You can never judge the overall quality of a season of television until it has finished. This is certainly true for a show like Westworld. In its first season, each episode deepened the mystery of the story and the season had multiple timelines within it. This meant that it would be unfair to judge the season until the stories in those timelines had come to some sort of resolution and connected in some way. Season 2 is absolutely continuing what Season 1 established in this regard.
Arnold and Dolores
In ‘Journey Into Night’, we saw that stories were being told in two different timelines. Now, after the second episode, titled ‘Reunion’, more timelines have now been re-introduced. Indeed, the distant past was a big focus in Season 1 of Westworld and it provided some interesting backstory to characters such as the Man in Black, or William as he was known back then. This also continues in Season 2. However, before going back to continue William’s story from where that ended in Season 1, we went even further back in time to when Arnold was still alive and before the park had been built.
Indeed, Arnold was setting up a showcase for Logan to convince him to invest in Westworld with the help of Robert Ford and it was awesome to hear a younger version of Ford. I do not know if Anthony Hopkins came back to do the voice for the younger Ford but it sounded exactly like him. So, either Hopkins did come back or they got a tremendous voice actor who can imitate a voice on the same pitch-perfect level as, for instance, Stephen Stanton did for Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars Rebels episode ‘Twin Suns’. I also liked how the relationship between Arnold and Dolores, who was meant to be a part of the showcase to Logan, was developed in this timeline.
We get to see Logan again in the other timeline that takes place in the distant past. As I said earlier, we follow William after the events of Season 1. Logan is out of the picture and William now has access to Logan’s father and he shows him how the parks can be used to spy on guests and collect data on them. As William says, the parks are where people show who they really are and this whole conversation between William and Logan’s father was very timely when you consider the revelations that have come out about Facebook recently.
William takes control of Delos and Dolores, at a party celebrating this, finds a despondent Logan who believes that humanity in now doomed. He may turn out to be right and all of what we saw in the distant past in ‘Reunion’ continued to provide some fascinating backstory which I am sure will connect to what is going on in the present timelines.
The other storylines that were continued from ‘Journey Into Night’ were the ones which focus on Dolores and the Man in Black. When it comes to Dolores, she is continuing to expose Teddy to more of the truth about what they truly are. She also runs into Maeve and they have an intriguing discussion about their newfound “freedom” which is an important theme of Westworld. Dolores also tries to recruit more Hosts to her cause of finding the “valley beyond” which houses a weapon she intends to use against the humans.
This goal and her whole arc in ‘Reunion’ was intrinsically linked to the past timelines as well as the Man in Black who reunites with Lawrence. He also tries to recruit Hosts, loyal to the new El Lazo, to aid him with his game and reach the “pearly gates”. On a side note, it was awesome to see Giancarlo Esposito, Gus from Breaking Bad, portray the new El Lazo. It was a cool cameo. However, the Man in Black’s plans were foiled. Robert Ford was not allowing any of this to happen and he kills his recruits.
Even though Ford is dead, his spirit still lives on and it raises some questions over how dead he really is. Despite this setback, the Man in Black goes forward with his quest to destroy what he sees as his greatest mistake. This may be the park itself or perhaps the weapon Dolores is seeking and, in the distant past, we saw William take Dolores to this special project he was constructing which may well be the weapon. Both the Man in Black and Dolores seems to be heading towards the same destination with different ambitions in mind.
My Final Thoughts on ‘Reunion’
I really liked ‘Reunion’. It provided us with more interesting backstory, it deepened the mystery of the story being told and the episode was quite different from what I believed we would get based on where we left off in ‘Journey Into Night’. Certainly, more periods of time will be focused on than I originally thought and while all of these convoluted timelines could have been confusing, the way they linked together in ‘Reunion’ was well executed in my opinion.
Because of Season 1, it is much easier to follow what is going on in these different timelines. I cannot wait to see how everything established so far in Season 2 of Westworld will all link together in the end, especially when it comes to finding out what the weapon actually is.