Westworld is a complex series. From the crazy production values to the intricate storytelling. Pour a heave sauce of mythology and Mistery on top of it and you have one of the most interesting TV Shows running today. HBO had been looking for their next big hit after their golden age of shows like The Sopranos and Six Feet under. They had another juggernaut in True Blood but that wasn’t the critical success they were als hoping for. In came Game of Thrones. The show that changed everything. The drama series featuring Dragons, boobs and a lot of violence conquered the world and became a sensational international phenomenon. Fans love it. Critics love it. Sure, not every single person on the planet follows the Sopranos in Middle Earth but I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of human beings populating this small planet knows of its existence. Dan and David’s love child is unlike anything that came before it.
All things must come to an end however and the powers that be were looking for the next big thing. Not really finding it. In came Westworld. The love child of showrunners and married couple Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Expectations were high. Jonathan (The Dark Knight) Nolan, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton and more. I was so on board when Westworld was announced. I was convinced it was going to be perfect. It just had to be. Season one came. It was good, very good even. Great acting performances, beautiful music. Production values were even higher than those of Game of Thrones and the story itself was extremely engaging. It gave me everything I wanted and even things that I didn’t even know I wanted. Still, there was a slight feeling of disappointment. For all the things it was, it was very good, better than most other shows running but it wasn’t great. It wasn’t perfect. And I sort of expected it to be.
Narratively Season 1 left us in a good place. The road to host consciousness, the arcs of William and Ford. The character development of Maeve and Dolores and the insane performance of Jeffrey Wright as Bernard. While the season 1 finale wasn’t perfect either it still felt like the perfect setup for a perfect second season. The news that HBO gave Nolan and Joy extra time to get the sophomore season ready even made me more sure of how good it was going to be. And after that long wait the aptly titled Journey Into Night came. It came and it was like what came before it. It was a lot of things but it wasn’t perfect. It just wasn’t. Slowly I am becoming used to the idea that, no matter how much I wanted it, Westworld will never be perfect. Game of Thrones isn’t perfect. Nor were The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Mad Men. No series ever will be. But some of those shows came damn close and I still hold out hope that Nolan and Joy will take us there. They have so much at their disposal and they have the talent. Just make it work guys!
Delos’ head of operations, Strand, and his team find Bernard. Strand is tasked with restoring order and helping the hundreds of guests stuck in the Park. In a flashback we see that Bernard, Charlotte and a group of survivors try find a way out. They get ambushed by Angela and only Charlotte and Bernard get away. Charlotte takes Bernard to a secret lab where Bernard starts to malfunction. He manages to help himself without revealing himself to be a host.
Maeve runs into Sizemore and she coerces him to help her find her daughter who is still stuck somewhere inside the park. She picks up Hector along the way. Dolores sees no way for humans and hosts to co-exist. She goes around the park killing guests despite the misgivings of Teddy. William is delighted that the hosts finally can fight back. He receives a instructions to a new game specially made for him called The Door.
Strand and his team find out that most of the hosts seem to be gathered in one spot. The head there and find a huge lake that shouldn’t be there. In it are hundreds of hosts dead in the water. Teddy is among them. When Strand askes Bernard what happened Bernard admits he killed them all.
What I liked
I will just start by praising Ramin Djawadi yet again. If anything, the music is at least as brilliant as it was for season 1. Bernard’s storyline is insanely intriguing as always. Jeffrey Wright is the best actor of the cast, hands down and he also gets the most to work with. There is so much going on with him, he is reason enough to watch the show.
Even though the episode was quite long (70 minutes) I didn’t really notice it. I was so glad to see Westworld back that they probably would have gotten away with showing me a 2 hour episode.
What I didn’t like
The Maze was interesting from the get go and if you see how the conversation leading to Dolores finding the center of the maze and finding consciousness was basically a long conversation interwoven throughout the first season and starting the very first scene than you realize just how clever and brilliant that was. The thing about the door doesn’t give me that feeling at all. I hope it will soon. And I also don’t like where Dolores is. I know we are only talking the season premiere but she seems to be in the exact same place as where she was in the season finale. Just aching to kill humans. I want her to be more complicated than that.
What I’m looking forward to
Anything Bernard. Duh! I am interested to see what happened between him and Charlotte, where Strand will take it and if Maeve will ever find her daughter. I am also very much interested to the the other parks like Shogun world.
Knowing Jonathan Nolan I knew that nothing was going to be straightforward. The hosts weren’t just all going to be conscious and going to fight their way out. But, I didn’t see the whole watery grave thing at the lake coming.
I know that Nolan and Lisa Joy are excellent writers. But that whole “I have one more role to play, MYSELF!” – thing was kind of corny.
So, practically the entire board of Delos is in Westword, including William but still the people of Delos outside the park have the balls to not send help. They better hope that none of the big shots of the company make it out alive.