Westworld S2E1: Journey into Night Review

It has been nearly a year since we saw the Westworld theme park fall into chaos, and now the first episode of Season 2 has dropped to answer our burning question form last year, what the hell happens next?

I will try to avoid spoilers in this review, but some light ones, especially of early ones may seep through.  If you are reading this to decide if you should watch the episode after watching last season, and want no spoilers, then just go watch the episode.

Bernard has washed up on the shore, and is found by company security, seemingly unaware that he is one of the hosts, which was a major revelation in the last season.  This means that he gets to witness hosts being gunned down, and some of their memories being used to gather an idea of what’s going on.

Scenes flick to Dolores who is in the park area hunting people down, which is just terrifying.  After we spent the first season with Dolores as a being of innocence, and especially as the damsel in distress that she was used for in stories, that feeling resonates.  This makes her callous disregard for life that much more uncomfortable.

A lot of the episode follows Maeve, who was the woman who ran the brothel, and started the process of questioning everything as she makes her way through the facility.  This one for the most part doesn’t venture too far from her plot at the end of the first season, but they do use this as a chance to flip the nudity around.  Opting to state that it was his turn, her human company is forced to strip down, more for making a point than anything else.

The idea of flipping everything around, from what was normal seeps through the whole episode.  From the hanging dong, to the innocent characters being violent, to those in control being on the other foot.  The episode really hammers home that what we thought were facts, aren’t so much anymore.

The most annoying thing the episode does is jump around with time a lot.  This may fit better as the season progresses and we have more context for each period, but without that it can be annoying trying to tell when some of the events are taking place.

Is the Dolores killing going on while Bernard is captured?  Is the security team outside occurring while Maeve is venturing inside the offices of the facility?  These unnecessary questions can make following episode one unnecessarily rough, and its presumably to hide some plot twists, but I will reserve judgement on if this is a good idea when more of the series has been revealed.

So far, the new season doesn’t have the flow, or conciseness that the first season did.  This could be a good thing, or a bad one, depending on how they use the multiple narratives they have going as the season progresses.  For now, the first episode is a good one, and hopefully the start of a great series.

Westworld Season 2 Episode 1 is available for streaming on Neon

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