Mystified about Westworld? You’re not alone. The HBO sci-fi brainteaser gave us answers to its biggest mysteries in its season-one finale — but it wouldn’t be Westworld if there weren’t even more puzzles to solve. Just as we did for season one, we’re going to follow up each episode with the myriad questions we’re pondering.
The Westworld season-two premiere is titled “Journey Into Night,” but to steal a bit from Scandal, it might as well be called “Black Hat’s Back On.” Old William, the gentleman formerly known as the Man in Black, is one of a small and shrinking number of human survivors trapped inside the park, and he’s soon up to his old tricks — namely, undertaking another opaque search for a cosmic Macguffin. Dolores and Maeve, Westworld’s wokest robots, are both taking advantage of the chaos for their own separate ends. Meanwhile, poor Bernard has come unstuck in time — though on the plus side, he and square-jawed security chief Ashley Stubbs are the only main characters guaranteed to still be alive two weeks after the uprising. What’s in store in season two remains a mystery, but if you want to make a Westworld prediction of your own, give it a shot in the comments.
How many timelines are there, exactly?
The first season tricked us with its narrative-bending, timey-wimey stuff, but now, we are prepared. You’re not going to fool us that easily, Westworld! Here are all the possible multitude of timelines, in the order that we see them: (1) Arnold talking to Dolores, which we learned takes place 40-ish years before the rest of the show; (2) Bernard on the beach with Stubbs, where a character helpfully notes that two weeks have passed since Dolores’s massacre; (3) Bernard and Charlotte, (4) Dolores and Teddy, (5) the Man in Black, and (6) Maeve and Sizemore, all of which seem to be taking place in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter, but may or may not all be happening concurrently.
Why did Bernard have a machine gun?
In a razor-quick montage full of both memories from season one and visions of things we haven’t seen yet, two shots stick out: (1) Dolores in a modern-looking dress, and (2) Bernard firing a machine gun. We’ve seen our sweet, avuncular host commit murder, but that happened on the orders of the late Dr. Ford. Who (and why) is he killing this time?
Where did all that water come from?
In the future timeline, Bernard wakes up from the world’s least-relaxing beachside nap as a group of mercenaries arrive to take charge of the situation. They don’t seem too fazed about being on a beach, which seems to confirm that the speculation was correct: Westworld is on an island! At the end of the episode, though, we see a large body of water that did not exist last season. Did it really come from Ford’s terraforming, or is there another explanation?
What’s the deal with the Chinese soldiers?
On the beach, we briefly see the mercenaries squabbling with Chinese soldiers over which group has ultimate authority within the park. Is Westworld on Chinese territory? Maybe one of those disputed islands in the South China Sea? The mercenaries win the argument, which means that if it is indeed Chinese territory, this future version of China backed down to Delos’s private security. Dystopias are wild.
Why is Dolores killing other hosts?
Not content simply to run down helpless Delos executives, Dolores also seems to be taking aim at some of her fellow hosts. Why? Well, she says, “Not all of us deserve to make it to the Valley Beyond.” Are we talking a literal valley, or more of a metaphorical thing? The unfortunate stable boy also drops the same “Valley Beyond” phrase, so might it be a deeply buried bit of Ford’s narrative?
How happy was the Man in Black to get an actual gunshot wound?
This is a rhetorical question. He was incredibly happy.
Does Maeve expect to actually find her daughter?
She seems to understand why Sizemore thinks her search is so silly. But still, she blanches at him saying her love for her daughter wasn’t “real.” What is real, mannnn?
What are the odds that a faceless drone is going to end up killing someone?
One-thousand percent? One million?
Am I the only one thinking Tessa Thompson is way too busy for Charlotte to survive this season?
Why is Delos logging records of guests’ experiences and taking their DNA samples?
Besides the fact that they’re comically evil.
Is Delos’s willingness to let everyone die until they can extract Peter Abernathy a nod to ‘Alien’?
I hope so. (Also, in case you forgot: Peter Abernathy, a.k.a. the host who played Dolores’s father, was loaded up with the data that Charlotte wanted to smuggle out of the park in season one.)
What is the nature of the Man in Black’s new game? And what does Ford want him to do?
Here’s everything we learn from Robot Child Ford: In this new game, “You have to make it back out,” which you do by finding “the Door.” Also, this game “begins where you end, and ends where you began,” and don’t worry, it “will find you.” Clear and concise as always. Good riddance, Robot Child Ford.
How about that full-frontal scene?
What is Dolores planning to do?
It sure seems like Dolores wants to break out and lead the hosts into the real world. What is she planning to do when she gets there, and how does that square up with her talk about the Valley Beyond? Is the “Valley” really the outside world?
Where in the world did that tiger come from?
It seems to have wandered into Westworld from one of the other parks. Are the boundaries between parks breaking down? Are the hosts in the other parks also staging revolutions?
The biggest question of all: How did all those dead hosts end up in the lake?
I suspect the rest of the season will be devoted to answering this very question! Is the lake what’s left of the Valley Beyond? (If so, who flooded it?) Bernard says that he killed “all of them” — might these be the victims of his machine-gunning spree? At least we know one thing: The Westworld tradition of including a dead Teddy in almost every episode continues unabated.