"Westworld" is back! And we're so back for it. HBO debuted the second season Sunday night and we couldn't look away -- though we did pause it once to use the bathroom, because we control technology and not the other way around, right?
Look, a lot happened, and this isn't a recap. We've got a ton of questions, a few theories, and a whole lot of love for this smart sci-fi series. Plus, we have the benefit of a brand new season —- anything is fair game at this point, even the stuff from far left field.
Also, this should go without saying: SPOILERS AHEAD!
The first question is a doozy, because before the premiere we were wondering how the show would keep us guessing after merging the major two timelines last season — the Man in Black (Ed Harris) was William after all.
The answer is, of course, to just split the timeline again!
What we have now is Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) immediately after the party massacre, and then Bernard sometime in the future where he's found on the beach by the Delos security crew (and, some international muscle it seems — is this a clue as to where Westworld and all of the parks are actually located on Earth?). At first we were like, wait, didn't the head of security get captured at the end of the last season, and then we were like, "Oh, OK, they're doing a split timeline again."
Later in the episode we see Bernard get waltzed back through the scene of the massacre, a scene now in a pretty profound state of decomposition, so our first big question of the season is: How much time has passed between the two new major timelines? A couple of weeks at least, right?
And, just how the heck did Stubbs escape the Ghost Nation? The Season 1 recap right before the episode sure didn't let us forget he was taken, so we'll be finding out soon enough, we bet.
Charlotte, played by the incredible Tessa Thompson, constantly knows more than she's letting on -— but when a trap is sprung on some massacre survivors, it was time to let Bernard in on some of her secrets: a hidden bunker, some freaky lookin' faceless drones/robots, and a door that has to be the biggest pain in the ass to get through when you're alone or in a hurry. (Unless she didn't need Bernard's help in unlocking the door, and just wanted the room to know he was harmless, which is probably just something we missed.)
Once she gets herself and Bernard into safety, the audience gets a flurry of messages between Charlotte and another entity about delivering a host -— a host that Bernard is tasked with finding.
Where is she sending the host, and to whom (Delos? The Delos that was at odds with Sir Anthony Hopkins all last season? A new group or government?)?
And why is she recording guest experiences AND DNA? Hmmm, lifelike robots and DNA extraction sounds like Delos (or whoever Charlotte is sending the host to) might want to build replicas of rich and important people to replace them. Especially if they get, oh we don't know, massacred in one of the parks.
Okay, we know there are at least SIX parks —- and we know of two: Westworld and what people are calling "Shogunworld." We know of the latter because of previews and brief snippets, and how Maeve gets all decked out in period-appropriate clothing.
We also know that the original "Westworld" movie from back in the day featured a Medievalworld, so that has a high likelihood of being a third.
But. What. Are. The. Other. Three?
And could there be more than six? And are they all so dramatic? What about a Denver, Coloradoworld, where people go just to smoke legally when they get home from a hard day at work. Roleplaying is fun.
Those "High Target" cards on the beach —- is Bernard in trouble?
Look, when something is considered a high target, it could mean one of two things:
It's just super duper high priority
It's a "target," as in, someone better destroy it
So wait: Does Delos know Bernard is a host?
There's a reason we were shown that woman flipping through the cards, nothing is just a throwaway here. It's possible they woke him up on the beach for information, though we don't know why they wouldn't just cut open his head and pluck his Mangosteen Brain from its juice-hole and play it all back on their tablets like they did with the member of the Ghost Nation.
But if all the other hosts went and got drowned in the secret sea, did they find Bernard washed up on shore having floated away?
Honestly, we're not really sure what's a "story" and what isn't.
At this point —- the beginning of a season where we don't really know anything at all yet -— we're not entirely convinced that what we're seeing isn't just part of another storyline.
It might be a stretch, but who's to say that the new Delos dude in charge on the beach isn't a human park guest just playing the game further in the future, solving the mystery of the massacre as part of a storyline?
To us, that would be pretty cheap. We don't think this has much of a likelihood, but isn't guessing fun? So fun.
Try this crazy theory on for size...
Has anyone confirmed that the parks aren't super tiny?
Stop laughing. We legit had friends say that when they saw the mini-map in the center of the control room last season (the one with a dead body on it in this season, breaking it), they figured it out: Delos shrinks people down to go inside the parks! Because where on Earth (literally) would anyone find enough space for six of these huge messed up playgrounds?
Think about it.
And keep thinking about it until next week...
...when all of these things are confirmed wrong and we're nowhere near the center of the Westworld maze, drawn out by the show's writers who are hell-bent on surprising us at all costs.