It's been a year and a half since Westworld season 1 met its very violent end. So, what have the now unchained hosts been up to since then? It turns out, a whole lot of killing real, unsuspecting people. Oh, how the tables have turned. Remember when we thought the first season of this show was violent? That was cute, because Westworld season 2 has premiered and it kicks off with an ultraviolent, but intriguing and twisted bang. The season 2 premiere, Journey Into Night, is jam-packed with reveals and twists, so let's dig in, shall we?
Things get weird quickly as we start off with a conversation between Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). It's a bit of a trippy, existential conversation, where the two discuss the potential meaning of dreams and, beyond that, the concept of what is real. The whole thing is punctuated with Bernard telling Dolores that she scares him sometimes, to which she unconvincingly and unsettlingly asks why he would be scared of her. Spoiler alert, but it's because she's become a totally bloodthirsty, murder-happy robot.
The whole thing really starts off with a grand sense of, "What the hell is going on?" Theme of the season perhaps? We then cut to Bernard laying on a beach amidst bodies and a cleanup crew who have been sent to figure out what happened at Westworld and why the hosts are suddenly killing the guests. It's cool, as we see this very high-tech crew mixed with all of the low-tech of the old west. We also meet this somewhat mysterious new head of operations of the cleanup crew, who I'm certain we'll learn a lot more about in the coming weeks.
Something is very clearly wrong with Bernard. He looks intensely distraught while watching the crew murder seemingly innocent hosts. The crew trusts Bernard enough to keep him alive and they want to know what happened. To gain some information, they cut open the brain of a slain host. The man performing the operation at one point says, "This'll get gross." Again, a possible theme for this season as this episode showed its ugly, bloody teeth. The host's last recording revealed Doloros on a rampage of death following the season 1 finale where she murdered Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins).
Catching back up with Dolores and our old pal Teddy (James Marsden), they are in the middle of running down some of the rich, human guests who are now trapped in the park. Dolores is getting after them on horseback and shooting them in cold blood. Not only is she killing everyone, but there's a cruelty to it. Later in the episode, Teddy questions this and things get even more unsettling as she says, "it won't be enough to win this world." It sounds like she's looking to conquer the real world. Perhaps Teddy can talk some sense into her, but he's wrapped around Dolores' finger pretty tightly.
We also get the chance to catch back up with The Man in Black, aka William (Ed Harris) who survived the bloody assault by the hosts. When he gets up, he goes to his trusty horse Ned and says, "We're gonna have some fun now." Never has his character ever been summed up so succinctly. This world has consequences now. He can die and he can do some actual killing, which he takes part in. A little bit later in the episode, he comes across the young host version of Dr. Ford, who reveals, via a very cool exchange, that William has earned this new game, which is to search for "the door." Much like the maze last year, we currently have little or no idea what that means. William then shoots the young Ford dead and heads out on his way. Since we also see Ford's actual, maggot infested corpse in this episode, he is good and truly dead. However, it's clear that his presence is still going to be felt this season.
Maeve (Thandie Newton) is also back and has settled into her new role. She too has become rather murder happy and is on a quest to find her child. She comes across Simon (Lee Sizemore), who ends up having to help Maeve in order to bargain for his own life. They also come across her equally murder happy robot lover Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), who is brought along to help. Since Simon knows the park better than anyone, they let him live, but he has to go on the journey with them. Before taking off, Maeve makes him put on some new clothes and, because of this, we get some full-frontal, uncomfortable (for Simon at least) real-deal nudity. So there's that.
Lastly, there's this plot thread with Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) and Bernard, who in a different timeline from several days before the cleanup crew gets there, are trying to get to an access point and call for help. It's here we find out about this host that Charlotte was sending her higher-ups that serves as an "insurance policy" for the company that owns the park. Also, Bernard is very evidently in bad shape here, as he passes out, then wakes back up the current, or allegedly current timeline with the cleanup crew. Here, the show reaches it's intense and possibly confusing but definitely interesting climax. They come across a literal sea, as in a body of water, that shouldn't be there, and it's filled with the bodies of dead hosts. When asked about this by our new man in charge, Bernard very plainly says, "I killed them. All of them."
That gives us a lot to think about heading into next week's episode. A few other things of note include the show's look. It's visually more stunning than ever and, given that there are clear hints to the other various parks in this episode, it can only get more awesome in the coming weeks. Like, what was up with that dead bear and that dead tiger from "park 6?" How cool was that? There is also clearly going to be more time period jumping and a lot of various plot threads to follow in season 2 of Westworld, so you may want to invest in a corkboard, some colored string and some thumb tacks. Will all of these violent delights have a satisfying end? One can only hope, but even though they're laying on the themes really thick this season, we're off to a very promising start. Westworld season 2 returns Sunday on HBO.