It feels like too much time passed between the epic cliffhanger of a season finale for Westworld Season 1, when we saw Westworld park creator Robert Ford get murdered by a now-sentient park host Dolores, an act that instigated an entire host uprising. With the park and the many characters in it in total disarray — and all the questions still yet to be answered — Season 2 couldn’t have come at a better time.
Lots of fan-favorite characters have come back for Season 2, including Dolores, Teddy, Maeve, Bernard, Stubbs and William (aka the Man in Black). But there are also plenty of new faces, like one of the head honchos for Delos, Karl Strand (keep an eye on this guy). Season 2 was thrilling, no doubt, and with a growing perspective on just how big this theme park is and the mystery set out at the beginning of the episode when Bernard is trying to piece together what happened in the aftermath of the uprising, there’s a lot to unpack.
But for now, what we’re concerned with are some of the more overlooked moments from the Season 2 premiere — moments you might have missed, written off or had a feeling might actually be important, but weren’t sure how.
SPOILERS: Stop reading now to avoid spoilers about the Westworld Season 2 premiere.
1. The opening credits have some new touches
The Season 2 opening credits feature some interesting new imagery. Along with some of the older animated sequences that feature machines creating musical strings and connective tissue for the hosts, three particularly intriguing motifs have come up. The first is a bison, first seen with the machines as it’s being created. Later, we see it falling through the air as if it ran over the edge of a building. This could be a nod to the reveal and subsequent mystery later in the premiere episode that the host animals are crossing park lines, as was the case with the tiger that was found in Westworld.
The next image was a mother host and child host in the center of a couple of machines as they are created and brought to life. They’re seen again, standing free of the machines. Are the hosts not only breaking free of their mechanical confines but also going on to create more hosts just like them?
The final image is the most open-ended: a black hat falling through the air. The end of evil, perhaps?
2. Time jumps are crucial, so pay attention
It looks like we begin at the end, with Bernard waking up on the beach at Delos (the company that owns Westworld and by extension the island it sits on). Bernard is saved from being executed by Stubbs, who brings him to Karl Strand, part of Delos’ management in charge of figuring out what happened on the beach. From there, we know we’re going to be working our way back in time, piecing together what happened in the two weeks (in Westworld time) between the events of the Season 1 finale and Season 2’s premiere. Skipping around in Bernard’s memories, we hit on key moments we’ve seen teased for Season 2 following his opening conversation with Dolores. Time is not our friend here, and nothing will be linear.
3. Bernard’s in trouble… or is he?
Bernard, are you OK, hun? Because that fluid leaking from your ear makes us think you might be falling apart.
We saw Bernard’s health issues begin as we rejoin him in the hours immediately after Dolores shoots Ford and the hosts begin gunning down the Delos gala guests. While hiding in the stable with Delos board member Charlotte Hale, an opaque white fluid begins to leak from Bernard’s ear, and it looks like it’s the fluid that keeps his brain functions intact.
With Bernard fighting to keep it together as he and Charlotte track down a missing host, it’s safe to say those time jumps could be related to Bernard’s malfunctions and his subsequent attempts to understand just how integral he was to killing multiple hosts and perhaps affect the course of the host uprising.
4. The hosts are truly in control
As William rightly notes in the premiere, the stakes are real this time. With the humans unable to control the hosts, much less repair them and care for them, whenever someone is killed, that’s it. Game over. It would appear the only real control here remains in the hands of the hosts, as we see when Maeve saves Lee Sizemore from being killed by a deranged host and when she speaks with a host dressed as a sheriff, directing his attention to Delos guards in pursuit. If this keeps up, you’ll want to keep an eye on how the hosts behave with one another, because if they are the only ones who can “control” each other and override the commands of humans, then they might be way more sentient that we realize, which could have huge implications going forward.
5. This park has more secrets than you know
As a theme park, Westworld is full of secrets — more than we could have ever fathomed. Two key hiding spots were revealed in the Season 2 premiere, and they tell us a lot about the characters who can access them. The first was William’s cabin, complete with his faithful steed waiting for him outside. While we didn’t get a good look around the cabin, it was clear William knew his way around there and even kept a spare set of clothes in a trunk. Perhaps William’s love of and borderline obsession with Westworld runs deeper than we know — to the point he’s become a literal resident of the park without anyone knowing.
The second key hiding spot that could create a whole new set of questions is the secret Delos-operated outpost Charlotte Hale led Bernard to. There, it’s revealed that Delos has drone hosts working on their peers, extracting guest DNA (that answers one question we had about where the “fruits” of all those romantic trysts guests have with hosts end up) and patching up other hosts. Bernard is clearly troubled by this secret hiding spot, but it reveals that Delos might be up to some far more sinister things that could justify the hosts rising up against their creators.
6. Ford begins a new game
William came across the younger host version of Ford late in the episode. The young Ford reveals to William that the real Ford created a new game William can play (much to his chagrin). The game involves William “finding the door” out of the park because getting out is just as difficult as getting in. Yeah, that’s totally not ominous whatsoever and definitely doesn’t leave us wondering if William is going to die attempting to unlock the mysteries of Westworld. Nope, not at all.
These are just a few of the moments that really grabbed our attention and refused to let go, but as is often the case with Westworld, if you’re busy looking at one piece of the puzzle, you might miss out on another key piece. We can’t wait to see what future Season 2 episodes have in store, but we might need to re-watch the Season 2 premiere until then just to make sure we have a good grasp on it.