Last night HBO’s “Westworld” debuted with a bang, and even after seeing the episode twice I am still reeling from the action, bombshells, and possibilities. If you haven’t seen season one, much of what I say will make little sense, so go back and watch it. Before I had HBO Go I shelled out for the first few seasons of Game of Thrones, and I can tell you Westworld is worth a few bucks if you are so inclined.
I’m splitting up my review and analysis into two parts, the first being what we know (Revelations) and the second being predictions and inferences. I have a feeling, though, that one day the moral and cinematic depths of this show may even be debated in philosophy classes at greater length!
Without further ado, here are the top revelations from Season 2 Episode 1: Journey Into Night.
- The parks (plural) do not just have a coast, they are on a massive island somewhere in Asia. A military officer is arguing adamantly with the Delos representative (Head of Operations) in another language. He believes that his country’s military should have jurisdiction, but Delos has essentially bought the sovereignty of this whole hunk of rock and he is dismissed.
- Communications have been down for two weeks. That’s two weeks since communications went down, but not since they had any indication of what was going on in the parks. Quite a lot could have happened in the intervening weeks.
- Dolores has killed other hosts. When one is dissected we see footage of her shooting several Native American hosts. Were they kind of like the older model, good robots in “iRobot” and protecting humans, so they got in her way? Or is there some other rift between factions of hosts, whether programmed or arising organically? She states, “Not all of us deserve to make it to the valley beyond.”
- The mainland technicians and staff may be woefully ignorant of clues and facts that are essential to understanding and resolving the conflict. When one cuts open a host’s head to remove and read data from his “brain” he has no clue what the image of the maze on the host’s interior skull signifies.
- Dolores has a sense of irony in her methodic cruelty. She interrogates the human guests using the exact questions and statements she was asked during her diagnostic sessions. “You’re in my dream” and “What are your drives?” take on a sinister meaning in this context. One cannot help but feel a sense of justice when she proclaims, “It doesn’t look like anything to me,” as she rides away and leaves some humans precariously perched, about to hang and choke to death at any moment.
- Dolores has evolved. At first it seems that she’s just gone crazy, embracing the violent Wyatt persona programmed by Ford, but then she herself states she has evolved into something new, an altogether unique, savage, seemingly omniscient individual.
- Dolores remembers everything from her past builds, and maybe even knows everything as she seems aware of why and how the park was created. She seems miles ahead of Teddy in her grasp of the situation as it is and will be.
- Lee Sizemore is a weasel. He is complying with Maeve’s orders but jumps at the first chance to betray her. In one more righteous moment of role reversal, she orders him to strip completely naked, mirroring the way hosts had no dignity or privacy in the past. He is now in the subservient position.
- If Dolores is all knowing, Maeve is all powerful. She doesn’t even always seem to need verbal commands to control other hosts; her very thoughts can compel them to action. She helps ease the suffering of a dying female host in the ruins of the Delos headquarters, and redirects another host to hunt humans.
- Girls rule, men drool. Hector says, “Where you go, I follow.” In this new relationship with Maeve, we see parallels with Dolores and Teddy. Both possess a dog like sense of loyalty, almost to the point of blindness. Teddy’s may be from residual (or ongoing) programming, while Hector’s may be more of infatuation, but both have the same result.
- Delos and the parks have many more secrets than anyone knows. Charlotte takes Bernard to a covert lab that he, a high level park executive, had no idea existed. There we see drone hosts who are seemingly intelligent enough to complete tasks but faceless and not really sentient.
- The season will be running parallel timelines, one that is in line with the end of last season that goes from the moment of the host rebellion forwards, and another one several weeks later in the aftermath. Essentially, it seems we will keep seeing revelations and connections that will explain and guide the “present” timeline.
- There are SIX parks (at least). I expected as many as four from descriptions about the original Westworld movie, but not this many. Stubbs says they have Bengals in park six when the team discovers a rotting tiger corpse alongside a lake. So, not only is Westworld massive, the island and park system of Delos properties are downright vast.
- Something very bad happened to many of the hosts. Not only is there a giant lake, maybe even a sea, where a valley should be, it seems hundreds and hundreds of hosts have drowned. Bernard later whispers, “I…I killed them. All of them.”
- Organic Ford (let’s call him old Ford, or Ford 1.0) is dead. We do eventually see his body onstage exactly where Dolores shot him, and like many other bodies strewn about, maggots are slowly but surely devouring him.
Phew, that’s a lot! Take a break, snap into a Slim Jim, maybe rewatch the episode, and continue on to Part Two of my review!