'Westworld' Season 4, Episode 2 Recap: A New Theme Park Just Dropped
Lots happened on Westworld this week. We attempt to break it down.
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Westworld season 4 premiered a second episode on Sunday, serving up bold murders, human test subjects, more puzzling references to a "tower" and a new Delos theme park. One more epic revelation? Human William is still in the land of the living.
Here's a handy summary of what went down in this week's info-packed edition of Westworld. There will be eight episodes in this season of HBO's mind-bending sci-fi series, meaning we have six more weeks to make sense out of all the madness. Let's suit up and get into it.
Dark Charlotte Hale has entered the chat. Chalores, the version of Hale outfitted with a copy of Dolores' control unit, is back, and she's masterminding some sort of plan. We pretty much knew this already -- the end credits of last season showed Hale building hosts and revealed a version of William who answers to her -- but episode 2 gets Maeve and Caleb up to speed on Chalores' involvement. It turns out team Hale replaced California Senator Ken Whitney and his wife, Anastasia, with host versions, killing the real senator and assigning a different gruesome fate to Anastasia. Another reveal: The host version of Ken Whitney, who calls himself "an emissary of the new world order," says there are 249 others like him.
Team Hale's subduing of high-profile people doesn't stop with Whitney. Later in episode 2, the vice president convenes with host William at a golf course. Their conversation is cryptic, but it seems like William is trying to get his park business going again after the Westworld massacre, and the VP isn't jazzed about the idea. (It seems Hale killed and replaced the senator because of a similar obstinance.) After sinking one-too-many eerily spot-on golf shots, scaring the VP, William whacks him with a golf club.
Jim Navarro, the deputy assistant attorney general for counterterrorism, also tries (unsuccessfully) to interfere with Delos. Team Chalores zip-ties him in a car, and Chalores introduces herself as the person running the show. She says she's planning something for his kind, but it's not to replace all humans with hosts. She leaves him, and we see a fly crawl into his eye.
A quick reminder -- in case you need it -- of what flipped the villain switch for Chalores: In season 3, Chalores lost human Charlotte's son and husband in a fiery car explosion caused by season antagonist Engerraund Serac (Dolores is also kind of inadvertently to blame for their deaths). Chalores is in the car too, but survives. She currently displays scars from the incident on her arm, and in the season 3 finale, she tells human William it's because she wants "to remember who the fuck you people are."
Human test subjects
Chalores' entourage doesn't kill real Anastasia (Senator Whitney's wife) on the spot, but her fate is arguably worse. Chalores says Anastasia is the "perfect candidate" for a new experiment Chalores is researching. Some time later, Caleb and Maeve come across Anastasia in a barn... and she's slashed up a bunch of poor horses. She lunges at Caleb, forcing Maeve to shoot her. Her altered mental state kind of reminds me of what happened to the guy from the cartel-like organization last episode. We didn't see any flies around her this time, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're tied to her creepy zombification?
What is 'the tower'?
On her commute to work, Christina regularly sees a man on the street ranting about a "tower." In Sunday's episode, the guy says a "song with no sound" is coming from the tower, and that no one can hear the "music" but him and the birds. Christina moves on, but subsequently sees an unusual swarm of dead birds on the ground outside of her office.
Startled, Christina skips work and pays a visit to the Hope Center for Mental Health, a clinic Peter's obituary says he donated to after his death (a reminder: Peter is the persistent caller who said Christina wrote him into a game and then jumped off a building). Perplexingly, she finds the place was closed down years ago. While inside the abandoned clinic, she sees drawings of a tower on a wall.
In last week's episode, Peter also mentions a "tower" when confronting Christina before his death (he says he knows both Christina and "the tower" are real). Time to start working on your theories if you haven't already.
William is alive!
What a reveal. William -- who got his throat slit by host William in the post-credits of last season -- is miraculously still alive. But should we really be surprised at this point? Characters on this show resurrect like no other.
I'm happy to see him. Real William is definitely flawed, but his "death" last season was unsatisfying. Seeing host William this season as a soulless, pure-bred villain also made me miss the real thing.
Oh yeah, let's talk about the scene. Chalores wakes human William up from a cryosleep and tells him she's keeping him around "to be the loser." She also adds more context to what she told Navarro from the Justice Department about her plans. She says humans "made a sport out of hunting us, so I had to cut off your paws -- make sure you people would never be able to harm us again." The flies, the zombified humans and now this -- it sure seems like Hale's plan is coming into focus.
The roaring '20s
This episode puts Maeve and Caleb on a train headed for Delos' newest attraction, a theme park set in the '20s. (A hint is in something host William says, "150 years ago," the world came "roaring" back after war). William welcomes us to "the Golden Age," and Maeve and Caleb walk out into a city bustling with bright lights and old-timey cars.