Warning: finishing spoilers for season 1 of Westworld ahead.
All Over its debut season, HBO ’s technological know-how fiction drama Westworld was in addition-known for its storytelling style as for the actual tale. the primary season was once a puzzle box, using enhancing and narrative misdirection to provide the initial impact that it was once a conventional tv display with multiple plot threads taking place concurrently. As An Alternative, the first season of Westworld spanned decades, with multiple timelines, some as a lot as 30 years aside, intercut with each other. It performed off the idea that its robot host characters lived their lives in a sequence of often-similar loops, and audiences slowly unraveled the structural mystery over the course of the season. Eventually, we realized that William (Jimmi Simpson) and the man in Black (Ed Harris) have been the same individual, at the same time as Jeffrey Wright was once enjoying no longer one, however characters: park co-writer Arnold Weber, and a humanoid-robot host named Bernard Lowe.
Looking To tackle the display ’s mysteries became a separate type of leisure, with many of Westworld ’s greatest finds guessed upfront by way of hyper-engaged fanatics. So while series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Pleasure announced a drastic plan to minimize theorizing and spoiler culture — it ended up being an problematic Rickroll, which was once a little disappointing considering the other attainable outcomes — it gave the impression of a sign that the display ’s 2d season would take the same means, using filmmaking sleight of hand to create a show reliant on dramatic unearths and mystery surprises.
However in the first half Westworld ’s second season, Nolan and Pleasure appear to have taken the opposite tack. The 5 episodes provided for critics continue to include the display ’s non-linear structure, however in some way that ’s out there and easy to know. The emphasis isn ’t on misdirection this yr; it ’s on characters and motivations, and the incredible effects of protecting sentient beings on a leash for decades. If the show ’s first 12 months explored the definition of what it intended to be “alive,” Westworld ’s 2d season seems motive on exploring what it means to really feel — for higher and worse.
Regardless Of the amendment in emphasis, finding the twists and turns of a show like Westworld is part of the fun, so let ’s lay down a few flooring regulations: this assessment will not include any spoilers, secrets and techniques, finds, or revelations that aren ’t already featured within the pre-unencumber trailers. (We ’ll dive into the intricacies and main points of person episodes after the series begins airing on April 22nd.)
the first episode, “Adventure Into Night,” alternatives up in the aftermath of the slaughter that ended the primary season. Contributors of the Delos, Inc. board had been killed, the hosts have loose will and are running amok, and safety forces were deployed to take care of the location. The motion barrels forward from there as if the display had by no means been gone.
Season 2 assumes audience already understand more than one timelines are part of the display ’s DNA
At The Same Time As that can be thought to be the “A” storyline, Westworld doesn ’t lean away from the fractured narratives it deployed in its first season. It embraces that technique even more difficult, but the display ’s writers seem to remember the fact that the big switcheroo can ’t be pulled off twice. As An Alternative, season 2 assumes audience already realize that multiple timelines are part of the show ’s DNA, and uses the structural trick to cover decades of story, diving into perspectives and events that have been never even hinted at in the preliminary season. At no element does it appear to be used as misdirection, either. at the opposite, the display makes a consistent point of setting up connective tissue throughout every timeline so audience can nearly always ensure of when and where they’re. It doesn ’t play as a dumbed-down version of the display, on the other hand. It performs as a chain that ’s confident in its characters and doesn ’t wish to depend on trickery to keep the target market interested.
There are times where dropping that patina of by no means-finishing thriller hurts the narrative. While it ’s by no means transparent while or the place something is occurring, there ’s a perpetual protection web in position. If a scene falls flat or an episode feels lengthy, it ’s easy to imagine it is going to work whilst revisited inside the context of the overall monitor. That boost is missing here, and in a couple of stretches where a prominent personality is decreased to an exposition supply car, the display begins to feel clunky as opposed to swish and delicate.
Photo by means of John P. Johnson / HBO Bloodier and extra violent — but the violence after all has real stakes
But those moments are the exception rather than the guideline. the new season starts off rapid, and for the most phase, it actions with sufficient quick, ruthless efficiency to maintain viewers off their shield. the similar is going for its motion sequences. It was glaring from the end of remaining season that the Westworld park was once approximately to turn into a battlefield for a whole-fledged struggle, and that ’s evident in each altercation. It ’s bloodier and extra violent, yes, but more importantly, the brand new stakes in play make that violence feel earned in a way that the first season ’s bloodshed incessantly didn ’t. Up To Now, violence in the Westworld park was gratuitous via layout: there were no outcomes to harming hosts, and humans couldn ’t be hurt in any respect. With the vintage rules of the park undone, that ’s not precise, and the fights have extra that means when they may spell the end of a favorite personality.
Any Other big tease from season 1 used to be the existence of several further worlds, with the display ’s viral marketing campaign not too long ago revealing that Delos owns six other parks. The season 1 finale took the first steps into Shogun Global, and in season 2, the display visually embraces the opportunity to move outdoor its previous Vintage West confines. In a up to date Reddit AMA, Nolan found out that this season hired different photographic ways to present new areas their own unique look and feel. It ’s an way used steadily in initiatives like Sport of Thrones, the place savvy viewers could also be capable of wager what part of Westeros they ’re in simply by noticing how blue or yellow a given scene is. As Westworld begins taking good thing about a broader canvas, that ’s simplest going to become extra necessary. In season 2, the clean delineation in visual design between worlds adds to the experience that the brand new season is assumed through, and designed to assist audiences keep observe of where they’re.
Photo by way of John P. Johnson / HBO
in conjunction with the introduced scope, Westworld also starts stretching its legs in a wholly different manner: humor. there have been at all times funny moments in the show, on a regular basis centered across the hubris of Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the park ’s head of narrative. within the 2d season, the display has even more fun exploring the absurdity of the entire thing — an enormous international supplier creating manufactured want-achievement narratives that just a coddled 1 % of the inhabitants will ever have the opportunity to experience. One specific collection in episode FIVE is simply flat-out hilarious, and it provides nearly each department a chance to pitch in, with composer Ramin Djawadi offering perhaps the funniest contribution.
However a lot of these parts — the amendment in scope, the more available storytelling, the infusion of not likely comedy — accomplish one thing exceptionally else: they preserve the focal point on the emotional journeys of the display ’s characters. The season 1 finale features huge non-public upheavals. Bernard is newly conscious that he isn ’t human. Dolores (Evan Rachel Picket) is keen to seek vengeance towards her former captors. Maeve (Thandie Newton) fully realizes that she ’s a number, however is on the other hand pressured through her emotional connection to her daughter. The Man in Black is in spite of everything facing his dream of residing in an international with stakes. The collection choices up on each and every of those threads and takes them in directions that turn out to be increasingly more surprising as the episodes go on. And that latter point might be the most striking thing approximately the primary 5 episodes of the new season.
Smartly self-awareness, hosts are after all loose to outline themselves — and the effects aren ’t at all times easy to watch
In season 1, it used to be easy to take a position emotionally in Dolores as a result of her tale was once one in all self-awareness and liberation and studying that she could take regulate of her destiny. It didn ’t harm that her journey from victim to self-possessed vengeance seeker is a well-known narrative trope, but the show ’s subject matters of actualization and empowerment however feel well timed: the primary characters leading the fee for recognition are ladies, and their enemies are often sputtering, ineffectual males that see the hosts as gadgets and toys. The fury some audience felt toward Anthony Hopkins ’ Dr. Ford, Delos the company, and all the Westworld infrastructure felt justified and self-righteous as it was rooted in real issues and present headlines. But in the 2d season, liberation is purely the first step. With self-awareness, the characters are after all loose to outline themselves, and their choices aren ’t at all times simple to observe, or empathetic. actually, watching the second season can from time to time feel like moving into the sneakers of the hosts themselves, and having a few very basic assumptions about the nature of the world and its characters ripped out from beneath you.
Photo by means of John P. Johnson / HBO
Whether Or Not human or host, everyone in Westworld is emotionally crippled in one way or any other, looking to fill some gaping hollow of their psyche. to hear the people inform it, the wonder of the park is that it permits other people to discover who they honestly are, outside the bounds of convention and social niceties. That ’s all real — however the second season proves that the same considerations practice to the hosts as well. After many years of being manipulated and held captive, some hosts would possibly really feel the liberty to transform vengeance-searching for warmongers; others may seek a trail of extra private success. But across the board, the thread that connects each people and hosts in these episodes is the perception of emotional evolution.
If the second season ends up following the development of the primary, the back part will take the display in radical new directions. (The climax of episode five particularly means that ’s most probably.) However what’s abundantly transparent from the primary half the season is that this year, Westworld isn’t about artificial intelligence or the character of reality. It ’s in the long run a study of amendment — and how our private weaknesses, and the obstacles we face, regulate us and push us in directions lets never fathom. Being pre-programmed to run on a chosen narrative loop is a technique to be trapped, but being caught in an actual-international state of affairs that compels you towards an inevitable conclusion isn ’t much better.
Westworld season 2 premieres on HBO on April twenty second.