SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Season 3 premiere of “Westworld.”
“Westworld” viewers, bring yourselves back online.
Run a diagnostic — what the heck happened at the end of Season 2, which finished airing almost two years ago? Don’t remember? It’s fine, the Season 3 premiere gives more than enough reminders of where we are, when we are, and who we are with.
That’s right, everyone’s favorite deeply complex, deeply violent HBO series is back, and this time, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and her small posse of hosts have escaped into the real world and are looking to exterminate the human race for inflicting so much pain and suffering on them in the park.
Episode 1 of Season 3 opened with Dolores running a vengeful errand, paying visit to a former park guest who was able to provide some insight on a mysterious rival company to Delos, whose boss is clearly being set up as the big bad for this season.
Even though the spasmodic jumps between multiple timelines seems to have been mostly dispensed with, the episode still provided more questions than it did answers. It is “Westworld” after all.
Without wasting any more time, here are some burning questions from the premiere.
What has Dolores been up to since Season 2?
She found herself a new boyfriend, how cute! Going from the monosyllabic cowboy type to this new, nerdy techie is a choice, but as ever with Dolores, true love isn’t exactly what she’s looking for out of this relationship. She tries to kidnap her new sweetie (played by John Gallagher Jr.) at the end of the episode to extract information from him, but is captured by some corporate goons instead. After they discover that lethal injections don’t work so well on hosts, a bloody massacre ensues, and there’s no prizes for guessing who comes away from it newly single and looking as steely and murderous as ever.
What’s different about future Los Angeles and the world in general?
There are some new fancy vehicles, Santa Monica has a few more skyscrapers, but other than that the city is entirely recognizable. MacArthur Park provides a familiar backdrop for the thrilling shootout finale, and Hotel Indigo in downtown is still going strong. Overall, the Los Angeles of “Westworld” feels much closer to the current city than it does to the eerily dark metropolis of “Blade Runner.” In terms of the world in general, there’s a new app on the market, used by Aaron Paul’s Caleb, which is essentially Uber but for crime, and future parties look pretty wild (think fully naked men with painted bodies and avant-garde art installations).
What’s happened with the whole Halores situation?
Well, it appears that Dolores is having whichever host is inside Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) pretend to be regular, bog standard Hale in an attempt to manipulate the Delos board into producing more hosts and acting like the park massacre in Season 2 never happened. With that power pink suit and a cigarette perched classily between her fingers, host Hale could convince anyone of anything, frankly. But will she be able to keep up the facade much longer? Surely there will come a point when she is exposed for the confusing robot being that she is.
Why would Bernard want to return to Westworld?
We find Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) living his new, frankly best life as a butcher — a touch on the nose given his past, but hey. However, he is soon recognized as a fugitive and decides he’s had enough of the idyllic cattle slaughtering life and sets off back to the island where Westworld is located. But why? He says he’s looking for a friend, but last we checked he didn’t have many of those back there. You certainly can’t count Ford (Anthony Hopkins) as one given what he’s put old Bernie through, so for whom or what could he possibly be going back?
Is Ashley Stubbs really a host? Where will Maeve be brought back online? Where’s the Man in Black at?
OK, that’s three questions, but they are all left unanswered by the end of Episode 1. Season 2 ended with Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) apparently being revealed as a host, Maeve (Thandie Newton) going down in a blaze of glory, and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) getting evacuated from the park with the other humans plus Halores. From the end of this first episode, it’s clear that somehow Maeve ended up in a World War II part of the park, but to learn her exact fate and that of the other two main characters, viewers will have to keep tuning in to Season 3. Given the current pandemic predicament the world finds itself in, there’s not exactly much else to do!
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.