It’s been a year and a half since we’ve last spent time in Westworld and since then I’ve had more than enough time to obsess. Fan theories, episode rewatches including a cut of the season in chronological order, multiple deep dives on the internet have all been able to keep my obsession at bay until now and while none of it brought me any sense of certainty, it did cause me to feel more excited about the return of a TV show that I can remember being in a very long time.
Synopsis: The puppet show is over, and we are coming for you and the rest of your kind. Welcome back to Westworld. (HBO)
Writers: Lisa Joy and Roberto Patino
Director: Richard J. Lewis
Running Time: 70mins
Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)
This episode leans on many of the storytelling tricks that made the first season work so well by showing us one narrative at several different points and from various character’s perspectives. It’s a trope that still works for the premiere and will most likely continue well into the second season until the moment it manages to all click into place. Hopefully the show does more this season than just rely heavily on this method of storytelling. As expected, these storylines pick right up where we last left off and at first are spent getting the viewers reacquainted with the character’s motivations and journeys before pushing them into new directions.
Bernard and Delos Exec, Charlotte Hale, are able to escape the madness of the Journey Into Night massacre from season one. Their survival party is slowly killed off until both of them manage to escape to Charlotte’s lab, unknown to even Ford, located below the park. She is still attempting to upload the information to Delos that was hidden inside Peter Abernathy in order for the company to send a rescue party. It is made clear that Delos is willing to let every single person in the parks die in order secure their investment and after multiple unsuccessful attempts, Bernard offers the solution of locating Abernathy’s whereabouts through a mesh sharing network from host to host created in order to avoid overlaps with the narratives. This is minuscule compared to Charlotte’s small crew of faceless drone hosts that reside in the lab. Even without the ability to emote, they have a menacing presence that may come further into play as the season progresses. Bernard’s narrative looks to be the victim of the show’s segmented storytelling as we are seeing his story right after the massacre involving Charlotte as well as his eventual rescue by Delos at the hands of a newcomer, Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgård), which looks to be after his time with Charlotte.
Maeve, after choosing to delay her freedom and remain at the park, is still overseeing the carnage of Westworld’s Administration building as she stumbles across Sizemore who in light of the situation reluctantly agrees to come with her and help her find her daughter. It was a nice touch to see Hector still alive in what appeared to be in a state of mourning over losing Maeve. They are fun together and even though you get the imposing sense of doom surrounding his character, hopefully he follows her all the way to the end. Sizemore served as a nice comedic foil in her storyline and while yes, we all might wish his character’s death, he adds welcomed levity to Maeve’s story and her journey. Fingers crossed that he makes it past the first couple of episodes.
The Man in Black, aka Billy, aka William, gets the game he’s always wanted with real stakes and where survival is no longer a make-believe construct but something that is now essential in order for him to really play. MiB’s intentions are clear in not wanting to leave the park and with the appearance of young Robert Ford is enticed to play a new sort of game, one that offers a door that must be found in order to progress. This piques his interest and will no doubt be the driving force behind his storyline this season.
Dolores, Teddy, and Angela are still roaming the countryside killing any human they can find, but in a brief moment between them, Teddy asks the question what’s after what they’re doing. Dolores appears unphased by this and does, in fact, have grander plans that lead them beyond the park, but it still seems a ways off and is not her immediate goal. In seeing their back and forth, it felt very reminiscent of their similar conversation on the beach during Ford’s “Journey Into Night”.
Overall, the first episode offered little more than just an acclimation to the chaos that we left Westworld in last season. It looks to continue to offer multiple timelines that will somehow intersect as the season progresses and will inevitably be the source of hundreds of fan theories that are probably populating the internet by the time you are reading this. The most intriguing aspect of this second season so far is just how the show will strive to be different or catch us off guard much like it did in its first season. The stakes are raised, therefore, the story will reflect the same but I am hoping that the show didn’t play all of its hand in its first go around and that there will still be a jaw-dropping moment or two ready to hit us when we least expect it this season.
- Where is Elsie?
- Is Dolores really thinking for herself or is she just playing the role that Ford intended?
- Is Bernard the Pied Piper leading all of the hosts to drown on purpose?
- Does Bernard have Abernathy’s information uploaded into him by the end of ssn2?
- R.I.P. Young Ford
- Was that Teddy that was drowned in the ocean?
- There’s a Bengal in the park! Other parks connected to each other by land? Tunnel system?
- What is “The Door” for the MiB?
- Stubbs is alive…did not see that coming.
- Was that Bernard or Arnold talking with Dolores at the beginning of the episode?
- Theory: Arnold had a “Burn It” protocol that was enacted once Charlotte told him about his dismissal that sends Dolores & Co. on their destructive paths and Bernard to ensure that the IP is contained and withheld from Delos.