‘Westworld’ returns with second season

Series continues answering questions after the first outing

Season 2 of the sci-fi fantasy series “Westworld,” subtitled “The Door,” picks up right where the first season ended. Showrunners and writers Lisa Joy and Johnathan Nolan wasted no time after answering all the conspiracies and cliffhangers in Season 1.

Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), the founder and creative director of Westworld, is now dead thanks to the gun of Dolores Abernathy, played by Evan Rachel Wood. Dolores is one of the oldest hosts in Westworld.

“Journey into Night,” the title for this episode, comes from the name of Ford’s new narrative he wanted to tell. At the start of the episode Dolores has massacred all of the humans the night before at the gala held in Ford’s honor. With the help of Theodore Flood, another one of the oldest hosts, she searches the park for the remaining human survivors. Teddy and Dolores’ romance was expounded upon in Season 1.

Ford’s villian for his new story (of course before he was shot) was named Wyatt, an outlaw in the fictional town of Sweetwater where Dolores lives.

As the episode moves steadily along Dolores finds a group of survivors from the gala and tells them she’s a new woman. It is revealed earlier that Ford built her long ago and in the process fused the Wyatt personality with hers. She has evolved immensely and has bigger plans for the survivors. After so long now she gets to play god and make her version of her story.

Elsewhere we find out that the Man in Black, played by Ed Harris, survived the massacre. After telling Dolores about her memories and narrative loop (being her husband, William), he is still traveling the far expanses of the park trying to find meaning. It came to light earlier in the series the Man in Black was the aged William (a younger William revealed to be flashbacks) who was a reluctant guest at Westworld.

Dr. Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) takes shelter with Charlotte Hale, the executive director of the corporation Delos in a secret Delos Bunker lab. The Delos Corporation runs Westworld and gave Ford funding for all his pet projects. Hale and Lowe are waiting for the cavalry to arrive.

Also we pick up immediately with another host, Maeve Millay, played by Thandie Newton. The entire team in Westworld facility has been murdered. There’s blood everywhere as Mauve is responsible with the help of Armistice and Hector, two other hosts who play different roles in Westworld. All systems in the facility are shut down as many of the hosts have escaped. They have been reprogrammed to hunt the humans. In effect the hosts have taken over in a fit of dramatic irony.

Maeve finds Lee Sizemore in all the mess and enlists his help so she can find her daughter (from a previous narrative in Westworld). Lee is the narrative director and he’s the one who writes all the stories for the theme park. Simon Quartermane is excellent in this role as he brings an intelligent persona and humor to the series.

There are numerous aspects to like about “Journey into Night” and the series as a whole. Nolan and Lisa Joy do an excellent job commentating about the complexities of the human mind (brief reminder of “Inception). The guests who go to Westworld are rich and can engage in whatever fantasy they like. Westworld shows these guests a reality without limits in anything — killing, sex orgies and rape if they so choose.

It was Ford’s dream and goal to discover the limits of consciousness. That was his goal in creating Dolores so she can find who she really is and attain god-like status. Lee says earlier in the series, “Our guests will get to know the character they’re most interested in, themselves.”

Ford takes value in human suffering because as he says that’s when you’re most real.

He knew the park Westworld was all a lie and that the maze meant nothing, but it’s all in how you tell the good lie. He plays God with his creations because the most divine invention is the brain. He had Dolores run on an endless loop repeatedly playing the same role because she needed to listen to her own voice. Ford knew that human beings would exploit the hosts so he designed a mechanism to protect them. Hopkins, Wood and Harris are wonderful, the music is spectacular, and Nolan and Joy take you on a journey to Westworld that you’ll never forget. The series abounds with questions about morality and death. Learn the reality of “Westworld” and it’s a fun experience.



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