The heir apparent to the title of TV’s king, in its first season Westworld came storming out of the gates, delivering a mind blowing string of episodes that, whilst occasionally dragging, packed high octane thrills, psychological drama and more twists and turns than M. Night Shyamalan’s entire filmography. With an all star ensemble all on the top of their game, some clever scripting, intriguing concepts and stunning visuals, Westworld is that rare show born from greatness and destined to achieve a place in the annals of TV history. It’s rapid ascension was predicted before its premiere, but never to this scale. As the action wraps up in Westeros, it’s only just starting in Westworld, and with its second season arriving this April, get ready for Westworld to continue its global conquest and become your favourite show in the process.
After the first season’s shocking climax, ‘The Bicameral Mind’ (AKA 90 minutes of some of the best television ever), the chess board of Westworld is set up in attack position. Where season one was all about strategy, manoeuvring the players slowly and subtly, and developing the storylines through their infantile stage, season two is all about the meaty action, expect the show to truly come of age. After the significant power plays from Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton) in the finale, the trailer promises us the return of two of the show’s strongest characters and, perhaps more intriguingly, the declaration of “a new world… our world”. After the controlled lives of the hosts in season one, now seems to be their time to take over and claim the human world as their own. In short, it looks like war is coming to Westworld.
In addition to the return of Dolores and Maeve, the trailer offers us glimpses of Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard, Ben Barnes’ Logan and Ed Harris’ Man in Black, but remains coy on the state of Anthony Hopkins’ Robert Ford, one of the show’s strongest characters and performers, after the ambiguous climax to his arc in season one. But along with the main cast, the sub-two minute collection of footage re-familiarises us with the grandiose visuals and music we’ve come to expect from Westworld; with a piano rendition of Kanye West’s ‘Runaway’ featured, the beloved instrumental, piano based score will return for what should be another strong output from composer Ramin Djawadi, scoring the luscious, sprawling western landscapes, and the intricate futuristic outer world. As an aesthetic and audible product, Westworld is near second to none.
Given how season one concluded, the story of Westworld season two looks set to continue its focus upon the topic of consciousness; what it means, who can attain it, and how it can be attained. Given the pivotal role of Dolores to this final 90 minutes of the show, we can expect many more hosts to storm the land in search of not only their own individuality and consciousness, but also their destiny, the closure to the existence forced upon them by Ford for so long. But it remains to be seen whether Ford, the master manipulator and puller of all strings, has remained one step ahead of every player, or if things will soon proceed in ways not even he could foresee.
Much like its HBO counterpart Game of Thrones, Westworld and its fanbase thrives on speculation and the much maligned, yet widely circulated fan theories. Of course, we should expect nothing less of season two, hell, the theories have already started; who actually made it out of that ending? Will the action break away into the speculated other parks? Who else has actually been a host this whole time? What has happened to the outside world that Westworld must exist as it does? Is humanity at its end? Is now the time of the hosts? Hath judgement day cometh to condemn the wicked once and for all?
Leave it to Westworld to pose these questions to us and have us speculating in such a way. But that’s the sign of a new phenomenon, and this is exactly what Westworld is; an utterly unique, wholly original and audacious product of what many claim is the golden age of television. I said it earlier and I’ll say it again, Westworld was born from greatness, into greatness. There’s nothing like it on the small screen right now and with a new set of episodes for us to sink our teeth into, look for TV’s next ruler to solidify its place in the succession.
Westworld season 2 will air on April 22nd on Sky Atlantic.