The first thing you might notice about Season 2 of Westworld is that the opening credits have changed. During the first season of the HBO drama about an adult theme park staffed by humanoid “hosts,” the introductory title sequence featured a variety of images showing robots being sculpted into life by machines: sinews being painstakingly stretched over bone, skeletal hands playing a piano, a bone-white “couple” who appeared to be making love. In the very first shot a “sun” appears to rise over a mass of muscle and tissue, hinting that the frontier of Westworld isn’t the Old West but the new technology within the hosts. In the second season, though, the image of the lovers has been replaced by a mother cradling an infant. And the homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man that closes out the credits now features a body that’s distinctly female.
What does this mean? Well, Westworld is a puzzle, and so self-aware about that fact that the rollout for Season 2 featured an elaborate tease for the show’s Redditor-detective fan base involving Rickrolling and 21 minutes of a dog sitting at a piano. You could interpret the new elements in the credits as a nod to any number of threads Season 2 begins to unravel. Maeve (Thandie Newton), the host and former brothel-keeper, is on a mission to find the daughter who was written into one of her many “storylines.” Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is newly sentient, and leading a violent uprising against the architects of her 30-year abuse at the hands of Westworld’s more sadistic visitors. You could also read the image of a mother and child as a metaphor for the questions of creation that Westworld unpacks—the Promethean arrogance and folly of giving life to something without considering the consequences.