Spoilers below for Westworld's Season 2 premiere, so be sure to watch before reading on.
With its long-awaited Season 2 premiere, Westworld blasted myriad holes through our expectations, somehow expanding exponentially upon its already dense web of morally challenged stories. Throughout the extended episode, many of our outstanding Season 1 questions were addressed (if not fully answered), and many more sprouted up from the drama's vast and mysterious landscape. Delores' central quest couldn't be questioned, since Evan Rachel Wood's stellar performance made it all sound perfectly reasonable, so that's not on here. But we still have lots of others, so join us in discussing several of them below.
What Is The Door?
Now that the stakes are real within Westworld, The Man in Black is finally getting the big adventure that he'd been looking for, with Robert's youthful A.I. host giving him a new big and enigmatic goal: to find The Door. We know from previous reports that Season 2 is unofficially being dubbed The Door by creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, while Season 1 was called The Maze. We also know there is probably a both a literal door and a metaphorical door at play here, but where is it, and what are the overall implications for that discovery?
If Robert conceived The Man in Black's new game alongside his more devious plan to gear the hosts up for a hostile takeover, do we then believe The Door is Robert's way of giving humanity one last shot at a redemptive victory? If Robert's ultimate goal was to protect the hosts through the rampant chaos that was coming, then why would he develop any other "game" for William, the park's true savior, if it isn't meant to as a loophole for William to be the hero anew? Possibly a distraction to throw him off Delores' path? That sounds about right, too.
How Many Timelines Are There?
"Is this now?" More relevant words have rarely been spoken on Westworld, and Jeffrey Wright is the perfect person to speak them, considering the actor can technically be around for each of the show's timelines as both Arnold and Bernard. The Present seems to currently feature Delos' militarized group tracking down Delores by following her gory trek for artificially intelligent freedom and justice. Timeline 2 is The Night Of The Massacre, in which viewers followed along with Bernard and Charlotte from a barn full of desperate dummies to beyond, as Delores and Teddy blazed their trail through the countryside, while Maeve used narrative director Lee within the labs.
But then we also know from the trailers that Jimmi Simpson's pre-MIB William and Ben Barnes' Logan will also be back, so we'll probably see more about the two men's investments in the park in the time after their Season 1 exploits. Will that be the only previous timeline, though? Or could we perhaps see more from Robert Ford's early days developing the park's attractions, perhaps alongside Bernard's human inspiration, Arnold? And then there are a dozen other timelines that could be used as well, I guess, so keep a close eye on continuity throughout the season.
How Much Does Bernard Know, And Who Knows About Bernard?
Bernard is first seen talking about dreams with Delores, and then he's waking up on a beach in a way that appeared much like that dream sounded. (And he later had that host liquid coming out of his ears, which doesn't bode well.) We're not quite sure how much Luke Hemsworth's Ashley and the others know about Bernard's origins -- they know he's "the boss" -- but the wise host's hand tremors are threatening to draw others' concern. But as we learned from his trip with Charlotte, Bernard isn't even fully on the up and up about everything within Delos and Westworld, or what's happening to his body.
Bernard does boast the human DNA necessary to reach the high-security locations, an interesting detail that speaks to Robert Ford's perfectionism. It's in these locations that Bernard discovers Charlotte and the other execs are tracking the guests' experiences, which cannot bode well for many people out there. I mean, if Delos has records of even just The Man in Black's deeds over the years, that could be very useful in provoking some of the more rage-filled hosts. So Bernard knows this now, but will he use it? And how will his mental debilitations and time slippages affect his abilities?
Is Teddy Already Dead With The Others?
The story ends with Delores and Teddy, at least according to Delores. (Or Wyatt, I guess.) But as we saw in the season premiere, Teddy's story might already be over in terms of the Present Day storyline. There's every conceivable possibility that it wasn't actually James Marsden's ropin' and ridin' Teddy under the water with all the other hosts that were killed, but it certainly looked like him. And some subtle seeds were planted to make viewers think that Teddy and Delores were heading for troublesome territories.
For one, Teddy always seems to be less than pumped about going off and murdering everything in Delores' path, and though it's easy to believe that she would have many different ways of convincing him that her way is the only way, perhaps Teddy's programming just wouldn't allow for him to turn into a total villain. I hardly think Delores would keep him around solely for emotional gratification's sake, and he didn't seem to be nearby in the native host's final recording, so we might get to watch the couple's big divide through the season. Of course, Bernard said that he killed them, for what that's worth. And because this is Westworld, it's even possible that Teddy and/or the other hosts floating around are just playing dead in order to draw the security team out.
What's In Park 6?
Near the end of the episode, before Bernard and the security team discovered all the hosts floating in the unfamiliar waterway, they discovered a Bengal tiger had washed up on the shore. Ashley remarked that it came from Park 6, and that those kinds of cross-park transgressions are abnormal. (Naturally.) We've known for a while now that the TV show would introduce more of Delos' parks, with Shogun World being the first one announced, so could this be Season 2's first big hint of one other vast world of influential beings out there?
Bengal tigers are most common to southern Asia, and even though they weren't exactly seen all over feudal Japan, it would at least make some sense if the tiger came from a park with a form of Asian persuasion. Especially since it was revealed that Westworld appears to be set on an island off the coast of Asia, since the land Delos purchased was once part of China. We previously learned from the show's website that there were a total of six parks within this system, so unless Westworld reveals that Park 6 is actually a world full of Las Vegas stage magicians who use Bengal tigers as part of their acts, then our money is on that decrepit tiger corpse being morbid foreshadowing for Shogun World
What's Up With The Ghost Nation Host's Scalp?
Whenever the security team stumbled upon the Ghost Nation host that Delores put down, viewers got to watch Westworld deliver a scalping on the highest order of cultural discomfort. But the human characters were taken aback a bit by the fact that the inside of the host's skull cap contained an image of the Maze that drove Season 1's narrative. (It was the same image found within the skull of Season 1's Kissy.) So was that merely a callback to the noteworthy imagery that Robert based on a childhood toy, or are there deeper meanings to be drawn?
Delores has already seemingly conquered the Maze, having tapped into her "true nature," which means it's quite possible that all of Delores' most recent host victims also feature the Maze visuals inside their craniums. Perhaps sacrificing them all was part of Robert's overall test of her willpower. I'm willing to bet Delores would ace any and all test sections that include "murdering the bejesus out of everyone."
Why Does Corporate Want Peter Abernathy?
As we learned from Charlotte's communication with Delos, the bigwigs were refusing to initially send help without those inside securing a host, which seemed weird. And the intrigue factor went up tenfold when it was revealed that Peter Abernathy, Delores' Sweetwater father-host, was the host they're looking to track down. The last time we caught up with Peter -- we're talking about Louis Herthum's version, and not Bradford Tatum's revised version -- Charlotte discovered his lobotomized "corpse," and followed that up by uploading decades worth of information into his brain, with the goal of putting him on the train out of Westworld.
So we have a general idea of why the corporate folks are looking for Peter, since he's presumably got all manner of salacious data in his head, but we're not sure what anyone's specific motivations are. As well as why his retrieval is the lone make-or-break element in Delos sending help to whatever humans are still alive inside the park, which seems like a monstrous instance of bureaucracy. Considering the security team got there a full eleven days after the massacre, though, bringing Peter in apparently took longer than anyone might have hoped. All those dead hosts were possibly a good demonstration of how well that mesh-network works, at least, so finding Peter should be easy.
Is Maeve's "Daughter" Actually Still Out There?
While it's easy to pinpoint why certain Westworld characters are doing things, Maeve's story is still something of a heartbreaking mystery, as her sentience is largely tied to her inorganic memories of having a daughter. As well as the memory of the Man in Black killing said daughter. So her main goal is to be reconnected with an offspring that couldn't have physically come from her, which makes for one of Westworld's most truly confounding plots. And because that idea didn't get rebooted or revised in Season 2, we have to wonder if her daughter is actually out there, and how their reunion will matter in the long run.
Viewers were clued in on the potential whereabouts of Maeve's daughter when Felix gave her a note that indicated Park 1 was where the daughter could be found, which is what kept her from trying to actually leave the park at the end of Season 1. So Delos is obviously using the same host form, but could that daughter have also been programmed to retain memories about Maeve? That's the only thing I can think of that would make this journey worthy of Maeve's full attention, though Thandie Newton could bring emotional heft to any narrative she's engaged in, so I bet it will work regardless.
We've definitely got other questions floating around in our heads, such as how magnificently that security team is going to fail as the season goes on. And whether or not that wolf that crossed the Man in Black's path was real, or even from the same park. Also, how long is it going to be before one of Delos' new host prototypes rips someone into pieces?