Season 2, Episode 1: “Journey Into Night”
Directed by Richard J. Lewis
Written by Lisa Joy & Roberto Patino
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “The Bicameral Mind” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Reunion” – click here
Welcome back to Westworld. May I see your pass?
Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) and Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) chat about one of his dreams, about being at sea and seeing her + the park’s other hosts across the shore. They also discuss reality, or rather what can be real. Bernard sees the advanced state of Dolores and her artificial intelligence, wondering if she’ll take a dangerous path down the road somewhere.
And poor Bernard, we’ve seen him go directly through the rabbit hole on his own. He’s seen so much, been through so much. Now, he’s washing up on a real shore, not the one of his dreams. Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) and a team find him half conscious. He’s marked as high priority. So, they whisk him back to base elsewhere.
Lots of military-looking equipment, weaponry, and vehicles. There are hosts being executed on the beach, piled in a mass grave together. They’re on an island somewhere. A man called Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgård) is conducting operations after the host rebellion in the park, and he’s nasty piece of work. Strand takes Bernard and Stubbs with him, and they go out to take a look at the “mind” of an Indigenous host. An ironic, sad moment: they have to scalp the Indigenous warrior to look at his inner workings, just as other hosts; takes on a whole other meaning considering this host is a Native man. Here, it’s not just white men colonising, it’s humans in general. This is when they see the maze pattern on the underside of the skin. They get down to the mechanics, which allows them access to whatever files are inside. On a video, they see Dolores shoot the warrior down, speaking of the “valley beyond.” Now they’re all figuring out the hosts are capable of evolution, just like human beings.
“What is real?”
“That which is irreplaceable”
Bernard keeps remembering things. He saw the “new narrative” of the hosts emerging, as an unusual amount of violence overtook the park. He and Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) were hiding with others, as Rebus (Steven Ogg) and some other hosts went about terrorising. This left him with trying to get people to a safe place at a nearby outpost. But not without witnessing some more horrific humanity, all the while continually remembering himself as not quite human.
More of that old player piano. We get a classic that every little kid who ever learned to play piano was made to learn since the song was written: Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.” It keeps on playing while the rest of the machinery – the hosts – and park visitors lay dead around it. In the fields, Dolores hasn’t finished hunting, either. She’s making sure her autonomy is felt and fully realised by the human beings who’ve relegated her to a brutal existence. She’s out to show the humans there are consequences to reality, and your actions within it. Funny, how artificial intelligence is able to comprehend the ethical and moral questions wrapped up in their own existence more than the humans who made them in the first place.
And what of Bill, the Man in Black (Ed Harris)? He survived the big massacre. In the aftermath, he seeks his horse, but he stumbles onto more gunfire, hosts seeking their pound of flesh. He fights for his life, managing to kill two angry hosts. This guy’s journey is too important and vicious to end like that, right? He’s a survivor. Like a virus. Not to mention he’s got the park figured out mostly, which means he’s got a place where he keeps things stashed, somewhere to lay his head and regroup. Later on he discovers that he must find “The Door,” which could just be the ultimate purpose behind the park entirely. The game’s not over. Bill even kills young Robert after getting more info. Ruthless.
In the outside world, at the Westworld HQ, Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) is attacked in his office by a host he put into the park to “perish without purpose.” Doesn’t help this host is a cannibal. He’s interrupted by Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton). Lee tries ingratiating himself to her, hoping to seem useful. Maeve’s heading for Sector 15, where she once called home with her daughter, and she needs directions, especially after Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was changing the park’s landscape recently.
Maeve and Lee run into an armed team, so she pretends to be human. Of course more hosts show up, letting Maeve get her hands on a weapon to take out more of the men with guns. She also keeps Lee around, in case he proves to be worth it. Even if he was prepared to give her up. But I wouldn’t fuck with Maeve, no way. She eventually meets up Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) again, too.
More of Bernard’s memories. He and the group keep looking through the park. Some of them get killed after they run into hosts who are taking their revenge. Charlotte and Bernard get away alive, fleeing to an outpost. Charlotte connects to a computer so she can message outside. However, seems things aren’t quite right on her end. At the same time, Bernard watches some drones working on a host, and he figures out there’s information and DNA being extracted from the park’s visitors by Delos Incorporated.
In the desert, Teddy Flood (James Marsden) asks Dolores if she really wants all this horror. She does, because it means she has free will. Revenge to the end. Because humans have, essentially, robbed their human-like counterparts of autonomy, their lives, their minds and memories, and especially their BODIES. Dolores wants to take the world of human beings from the humans in retribution, even if Teddy’s not on board.
“I remember beautiful things, and terrible things.”
Charlotte needs Bernard to help her find a particular host: Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum), Dolores’s father. Hmm, I wonder what exactly Delos Inc. wants with him? And he’s “decommissioned,” as well. All the more strange. Yet he’s an old host, and the father of Dolores, so there’s significance somewhere. Meanwhile, Bernard has some kind of PTSD. Reconciling his various realities can’t be easy.
In current time, Strand and his operatives approach the saloon, where the big soiree massacre occurred. Bodies are littered in the streets. Ford’s decomposing corpse still lies onstage. Strand needs to figure out what actually went on. This takes them to the edge of a lake where they find a dead Bengal tiger. Stubbs mentions there are Bengals “in Park 6,” but there’s never been one to “cross borders.” Exactly how many parks does Delos Inc. run? And what types of parks? Wonder if we’ll get any more on that throughout the series; could be interesting.
But Strand’s people find more, such as the emergence of a sea beyond the body of water, stretching out past the horizon. Was it Ford who did this, and does anybody else know? They also find a massive amount of dead hosts out in the water floating, washing up on shore. Bernard is left to see what he’s been a part of, albeit unwillingly most of his robotic life.
Just a killer opening for Season 2! I personally loved Season 1, though I get why others didn’t dig everything, or why they felt it was too jam packed. Hopefully this season is going to elaborate on a few specific aspects that are most interesting, namely a continuance of the moral questions surrounding the host technology, the rebellion (which is awesomely led by women), and Maeve.
“Reunion” is next time.