While Westworld co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy joked they'd spoil the season before it premiered on April 22, there was no suspicion or whispers about the big reveal at the end of episode 2. Charlotte tried to smuggled it out the park using the host Peter Abernathy, who is also the park's insurance plan (though we still don't know exactly what that means). Sixteen months between seasons has been well worth the wait.
From the beginning, Westworld has interrogated our oh-so human tendency to play god, but that symbolism becomes literal in episode 2.
And suddenly Dolores stops looking like a person and starts looking like an automaton-the Westworld equivalent of one of those nameless video-game characters who stands around in a town, parroting the same line of dialogue over and over again.
Anthony Hopkins makes an appearance, Arnold tells Ford that Dolores is not ready, and Ford suggests that he's too attached to her. Teddy asks Dolores after she shows him that he is programmed and not even a human being. Delores and her ilk are being used to convince Logan Delos (Ben Barnes) to invest his father's money in their project. Did she hear everything and take in what they were saying? His reaction helps explain why the real world looks only mildly futuristic.
We have learned, however, what the tip of the iceberg looks like at the core of the park. Robert and Arnold's technology is so advanced, the rest of the world hasn't caught up yet. The second episode of season two laid the foundation for everything we should expect from the show.
The name of the initial "Park" project is revealed in this episode, along with some backstory. The answer is not all that unfamiliar, especially if you've been paying attention to the news about a certain social-media giant. For the guests, the Westworld park is a chance to act out. This week, we get to see how the Delos mansion scene came together. William points out that Westworld presents a unique opportunity: "In 20 years, this will be the only reality that matters".
Pardon the skepticism, but few things are what they seem in Westworld.
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William's pitch succeeds, and Logan is destroyed. He's now a junkie, but a particularly wise one, spewing nonsense at Dolores that might just predict a robot revolution. How long this character knew William is unknown. "And if you don't see the business in that, then you're not the businessman I thought you were". Westworld's second season has followed this same path to success, at least so far.
Writer/producer Carly Wray points out that James Delos is "ailing" (you can tell because he coughs once, which is a guaranteed death sentence in any movie or TV show), and that "there is something they are working on to fix that ailment".
- Arnold and Ford prepare to open the park with a series of beta tests as more hosts are brought online. The scene they witness is a familiar one in Sweetwater as Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) drops a can of milk onto the ground. Maeve: "Revenge is just a different prayer at their altar, darling". After a tense stand-off Dolores lets them pass without killing them. Now they're on her side. He takes several hosts to bed and when Angela wakes up, Dolores is watching her. Is she not controlling the Confederados without their consent, the same way the humans were, by turning them off and on at her whim? That place, she says, was shown to her by an old friend, and "it's not a place". And it seems that "The Door" - whatever it may be - is in the same place as the Valley Beyond. And she's not the only one headed there.
At (seemingly) the same time, the Man in Black (Ed Harris) finds Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) in his poaching storyline, and saves him so he can conscript him for his own uses. Except with Westworld, it's sometimes hard not to feel impatient, to just wish that the writers would just get on with it rather than trying to keep the audience removed from the show's greater mysteries until they are finally solved.
MIB and Lawrence head to Pariah, and moments after entering the town, they are surrounded by El Lazlo and his men.
Why, it was surprise guest star Giancarlo Esposito of course, best known for his role as drugs kingpin Gus Fring in Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul. And in "Reunion", we see how William's takeover has played out. Is it possible that MIB has practiced some self-reflection? That would be Westworld's true miracle.