The trippy Westworld returned Sunday night for Season 2 – and the show has really found its rhythm.
The first season was a little shaky in parts and seemed to have a hard time finding its footing at first, but towards the end, its hooks dug right in and propelled us forward. The story centers on an all-exclusive theme park for the ultra-rich called Westworld, where guests can go into the Old West and do just about anything they want, including murder. But they aren’t killing anyone for real.
The “hosts” are just androids who have been programmed to act out stories while the human guests interact with them. Whatever damage is done to the hosts, they are fixed, re-programmed and sent back into the game. Except for the mastermind behind the park, Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), has slowly been putting in glitches into his hosts, especially the oldest host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), to throw a wrench into the works. Ford resents the corporation that owns Westworld, Delos Inc., and do not want them to gain the upper hand.
Season 2 picks up pretty much where it left off, in which the park’s “hosts,” lead by Dolores, have become self-aware and have violently taken over.
Here’s what happened in the Season 2 opener “Journey Into Night”:
– It opens with Dolores, in her blue dress from her and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) – or possibly Arnold – talking about Bernard’s dream. It’s not a pleasant dream about being at the ocean’s edge. “I dreamt I was on an ocean with you and the others, on the distant shore. … You had left me behind, and the waters were rising around me,” but he reassures Dolores that it isn’t real. “What is real?” she asks. He answers, “That which is irreplaceable.” She looks confused, and Bernard/Arnold asks why. “Because it’s not completely honest,” she says. Bernard/Arnold tells her he’s frightened of Dolores, on what she might become or what path she’ll take.
– We know what path she took all right. We see her and the other hosts gunning down the human guests at the party, as well as glimpses of people being killed in the control room underneath the park.
– Bernard then wakes up on the beach, which we find out is two weeks later following the night Dolores murdered Robert Ford at the party and launched her revolution. There are Delos soldiers everywhere, including former head of security, Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who seems to have survived the attack by the savages in Season 1. He takes Bernard back to base, still not knowing that Bernard is actually a host. There’s a new Delos leader, Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgård), and he wants answers.
– We jumped back to Dolores and Teddy (James Marsden), who are out gunning everyone down from the party who is trying to escape. While she puts nooses around the necks of some, she chews up the scenery with a speech about her dream and a reckoning and how “violent delights have violent ends.” Dolores is badass now for sure. She was once part rancher’s daughter, part psychopath named Wyatt. Now she’s going to be just herself. Dolores also knows about the greater world outside, she remembers everything. And she knows how it will end – with her and Teddy. She wants to show Teddy the truth.
– Underground, content creator Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) has made it, but right when it looks like he might be killed by a cowboy, Maeve (Thandie Newton) saves him. She can control the androids now. Lee makes a deal with Maeve to help her find her daughter, while she also reunites with Hector (Rodrigo Santoro). Not sure where these three will go next, but previews show Maeve in Japanese garb, so I’m thinking Maeve’s journey will take place in Shogun World.
– Meanwhile, Delos exec Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and Bernard manage to escape the murder spree at the party, and she leads him to a secret outpost, which takes them down to secret control room. There, Bernard finds drone hosts, faceless and disturbing sentinels, who are downloading host’s experiences in order to obtain guest DNA, to put into a database for possible blackmail or something nefarious. Hmmm.
– Charlotte isn’t too concerned about that. She wants to get off this rock, so to speak, but in communicating outside with Delos, they tell her that won’t proceed with extraction until the “package” arrives. It’s Dolores’ father, Peter Abernathy, who has classified information embedded in his wiring. Bernard says he can host technology to locate Abernathy, but in plugging into another host, he finds out how his own host body is deteriorating. Charlotte has no idea Bernard is android, but Bernard is able to extract some fluids from another host to give him more time before Charlotte finds out. How much more time is still to be determined.
– Meanwhile, the Man in Black (Ed Harris), who we now know is William, hid under a body at the party scene, and so he lives. And he’s probably going to have a lot of fun in this new world. William meets up with a host boy, the younger version of Robert Ford, who tells him there’s a new game, made just for William; he has to find a door. Okaaay, another puzzle for this murdering psychopath to figure out.
– Jumping ahead again, Bernard and Strand go looking for more clues, finding the massacre at the party and Ford’s decomposing body. They then find a decomposing tiger, which shouldn’t be there. Stubbs says it must have strayed from “Park 6” and crossed borders. They also find sea where a valley used to be – and it’s filled with dead host bodies, including Teddy, floating in the water. Strand asks what happened, to which Bernard replies, “I killed them. All of them.”