‘Westworld’ episode 2 recap: ‘Reunion’ hints at the true purpose of the park

HBO’s “Westworld” offered some of the most profound questions in the series to date in Episode 2, “The Reunion.” This flashback heavy installment dared to take a look outside of the park and set up an exciting endgame for the season. Take a look below at the biggest mysteries introduced in Episode 2.

Our World – After a tremendous amount of speculation as to what the outside world looks like, the series granted viewers their first glimpse when Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) wakes up in “our world.” The scene takes place in a flashback, as evidenced by Arnold’s (Jeffrey Wright) argument with Ford (Anthony Hopkins), and the mention of Arnold’s still living son Charlie. Dolores is awestruck by the skyline of a modern city, remarking “have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?” The most fascinating tease occurs in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sign reading “Space 47” with Mandarin characters appearing underneath. This would lend credence to a widely circulated fan theory that Westworld is located somewhere in China.

Argos Initiative – During another flashback in “our world,” Logan (Ben Barnes) is confronted by members of “The Argos Initiative.” “Westworld” has never mentioned this group before, but Angela (Talulah Riley) is one of the representatives making a pitch to Logan. They offer him a private demonstration of their tech: Logan is meant to detect the one host in a room of party goers, but to his surprise everyone is an android. Was “Argos” simply the original name of the Ford and Arnold’s company before Delos became involved? Or does this point to another entity closely tied to the creation of hosts?

SEE ‘Westworld’ season 2 reviews: ‘Entertaining,’ ‘baffling’ and ‘ambitious’ sci-fi western returns to HBO

Into the West – The “Man in Black” version of William (Ed Harris) rescues his old friend Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) in an effort to rally forces for an upcoming journey. William tries to explain to Lawrence that he is now a free being, but that the whole place is “about to go down in flames.” In his explanation he mentions the guests’ original intent for the park as a place where they could “sin in peace,” but “we were watching them.” The “we” he refers to is probably Delos, but his tone implies there may be more sinister reasons for watching guests other than data mining. In any case, he intends to journey to a destination in the west where he can destroy the whole park.

An Army – Dolores tortures information out of a park technician and learns that roughly 800 men will be sent to stop her. When Teddy (James Marsden) worries about their odds against such a force, Dolores makes the technician revive a deceased host. The zombie host leads the group to a pack of bandits, who have no interest in joining up to aid Dolores’ cause. Naturally she executes them all. But she once again uses her handy technician to revive the leader of the group, and suddenly Dolores has a new group of soldiers. It seems that she will at least need to keep this one human alive, for now.

SEE ‘Westworld’ season 2 premieres in ‘Game of Thrones’ usual spring time slot, so will robots beat dragons at the Emmys?

Robot Wars – On her way to the bandits, Dolores has a tense chance encounter with Maeve (Thandie Newton). She expects Maeve to have nothing but revenge in her heart and to join her and Teddy on their killing spree. But Maeve comes off even more enlightened than Dolores, noting there is more than one way to achieve a desired goal and revenge still has Dolores “kneeling at the altar” of humanity. In Season 1 I envisioned these two women becoming unstoppable allies, but their dramatic opposing views could lay the groundwork for a robot civil war.

Extinction – In a past timeline, William (Jimmi Simpson) brings James Delos (Peter Mullen) to sample an early build of the park. Mr. Delos is at first unimpressed, preferring to deal with “reality.” But William makes a curious declaration that “I think in twenty years this will be the only reality.”  Sometime later, the two attend Delos’ retirement party in the real world. James is visibly sick, and there is mention that like many similar “patients” he does not have much time. Dolores is on staff at this party, but wanders outside to gaze at the maybe-Chinese cityscape. She discovers Logan, self medicating with some injectable drug. He recognizes her from his time in the park and mentions that the group inside is celebrating while “the species is about to burn.” Is there some new cancer threatening mankind? If it’s true, the William’s earlier line has a shocking resonance. If the human race is on the verge of extinction, perhaps the rich will be able to survive as hosts. The Westworld park really would be “the only reality.”

What Did William Build? – The Man in Black is determined to make El Lazo (Giancarlo Esposito) give him his army for the trek out west. “This game was meant for you William, but you must play it alone” he says, before his entire army shoots themselves. “I’ll see you in the great valley beyond” says El Lazo before joining his men in suicide. William doesn’t get the army he craves, but audiences get a taste of where he is headed. “I built it” he remarks of their destination. Cut to the past version of William on some secret endeavor with Dolores in the park. “There are answers here to a question no one even dreamed of asking” he says. The above mentioned immortality via living as a host, perhaps? He leads Dolores to an overlook before reciting Dolores’ earlier “have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?” line. The camera reveals that the splendor is an excavation site. This must be whatever William built and is heading towards during the present day. It’s hard to be sure, but the rock formations of this site bear some resemblance to the sea from Episode 1 where the host bodies were found.

Same Destination – When the scene returns to that present day, Dolores is still hellbent on marching to “glory.” Teddy remarks that everyone seems to have a different name for it (“valley beyond,” “west”) but they may all be headed to the same destination. Smiling, Dolores states “it’s not a place, it’s a weapon.” What type of weapon remains a mystery, but Dolores is confident she can destroy her human overlords with it. Both in Westworld and the real world.

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