Westworld S2 Ep 2: Reunion

Welcome to the highly belated second of our weekly Westworld S2 Ep recaps! (To stay in a very present mindset of analysis, I wrote this up before viewing Ep. 3.) I’ll be taking a look at each week’s episode (usually much closer to broadcast) as they come out, and then turning the conversation over to all of us as a collective project in the comments. SPOILERS AHOY!

WESTWORLD EP 2.2: Reunion

Let’s recap the highlights first, focusing on individual character threads, as the temporalities continue to be presented in tricky ways:

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) flashed back to a time before the park opened, when she and Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) are in a big city for what appears to be a showcase for investors. Arnold takes her to the house he is having built there, and vetoes her inclusion in the demonstration to Ford, citing her lack of readiness. In (what appears to be) a flashback for Logan (Ben Barnes) of the same trip, he is taken to a showcase (with some familiar faces, such as Clementine and Angela): a sleek and wealthy party where he discovers to his astonishment that all of the guests but he are hosts, responding to the reveal of the technology with deep disquiet, “We’re not here yet. Nobody is.”

In the operations center of the park, shortly into the immediate aftermath of the massacre, Dolores introduces Teddy (James Marsden) to his past, and his many, many deaths at the hands of park guests. After interrogating the security personnel present, about what the park will do to contain the hosts, she forces the techs to revive a specific dead host as a bargaining chip to use with The Confederados to help them get to Glory.

The Man In Black/William (Ed Harris), is also seeking Glory, in an apparent continuation of his post-massacre journey from the previous ep, and enjoys his first real brush with death in the park as he rescues Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) to aid him with this goal. They find El Lazo (Giancarlo Esposito) in Pariah, but he refuses to help them, seemingly delivering another message from Ford for William (that he must find the game alone), before ordering all of his men to kill themselves rather than help him.

In the past, we see William convince his father-in-law, Delos (Peter Mullan) of the park’s value in the data that can be harvested from its patrons. We also see a fancy bash hosted by William where Delores is present to play the piano for the guests. She interacts with Logan, who, though taking drugs and avoiding the party, seems to find mordant humor in telling her they’re celebrating the beginning of the end of the species. At an unknown later date, we see William belittle and sneer at a naked Dolores in the operations center, then take her to see a mysterious operation in the park. In the “present tense” of this episode, she tells Teddy that she knows where there’s a weapon hidden in the park, and these moments appear to be connected.

Maeve (Thandie Newton) continues to seek her daughter, with Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) in tow, and they cross paths with Dolores and Teddy. Their encounter is tense, with Maeve taking no interest in Dolores’s plans of revenge, and they warily part ways at the conclusion.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season: Analysis

The call-and response continues, with humans uttering the lines of the hosts and vice-versa, and featuring a recurring refrain of “it’s in your nature” in very different contexts. We get the bombshell of a first strong hint at what the secret purpose of the park is–Hale hinted at data collection in 2.1, but this is an explicit confirmation and elaboration. The question has now been raised–is this merely the sinister “big data” of our era, or something even worse? But I suspect the biggest revelation is Logan’s shock that the technology for the park exists, allowing the timeline to shift closer to our own moment than originally realized, and adding all the storytelling implications of a technological leap that catches most of the world unawares. This was an interesting bit of character development for Logan, who was broadly and unnotably debauched in what we saw of him in S1, but may be revealing hidden depths as William usurps him in his family and the business, and a nice performance by the actor.

Another continuing ambiguity is whether Ford is downloading himself into the hosts on a rolling basis, or simply leaving messages in their programming, to taunt William as he traverses the park. Whatever the specifics, it’s impressively personal, and it will be fascinating to watch this aspect play out.

Finally, are we heading for a larger conflict between Dolores and Maeve?

Where do you think this is all going? What happens next? What made no frakking sense to you? Let’s dig in, below!SaveSaveSave

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