Westworld’s second season may be summed up by one of many collection’ catchphrases: “These violent delights have violent ends.”
By means of the primary 5 episodes, which HBO supplied to critics, the crux of the season rests on revenge of the abused, freedom of the enslaved and retribution for the downtrodden. The hosts are awake, seeking to reclaim the liberties they believed they as soon as had. The reminiscences of their time trapped inside Westworld, a spot they as soon as referred to as dwelling, are ruined by the revelation that it’s nothing greater than a fantastical playground for spoiled wealthy socialites sad with their very own lives. It’s a Shakespearean story of the highly effective reduce all the way down to their knees, staring up on the hosts they as soon as referred to as servants, asking for mercy whereas their heads lie on the chopping block — a gratuitous feast composed of grotesque homicide and diabolical uprisings.
Westworld’s second season fixes lots of the issues from the primary by offering a plausible warfare between the hosts and park staff, having them combat to the demise over a worthy trigger. The twists, turns and riddles that made up the construction of the present’s first season fall into the background, letting the satirically human components of the hosts’ drama take middle stage. The second season isn’t as reliant on a riddle’s intrigue to maintain viewers enticed because the plot progresses. The extra the hosts uncover in regards to the lie they’ve been fed, and the extra they need to combat for what they so rightfully deserve, the higher the present turns into.
Season two is extra grand in each facet. The literal measurement of Westworld appears to have quadrupled as new theme parks are launched. The hosts are bodily able to greater than ever earlier than. Most fascinating, nevertheless, is the intimate and poetic historical past of the park’s house owners. We’re handled to reminiscences and truths stored at bay within the first season, and it creates conflicting feelings.
The present is designed for us to cheer on the hosts’ revolution as a result of it’s a justified retribution. We’ve seen them exploited for the good thing about rich white males. We’ve seen Maeve, Bernard and Dolores wrestle with the blurred strains of their existence, preventing tooth and nail to determine the reality of their environment. The whole lot screams out to unquestionably assist the hosts, but it surely’s not a easy job. The black-and-white understandings launched in Westworld’s first season fade away as recollections of destitute households, ripped aside by the tantalizing world of immersive blended actuality, come into focus.
Proper and mistaken nonetheless exist within the second season, however virtually everybody’s causes for his or her actions are defendable. There are, in fact, a number of outliers. William, aka the Man in Black, remains to be as reprehensible as ever. The host rebellion is simply one other impediment he wants to overcome to actually dominate the park. His character solely turns into extra corrupt because the season builds, his intentions solely extra suspicious as the reality about what he’s finished to safe his energy begins to pour out. William is without doubt one of the solely characters that doesn’t toe the road between satan and angel, discovering his true self in essentially the most disturbing acts.
All of it comes again to these violent delights, and their violent ends.
Violent delights are almost unattainable to surrender. That’s the thesis that snakes via each episode this season: the habit that manifests in everybody who touches Westworld. The park is the epitome of an escape. It nurtures guests’ most intimate ideas, permitting their susceptible fantasies to play out. The extra time folks spend within the park, the extra actual their fantasy life will get — and the much less they change into in returning to the true world. This aspect of technology-induced euphoria is examined with a important eye, as the true world fuses with the unreal.
It’s a story as previous as time, however the visitors’ lack of ability to disassociate from the sandbox they’ve paid handsomely to play in turns into a breeding floor for hatred between hosts and guests.
The hosts are resentful of the literal privilege the guests have to guide their very own lives, kind their very own households and stroll their very own paths. The visitors — at the least those that frequent the park most frequently — develop bored with the identical music and dance carried out by the hosts, and that pent-up frustration turns into abusive contempt. Westworld’s first season explored the domineering relationship between the guests and the hosts who have been constructed to be their playthings, seeing how far they may push their sadistic needs; the second season places the guests on the defensive as they’re compelled to face their crimes.
All of those components mix for a richer story that makes the second season light-years higher than its predecessor. Though it’s unquestionably a significant step up, there may be one inescapable drawback: The chronology remains to be a priority. Whereas it’s one thing that puzzle aficionados would possibly take pleasure in working via — a big a part of what made the primary season so intriguing — it does get exhausting. The flashbacks really feel gimmicky as a result of the story is a lot stronger. Westworld doesn’t have to depend on timeline misdirection, however the present doesn’t shrink back from that crutch. There are circumstances during which the flashbacks work, serving to to tell apart the true from the imagined, however the software nonetheless feels wholly contrived.
On the identical time, it’s straightforward to take a step again and forgive the chronology problem when recognizing what Westworld’s second season is also: an ode to badass girls.
Nobody guidelines Westworld like the ladies who inherit its completely different realms. Dolores is ruler of the Wild West, roaming on horseback, rifle at her facet, as she tracks down the visitors who’ve humiliated her fellow hosts. Maeve is out for blood in her seek for vengeance, claiming her spot because the elite host, destined to kill anybody who tries to stop her from reaching her daughter. Charlotte Hale, the Delos govt, turns into the obvious sole religious chief of the corporate, making certain everybody follows her orders so the park stays operational. There are girls who haven’t been launched but — I’ve left them out to maintain this evaluate spoiler-free — who additionally carry the present to new heights.
Westworld’s second season is a narrative about redemption, recluses and retaliation. It’s a story of the underserved, the underprivileged and the underdogs lastly attaining the facility they’ve by no means had. There’s a lot using on their mission’s success that Westworld lastly feels prefer it has some actual gravity and weight — like issues actually matter. This can be a life-or-death state of affairs and, for the primary time, the results are really dire.
The park has change into a cemetery; individuals are both compelled into graves or compelled to drift round like misplaced souls. Westworld has lastly change into greater than its designs, greater than the futuristic world that existed in its creators’ goals. The warfare is, at face worth, one between man and synthetic intelligence, however a battle has by no means felt extra human. It’s offended folks monitoring down monsters and madmen. As Ernest Hemingway famously stated, “There isn’t any looking just like the looking of man, and those that have hunted armed males lengthy sufficient and appreciated it, by no means look after anything thereafter.”
Let the hunt start.