Review – Westworld (S02 E01)

West World s2

The puppet show has ended and the wait is over: Westworld’s 15 month absence has ended plunging us right back into the western styled park which is now lies firmly in the grips of Dolores and her conscious hosts’ uprising. Before we go any further, it goes without saying that this will contain spoilers so be warned.

After the explosive events of the previous season, we pick up with Bernard Lowe – the sentient host form of the park’s co-creator the late Arnold Weber – as he wakes up on the sodden shores of a beach. He is approached and supposedly rescued by members of a Delos security team under the leadership of Head of Operations, Karl Strand (Gustav Skarsgard). Now living in amongst humans, Bernard finds himself disorientated and involved in a dangerous game of deception – particularly so in his flashback scenes in which he attempts to maintain the guise of being human from Charlotte Hale as they traverse a secret R&D bunker. We find that Bernard is damaged and hence needs to supplement himself with a clear protective fluid which protects the hosts’ brains (hard-drives).

Jeffrey Wright who plays the hapless host conveys his vulnerability and confusion excellently which, in conjunction with the flash backs and non-linear chronology which the show has become almost infamous for, makes him much more accessible as a character, taking us through the various time jumps as if we are right there with him; every revelation, every shock and twist seems as much news to him as it is for the viewers.


As the friendly host remains in the company of the Delos security soldiers, we switch to scenes in which Maeve (Thandie Newton) – who’s complex and, for want of a better word, bad-ass character stole the show last season – forges an unlikely partnership the park’s narrative director Lee Sizemore. Coming as a surprise to many, this partnership allows the programme to show its comedic side with some of the strongest moments of comic relief coming from the two characters’ interactions. Maeve is the face of determination this season as she embarks on a quest to find her daughter, despite Sizemore’s insistence that she was just a programme in her former’s sub-routines, mowing her way through Delos forces and other hosts.

Elsewhere, we see Dolores alive and well alongside Teddy, riding out in the wake of their opening party theatrics which left the park’s creator most definitely dead – something which didn’t used to carry much gravitas in the Westworld universe. We find that the couple have been travelling with Angela who is assisting them in hunting down park guests and ceremoniously executing.

We also see the ominous figure of the Man in Black (aka future William) make a return as he meets a host modelled on the likeness of a young Dr. Ford who tells him that another game, designed specifically for him has been set in motion. The episode then ends in emphatic fashion as we flick back to modern day Bernard, still accompanied by his new found human posse, as they stumble upon what will no doubt become a major plot point of the series: a bay littered with the bodies of dead hosts – one of which is, noticeably, that of Teddy. As we pan back to Bernard, the troubled android makes a chilling revelation before the screen cuts to black.

“Journey into the Night” provides a useful bridge between the two seasons, set only 2 weeks into the future chronologically on from the events of the first season’s finale. It does well in opening plenty of new avenues for to be pursued over the next nine episodes and performances from its staple characters Maeve, Bernard and Dolores both convinced and impressed with their complexity. The only fault the second season’s premiere has is its often confusing plot lines and time jump which really just carry over from the show’s first season – it doesn’t really answer any of the burning questions viewers were left with at the end of season 1 but rather adds more questions and more complexity into the mix. To that end, if you didn’t like how complicated the show was before, expect more of the same. That is nitpicking, however, and by a large this opening episode is not only stellar in its own right but also set up the rest of the season in brilliant fashion, promising loads more drama, thrills and shocks.