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“Westworld” Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: “Welcome to the Golden Age”


Warning: Major spoilers for Westworld ahead in three, two…

Westworld season 4 returned with a second episode on Sunday, serving up daring murders, human test subjects, more confusing references to a “tower” and a new Delos theme park. Another epic reveal? The human William is still in the land of the living.

Here’s a handy recap of what happened in this week’s information-packed edition of Westworld. There will be eight episodes in this season of HBO’s mind-blowing sci-fi series, which means we’ve got another six weeks to make sense of all this madness. (I try to connect the dots on my conspiracy chart as we talk.) Let’s get dressed and get in there.

Raising Hale

Dark Charlotte Hale entered the chat. Charlores, the version of Hale equipped with a copy of Delores’ mind, is back and she’s hatching some sort of plan. We pretty much already knew that — the end credits from last season showed Hale building hosts and revealed a version of William answering back to her – but Episode 2 brings Maeve and Caleb up to speed on Charlores’ involvement. It turns out Team Hale replaced California Senator Ken Whitney and his wife, Anastasia, with host versions, killing the real senator and giving Anastasia a different gruesome fate. Another revelation: the host version of Ken Whitney, who calls himself “emissary of the new world order”, says that there are 249 others like him.

I don’t dig the soulless copy of William working for Chalores… #NotmyWilliam.

HBO

Team Hale’s mastery of high-profile personalities doesn’t stop at Whitney. Later in Episode 2, the Vice President meets with Host William at a golf course. Their conversation is cryptic, but it seems William is trying to revive his park business after the Westworld massacre, and the Vice President isn’t keen on the idea. (It appears that Hale killed and replaced the senator over a similar stubbornness.) After landing too many oddly accurate golf shots, scaring the Vice President, William hits him with a golf club.

Jim Navarro, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Counterterrorism, is also trying (unsuccessfully) to interfere with Delos. Team Chalores strap him in a car and Chalores introduces himself as the person running the show. She says she plans something for her species, but it’s not to replace all humans with hosts. She leaves him, and we see a fly crawling in her eye.

A quick reminder – in case you need it – of what flipped the villain switch for Chalores: In Season 3, Chalores lost human Charlotte’s son and husband in a fiery car explosion caused by the season’s antagonist Engerraund Serac (Delores is also somewhat inadvertently responsible for their deaths). Chalores is also in the car, but survives. She currently displays scars from the incident on her arm, and in the Season 3 finale she tells the human William it’s because she wants to “remember who the fuck you people are”.

Human test subjects

Chalores’ entourage does not kill the real Anastasia (Senator Whitney’s wife) on the spot, but her fate is arguably worse. Chalores says Anastasia is the “perfect candidate” for a new experience that Chalores is researching. Sometime later, Caleb and Maeve meet Anastasia in a barn…and she’s shot a bunch of poor horses. She lunges at Caleb, forcing Maeve to shoot him. His altered mental state kind of reminds me of what happened to the guy from last episode of the cartel-like organization. We didn’t see any flies around her this time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were related to her creepy zombification?

“Westworld” Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: “Welcome to the Golden Age”

The Peter mystery deepens this episode.

HBO

What is “the tower”?

On her way to work, Christina regularly sees a man in the street shouting a “trick”. In Sunday’s episode, the guy says a “song without sound” is coming from the tower, and no one can hear the “music” but him and the birds. Christina continues, but later sees an unusual swarm of dead birds on the ground outside her office.

Surprised, Christina skips work and visits the Hope Center for Health, a clinic Peter says he donated to after his death (a reminder: Peter is the persistent caller who said Christina wrote it in a game and then had jumped off a building). Puzzled, she finds the place closed years ago. Inside the abandoned clinic, she sees drawings of a tower on a wall.

In last week’s episode, Peter also mentions a “tower” when confronting Christina before she dies (he says he knows Christina and “the tower” are real). It’s time to start working on your theories if you haven’t already.

William is alive!

What a revelation. William – who had his throat slit by host William in last season’s post-credits – is miraculously still alive. But should we really be surprised? The characters in this series are resurrected like no other.

I’m glad to see him. Real William is definitely flawed, but his ‘death’ last season was unsatisfactory. Seeing host William this season as a soulless, purebred villain also made me miss the real thing.

Oh yes, let’s talk about the scene. Chalores awakens the human William from cryogenic sleep and tells him that she is keeping him “to be the loser”. She also adds more context to what she told Justice Department Navarro about her plans. She says humans “made hunting a sport out of us, so I had to cut your paws off – make sure you can never hurt us again”. Flies, zombified humans, and now this – it sure looks like Hale’s plan is coming together.

“Westworld” Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: “Welcome to the Golden Age”

Caleb has never been to a Delos park.

HBO

The Roaring 20s

This episode puts Maeve and Caleb on a train heading to the newest attraction in Delos, a theme park set in the 1920s. (A clue is in something host William says, “150 years ago,” the world came back “roaring” after the war). William welcomes us to the “Golden Age”, and Maeve and Caleb enter a bustling town of bright lights and vintage cars.

Parasitic thoughts

  • I enjoy Maleb’s scenes.
  • The new Chalores hosts are strong. Maeve and Caleb struggle to take them down.
  • Christina’s boss follows her position when she doesn’t show up for work – she has to get by. We know Delores wouldn’t be okay with that kind of surveillance.
  • I lost it at Host William playing head to toe golf in black.
  • This episode confirms that Christina wrote a video game character with an eerily similar life story to Peter’s.
  • The death of the senator and his wife… really sinister stuff.
  • Still no sign of Bernard. At the end of last season, he gained access to the Sublime/Valley Beyond, the place where Maeve’s daughter and other hosts live. Here is more about this and everything that happened in season 3 of Westworld.

CNET

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