In the Westworld recap for the season 2 debut, Bernard awakens to a whole new world where Dolores is raining terror upon humanity as Maeve continues the hunt for her daughter…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
For the biggest part, season one of Westworld was centered around Dolores Abernathy reaching consciousness and becoming self aware after more than 35 years in existence.
When Westworld season two begins we see another conversation from the past between Dolores and her creator Arnold as he tells her about a dream he had where he was left behind while his hosts were leaving without him. When she asks what it means, Arnold says it doesn’t mean anything because dreams are real and reality is something that’s irreplaceable.
But Dolores doesn’t buy that and when she questions if he’s telling the truth, Arnold utters that there are times when she frightens him with what she says. Dolores has been pulling at the strings of consciousness since her creation but now she’s crossed over from scaring her creator to killing them.
At the end of Westworld season one, Dolores finally became self aware and took the next step intended for her as she killed Dr. Robert Ford and opened fire on the rest of the Delos board of directors who were in attendance as a new narrative was being rolled out for the first time.
The first episode of Westworld season two bounces back and forth between the immediate aftermath of that shootout and then two weeks later then the security forces sent by Delos to restore order finally arrive. It all sets the stage for the robot uprising but also leaves us with many questions about what happened over those two weeks before help finally showed up at Westworld.
With that said, let’s recap the Westworld season 2 debut titled ‘Journey Into Night’ (which was also the name of Ford’s final narrative for the park)…
Two Weeks Gone
When we rejoin Bernard, he’s waking up on a beach with his face in the sand as security chief Ashley Stubbs awakens him from his slumber. How did Bernard end up there? We have no idea and by the look of things, neither does he.
Also how did Stubbs return after he was taken hostage by the Ghost Nation tribe last season? That’s one of those mysteries we’ll likely solve during the course of flashbacks throughout the season.
Bernard wakes up and finds that Delos has sent a security force to retake Westworld and the rest of the theme parks that have apparently been offline without communications for the past two weeks. This is where we find out that Westworld is situation on an island, presumably somewhere in the South Pacific judging by the Asian military officer who is also there arguing with Delos security before he’s told not so politely to get the fuck off their island.
This is where we meet Karl Strand for the first time — he’s Delos’ man on the ground as they attempt to take back the park and the island after this horrific incident. Strand is currently executing the hosts left behind who may not have been part of the massacre but he’d rather eliminate them now than live to fight them later.
Meanwhile, Strand’s lead scientist is pulling the hosts’ brains in an attempt to watch what actually unfolded during that gunfight that broke out after Ford was murdered. It seems the hosts all operate with these internal brains that can be pulled and downloaded, which allows Delos to see whatever they see.
In this case, the Ghost Nation member who was killed and taken apart saw Dolores gunning down humans and hosts. Strand still doesn’t see Dolores as the imminent threat, even if she was the one responsible for starting this whole thing.
For now, Strand just wants to find answers as to what started this insanity and then he’s got hundreds of guests still wandering around these parks to rescue before they end up dead like the majority of the Delos board of directors.
As Bernard of the present tries to recollect what happened two weeks ago, we then flashback to the immediate aftermath of Dolores killing Ford and the rest of the hosts opening fire on the humans. It seems Bernard — who is a host but still hasn’t been revealed to anyone other than Ford and Maeve — scattered with the few remaining members of the Delos board including Charlotte Hale, in an attempt to hide and find safety.
Outside the barn where they are hiding, hosts are executing guests by playing parlor games — getting the same kind of enjoyment killing them as the humans have had for years killing the hosts. With no help coming, Charlotte asks Bernard to lead them to the closest safe exit, which is about two miles away.
Bernard leads the group there and when they arrive, the group spots a dune buggy and a Westworld clean up crew standing by the vehicle. They all rush there asking for help but Bernard holds back Charlotte as he recognizes that this is set up as a trap.
Sure enough when the rest of the board members arrive at the dune buggy, the Westworld staff are all dead but they’ve been propped up to look alive. A moment later, Angela — the host who was adopted into Wyatt (Dolores) gang last season — arrives with her posse and they open fire on the Delos board. Angela does manage to let one of them go when she tells him to run away but the rest of them are slaughtered.
Obviously this escape hatch has been compromised so Charlotte decides to share a secret location with Bernard where they will regroup.
She leads him to a remote spot nearby where an elevator rises up from underground that leads down into a secret laboratory underneath. This isn’t a lab that Bernard ever knew about, much less had access to until now.
Inside, Bernard meets the creepy ‘drone hosts’, who are conducting research on the hosts from throughout the park. Bernard then discovers that the drone hosts are collecting DNA on all of the guests who visit the parks as well as the recordings of their experiences from the hosts. That means Delos has been collecting DNA and information from all of their guests for an undetermined amount of time — perhaps as long as the last 30 years.
Charlotte doesn’t have time to explain that right now because she’s got bigger problems like getting the hell off this mad island.
Charlotte then breaches protocol and uses her private communication system to reach out to her contacts at Delos, who won’t send a rescue party until after ‘the package’ has been delivered. ‘The package’ is Shakespeare stuttering host Peter Abernathy, who was decommissioned last season before being downloaded with all of the codes that make up the hosts inside Westworld. For some reason, Delos had desperately been trying to sneak out this code throughout the first season and this information is so important that the company won’t rescue their executives until it’s been delivered.
That means Charlotte has to find Abernathy after she tried to send him off the island but he obviously never arrived.
Bernard helps Charlotte search for Abernathy using the “mesh system”, which is a code inside the hosts that helps them communicate with each other subconsciously like WIFI so that they don’t interfere with each other while on separate narratives in the park. Bernard will search for Abernathy by planting that message in one host, which will then spiral out to the rest of the hosts until he is found.
While Bernard is setting that up, he’s also secretly checking his own functional systems after his hand has been twitching non-stop since the massacre inside the park started. Bernard discovers that he’s leaking some sort of fluid from his ear, which I’d have to imagine is like oil leaking from car — it’s only a matter of time before the engine seizes up.
Bernard takes this opportunity to draw fluid from another hosts before injecting it into himself to stave off total shutdown while continuing to search for Abernathy. He finally gets a hit but before the search begins, Bernard starts flashing back to present day where he’s on the hunt with Strand and the rest of his Delos troops.
A Mother’s Love
As we saw in the season one finale, Maeve abandoned her plans to leave Westworld and instead return to the park to search for her ‘daughter’ — the host that was programmed to be her child in a past narrative. Now it can’t be forgotten that Bernard tried to tell Maeve last season that she had been programmed to do all the things she was doing, including her uprising where she teamed up with her outlaw boyfriend Hector and his No. 2 in charge Armistice to start this fight last season.
Still, Maeve believes she’s completely broken from her loop and now she’s on the hunt for her daughter. Before she can begin the search, she has to save Lee Sizemore — the head of Westworld’s narrative team — from being eaten by a cannibal host. She saves Lee so he can help her navigate the park and find her child.
Of course, Lee can’t quite wrap his head around a host being conscious much less actually believing that a child from a past narrative is actually her daughter. Still, Lee plays along because the alterative is being gunned down by the hosts still running rampant throughout the park.
Finally, Maeve tracks down Hector, who continued his assault after she left the park originally, as she plans to patch him up so he can help in the search for her daughter.
The last piece of the puzzle is getting Lee dressed for a trip through Westworld as turnabout is fair play so she makes him strip down naked just like they do the hosts so he can then put on some cowboy garb and help her find the place in the park where her daughter currently resides.
When we catch up with Dolores, she’s rampaging through Westworld like Conor McGregor going after a bus as she’s gunning down Delos executives left and right. The people who get captured by Dolores then receive her testimony about how she was once programmed as a rancher’s daughter and also programmed to be a cold blooded killer when she became Wyatt. Now Dolores is writing her own narrative — the one where she’s in control.
Dolores tells the people that she was a pawn for far too long and now they get to know what it’s like to be the mouse that’s chased by the cat. It’s time for a reckoning. During this entire speech, Dolores has her robot army tying nooses around their necks and propping them up on graves that will eventually give way before they strangle to death.
One of the executives begs for his life — saying that it was all just a game and that they’re sorry for what they’ve done.
Dolores just turns her head and rides away while saying ‘this doesn’t look like anything to me’. That is the response the hosts used to have when they would be shown something not of their world — and Dolores no longer sees humans as part of her world.
Later, Dolores has a talk with Teddy, who has been riding alongside her during this entire crusade yet he’s questioning if this is the right thing to do. Teddy suggests that perhaps they should just run away together and find a quite corner where they could live together forever, far away from this awful place.
As ideal as that might sound, Dolores has bigger plans like escaping Westworld and stamping out humanity outside these walls. Dolores no longer just sees mankind as a threat to her inside the park — in a very Terminator-esque way, she now believes it’s a species that needs to be eradicated once and for all.
Sadly, Dolores notes that not all of the hosts are ready to become self-aware so she’s executed more than a few who aren’t willing to help her cause. Sadly by the end of the episode we’ll come to find out that someone near and dear to her is on that list…
A New Game Begins
Following the massacre at the party, The Man in Black was able to survive by hiding under a pile of dead bodies but now that the shooting has stopped he’s able to crawl back to life.
After making it back to his cabin in the park, William cleans up his gunshot wound and removes the tuxedo he wore to the party in favor of a more familiar outfit all in black with his signature hat on his head.
This is what William has always wanted — a game that isn’t rigged where the guests and the hosts are on a level playing field. He finds that out the hard way when a pair of hosts open fire on him a few minutes later and he has to maneuver his way to kill them both before they get to him.
William believes he’s been training for this for the past 30 years and a smile nearly creeps across his face as he prepares to play the game for real for the first time.
That’s when William encounters the young Robert Ford — the early host that was created to appear as a child like version of the creator of Westworld. Ford then speaks to William (including Anthony Hopkins’ real voice as he recorded those voiceover segments for the show this season).
Young Robert tells William that his perseverance finally paid off — he reached the center of Arnold’s maze and now a real game has started. Ford’s game. The one where the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before.
“You must find the door. Congratulations, William, this game is meant for you. The game begins where you end. It ends where you began.”
Of course, William questions how Ford offers him yet another code to figure out just like the maze he was meant to solve in season one. Still, William is intrigued by this game that can only end when he finds a means to escape it.
This will undoubtedly lead William to cross paths with Dolores again because his path absolutely started with her in this park and all roads seemingly led back to her again when he found the maze.
Either way, William is now on a new mission — one with real stakes and where bullets are flying in both directions. And he couldn’t be happier.
Kill Em All
Strand continues his scan of the park where he finds more dead guests and hosts throughout every section of Westworld. The group then happens upon an anomaly — a dead Bengal tiger — that has no business being in this part of the park. It seems the tiger belongs in ‘Park 6’ but until now no hosts or creatures have ever been able to cross over park borders. That means pieces from other parks on the island — including Shogun World — might start popping up here more often. That also means there are at least six parks on the island, only furthering our curiosity about what else is out there beyond Westworld and Shogun World.
Regardless, Strand’s lead scientist finally gets satellite reception, which allows him to track down the hosts and he finds that they are all gathered together in a valley on the western part of the park.
When the team arrives they, they find a giant sea — one that couldn’t have been made by Ford while he was still alive without Delos knowing about it. The sea is so large it had to be created just recently — perhaps an upgrade from the hosts over the past two weeks?
A look down into the water and Bernard is horrified to see that hundreds of hosts have been butchered and left dead in the sea. Strand is looking for answers and Bernard can only offer him a few words.
“I…they killed them. All of them.”
Bernard nearly misspoke by saying “I” but instead switches to ‘they’ in reference to Dolores and her band of robot mercenaries running amok throughout the park. Dolores said not all of the hosts were ready to become self-aware and that’s when we get a scan around the water to find one particular dead robot.
It’s poor Teddy Flood — he’s been killed and left with the rest of the hosts who weren’t quite ready for this uprising. Sacrifices had to be made and Dolores proved that she’s willing to make them by killing the one host in this park who has been loyal to her since the first day he was created.
Westworld returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO