Westworld: 2.02 Reunion
Westworld played with two timelines again this week, continuing to explore the aftermath of the host uprising while flitting back to the origins of the theme park and the continuing journey of a younger William. This was another rich episode, full of grandeur, fascinating character studies and giving fans hints of the wider conflict still to come.
We began with another flashback to Arnold and Delores, the real twist here of course was that this was the days before Westworld, a time where Arnold and Ford's ideas for a virtual world had not yet reached fruition. The biggest surprise was seeing Delores, fully formed long before the park was opened, out in the 'real world'. This episode gave us our first proper glimpse at Earth, a place not that much different to our own. There were no flying cars but instead brightly lit cities and gorgeous summer homes of the elite; Delores looked out in wonder at the shining skyscrapers with the same wonder she did the grassy plains of Westworld, offering a fresh perspective on her journey.
In many ways, Reunion played as a Westworld origins episode. Ben Barnes and Jimmi Simpson returned as Logan and the younger William as we explored their history pre and post the events of their time in Westworld during season one's second timeline. Logan was seduced into investing in the park in a magical scene where he was invited to a party by Talulah Riley's Angela, trying to suss out the hosts hidden in the human gathering, only to discover that everyone around him was fake.
This really hammered home just how ahead of their time Arnold and Ford were, creating technology seemingly decades early; it's clear just how appealing the investment could be. It wasn't just Delores or Angela that existed before the park was built; seeing characters like Clementine and Major Craddock on Earth shattered the illusion of seclusion from the outside world that season one had established so well.
We also got to see William, molded by his experiences in Westworld, transforming into the older, ruthless man played by Ed Harris. While a traumatised Logan was seen falling into drugs and despair after what had happened, William continued to use Delores for his own ends and was quick to rise to power, taking the company from his father in law (an equally ruthless, abrasive James Delos,played by Peter Mullan) and building his own secret weapon in the heart of the park.
Which brings us back to the current timeline and the park itself. There was little Maeve this week - the passing encounter with Delores aside; instead the storyline focused on two factions - the older William recruiting partner in crime, the host Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr) while Delores built her own army of resurrected hosts. Their destination - the secret weapon built by William in the past, which he showed to Delores in all his arrogance.
Evan Rachel Wood was magnificent this week; fuelled by the knowledge of the outside world, she used her new position to force the poor technician she captured to resurrect dead hosts and build herself an army. Poor Teddy learned of his past deaths, while Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) found himself slaughtered and resurrected at her whim. It's a frightening transformation from the blacksmith's daughter of season one and am loving where her storyline is going, ready to wage war against humanity.
Starting with Ed Harris's William / Man in Black. This was a great episode for him too, relishing a war where there was finally consequence. His partnership with Lawrence was a great pairing in season one and I am glad the show has kept this going (assuming Lawrence doesn't turn against him). There was also a fantastic encounter with Giancarlo Esposito as El Lazo in a Pariah where all the decadence and depravity had led to a slaughter of its unsuspecting human guests.
I am very excited to see Delores and William's storylines converge and this secret weapon is another intriguing mystery to add to the show's cap. Last week's massacre cliff-hanger remained unanswered but the script, direction and performances were woven so tightly that there was not a single moment wasted and we weren't left waiting. Westworld is continuing to live up to the highs of season one and I can't wait to see what happens next.