Go West(World)

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t watched the season two premiere of Westworld proceed at your own risk

From the opening title sequence to the sea of dead hosts, the season two premiere of Westworld on HBO grabs you and never lets go. Producers promised that while season one was about control, season two would be about chaos. Episode one delivers on that promise. Plus there’s foreshadowing of BOMBSHELL plot twists that almost goes unnoticed.

We have so much to talk about.. and we need a drink!

Homicidal Hosts

The show opens with the aftermath of the host uprising from the end of the last season. And much like season one, this episode is not told sequentially. We see Bernard waking up on a beach and quickly seeing the human response team violently disabling any host they can round-up.

But we quickly find ourselves in the moments right after the season ending slaughter that saw Dr. Ford shot by a fully-conscious Dolores. And yes, it appears any hope we had that Ford had created a replica of himself have been dashed.  Bernard is hiding with members from the Delos board of directors.

The hosts are on a murder streak, even if they don’t know why.  So far it seems that only a select few (Dolores, Maeve, Bernard) understand their existence. The atmosphere has an Animal Farm feel.

“I have one last role to play. Myself.” -Dolores

Dolores appears to be the center of everything. The one chosen years ago by Arnold to eventually reach the center of the maze. But in the aftermath, Delos is searching for the host that plays her father.  Like so many things in this episode (and series) major plot points are introduced almost as an aside.  It’s definitely challenges the viewer to keep up and in turn makes you invested in the series.

WTF Moments

And speaking of which.. here are some plot points that could have big implications but were so subtly introduced you may have missed ’em:

  • Delos is collecting guest DNA and recording their experiences in the park
  • There are at least SIX parks
  • The parks are on an asian island, presumably owned by China
  • Worlds are colliding
  • Drone Hosts could be the Wild Card

And how cool are the Drone Hosts? Faceless. Focused. Unyielding. Mysterious.

Imagery & Symbolism

The episode, especially the first half hour (the ep was super-sized at about 70 minutes), hit you over the head with stunning symbolism and imagery.  From Bernard waking up on the beach to the scalping of a native american host, every shot was carefully chosen for maximum impact.

The three members from the board of directors are used to recreate the Calvary Hill of Jesus’ death.  All three stand on crosses, ropes tied around their necks, and left to die once they eventually slip from their precarious perch. It is as stimulating as it is shocking.

But the best moment came when Maeve gained equality with Lee. She gives him clothes to wear and forces him to stand naked in front of her, completing the shift in the power dynamic.  And while this may be our bourbon talking, he has nothing to be ashamed of!

“I know how the story ends.” -Dolores

Perhaps she’s read all her scripts. But that statement is either the ultimate foreshadowing or setting Dolores up for the ultimate heartbreak.

As for us, we have no idea how any of this is going to end!  There was a season preview shown at the end, but that truly is a tease and offers very little insight into what’s going to go down this season.

It’s times like this when we wish HBO was more like Netflix, and gave it all to us at once. But that would just lead to yet another all day, all night bingeing on TV and bourbon.

And that brings us to..

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

Bourbon. It’s the Man In Black’s favorite drink. And as he heads off into the park to partake in the park he always dreamed of, we will swipe the rest of his bottle, chug it, and wait for next Sunday.

Cheers!

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