Are you ready to return to Westworld? Because I sure as heck am not ready at all, and yet I can’t help but get all kinds of excited for the Season 2 premiere (happening April 22 on HBO, by the way) — a feeling that was renewed upon first viewing the official Season 2 trailer. It’s been a good, long while since we were all in the Westworld flow last, and with details about the upcoming season having been kept under lock and key fairly well since production began, it’s fair to say that many of us have been jonesing for a Westworld fix for quite some time. And now, luckily, we’ve got it.
There’s a lot to unpack in the official Season 2 trailer, though, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve watched it enough times. The show’s creators, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, love to pepper in clues that help reveal deeper layers of meaning in this show. This is already something we saw them do with a sinister animated poster that was released a week ago, showing a desert landscape with a robotic bird guarding a black hat that has blood seeping out of it. But, as Refinery29 figured out, when you paused the image at exactly the right moment, it revealed a hexadecimal code that turned out to be the address for Discover Westworld: Find the Door, which seemed to tease the upcoming journey faced by the hosts trying to escape out into the real world.
Now, the bloodshed, death and finding a way out of the maze (another image that ran rampant in Season 1) have resurfaced along with a ton of other goods in the Season 2 trailer. It opens with Bernard sitting with Dolores, discussing a dream Bernard had where he ends up washed on shore, away from the other hosts. “Were you with us?” Dolores asks, to which Bernard replies, “No.” Then, trying to explain it away, he says, “Dreams don’t mean anything, Dolores.”
The Westworld Season 2 trailer makes clear that Bernard and Dolores will likely be fundamentally opposed, with Dolores apparently leading the rebellion of the Westworld hosts against their human creators. And while Bernard seems to go readily with the humans as they try to track down and suppress the hosts (who are clearly in a state of anger and revolt, earning their consciousness and thus demanding their freedom), Dolores is fighting back. She is no longer a demure host playing a part. She is shooting at the enemy, taking prisoners and reassuring Teddy that this is exactly what she wants to do.
And it’s through Dolores that we get the first couple of hints that Westworld Season 2 is going to be so, so much bigger in scope. We see Dolores in a library, surrounded by books and examining what they hold. Could she be in the now-deceased Ford’s library? How has she gotten here?
There’s also another moment of note: the younger Man in Black (played by Jimmi Simpson) is in one of the programming rooms with Dolores. It looks like he’s back in his regular clothes, and the look on his face is a bit ominous. His approach feels confrontational, and with Dolores naked and presumably still in compliant host mode, it looks like we might get even more backstory explaining how the Man in Black became the dastardly villain he is in the present day and why he has such a complex relationship with Dolores.
Dolores isn’t the only one who gets some prime time in the Season 2 trailer. Maeve is also a major player, and it looks like she is stepping up into a leadership role as well. While Maeve and Dolores seem to face off at one point, making it harder to tell whether they’re going to help or hinder one another, we can tell for certain that Maeve is a determined woman this time around. Determined to find her daughter, determined to escape Westworld, determined to enact some kind of master plan to bring it all crashing to the ground.
Oh, and speaking of a master plan, it looks like we’ll actually get to go to Shogun World in Season 2 through Maeve’s storyline. We got some glimpses of the other world at the end of Season 1, and now it seems like we’ll get to find out how vast this world of robot hosts in fantasy lands really is.
Some other small details that deserve a little bit of focus: At one point we see Charlotte in a room with multiple Bernards. What the heck is happening there? Why do we have multiple iterations of the same replica of Westworld’s creator?
We also get a better look at Dolores outside of Westworld, although it’s not exactly clear how she makes it out of the park. She might be taken out by the Man in Black, because those same lavish settings we see her in have the same feel of the hallway that the Man in Black is walking down. However, this makes me wonder whether we’re being tricked into thinking present-day Dolores escapes the park when it’s really some kind of flashback to a time when Dolores temporarily left with the Man in Black (while he was still pretty smitten with her) and spent some time in the real world before being sent back. Keep an eye on that.
“Up until now, the stakes were never real,” the Man in Black says at one point in the trailer, when it’s not clear which host he’s addressing. “But now, you and the rest of your kind are free.” With that freedom comes a major shift in the balance of power in Westworld. The hosts have freedom on their minds and the humans have suppression on theirs. It’s going to get dicey as we go deeper into the Westworld maze and see how things go. So, I’ll ask you again: Are you ready to return to Westworld?