hatch in a lab.
The dialogue and god-like circumstances of the scene are the exact same, with two seemingly ignorant people marveling at their scientific creations that will inevitably be their downfall. Throw in the fact that Jurassic Park references the prehistoric beasts’ contemporary connection to birds and the reference resonates even stronger.
It’s also the most perfectly subtle reference to Crichton and the fact that he got away with the same sort of theme park-related story twice. The Westworld show is so confounding, we wouldn’t put it past the creators to make the big twist that it’s in one big Crichton cinematic universe.