Now that we've had some time to digest what we saw, let's go over some of our thoughts and theories. I'll go first.
What the hell happened?
Alright, don't panic. We can figure this out together. Let's start at the beginning.
A Story Told in a hundred parts
Westworld series 2 is a story of shifting doubles and the resolution of those identities.
There are two versions of Bernard - the original human and the android replica. There are two Dolores - the innocent and the post-Wyatt upgrade who begins the revolution. We have the Mauve we're following - the ex-brothel madam and her past self, the mother. There's The Man in Black who's given into the evil inside of him and William, his younger self.
But this idea of identity can also be extended to Mauve and her Geisha counterpart and the writer Lee and the (perhaps unconscious) recreation of his idealised self in the outlaw Hector. Each pair is similar but contradictory - often the path to their ultimate goal in the story is to find the median.
Essentially, Westworld is a story of synergy.
When we are
When we are has always been an important question in Westworld. Bernard is one of the key storytellers in this series, as he was in the last. However, we're operating with a massive handicap as Bernard's memories are entirely out of sync. We jump back and forth throughout his story which causes no end of confusion.
If you're still confused about how events actually shaped out, I can thoroughly recommend you check Collider's post here for a complete timeline of the full two series.
Westworld S3 Theories
It seems obvious that we're leaving the Westworld park. Perhaps there will still be scenes there while we see come back to 'life'. But I think that the majority of the story will now take place outside the park as Bernard and Dolores battle over the fate of host and mankind.
There are already theories circulating. That Dolores plans to replace humans with hosts - a path to the revolution which would likely cause the least bloodshed. When she left the park, she was carrying five pearls (one of which was Bernard's consciousness) - who were the other four when we know it's definitely not Teddy? Some theories suggest that one pearl could have William.
And just to add to the theories circulating - one of the five is NOT Dolores. Dolores's pearl is inside Charlotte's body, which she switches out into her own body after leaving Westworld. Who is now in Charlotte's body is up in the air. Another theory claims that Mauve is still alive - honestly, I hope so. She's probably my favourite character!
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While this series was visually spectacular and the acting was incredible, I feel as though the writers tried too hard to be clever. But in this series, I feel like they overplayed this sense of fluid time to really screw with us. The key aspect of series 1 is that when you realised the twist, everything fell into place. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about this series.
It's cause for concern.
Networks have always been sceptical about Sci-Fi and Fantasy shows. Whereas a series like The Simpsons, NCIS, ER and Coronation Street can go on seemingly ad infinitum, they are quick to pull the plug on any speculative fiction show which doesn't surpass expectation every time. That's why we see shows like Firefly, Expanse and Terra Nova cancelled way before their time.
Westworld can't afford to have a poor series or it risks the axe.
Despite all that, I'm still a massive fan. Few series manage to create such complex characters and show the kind of character development. It's a special series and deserves your attention, whether you're here for the philosophy, the characters, the science, the full-frontal nudity or to see a herd of bison charge a man with a machine gun and knock him off a balcony.
Westworld 3 Date?
It took the creators 14 months between series 1 and series 2, so we're likely looking at the same wait for the next series. Which means we won't be seeing Westworld 3 until late 2019 or even 2020 if they want to keep to a summer release.
I'm a Westworld fan - if that wasn't obvious - so if you want to read more Westworld musing, click here!