Westworld, HBO’s sprawling futuristic tale of will-they-or-won’t-they (be robots), is back for yet another season. After a very popular first season and an entertaining second, the last season was truly a masterclass in beautifully shot, impeccably acted shark jumping the likes of which prestige television has never seen. The show is messy and chaotic, as confusing as it is itself confused, but it can be a hell of a good time.
And so it was that I returned back to a show that I know deep down will only let me disappoint me, telling myself that this time it will be different, because this time I gave the show a three-episode head start to let the reviews tell me if I should put my heart on the line again. Of course, they’ve all been fooled too, so hesitantly I dipped my toes back into the muck, waiting for a sign, an omen, anything to tell me that I did the right thing, that this time WILL be different. And what do I see in the first 15 minutes of episode one but a gorgeous forest green Fellow Stagg kettle fitted out with a wooden handle. Just like that, I’m back in baby!
For those who haven’t seen the show, and bless you for that, Westworld is set in some sci-fi future where AI has reached a point that robots can pass swimmingly as real humans; they’re a bit more advanced than our current day robots, who are still trying to learn to not spill a cup of coffee. They’re supposed to be relegated to a park where rich humans can go to act out any manner of unspeakable fantasy, but eventually, the robots gets tired of torment and ultimately they revolt, taking over the park and escaping the confines their prisons. At this point I can’t even really tell you who is a robot, who is a human, or whether that robot body is still inhabited by the same “consciousness” as we believe it to be.
In season four we’re back in the real world, where we meet a person/robot who looks a lot like Dolores from prior seasons, played by Evan Rachel Wood, now going by the name Christina and living some sort of urbane if not mundane life. But even a boring life can’t be filled with nice things, like say, a chic looking kettle. And so while we’re still trying to wrap our heads around what is even going on who exactly Wood is playing this go around, in walks her roommate Maya (Ariana DeBose), who is making herself a nice cup of something steeped and hot with that fetching forest green Stagg kettle. It certainly says something about the aesthetic quality Fellow is putting that the product they first debuted back in 2015 is seen as modern enough to be belong in the home in the stylishly distant future.
As silly as it may seem, I got very excited when I first spotted it, like the time I saw those Ben Medansky mug and dripper set in that one episode of High Maintenance. It harkened back to my early days in specialty coffee, when I would see someone in an Intelligentsia or Stumptown shirt in the wild and get all giddy, finding someone else in on this big secret that was specialty coffee. Granted this isn’t the case. Fellow has raised millions on Kickstarter and recently another $30 million in Series B funding; they’ve surged in popularity and their products are easy to find at home goods stores and in America at department stores like Nordstrom, so they make sense to be in the kettle of choice for the stylish television show. Still, it’s always fun when your seemingly little world makes a cameo in a much larger one.
And it’s proof once and for all that, contrary to what a South by Southwest activation may have you believe, there is in fact coffee in Westworld. [editor’s note: Welp, they already spit the bit on the coffee setup in episode two. A Chemex knockoff? Really?! Fake people, fake Chemex.]