Each week, David Troy and Irene Sarwindaningrum will share their opinions and theories on Season 2 of HBO’s Westworld. This week we discuss Episode 2 of the new season, “Reunion”
After the season premiere, which seemed to limit the time-jumps between the immediate aftermath of the Host’s revolution led by Dolores and the landing of the Delos Task Force 2 weeks later, this week’s episode covers the widest swath of time yet presented. From Dolores’ first foray outside of the park, through the sales pitch to Logan and William’s entrenchment as the successor to Logan’s father James in the company all the way to Dolores, MIB William and Maeve’s adventures through the park post-revolution, much of this episode felt thematically linked to religion.
Maeve explains to Dolores that revenge is just another altar at which to pray. MIB William has a lengthy discussion with Lawrence about the idea of the park being a place where the guests can escape the laws of God and Man. Dolores’ revolution mirrors that of Lucifer challenging God, his creator, and has taken a similarly dark turn in her behaviour. And this is all with the final image of the season premiere in our minds of a Genesis-like flood having come in to destroy humanity’s creations once they displease us.
If Season One seems to have been a treatise on the evolution from lifeless machine to sentient being, Season Two seems to be the story of the evolution from human to god, and then the devolution back again. As in many religions, particularly prophets in the Old Testament, it is up to the scorned outsider, Logan, to explain where this is all leading. At first, he is an unbeliever, stating to the representatives of the Argo Initiative that ‘We aren’t there yet’ when amazed by how lifelike the hosts are. We are already aware of his adventure with William in the park, but how far he has fallen since is clear in this episode as he is shooting up during his father’s retirement party, alone and far away from the society of which he used to be a player. He is the foreteller of the doom that may await the gods, now that Argos’ twin Prometheuses, Arnold and Ford, have given the hosts their own gift even more powerful than fire. The gift of awareness, both of their own nature, but that of the world around them.
I find it also interesting that William seems to be ecstatic in his becoming mortal in the park, a dark mirror to the concept of God coming to the world as Jesus, a mortal man and vulnerable to the violence of the world as any of its other denizens. The fact that Ford, who feels as omnipotent as anyone on this show right now despite his death last season, tells him he must travel this path alone does feel as though William has just had his moment in the Garden of Gethsemane.
David Troy is the host of The Counterpart Podcast and the Terror Podcast on Electric Streams.
Is Dolores Lucifer? A religion-linked theme is a really interesting point of view to look at Westworld Season 2. While Westworld Season 1 questions existence – and in their search for the answer, some hosts have developed consciousness – Season 2 is about exploring what’s next after they have found out the truth of their reality.
For Dolores, it is a reckoning. Perhaps she is Lucifer, burnt by her vengeance and ambition to take over the world out there. The hunted have indeed become the hunters. The creators are now confronted by their creations. The hosts are playing God.
Or are they still controlled by some hidden script that Ford, the creator himself, created before his demise? Although he died in the end of Season 1, Ford is undeniably still there.
He was manifesting in the boy that spoke to MIB William in the prairie. The boy clearly stated to him, that he is now in his game. “Congratulation William, the game is meant for you,” the child also said before he was shot dead by William.
And later on, Ford spoke to him again through El Lazo, the commandant of the men left in Pariah. And again, he was repeating the same line as the kid in the prairie.
“The game is meant for you William, but you have to play it alone,” said El Lazo – hinting that there is something more to it. This was said when MIB William was trying to recruit El Lazo’s men to come along with his journey. Then followed by orchestrated mass suicide of the men so William had to continue his journey alone.
It will not be surprising that this plot is still under Ford’s script. After all, Ford was the one who secretly triggered the revolution in Season 1 by planting malicious programs inside some of the hosts. He basically planned the whole revolution. If nothing is outside the script Ford had planned, then Season 2 will thematically feel like an absurdity of existence. One may feel like one is free to control their life, but no one is ever truly free and in control of one’s life and death.
Somehow it reminds me of the opening credit, how the piano was actually playing the fingers instead of the fingers playing the piano.
There are still so many layers in this series to peel. Quoting Dolores, have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?
Irene Sarwindaningrum is a frequent contributor to Electric Streams Media.