Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't seen the entirety of Westworld Season 1.
On Sunday night, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy brought an early Christmas present to HBO viewers with the slam-bang of a finale for Westworld's freshman season. It was as if they'd made a host out of Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel, as the narrative was turned up to 11, and fans were led to expect complete chaos to come from Season 2. Nolan, no longer the secret-keeper he was ahead of the sci-fi drama's release, further explained it as a big change coming to the second batch of brain-squeezing episodes.
The first season was about a theme park. Now it's about a very, very dangerous environment. The fantasy has become reality. The gloves have come off. The guests can be hurt, killed, they're locked in with the hosts. The stakes have risen dramatically. Should be a lot of fun.
It could technically still be a theme park if the specific theme is "fucking humanity up, ya heard?" But Jonathan Nolan's point is taken. No amusement is to be had for humans in the upcoming season of Westworld, at least not the ones who spent most of their time putting hosts through all manner of hellish debauchery. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking Sylvester is going to be a confederate to the hosts as Robert Ford's new and extremely dangerous narrative hits its stride.
It makes complete sense that Westworld would almost need to take a striking shift in story direction for Season 2, considering the finale left most of the main characters in a place where few of Season 1's machinations could be used logically. Now that Delores' has completed her memory recollection and realized her inner Wyatt-ness, all of which cemented William's identity as The Man in Black, William's story doesn't need to go on, though other elements from that timeline will likely be used. As well, Maeve's current state of sentience and our knowledge of the Delos labs means none of those elements necessarily need to return either. Especially not if everything is going to hell in an early host model handbasket on the outside.
So many characters' fates are up in the air, from Ford himself - consider the possibilities of Anthony Hopkins' genius creating a host version of himself to carry out that horrifying assisted suicide - to the long-gone Elsie - she could still be alive, thanks to new clues on one of the show's websites. And there are plenty of other answers left to come about everything we've seen thus far. But the main thrust of Season 2 is going to center on what could very well be one of the more intriguing rebellions in science fiction, with Westworld's hosts no longer bound by the programmed morals that held them back from mutilating people so many times in its first year. Present Day William should invest in a bulletproof and hatchet-proof vest.
Westworld was easily one of the best new shows of the year - see where we ranked it - but it sadly won't be back in front of our totally human and not factory-built eyeballs until either late 2017 or 2018, so we'll have to keep those Season 2 discussions extremely fruitful for the near future. And while we're waiting check out our midseason premiere schedule to see everything the small screen has coming in early 2017.