The season 1 finale of Westworld was shockingly badass to say the very least, and while there were certain payoffs to various storylines that had been building throughout the first 10 episodes, it also raised a bunch of questions as to just where exactly the story will be heading in season 2. So, in anticipation of this weekend’s premiere episode on HBO, here’s a look at what we know so far about Westworld and what we’re hoping to see during this new season, which kicks off Sunday night at 9:00pm EST.
[SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen any of Westworld Season 1, the following does contain some spoilers, so you may want to catch up with the series first before reading on.]
Fresh Blood: While we haven’t seen them in action yet, Westworld expands its cast with six newcomers for season 2, including the always great Betty Gabriel (Get Out, and Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade, which arrives this summer), Jonathan Tucker (The Ruins, The Virgin Suicides), Fares Fares (Zero Dark Thirty, Tyrant), Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings, Darling), Katja Herbers (The Leftovers), and Neil Jackson (the Sleepy Hollow series, Quantum of Solace). Not a lot has been specifically revealed about their characters’ respective motivations, but in all the promo pics and footage we’ve seen in various trailers, they all appear (emphasis on "appear," because this is Westworld after all) to be human and part of the Delos corporation’s solution to the anarchy running amok in Westworld, putting them on the non-android side of potential future conflicts. Will they all make it out of the second season? Only time will tell.
Dolores’ Violent Delights: The first season of Westworld saw Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores (the oldest host still working in the park) hit a full state of consciousness once she was able to put together all the pieces of her own personal puzzle, which included her remembering some of the acts of violence she had committed in her prior iterations. This state of sentience came with a hefty price tag attached for Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), although it seems like from what we’ve seen of his secretive actions, he’d been planning for this moment all along. But now that Dolores knows just exactly what she is and what she has done, how much more violence is in everyone’s favorite heroine’s future? Nearly every image we’ve seen thus far has Wood wielding a gun, so I’m guessing this rancher’s daughter's reign of terror will carry on throughout season 2.
The Man in Black is Back: Between trailers, interviews, and photos released thus far, it’s been confirmed that Westworld’s most infamous tourist, Ed Harris’ The Man in Black, will be returning for more romps around the eponymous park in season 2, and apparently, we’re finally going to find out just how he became such a powerful figurehead over Westworld in the first place. I’m personally hoping these reveals not only involve Jimmi Simpson (who plays Harris’ character in flashbacks), but that we also find out just whatever happened to his douchebag future brother-in-law, Logan (Ben Barnes), since that is one of the questions that has been bouncing around in my brain ever since I caught Westworld’s first season finale.
Where’s Elsie?: While it seemed like everyone’s favorite programmer Elsie (Shannon Woodward) was down for the count by the conclusion of season 1, after it was revealed that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) had in fact strangled her, it’s been revealed recently that Elsie is in fact still around, and she will most definitely be popping up sometime in the next 10 episodes of Westworld. It’s undetermined just how Elsie managed to escape certain death, but suffice to say that this writer is guessing she’s not going to take that whole attempt on her life with a grain of salt. I’m excited to see what Woodward is going to do with her feisty character now that she’s most likely going to be in survivor mode, and I’m hoping that the hints of something more than just a working relationship between Elsie and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) might get explored as well.
Maeve and Clementine’s (Not So) Bogus Journeys: All the characters in Westworld were compelling in their own unique ways, but my personal favorites are Sweetwater’s madam Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her gal pal/prostitute protégé, Clementine (Angela Sarafyan), who had a bittersweet goodbye during season 1’s finale. Their respective journeys to self-actualization have been incredible thus far, and now that we know Maeve decided to double-back to the park instead of finding freedom out in the real world, I’m curious to see just how their paths will cross again this season, and what it might mean for anyone who has done them wrong in the past. And while she doesn’t appear in the premiere, Sarafyan did confirm that Clem will be getting in touch with some new aspects of her character’s personality for Westworld season 2, and there will be a reunion between her and Maeve at some point.
New Hosts in Town: Not much has been revealed, but it seems that we are getting some crazy new hosts to play around with in Westworld Season 2. These ivory, faceless behemoths bear a striking resemblance to the host imagery we’ve seen in the show’s opening title sequence. Now it's come out that these are no ordinary hosts, but creations of the Delos corporation, and as we’ve come to realize throughout the show, more technology is rarely the answer when it comes to dealing with the technological woes of Westworld. I can only hope for an epic showdown between this new wave of androids and those who have been long-standing members of the park (maybe even in Shogun World, which has also been revealed and sounds like an incredibly cool landscape to have some fun on during this upcoming season).
In case you missed it, check here to read our previous coverage of Westworld Season 2, including interviews with members of the cast.