SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the Westworld Season 2 episode “Journey Into Night.” Proceed with caution.
Westworld Season 2 kicked off tonight with an all out human v. host war. Various points in time after the Season 1 finale were explored, including the immediate aftermath of Dolores’ shooting and up to at least a week afterwards. A new game also began for both The Man in Black and for Dolores’ group of hosts. Where will these games lead?
New storylines were also introduced for the Man in Black (Ed Harris), Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Teddy (James Marsden), Bernard (Thomas Wright) and Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), and Maeve (Thandie Newton), Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), and Lee (Simon Quarterman). There was a lot to process during that episode, but let’s take a look at two major themes: the new game and how the tables have turned from host to human.
The New Game
Season 1 concluded with Dolores solving the puzzle that Arnold left for her: the maze to self-consicousness. The Man in Black was frustrated with Ford that the Maze was never for him. However, when the Man in Black stumbled upon the host of Young Ford during this episode, the Man in Black was given a new game: “Congratulations,” the Young Ford host said, “this game is meant for you — find the door.”
“The door” is the tagline of the season. If Arnold’s maze for Dolores was her journey to humanity, what is Ford’s door for William? Is it a journey back to humanity? We’ve seen how the Westworld park causes humans to lose all sense of self and inflict harm on others, in a sense dehumanizing their hosts and even themselves. The Man in Black is a perfect example of this dehumanization.
When he first entered the park he was loyal, honorable and valued all life, including host life. The longer he spent in the park, the more ruthless he became. Perhaps when he finds the door, his value for life will be restored. If he can find his own humanity again, perhaps that means that the hosts, who were subjected to such violence in the park, could also have their own humanity restored.
Dolores and Teddy are also on a journey of exploration. They are looking for something called “the valley beyond”. Interestingly, Dolores doesn’t believe all of the hosts are meant to find that valley. Does she know who is conscious and who is not?
How the Tables Turned
During Season 1, the hosts were constantly naked. They were shot, beat, and killed daily. Their bodies were thrown into glass rooms to be hosed down, cleaned, and reprogrammed for another day. Now the humans in the park get to experience this. Dolores killed many real people during this episode. Human bodies were laid out all over the park and the Delos center. Maeve even had programer Lee Sizemore strip down completely naked.
Everything that the hosts were subject to in Season 1, the human will now be subjected to. While Lee was not thrilled to de-robe in front of Maeve and Hector, the Man in Black was thrilled that he could now experience the full steaks of life and death in the park. While Lee told Maeve that he couldn’t even make a fire, the Man in Black was fully prepared to hunt, find water and live off the land. In a way, the Man in Black had been preparing for this moment his entire life.
Lee and Charlotte, however, are not prepared to live in the wild. Nor are they prepared to die. Bernard, however is a host living as a human, so the stakes are almost double for him. He is forced to live between both worlds. Will he be discovered? Is there a reason Charlotte was not with him during the time jump when Stubbs found him? We’ll have to watch and see.
Westworld is currently airing on HBO Sundays at 9PM.