Every week for the second season of Westworld, three Atlantic staffers will discuss new episodes of HBO’s cerebral sci-fi drama.
David Sims: Probably my favorite line in Jurassic Park is, unsurprisingly, delivered by Jeff Goldblum (playing the sardonic mathematician Ian Malcolm). As John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the kindly inventor of the malfunctioning dino-park, defends himself by pointing out that Disneyland opened to a raft of technical faults. “Yeah, but John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists,” Ian shoots back. As Westworld’s second season begins, the pirates (well, cowboys) are finally eating the tourists, and the first episode, “Journey Into Night,” takes place mid-meal.
Westworld’s John Hammond–type, Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), is dead, shot in the head by one of his creations; the park’s Ian Malcolm stand-in, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), has just realized he’s a robot himself. Every part of the park and its subterranean control rooms are littered with bodies, the aftermath of an ongoing violent uprising from its robotic “hosts” against their creators and the tourists. “Journey Into Night” (written by the show’s co-creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, along with Roberto Patino) is a chaotic table-setter that seemed mostly interested in addressing some of the imbalances of Season 1. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), the robotic damsel in distress, is now carrying out summary executions. Maeve (Thandie Newton), the madam-turned-corporate infiltrator, is taking out employees with a machine gun. Are we supposed to be rooting for them?