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Westworld gives us the reunion we craved, but still no answers

Do you know where you are in the new episode of Westworld? I sure don't. Spoilers ahead for episode two, of course.

HBO

"You're in our world." OH, OK ARNOLD. Confused, Dolores grabs on to the prettiest thing she sees, remarking on the "stars." 

"Have you ever seen something so full of splendor?" Dolores asks Arnold (we think). And then she learns the key phrase fans often quote from Arnold: "It doesn't look like anything at all." 

In an ep that features Anthony Hopkins' voice acting (does that count as him being back?), we got a lot of clues as to where we are in this season. And the answer is... well, nowhere and everywhere. There are too many timelines in this episode of Westworld, but we're here to help.

Timeline 1, 35+ years ago: Arnold shows Dolores around; Logan is courted by Argos Initiative

Not that we know what Argos Initiative is yet -- we assume it's the precursor to Delos' Westworld park, and we're pretty sure Arnold and Dr. Robert Ford have set up this showcase for her and other hosts. While Arnold shows Dolores the home that is being built before Charlie passes, she's exempt from the product showcase Angela and Akecheta (played by Zahn McClarnon) give Logan. We learn Arnold wants to be close to Westworld (lending more credence to the "South China Sea" location of the Delos Parks) as he shows Dolores around his still-under-construction home. 

In the same timeline, Logan is approached by Angela in a bar: "We're here to sell you something a bit more tangible." 

She convinces him she's a salesperson pitching a new world to him -- that is, until he realizes what he's gotten himself into with hosts so close to humanity. "We're not *here* yet," Logan says, visibly perturbed at the idea of robots that look and act and improvise like humans.

"Oh, we're here Mr. Delos," Angela counters. Then we are in Dolores' viewpoint, seeing how Angela hooked up with Logan to get him to buy in. Sex sells, as we all know.

Timeline 2, present: Dolores & Teddy; Lawrence & Man in Black; Maeve meets Dolores, again (maybe?)

Dolores and Teddy follow Angela into the clean-up area below the top. "I used to see the beauty in this world," says Dolores, "and now I see the truth." Dolores then attempts to open Teddy's eyes and get him to see/relive his past.

She is showing Teddy the "real purpose of this place" and attempting to open his eyes to the madness of Delos by showing him all of his pasts.


"Motherfucker." And with that, we learn the hosts are harder to kill in this timeline: "Dead isn't what it used to be, Lawrence," says the Man in Black. To be clear, as young William says later, the best way to get to know someone is to listen to what they tell you.

We know now that the MiB wants to "burn the whole fucking thing to the ground," but we're still not sure what this "fucking thing" is. 

William says the game will find him, and it does (first in Young Ford), but is that enough? Should we look away as the hosts he encounters ravage him and tell him to proceed alone? Which brings us to Pariah, where one man, El Lazo, channels Ford (or is it Ford?) and tells William he must proceed on his own. 

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John P. Johnson/HBO

The Man in Black continues, with Lawrence in tow, to Pariah, the city of delinquents. 


I'm still not convinced they're on the same timeline, and I'm definitely not convinced they will truly ever pair up to fight their way out of the park, but what I'm sure of is that they both think, believe and feel that they are awake. Dolores feels Maeve owes her her support and tries to convince the host of it, telling her she must want revenge even more than herself.

"Revenge is just another prayer at their alter darling, and I'm well off my knees," Maeve tells Doritos. 

The rancher's daughter lets them pass, and the two groups continue on their separate ways -- and yet I'm still not convinced we know when this is taking place. Yes, Dolores visits Major Craddock and his men right after, but the fact is, cuts and transitions mean we can't be sure of this timeline at all. 

Hence the reunion we've all waited may merely be an illusion, set dressing to ensure we don't worry about their pairing in the future. The fact is Maeve wants one thing, and her desires don't jive with Dolores' at all. The oldest hosts seems OK with it, but reluctant to let them all pass by. She ultimately does, but the question remains: How many times has this happened? 

Timeline 3, 30+ years ago: Young William and Delos visits Sweetwater

As the Big Boss visits, we learn there is nothing stopping William anymore. "It's perfect," says William, as he stares at Dolores. "The investment here is in the future," he tells James Delos, owner of Delos Incorporated.

"The investment here is not a fantasy, it's not real; except one thing: the guests," William tells Delos. And the truth is, he's right; Westworld isn't for now, it's for the data and gathering and the ad money it will produce later. Westworld is 100 percent an investment in humans and their decisions, their future. 

Timeline 4, 25-30ish years ago: Dolores meets Emily

I do not for one second believe Emily is an insignificant character. As William's daughter, and Delos' granddaughter, I think she'll be back and she'll be important. We know this is essentially William's coronation party; Delos has not given up control but even he knows -- and admits -- it's merely for show.

The other important moment in this timeline in Logan shooting up behind the mansion, as Dolores basks in the "splendor" of the city below. "He sent you down here to keep me company? His sense of humor was always...baroque," asks Logan of the host. He says the family is partying while the "whole fucking species starts to burn." We know the Man in Black was a philanthropist in the outside world -- one Westworld visitor even tries to thank him for saving his sister's life -- but that doesn't mean he liked it.

Timeline 5, 25ish years ago: William in Delos talking to Dolores

"You really are just a thing."

"I can't believe I fell in love with you," William tells Dolores. 

He calls her a reflection, says she's "not even a thing," and that the only reason people visit is because they love staring at their own reflection. William says there's an answer here to something no one has ever even thought to ask, and we have no idea what it is. We're shown the same industrial machines as when Ford showed Theresa the destruction of the agave fields. 

And then Dolores tells present-day Teddy it is a weapon, a weapon she will use to "destroy them."

Here's the thing to remember though: The showrunners have often used subtle cuts to distinguish between the past, present and important moments, making it that much harder to believe the "weapon" is the blank, dug-out, crazy space William shows her. Instead it's as though we're meant to believe it's that whole missing the past and present of it all.  

Westworld season 2 airs Sunday nights on HBO. Check your local listings for timing and channels.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more in-depth coverage of Westworld, including our Season 2 Episode 2 recap show.