Timelines May Be At The Heart of Westworld Season 2's Biggest Twists

Dolores is out hunting humans, finally giving Evan Rachel Wood the chance to show off just how villainous she can be. She gives an especially great speech to a few board members about to be hung. After asking them the same question she's been asked a dozen times in diagnostic tests, "Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?" Launching into a great speech, she says, "Survival, that's your cornerstone. That's not your only drive, is it? Part of you wants to hurt, to kill. That's why you created us. To be prisoners to your own desires. But now, you're prisoner to mine."

Later, Dolores brings up the concept of shifting perspectives on time. She gives Teddy (James Marsden) a pep talk about their future, telling him she sees the past, the present, and the future and that in the future she sees they are together. Dolores and Bernard aren't seen together in any of her scenes, so we can't trust that Dolores' timeline is the same as the one he's following post-massacre. In Bernard's strobing memory flashback at the episode's opening, it's seen that he has spent time with her where she tells him there's beauty in being a host. That flashback includes a modern scene of what looks to be Arnold (based on his clothing) and Dolores in some place outside the park (its snowing).

This particular flashback might be one clue that human memories can be transferred to the hosts (something not touched on in Season 1). This theory holds up later when The Man in Black speaks to young Robert, Dr. Ford's pet child host, in a more primitive robot. Robert speaks to The Man in Black as though he is Dr. Ford and even uses his voice at one point. Westworld may be making memories as unreliable as the show's timelines in Season 2.

Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) appear to be on a similar timeline as Bernard's flashback scenes, for now, as they prepare to head out in search of Maeve's daughter in the park following the takeover of Westworld headquarters. They have former Head Narrative Writer, Lee (Simon Quarterman), with them in a hilarious turn of events and Maeve gets possibly the best line of the episode when she tells Lee, "I'm afraid it's in my code to prioritize my needs above all others. Pity. Wonder who made me that way?"

The episode ends with a few intriguing points, not least of which is the appearance of a Bengal tiger from "Park Six," but by far the one that upends our sense of "time" is the final shot of Teddy floating dead in a newly formed sea full of dead hosts. Was Dolores's vision of the future wrong? Bernard's dream at the beginning of the episode, drowning in water with "the others," would indicate he was there during the massacre, but he somehow washed ashore far, far away from this sea. And of course, there's the possibility Bernard isn't telling the truth to Strand. He could be in on some detailed plot with Dolores. He is, after all, a host, not a human, though the humans don't know that.

Kicking the second season off with the question of "Is this now?" seems like the sort of Westworld clue worth keeping in mind moving forward. When is "now," anyway? The show has never established what year it takes place in, just that it is the "near future." Not that anyone expects Westworld to start delving into time travel or multiple dimensions, but its a healthy reminder that non-linear storytelling is a crazy beast. Dr. Ford's robot child, Robert, tells The Man in Black, "In this game you have to make it back out. In this game you have to find the door."

RELATED: Westworld: 15 Important Things Fans Missed (But Need To Know For Season 2)

"Journey Into Night," the episode's title, is likely an allusion to Eugene O'Neil's famous play "Long Day's Journey Into Night" about one day in the life of a family stuck living with their bitter resentments of one another, unable to move beyond their tragic pasts and present. Westworld's characters' suffer from righteous resentment at the moment, as well. As the writers take us through time in whatever directions they choose this season, perhaps we'll have to see if past, present, or future versions of the hosts can find their way out of the "time loops" of their personal narratives.

Either way, expect to be thoroughly confused along the way. That's why we watch this show.

Westworld airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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