In the Westworld recap, Dolores finds an army, William looks for help and flashbacks provide a narrative about why this world ultimately came together…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The multiple timelines of Westworld were mostly a mystery during season one but that’s not the case for season two but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to keep track.
In the Westworld season two debut, the timelines jumped around several places including the direct aftermath of Dolores killing Robert Ford to two weeks later when security forces finally arrived on the island to try and restore order.
The second episode jumps around even more with one timeline going all the way back to Ford and Arnold first finding funding to pay for their park to William ascending to power at the Delos Corporation while a third timeline saw Dolores building an army and a fourth caught up with an older William as the Man in Black as he started playing a new game inside the park.
The most telling parts of this episode may have been those flashbacks to when Delos first started to get interested in Westworld when Logan only saw the place as a fantasy land for sin and vice. That was until his brother-in-law William found a different purpose for Westworld — one that still hasn’t been completely revealed but may soon be.
Actually, William’s original purpose for the park may have something to do with where Dolores is going right now on her mission to exact revenge against humanity. So much of what’s unfolded over the past 30 plus years has been recorded in Dolores’ brain and now she’s using that information to help feed her robot revolution.
As time moves forward it will be interesting to see how much more Dolores knows because given the flashbacks in the latest episodes, she’s been a part of Westworld through every stage of its evolution — from creation to it’s potential demolition.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of Westworld titled ‘Reunion’…
For the sake of clarity, we’ll recap this episode of Westworld in chronological order by what unfolded from start to finish.
The first flashback reunites us with Logan Delos — the brash, outspoken character from last season who only traveled to Westworld to fight or fuck his way through the park — when he was introduced to what this world was really all about.
It seems after Robert Ford and Arnold initially created the hosts, they began searching for funding to fuel their dream world and that required meetings with powerful men of industry. Arnold brought along his favorite host Dolores as he continued to help her evolve and learn through each individual experience.
It was actually Arnold who argued against using Dolores to tempt the Delos Corporation to invest in Westworld because he didn’t feel she was ready. In reality, Arnold looked at Dolores as one of his children — perhaps the most special of his children — and he wasn’t quite ready to share her with the world yet. Instead, Arnold marveled at how Dolores was so enamored with her first look at the outside world filled with twinkling lights that looked like stars on the ground.
Dolores’ eyes will filled with such splendor and Arnold even took her to the site where he was building a new house for his family. Unfortunately during the conversation, Dolores repeats one of the first phrases she said to him after being awoken in the city, which let Arnold know that she wasn’t evolving as much as relying on her programming to tell him what he wanted to hear. Of course this was merely a setback as Arnold continued to try to make his robots self-aware but sadly he wouldn’t be around to see them actually come alive.
With Arnold lost in the city with Dolores, the demonstration turned to Logan, who was handling his family’s investment portfolio at the time. Logan demeaned his father, who he felt had no vision, and he wanted to find the next great piece of technology where their money would best be spent.
The demonstration worked perfectly as Logan walked into a party filled with guests and he was tasked with figuring out which of them were real and which of them were robots. By the end of the exercise, Logan was mesmerized to find out that the one person he felt was real was Angela — the long term host who is now part of Dolores’ army. Logan ends up spending a night in bed with Angela while making the call to dump as much money from Delos into this pet project that would allow him to live out his wildest fantasies without any of the guilt.
The Real Purpose
The next jump in time takes us to a fully realized Westworld where James Delos — patriarch to the family — and his son-in-law William have come to visit this park. Now this all happens after William goes on his initial visit of Westworld with Logan that left him jaded yet self-realized about what this place brings out of him.
In the middle of Sweetwater, James seems unimpressed by what Westworld has to offer and he really doesn’t like that his son buried so much of his company’s money in this place. It turns out, Williams is asking him to invest even more but not because this is a fantasy land where people can show up and fuck or kill whoever they want without consequence.
Instead, William pitches Westworld to Delos as a place that will help their business in other areas. Imagine a world where people could come and let all their vices out, to live without inhibition and basically let their freak flags fly. Immediately, William proposes that Westworld would allow Delos to cut their marketing research down to nothing because they would know everything they need to know about consumers by watching their true behavior inside this adult playground.
“Nothing here is real, except one thing: the guests. Half of your marketing budget goes to figuring out what people want. Because they don’t know. But here, they’re free. Nobody is watching, nobody is judging. At least that’s what we tell them. This is the only place in the world where you get to see people for who they really are. If you don’t see the business in that, then you’re not the businessman I thought you were.”
There’s also a deeper, more sinister reason that William wants to invest in Westworld and this seems to go back to what we saw in the debut when Charlotte Hale revealed a secret lab where drone hosts were taking DNA samples of the human guests along with memory files from the hosts as research for all the people who visited the park. Charlotte wouldn’t go into any further detail but it seems collecting data was a Westworld principle since the day William decided to get Delos to invest heavily in this place.
Remember Westworld has always been about three things — it’s one place to the hosts, it’s another place to the visitors and the third are the investors who have something much more nefarious in mind beyond just a playground filled with sin and vice. What that purpose might be is still unknown but it’s clear we’re going to find out more about that as the season plays out.
Full of Splendor
Another time jump moves us forward years later after Delos had already owned a major part of Westworld for quite some time as William is sending his father-in-law off into retirement as he prepares to take over the company. James is dealing with some sort of sickness and despite the party, it’s apparent he’s not ready to relinquish control to the company just yet but obviously William has other plans.
This time around, the hosts at the party include Dolores, who is playing piano and even meets William’s daughter Emily. Later when Dolores wanders outside, she runs into Logan yet again except this time he’s a strung out junkie with needle marks all over his arms.
It seems Logan’s need to fulfill his every desire has finally caught up to him while Dolores is just as doe-eyed as she’s ever been before, muttering about the splendor of seeing the city’s lights off in the distance. Logan is obviously a much different man by this point in time as he tells Dolores that the people back in that house are celebrating humanity’s demise and they don’t even know it yet.
Logan feels like whatever plot is unraveling through William’s plans for Delos and Westworld are going to end up with the whole world burning and the funny part is they lit the match. It makes me wonder if we might meet and older more learned Logan at some point down the road. Considering how dark a path William walked after his first experience in Westworld and how Logan ended up an addict, is there any chance he finds some sort of redemption by the end of this story?
Either way, Logan’s memories are just one of many that are now implanted in Dolores’ head just like the one she has from a more private encounter with William later that night.
William can’t believe that he ever fell in love with Dolores but he also realizes that meeting her on that trip to Westworld was one of self-discovery where he learned a whole lot more about himself. That trip woke something up inside William that had never been there before and what he sees in the hosts now is some sort of reflection and you know who likes staring at their own reflection?
That’s how William will entice people to come play in his park and also where he plans to use this place against them. Is it blackmail? Is it just data collection that will be used to build his empire outside of Westworld? As of now, we don’t know for certain. We do know years from now William isn’t all evil as we saw in the interaction he had with another guest in the park who thanks him for funding the research that saved the life of someone in his family. Of course, William reacted rather harshly when he was addressed out of character but he’s done good deeds since creating this place but was it all a mask for what was really going on underneath?
William then decides to share a bit more of his grand plan for Westworld with Dolores.
So William takes her with him on a trip into the park where he shows her giant machines digging into the ground as he builds something that will unlock Westworld’s true potential. What that is, we don’t know but one thing is for certain — William never anticipated that Dolores would remember him taking her here because more than 30 years later, she’s planning on going back.
A Place Hidden From God
After executing Ford to close out last season, Dolores immediately took her garrison including Teddy and Angela inside one of the outposts at Westworld where she began plotting her next attack. Dolores tortures one of the scientists inside to tell her how Delos will react to this uprising inside the park.
He then tells Dolores that 600 to 800 men will arrive while showing their landing spot — on the edge of the beach where we first met Karl Strand a week ago — and then explaining how they will go sector by sector to clear out the hosts until they’ve taken back the park. That gives Dolores what she needs to know to plan the next stage of her attack.
This behind the curtain look at Westworld also serves a second purpose as Dolores is still trying to wake Teddy up to reality that he’s been nothing more than a pawn in this human game of chess. He watches screen by screen of all times he’s been killed over the years as nothing more than a play toy for the ultra rich.
Still, Teddy is struggling to wrap his brain around all of this, which might explain why we found him floating in a lake of dead hosts at the end of last week’s episode.
To combat the Delos forces that will eventually land on their shores, Dolores is going to need an army to back her up so that means gaining support from some of the other hosts inside the park. The biggest army belongs to the Confederados, who we met last season during William’s bounty hunter storyline that eventually led him to Dolores.
To help her convince the Confederados that she’s on the level, Dolores has the Westworld scientist resurrect one of the army’s lieutenants who had been killed and put back in the lab until he was eventually revived.
On her way to meet up with the Confederados, Dolores runs across Maeve and Hector, who are now back inside the park alongside their hostage Lee Sizemore as they begin the search for her daughter. At first, the two most powerful women in Westworld seem like powerful allies but it’s apparent that they are after two very different things.
Dolores wants to not only break free of the chains that have confined her for all these years but she wants to destroy humanity as a whole for doing it to her in the first place. She believes that Maeve would want the same thing, considering all that’s been done to her over the years.
Instead, Maeve suggests that she has another path to travel and she questions Dolores’ method to get rid of one god in favor of another if she’s going to be the only leader of this robot uprising. Ultimately, Maeve just asks to pass on by as she continues her search and Dolores allows her continue unencumbered. Something tells me this isn’t the last time these two will cross paths this season.
Later when she finally tracks down the Confederados, they are having a last supper of sorts with their leader Major Braddock interacting with Dolores.
She tells him that they are bound for Glory — another new place inside Westworld — but as storyline dictates, they will never make it their alive. Instead, Dolores offers them an alternative where they follow her and in return she will make sure they reach this promise land. When Braddock refuses, Dolores has him and the rest of his men shot dead.
Like a reverse story of the crucifixion, Dolores convinces the Confederados to follow her when she orders the Westworld scientist to then program all of the troops to wake back up again despite just being shot and killed. As Braddock rises from his recent grave, he’s now found a new leader to follow as he takes his troops to ride with Dolores wherever she wants him to go.
Meanwhile, the Man in Black is off on his new game after the rules from the old one were finally thrown out. To help him on his quest, William procures the services of his old friend Lawrence, who spent most of season one by his side as well. It’s in Lawrence’s nature to help and follow so William is using that to his advantage.
Of course the road won’t be as easily traveled as last time because William is already running into more resistance than usual with the hosts no longer being controlled. He event gets shot, which requires William to go to a secret spot inside Westworld where he has a medical kit hidden that allows him to fix his arm before they continue on their mission.
Now it might seem strange that William was shot and barely seemed to flinch, which will make many wonder if he’s actually a host as well. It seems like the alternative though where William was able to use the technology made to remove bullets from the hosts to do the same from his own arm after being shot.
Regardless, William then proceeds to have a conversation with Lawrence about this place and what it started out as and what he’s planning next.
“That’s why your world exists. They wanted a place hidden from god. A place they could sin in peace but we were watching them. We were tallying up all their sins, all their choices. Of course, judgment wasn’t the point. We had something else in mind entirely. But I have received my judgment all the same, Lawrence, and I take issue with it. Because up until this point, the stakes in this place haven’t been real. So I’m going to fight my way back and appeal the verdict. Then I’m going to burn this whole fucking thing to the ground.”
~ William/The Man in Black
What was William’s judgment? Did he lose his family over his choices made inside Westworld? Is he regretting whatever he’s been doing to collect information from the people who have visited this place? We don’t know for certain but obviously William is on a mission to destroy whatever he created.
To help him, William attempts to procure his own army that will help him secure safe passage to the valley beyond (the mystical place everybody keeps talking about this season).
He travels to Pariah — a town that was built on sin — but when he arrives, he just finds blood, bodies and one army still left alive. There, William meets El Lazo (the gang leader that Lawrence portrayed at one point in his career as a host, this time played by Breaking Bad’s own Giancarlo Esposito).
William is trying to recruit them to help him on his journey but rather than offering an assist, El Lazo tells a story about visiting the circus as a child and how the elephants never revolted despite being chained to stakes that certainly couldn’t hold them down. He then explains that his father told him that those same elephants were trained on those stakes when they were far too little to break free of them and so now years later, these same gigantic creatures have it ingrained in them that they can never get free of these stakes.
It’s a long analogy that relates back to the hosts inside Westworld.
The hosts have always been powerful enough to break free from their human oppressors but they never have — until now. At that moment, El Lazo’s men all shoot themselves in the head followed by their leader who takes a bullet in his brain as well but not before passing along a message. El Lazo tells William that this game is meant for him but he must travel this road alone.
Even from his grave, Robert Ford is ensuring William is playing by the rules.
Angered by what happened, William fires off a few more rounds at the already dead El Lazo before proclaiming that he’s going to make his way back to where this all started — the site of his greatest mistake. From the sound of things, William is headed back to that dig site that he first showed Dolores all those years ago.
As for Dolores, it seems she’s going to the exact same place — except she has an army at her back now — as she returns to the site an old friend once foolishly showed her inside Westworld. That ‘old friend’ was undoubtedly William when he bragged about unlocking the true potential of Westworld all those years ago as he took Dolores to the dig site where he was building something new and much more powerful.
There Dolores hopes to find a weapon that will not only turn the tide on this fight inside the park, but one that she believes can be used to destroy all of humanity.
Westworld returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO.