Westworld: Journey Into Night and Reunion Recap

Synopsis of 02×1 & 02×2: The park is off its loop, with Dolores amassing followers towards some weapon, Maeve walking through the park towards her daughter, and the Man in Black playing one final game. Oh, and Bernard is leaking robot spinal fluid. 

Rating:
It seemed unlikely that a show like Westworld would be able to recapture the intrigue, mystery, and perfect violence of the first season. And two episodes in, that seems to be the case.

What powered the first season was the air of mystery, the cloak and dagger, the western setting of a modern and future fear. But in this second season, with so much known about the timeline of the park, the new season feels oddly disjointed (for a fairly comprehensive breakdown of that timeline, check out Collider’s article on it). There seem to be moments that don’t quite line up with plot points, or rather comments, of the first season. But perhaps we’re simply reading too much into this season. But, isn’t that what the writers want?

One such example is that of the family Delos interactions with Westworld for the first time. From the first season, we are led to believe that Dolores is the oldest of the Hosts, but the second episode alone shows at least two other hosts were with Dolores, if not preceding her, at the beginning of the park.

The first episode begins with Bernard, washing up on a shore, and the soldiers sent in to reclaim the park. But all is not right with Bernard, who has discovered that he is a Host and that he is deteriorating. Alongside Charlotte Hale, we see his flashback to what happened the night Dolores, and the park went off the loop. What we’re left with is a new lake of floating Hosts, and Bernard claiming, “It was me.”

Maeve is also a central figure, continuing on her mission to find her daughter. Still working alongside her “beloved” Hector, she sets out for the park, determined to make her own destiny. And in episode two, we get a great moment when she and Dolores crossing paths, both making their own destiny.

In episode two, Dolores is the focus, running parallel to whatever mission the Man in Black (William!) is on. For the Dolores part, this is where the storyline is somewhat uncertain. She seems to want her own destiny with a vengeance — by attempting to break free, destroy humanity, and take down the world that abused her. But her goal, other than destroying everything because of something William showed her years ago, seems opaque. Is she amassing an army to take the human world by storm? Is she planning to destroy Westworld?

Similarly, the Man in Black has the most interesting storyline, a man who craves adventure, and now adventure has actual risks. He too seems intent on burning the place down, but to make up for his biggest mistake. Perhaps that mistake was showing Dolores whatever it is that she’s after? Is it a hub for maintaining data on park guests? A literal weapon like a bomb? An army of hosts that can replace guests like bodysnatchers? Who the west knows. But he’s hanging out with Lawrence again, who is honestly just the best character, so it’s all good in my book.

Hopefully, this season plays out a little more fluidly than these first two episodes (kind of like the fluid leaking out of Bernard), starting by unraveling whatever new mystery Ford secretly has in store. It’s off to a slow start, like the early Hosts of Westworld, inelegant. But robots in a western, still can’t keep me away from that, no matter how confused I am.