Warning: spoilers for Westworld Season 1!
Attention PlayStation Vue subscribers! Westworld, one of my favorite HBO series, returns on April 22. That’s this Sunday! Before the character-driven drama and twisting mysteries continue, we wanted to refresh you on the happenings of the extraordinary first season.
In the Loop
We begin with the story of Dolores Abernathy, the daughter of a rancher. She believes that everything around her, even the seedy town of Sweetwater, is a beautiful place with something new to discover every day. But in actuality, she is the oldest android “host” of Westworld, where “newcomers” pay top dollar to play out their deepest desires with zero consequence.
Hosts’ core coding prevents them from harming newcomers and are also reset to their “loops” so that the memories of their interactions are erased. Glitches are starting to pop up around the park with a new update of “reveries” by park founder Robert Ford and lead programmer Bernard Lowe.
The biggest glitch shows up in Dolores’ father, Peter Abernathy. Peter finds a photo of a woman from outside of Westworld and it awakens something inside him. He suddenly remembers his past narratives, and in a panic whispers “These violent delights have violent ends,” a quote from Romeo and Juliet. The glitch is caught by the programming team, and Ford decides to remove Peter, deactivating him permanently from Westworld. As for Dolores, the line of Shakespeare is still rattling inside her brain, but she reveals nothing to the programmers upon their inspection of her.
The Making of the Man in Black
Over time, Dolores fully strays from her loop and meets William and Logan, two newcomers with very different views of Westworld. It’s William’s first time in the park, but Logan is all too familiar with Westworld and wants a couple of nights of debauchery with his eventual brother-in-law. He also lets William know that Delos, his father’s company, is looking to buy the park.
Against Logan’s wishes, William wants to help Dolores find a church that she keeps dreaming of from a past narrative and is later told, in the town of Pariah, that she needs to find The Maze to get what she’s looking for.
Meanwhile, Logan decides that a deal with Pariah’s army of Confederados is in his best interest, but the deal turns sour. William and Dolores abandon Logan in search of the church. Soon enough, they find the church and fall in love, with William deciding he wants to bring Dolores back to the real world with him.
Logan, returning alongside the Confederados, is enraged with William, explaining that he can’t love a host and also marry his sister. Logan pulls out a picture of his sister, which happens to be the same picture that caused Peter to glitch. He then restrains William and stabs Dolores, but she winds up fleeing to the church, where she finds an abandoned Westworld office in the basement – the origin of Ford’s work on the park.
Losing Dolores sets off William, who kills the Confederados and ties up Logan, stranding him in the park on horseback. In a desperate search, William finds Dolores in Sweetwater, but instantly realizes her memory has been wiped and she doesn’t recognize him. Heartbroken, William takes his frustrations out on the park and, over time, becomes the infamous Man in Black – board member and majority shareholder of Delos.
As the Man in Black, William is searching for a way to awaken the hosts and make them self-aware. His ultimate goal is to make Westworld a more chaotic place where actions breed consequence.
Spreading The Glitch
Peter Abernathy is a Patient Zero of sorts. He passes on his glitch to Dolores by whispering to her, “These violent delights have violent ends,” who soon after passes it on to Maeve, the owner and proprietor of the Mariposa Saloon in Sweetwater.
Soon, Maeve begins to dream, remembering a past narrative of her and her child in a storyline of the park in its early days. They are both attacked and killed by the Man in Black, frightening her and, in turn, waking herself up. But she isn’t in her room at the Mariposa.
Maeve awakens naked on a table outside of Westworld and wanders around only to find other hosts being worked on. She is eventually found and brought back into the park, but the memory of men in hazmat suits begins to haunt her.
The visions start to swirl with the ones of her daughter, and Maeve sets out to find the truth about her existence. Wanting to return to the operating table, she keeps finding ways to kill herself, eventually colliding with Lutz, a “butcher” at Westworld that runs maintenance on the hosts. She threatens Lutz and his coworker Sylvester with death if they don’t boost her intelligence, knowing that this action will be the key to unlocking her self-consciousness.
The Dev Team
Ford wants to keep pushing the envelope with a new “reveries” update that allows the hosts to pull from previous instances to simulate real emotions and gestures, but the update seems to be the origin of the glitch. Ford explains to Bernard that his former partner Arnold was the architect behind the reveries, but Arnold was killed in a tragic accident – the only instance of death in Westworld.
Theresa Cullen of the Quality Assurance team sees this as a red flag. She believes that Ford has gone far enough and that the updates could pose a threat to the attendees of the park. Stuck in the middle, Bernard decides to monitor the park for any problems and soon discovers unregistered hosts in an abandoned section of Westworld.
Bernard finds a cabin filled with early hosts made by Ford that resemble his family. Bernard decides to be honest with Theresa and takes her there to investigate. Theresa finds a door that leads to a basement and the two find designs for hosts. But one looks a little too familiar.
Theresa shows paperwork to Bernard of a host resembling himself and Ford enters to explain that Bernard is a host of his own design. Ford then orders Bernard to kill Theresa to keep his secret.
The Grand Narrative
At this point, the stories converge. Maeve decides to use her added intelligence to use the Westworld system on her own and grants herself the power to control other hosts. Her ultimate goal is to escape the park and to do so, enlists the help of hosts Hector Escaton and Armistice – bandits who rob the Mariposa every loop.
She also gets access to Bernard, whom she identifies as a host and orders him to find out his origins to become self-aware. Bernard then coerces Ford into unlocking his self-conscious so that he can find the clues to who he is inside his mind. He reaches the answer – Ford created Bernard in the image of Arnold to continue their unfinished work on the reveries since other programmers were unwilling to update the hosts.
That unwillingness was actually what got Arnold killed. Right before the park was to be opened, Arnold added a host’s mind, called Wyatt, into Dolores and incited a massacre of all the hosts, ending with Dolores shooting Arnold.
Ford then orders Bernard to shoot himself and leaves to join Westworld board members at a park gala to reveal his newest narrative “Journey into Night.”
Maeve finds Bernard, repairs him with the help of Lutz, and uses Hector and Armistice as diversions to escape to a train leaving the park. But right before the train departs, the memory of her daughter keeps her from following through and Maeve heads back to Westworld.
At the Gala, Ford marks a new age of the park, and Dolores kills Ford in the same spot she killed Arnold all those years ago. From the trees, hosts from cold storage descend upon the gala. The Man in Black is shot in the arm, signaling that all the hosts are capable of killing.
Don’t Forget These Faces
There are plenty of other narratives in the park and Season 2 will pit these characters against each other in the war between man and machine.
Dolores’ robo-beau, who helped her escape the clutches of the Man in Black in the final episode. Teddy is loyal to Dolores in his core code and will end up following her in her quest to liberate Westworld. But does Teddy share the same desire to kill so willingly?
Hale is the Executive Director of Delos. In Season 1, her ultimate goal was to be rid of Ford so that the company could roll back hosts and make the park more profitable. She was also working with Theresa to smuggle the hosts’ data out of Fords hands so he couldn’t destroy the park. That data is stuck in the mind of…
Yep. Every piece of information needed to run the park and likely restore the hosts to their original builds lies in the head of a host. Peter was released from cold storage in Maeve’s escape plan and Hale will surely stop at nothing to ensure his capture.
Maeve’s best friend was the unfortunate host used in Hale’s first attempt to oust Ford from the park which led to Clementine being lobotomized and sent to storage. Now that she’s released, her brain seems to only understand death. She could be a powerful instrument for the hosts.
Let’s not forget the scorned brother-in-law. Logan was last seen on a road to nowhere in his birthday suit. Expect the story of Logan losing the company to William to unfold in time. Maybe an older Logan will eventually emerge to challenge the Man in Black?
Stubbs is Westworld’s Head of Security who played second fiddle to Theresa during Season 1. He is now tasked with finding a way to bring order to the park. Stubbs is also suspicious of Bernard and may know of his true identity as a host.
In the final episode, Maeve’s great escape brings them into Shogun World, another park seemingly set in Japan and filled with samurai. We’ve seen glimpses of Maeve walking through the park in some trailers, so don’t be surprised if she decides to bring sword-wielding reinforcements to Westworld.
The core code has been compromised and the park is in jeopardy. Will Westworld fall to Dolores and her host army? Is Maeve going to try and control the park from the outside and will she ever reunite with her daughter? Could the Man in Black’s hopes of a more dangerous park mean his end?
Westworld returns with its Season 2 premiere on HBO on April 22. Watch live on PlayStation Vue, or catch up with every episode available now on demand.