If you have not seen the first episode of season 2 Journey Into Night and don’t want the show spoiled then please turn away. If spoilers don’t bother you or you have seen the episode then welcome.
The premiere of Westworld’s second season marks a complete shift from the theme park we’ve come to know. The park has fallen, the robots are out of control, everyone is panicking – and there’s bloodshed and action aplenty, as well as the usual sprinkling of mystery.
Even the credits have changed, though thankfully not the music. The score from Ramin Djawadi is as eerie as ever only now instead of a horse and rider we have a charging bison. Poignantly, too, the robot couple making love have been replaced by a figure of a mother tenderly cradling a baby. The image feels significant, given the fact that Maeve returned for her daughter at the end of season one. This could also speak to wider concepts such as creation, reproduction, human birth v host birth that will most likely come into play throughout the season.
Journey Into Night plays the now-expected games of time and perspective, opening with a conversation between Dolores and Bernard (or Arnold?) in an unknown past timeline, before moving two weeks after the “incident” that ended season one, with Bernard discovered by a Delos security force lying unconscious on the beach. Before too long, we’re jumping back through Bernard’s scattered memories of what happened, back to the night where the real killing began. Interspersed throughout this we have Maeve, Dolores and the Man in Black each with their own bits of story.
In the opening, Dolores and Bernard (or Arnold???) talk about dreams specifically, about a dream that expresses a fear of being left behind. This felt like it could be foreshadowing something, and raised some significant questions. Will humans get left behind by the hosts? Will Bernard get left behind if he never embraces his full identity as a host, and continues to pose as a human?
Bernard appears to be the central character this time around and in the ‘current’ timeline after the incident we see him running point for the Delos people who will almost certainly murder him the instant they discover the truth. However, when Bernard meets Strand, the new operations manager, they both utter the same line; a curious exchange which may or may not have implications down the road.
In the flashbacks to just after the incident we see Bernard and Charlotte survive and running for their life. Bernard though is shaking and looks visibly distraught; Charlotte regularly asks if he’s ok. The two manage to escape to an underground bunker that only Charlotte knew about but Bernard didn’t. To enter, the door has to collect your DNA signature which surprisingly works on Bernard (another curiosity). He encounters Drone hosts who are extracting guests DNA from other hosts. Charlotte refuses to get into that discussion and instead notifies Bernard that Delos won’t be sending anyone to extract them until they receive a package. This happens to be Peter Abernathy (who has park data stored inside if you recall the end of season 1) who is somewhere in the park. Bernard helps Charlotte locate him and in the process we see through diagnostics that Bernard is undergoing a system failure. He injects himself with another hosts fluid and is seemingly better.
The Man in Black (MIB) also survived the incident and we see him heal himself and get back into his usual attire. The interesting part of his storyline was his encounter with young host Ford who tells him, in a creepy mechanical almost adult voice, that there is a new game meant for him called ‘The Door’. Cryptically the MIB is told that “the game begins where you end and ends where you began.”
Maeve on the other hand is as cool as ever. In her storyline she’s wielding a Delos gun and is the only one that can control the out of control hosts. She bumps into Lee and he begs her to take him with her. Maeve will use him to find her daughter but before that they have a poignant exchange. Lee reminds her that her daughter is not real, just some programming, but Maeve reinforces her own reality onto him by asking if what she’s feeling and what he’s seeing is not real. It made for a great scene and these two will be a cool pair to keep an eye on. They both have a penchant for comedy but also some serious pathos.
Then we have Dolores who when we first see her is in full rampage mode chasing and killing Delos workers as if it were a sport. She then preps some of them to be hanged and enters a monologue essentially indicting them for their part in what has happened to the hosts. During the scene she switches back and forth between Dolores and Wyatt and praise needs to be given to Evan Rachel Wood for once again coming in strong with her acting. The most obviously satisfying dynamic between these two personalities lies in the idea that the Wyatt personality is getting revenge for the slights and abuses against the Dolores one. However, as Dolores herself points out, the two have now merged to create something new and she intends to reveal that true nature.
Teddy in the meantime watches all of this uneasily and to me feels miles behind his female counterpart. Although, he deftly asks her if bloodshed is all that she wants. Dolores responds rather cryptically about ‘us and them’ until she finally reveals that the goal is to take over the human world as well. Then, Angela shows up on horseback to tell Dolores that “we found it”. Upon hearing that, Dolores tells Teddy she needs to show him something; That she needs to “show him the truth.”
And as if that wasn’t enough we get the final surprise of the episode. In the current timeline two weeks later Strand and Bernard end up at a lagoon that wasn’t there before with the bodies of all the hosts lying dead. Among the dead is Teddy and we hear Bernard, who is baffled at the sight, quietly say “I killed them”.
That was a lot to take in and while the episode was long it didn’t feel like it. The performances continue to be great and the mysteries are slowly starting to creep in. So with everything going on the inevitable question is who are we supposed to root for? Are we supposed to root for anyone? All of the major characters are worthy of it but there is a tragedy and conflict in each of them that makes us pause. How this all unfolds is anyone’s guess.
- Stubbs is alive but how? That wasn’t explained at all
- Strand speaking with Asian military about having authority over this island. The park is seemingly separated from the mainland
- The dead Bengal tiger from park six. They’ve apparently never crossed borders which suggests that the dividing line between the parks might be closer and less secure than we think
- no sight of William but presumably he’ll show up in the next episode
Make sure to catch new episodes of Westworld every Sunday on HBO and keep it locked on TGON for all your news, reviews and analysis.