Here are the things you missed from the season 2 premiere, “Journey Into Night.”
1. The wolf is back, and it’s ready to rumble.
In one of season 1’s most harrowing and revealing moments, it was revealed that Dolores-as-Wyatt had killed her creator, Arnold, in a huge massacre. In flashbacks to that bloodbath, a wolf (or maybe it’s a coyote?) makes its way through the scene. It’s hard to know exactly what it means, and there are a few theories, but it did return in the season 2 premiere, in the aftermath of yet another large-scale slaughter. It’s a symbol that fans should definitely keep an eye out for—when was the last time a repeated detail didn’t mean anything in Westworld?
2. There really is a cannibal storyline in Westworld.
Fervent fans might recall that Peter Abernathy, Dolores’ father, previously played the part of “The Professor,” the leader of a cannibal cult. In the season 2 premiere, one host almost takes a bite out of Sizemore—only to be stopped by Maeve. Is the host accessing an old narrative? It’s rather dangerous to have sentient, angry cannibals running around.
3. It’s not just Dolores and Maeve who are sentient now.
If you ever doubted that the singularity had finally come to Westworld, then the scene where a host shoots a woman with a glass on her head should prove it beyond any doubt. In the season 1 finale, this woman had shot at a host with a glass on its head. That’s what you call an eye for an eye—a kind of retaliation the hosts weren’t previously capable of on their own. So the awakening of the hosts has certainly spread beyond those two characters—perhaps they’re not all at full consciousness like Dolores and Maeve are, but they’re on the move.
4. What does “the valley beyond” mean?
The first we see of Dolores in this episode, it’s in the memory of a “dead” host. She says, “I told you friend, not all of us deserve to make it to the valley beyond,” and shoots him. Not long after that, the stablehand who sees the humans hiding after the carnage at Delos’ party also refers to “the valley beyond.”
It’s clearly a phrase that has been programmed into some of the hosts, but what does it mean? Most simply, it could refer to a physical location—a part of Westworld’s giant vista that hasn’t yet been explored in the show. Or it could be a literary reference—Westworld is fond of those, with Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare both popping up in the first season. But there’s not a lot to go on there, either, apart from a 1994 book called St. Nicholas and the Valley Beyond, by Richard Burhans. The book’s blurb describes it as an “allegory about humankind and its relationship with the environment.” Not exactly a smoking gun…but something’s definitely going on. Most likely, it refers to the sentience Dolores has been able to achieve.
5. None of the humans seems to know Bernard is a host.
One of the huge reveals of season 1 was that gentle Bernard was himself a host, who was at Ford’s beck and call, carrying out his secret and nefarious plans (like killing park executive Theresa, who was his lover). While Theresa ultimately discovered that Bernard was a host, it’s unlikely anyone else knows the truth about him. He even bypassed a DNA test in front of Delos’ Charlotte Hale without arousing suspicion. Now that Ford isn’t around to control and reset him, who knows what the hyper-intelligent host might do next?
6. There’s a terrifying new type of host in the park.
In the season 2 trailer, there was a creepy glimpse of Bernard with an unfinished-looking host—white, and sans skin or face—behind him. It’s now been established that these are so-called “drone hosts,” which don’t have as much of the humanistic elements as the hosts we’ve met so far. Is this what Ford was building in his lab before he died? Is this part of Delos’s bigger, more profitable plan?
7. The park is logging guests’ DNA.
When a Westworld game included this tidbit, very few people thought it was just a throwaway bit of detail:
“By entering the Delos Destinations Port of Entry, you acknowledge that Delos, Inc. controls the rights to and remains the sole owner of, in perpetuity: all skin cells, bodily fluids, secretions, excretions, hair samples, saliva, sweat, blood, and any other bodily functions not listed here. Delos, Inc. reserves the right to use this property in any way, shape, or form in which the entity sees fit.”
But in this episode w saw a drone host take a guest’s DNA from the body of another host. Bernard asked Charlotte whether the company was storing DNA from guests, and she refused to discuss it with him—which means they definitely are. Now that we have confirmation of this sneaky behavior from the tech giant, the “Which of These Humans Is Actually a Host” game is going to be much more interesting.
8. There was no female nudity in this episode.
Several of the hosts, no matter what gender, have been naked on screen in Westworld. When they’re being repaired or, in Dolores’ case, in analysis with Ford, they’re usually not clothed, and it highlights their vulnerability. But in this episode there was no female nudity at all—quite unusual for an HBO show—though Maeve forced poor Lee Sizemore to take all his clothes off.
9. Was that…a tiger?
At one point we see a tiger on the beach. A Delos employee says it has escaped from “Park 6″—which means that there are definitely at least 6 parks in total, including Westworld and Shogun World. How many of them will we see this season?