The opening scene of Episode 1 was everything that I loved about the first season. It’s a simple set up, two people in a room having a deep and insightful discussion. This time, as is the case in much of the first season, it’s Bernard and Dolores talking about dreams. What I love so much about this set up is that the timeline doesn’t matter, theories or predictions don’t matter, and the other characters don’t seem to matter because this conversation is so engaging that you can’t think of anything else. It was a smart choice to start here because it allows for the excitement to die down a bit and you can settle back into something familiar. In this particular conversation we are thrown in the middle of a conversation about dreams and the validity of them. This is a familiar theme from Season 1, as is the idea of dreams as proof of humanity. As interesting as this conversation is, its main purpose is to show us that we are still in different timelines because this conversation takes place before the rebellion in the finale of Season 1.
In the current timeline Bernard wakes up on the shore of a beach. It’s here that possibly answers one of the unanswered questions from Season 1, Westworld is on an island. Where this island is, is still up for speculation but it does seem apparent that it’s on an island. On the shore Delos Incorporated meets Bernard to deal with the fall out of Ford’s party. Here we meet several new characters but none of them really stuck with me because I was as disoriented as Bernard. There were hosts getting shot, hosts’ brains being cut open and I’m still processing the island thing. Our third timeline also features Bernard. This timeline follows what happened immediately after Ford’s party. Bernard and a group of survivors are trying to get out of the park alive. This thread isn’t particularly fun to follow but it does lead to some interesting revelations about Charlotte Hale and some of the shady stuff Delos Incorporated is doing. Apparently they are mining data from the guests which leads to a much more cynical view of the park. Instead of this being a fun time, now everything that you do there could be used against you. In reality this could be a parallel to the way we consume everything and the real cost of that consumption. I’m very interested in this specific idea and I hope the show goes into it further. As of now it’s the only interesting thing this pair has to offer.
By the end of Season 1, Maeve was a fan favorite and some of the most intriguing questions about Season 2 involve her. As much as I love Thandie Newton’s performance, I have to be honest; I’m not that interested in her pursuit of her daughter. I became even more disinterested when she got paired off with Lee Sizemore. Sizemore is a character that I care nothing about and his frantic babbling took the fun out of his scenes. Maeve was doing some pretty badass things, which kept up the intrigue, but this is a pair that I’m not excited to see more from. This speaks to a larger observation of the episode in general; the characters are pairing off for different journeys for what I can only assume is a season long arc. Good shows do this and do it seamlessly. They find pairs that fans didn’t even know they want to see and they put them in interesting scenarios that deepen our love for those characters. Maeve and Sizemore aside, it looks as if Westworld is set to accomplish this throughout this season.
The most interesting of the aforementioned pairs is Dolores and Teddy. When watching the beginning of Season 1, I thought this would be the driving relationship of the entire series. While that could still be true, it wasn’t as much of a central focus as I thought it would be. Seeing them paired off in this episode has me incredibly excited. I love those two actors, James Marsden (Teddy) and Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores), and I love what their characters are doing. Badass Dolores is terrifying. The scene when she leaves the party guests hanging from the tree was one of the scariest things I’ve seen in a while. She was so callous and genuine that the thought of being in that situation, opposite of her, is scary. The idea of her and Teddy going out into “their world” is also scary and for me, sets up the most intriguing storyline of this season. Teddy doesn’t have nearly as much to do as Dolores but his silence provides even more intrigue. The trepidation in his eyes as Dolores is killing guests is enough to lead me to believe there will be a confrontation between the two, and if so I can’t wait.
The Man in Black is the last of our Season 1 characters regrouping after Ford’s party. He isn’t paired off with anyone, which makes sense because he needs no partner. His excitement for the current situation is a bit chilling but not as chilling as the revelation that all of this was (in part) seemingly done for him to go deeper into the game. He also appears to be less of an antagonist, which is odd, but I’m here for it. I’m also here for his game and all that it has in store for him.
This was a great episode! With the weight of over a year of expectation, it’s remarkable that this good of an episode came through. This certainly lived up to the expectations and was worth the wait. It has all the makings of a great season of television. There is tension, relationships, stakes, characters that we love and it still looks incredible. It’s one of the best-shot shows on television, so at the very least it will be pleasing to look at. I’m expecting much more though, if the following episodes can meet this one, this will be a great season.
Questions After Episode 1: “Journey Into Night”
- I think we are on three timelines but it’s possible that the opening scene of this episode wasn’t just a flashback, if so, are we on two timelines?
- Did Bernard do something to Charlotte? She is with him immediately after Ford’s party but she doesn’t seem to be around in the present timeline.
- Speaking of Bernard, how long before anybody figures out that he is a host? Maybe Charlotte figures out and that’s why she isn’t in the present timeline.
- They referenced other worlds, when will we get to see one?
- Last Bernard question (for now) did he kill all of those hosts? If so, what went on in between Ford’s party and when they discovered the dead hosts?
Image Credit: HBO