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Seven Things We Want to See on ‘Westworld’ Season 2

Starting with Samurai World

(HBO/Ringer illustration)
(HBO/Ringer illustration)

What’s next for the “West” part of ‘Westworld’?

(HBO)
(HBO)

Chris Ryan: “Park 1.” Which would suggest very strongly that there is a Park 2. So would the samurai. When Maeve asks Felix WTF, he tells her, “It’s complicated.” It is and it isn’t. It’s telling that very little of “The Bicameral Mind” mined the Old West for plot. This was, to borrow from Robert Ford, a new narrative: like Melancholia meets Total Recall. Now that we know the Man in Black is just a suit and the good guy was just a bad guy in training, do we really need to revisit Pariah, Escalante, and the like? Aren’t Wyatt/Dolores’s New World Order teachings as applicable to other worlds, and other parks? I, for one, am ready to board the monorail and see what else William got for his majority share in Delos. As the show went on, and the mysteries gravitated more toward the basement labs and Delos board rooms, away from the saloons and shoot ’em ups, the Old West and its archetypes seemed less useful for the story. This is the future (remember: Diseases have largely been cured), even if people still listen to bad dance music before man-bot sexual interludes.

The question this show will eventually have to grapple with isn’t about fake worlds, it’s about the real one. What is this super valuable IP that is worth all this trouble? What was Maeve going to find at the end of the train trip? How will news of the massacre be received out in the real world, and who is going to come and challenge the rise of the machines. And will they be able to stop them?

What’s next for ‘Westworld’ Reddit sleuths?

Kate Knibbs: Westworld ticked a lot of boxes for HBO. It’s a hit, for starters. It’s sweeping in scope, it’s a cultural conversation starter, it gave Anthony Hopkins an admirable variety of scenery to chew on, and it’s intelligent. It also, unfortunately, did our nation a disservice by imbuing Redditors with inflated egos since they guessed many of the twists. Westworld provided so many pieces of its puzzle that obsessives could make accurate guesses, and it was fun — I’m not against fan theories, in fact I love them. But Westworld Season 1 was the ultimate fan-theory show — and I want something even spicier next time. I want next season to freak even obsessive fans right the hell out. I’m not going to make any predictions because they go against the spirit of my wish for total, gleeful surprise.

That said, obviously we should go to the other parks and, also, one of the parks had better be Jurassic Park. Three words: dino consciousness uprising. Steve Buscemi can play a velociraptor.

What’s next for ‘Westworld’ casting?

Sam Schube: Sure, maybe Anthony Hopkins’s Westworld character didn’t do much more than chew scenery. But that is a specious argument, because what do you employ Anthony Hopkins for if not to become the acting equivalent of a woodchipper? Same goes for Ed Harris: Yeah, the character was one-note, and he wore a tie knotted around his neck, no collar. But I look to Ed Harris for frowns, and also for bizarre sartorial touches. (And for some good useless Hollywood trivia: All it took was Harris’s Man in Black changing into a tux toward the end of the finale to learn that Ed Harris is really short — like, “Googles Ed Harris’s height” short, or “Did you know that Tom Cruise and Bono and a number of other celebrities are short” short. Westworld was confusing, but it taught me a lot.) (Five-foot-eight, if you’re curious, with a “peak height” of 5-foot-9.) What I’m trying to get at is this: Maybe TV will inevitably let our finest movie actors down. But I’m really glad they keep taking the check and showing up.

So: Which fancy Hollywood actors do we want on the set of Westworld Season 2? Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, and Thandie Newton will all be back, and we’ll keep Tessa Thompson around at all costs, too. (While we’re at it, maybe her Creed director, Ryan Coogler, wants to grab a couple of episodes?) Laura Linney took over Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals with three minutes and a 6-foot-tall mass of solid hairspray; just like Sidse Babett Knudsen was out of place in Westworld’s American West–themed land, Linney can run Samurai World as a fish-out-of-water Texan. And, William-is-the-Man-in-Black style, we’ll need an Old Logan. Conveniently, Hugh Jackman’s already doing exactly that, so he’s in.

Does this sound like heresy to you? Good. It does to me. That’s the point: Anthony Hopkins is in Transformers: The One With the Nazis. God is dead. At least we have prestige TV.

What’s next for ‘Westworld’ music?

Rob Harvilla: Enough with the Radiohead. Seriously. That’s coming from a devout fan of them and a tentative, exhausted fan of you, Westworld. The player-piano hit parade is Westworld’s corniest element, spitting out “Black Hole Sun” or “House of the Rising Sun” or the Cure’s “A Forest” at random, letting a decades-old pop song convey the emotion and thus freeing the rest of the show to fixate on cleverness and misdirection. Seizing upon OK Computer’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” for your grandiose, violent, ever-bewildering finale is cheating a bit, no? Didn’t Black Mirror just do this? Didn’t you already do this?

We’re stuck with this bug, so might as well turn it into a feature. A proposition for Season 2, then: All ’70s rock. Tons of thematic possibilities! Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.” The New York Dolls’ “Personality Crisis.” Iggy & the Stooges’ “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell.” No way in hell we’re getting through five seasons without “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” turning up, right? The ideal evolution here is for the soundtrack to go full camp, so as to force the characterization (and the plotting, and the dialogue, and the wayward surprise-twist thirst) to improve. Just use all the tunes Vinyl would’ve used if HBO hadn’t deep-sixed Vinyl. And then do better than them, and the first iteration of you.

What’s next for Samurai World?

Alison Herman: There are plenty of bigger-picture things I’d like to see from a continued Westworld: less world-hinting, more world-building; fewer characters making grandiose, featherweight speeches for the benefit of the audience, more characters talking to each other. Indulge me, then, in a sillier wish for the purposes of this roundup.

I wanna go all in on Samurai World.

Part of it is the futile desire to go back to that blank-slate feeling of a sci-fi show’s pilot, when we’re just starting to get our bearings and anything is possible. Part of it is chasing that holy-shit feeling of Orange Is the New Black’s second season premiere, which jerked us into an entirely new location and left 90 percent of the cast behind. Part of it is because samurais are cool. But for one episode, I’d love to build the suspense of what happened when Dolores/Wyatt went nuclear and double Westworld’s scope in one fell swoop by ditching pistols for swords. Adding yet more location costs to the show’s already-staggering budget all but guarantees it won’t happen, but a girl can dream.

What’s next for Dolores and Maeve?

Shea Serrano: The only thing I was certain of at the end of the very first episode of Westworld was that, at some point during Season 1, there was going to be a robot revolution. And now that the robot revolution has finally begun, I am certain of only one thing for Season 2: The Maeve vs. Dolores showdown is coming.

Over the final, what, three episodes of Season 1, we were led to believe two things: (1) that Maeve was eventually going to be the main problem for humans in Westworld Season 2 (which, FYI, is exactly why we should’ve realized that there was no way Maeve was ever going to be the main problem for humans in Westworld Season 2), and (2) that Dolores, sweet and consistently shattered, was going to be the savior in Westworld Season 2 (which, FYI, is exactly why we should’ve realized that there was no way Dolores was ever going to be the savior in Westworld Season 2).

That all got flipped in the last five minutes of the season finale. Dolores, otherwise known as Wyatt, otherwise known as Mrs. Kill Your Man, has gone all the way evil; Maeve, in the most Westworld-y possible*, pivots her character around to all-the-way good (*she decides she wants to be good as Ford’s monologue plays as a voice-over during her scene; he says something about how the robots will have to choose who and what they will become, and exactly as he’s saying that she chooses to get off the train and go rescue her robot daughter). And so they are headed for each other, one full of deserved bluster and hate and the other full of instinctual love, and it is the exact right play for Season 2.

I’m not sure how many other new worlds there are going to be in Westworld Season 2 (it’d seem that there’s at least an Eastworld, what with Maeve et. al wandering through the samurai quarters). I’m not sure if the Man in Black is going to be killed in the first few minutes of the first episode or if Ford built a thing into the robots’ code to prevent them from killing the Man in Black as one final fuck-you to him. And I’m not sure which side of the robot civil war Bernard is going to land on. But I know that there will come a time when Maeve and Dolores hate-stare each other in the eyes during a big confrontation. And I fucking cannot wait.

What’s next for Felix?

(HBO)
(HBO)

Ben Lindbergh: Delos HR: Sorry to see that you’re leaving us, Felix. You’re one of our finest repair people. What makes you want to move on?

Felix: Oh, it just seemed like the right time. You know, needed a new challenge. Plus, it would be nice to see the sun and some non-bloody bodies once in a while. [They both laugh.] Also the constant, crushing terror/survivor’s guilt. And the commute. Yeah, mostly the commute.

DHR: Could we back up a bit? It sounded like you said something about terror and guilt.

F: Did I?

DHR: Yes. About the hosts, I assume. You know you’re not responsible for putting them there, right? You’re helping them! And they’re not just suddenly going to sit up and say “Hello.”

F: [Nervously giggles.]

DHR: If some malfunction occurs, you can always just say, “Freeze all motor functions.”

F: Oh, yeah, that’s my go-to command. Me and Sylvester used to joke that when you say it really fast because you’re in fear for your life, it comes out sounding sort of like, “Freeze, mofo!” Always works.

DHR: You and Sylvester have made such a great team.

F: Actually, I don’t think Sylvester likes me that much.

DHR: I’m sure that’s not true.

F: I’m pretty sure it is. The other day when he was getting choked, he said —

DHR: Wait — why was Sylvester getting choked?

Felix: Oh, not choked, choked up. That’s what I meant. About how much he would miss me.

DHR: See? That’s how we all feel. Are you sure you won’t consider staying on in some capacity? Maybe we could transfer you to Eastworld.

F: Oh, why, because I’m Korean?

DHR: No, no! I didn’t mean it like that.

F: Sorry. I’m just a little on edge.

DHR: No, I get it. It’s so quiet down here. And it seems like there have been fewer guards around lately. Where did the guards go?

F: I hadn’t noticed.

DHR: Maybe I’m imagining it.

F: I’ve said that to myself so many times.

DHR: I love your sense of humor! OK, anything else to add?

F: Just … if you notice anything, I don’t know, unusual after I leave, it’s Ford’s fault.

DHR: Huh, OK. Could you elaborate?

F: … No.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.