The weird thing about the second episode of the new season of Westworld is that it answers a lot of the questions that are set up in the first half by revealing that none of it is real. How did Maeve end up in War World? Why don’t Felix and Sylvester seem to recognize her? How the heck did Sizemore survive all that gunfire? Who is still going to any of these Delos worlds? It turns out none of that matters because Maeve isn’t really in a new amusement park for the wealthy — she’s in a highly advanced virtual reality construct, in which most of the other hosts and people she meets don’t even realize they’re not real. Maeve does, though, kept at least more aware than those around her in the hope that she would lead virtual Sizemore to the coordinates of where Dolores offloaded all that data at the end of season two. Which leads to more questions. Westworld: a show in which the answers always lead to more questions! Let’s break down what’s still left to wonder about at the end of “The Winter Line.”
Who the heck is Engerraund Serac?
This is the big one, right? At the end of the episode, Maeve finds herself in the company of a man named Engerraund Serac, played by the wonderful Vincent Cassel. His character page on HBO.com just says, “A shadowy figure with vast resources, Serac is one of the architects of Rehoboam.” Sure. Whatever you say. He’s clearly incredibly wealthy and incredibly tech-savvy — and those are exactly the people that Dolores has been hunting down. Does he know he’s next?
Why does he need Maeve now?
If we go with the idea that Serac put Maeve in the virtual construct because he thought that she knew the coordinates for the information he needed, why does he still need her now, back in the real world? Is it really just that she’s the only thing that can kill Dolores? Does he know that she’s not an average host (even though he doesn’t know her fashion taste)? He tells her that they’re in the middle of a war that’s already been lost. He thought that Maeve was the dangerous one in the system, but learns now that it’s Dolores. He claims to see the future, so what future does he see for Maeve?
What happened between Dolores and Bernard?
At the end of last year, it felt like Bernard and Dolores were close to being on the same page. She had rescued him, after all, and he opened a door to his new life. So doesn’t it feel like there are some unanswered questions as to what exactly went down between then and now? Why is Bernard going back to Westworld looking for Maeve to stop Dolores (and finding Stubbs)? Or is he? Is this all a fake-out, and the two are still really working together, or are we headed for a Bernard vs. Dolores showdown? If we are, we need to fill in some holes in their timeline. And speaking of …
When is all of this taking place?
The action with Charlotte in the boardroom in episode one, as headlines still ran about the massacre at Westworld, felt much closer to the end of season two than the Maeve and Bernard plotlines in this episode. Yes, we’ve been a bit traumatized by time jumps in the history of Westworld, but it’s a show in which you always have to ask yourself if the scenes align in the same timeline. Until we see Bernard, Dolores, Maeve, and Charlotte in the same frame, there’s reason to suspect that their arcs are taking place at different times.
Did the circle when Maeve wakes up remind anyone else of Arrival?
After we leave Stubbs and Bernard on the beach, we cut to a shot of a circle that immediately got us thinking about the circle language in the hit Denis Villeneuve movie. Of course, Westworld has had a long visual motif of circles and mazes too, but it felt like a funny connection to another sci-fi property with a tricky chronological structure.
Where the heck is William?!?
We miss the Man in Black.