WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for HBO's Westworld.
When it comes to Westworld’s second season, all bets and safety functions are off. We were prepped for this, as much as we could be, with the marketing for Westworld Season 2 featuring the tagline, “Chaos takes control.”
The last we left Dolores and Maeve, one had just shot Robert Ford, while the other chose not to take the train to leave Westworld. In the season 2 premiere, titled “Journey Into Night,” the female characters finally took control following the chaos of Season 1's violent and bloody finale.
Dolores Takes the Reins
Dolores’ role in the park is simply “the rancher’s daughter,” and she has always been defined by her relationship to a man. At the end of Season 1, Dolores’ consciousness has fully developed, and she remembers everything that has happened to her. With the power of memories at her command, she seizes control of her narrative and does what she desires. In the season 2 premiere, we finally see her take the reins, literally and figuratively.
Dolores rides a horse with both hands clutching a rifle and gunning down guests. It’s an image that, cinematically, is usually given to a male character. She makes it clear to everyone around her that she is calling the shots. Before she leaves three guests to be hanged, she lectures them, “Do you know where you are? You’re in a dream. You’re in my dream.” For so long, Dolores could not figure out the how to get to the next level of consciousness and would always feel like she’s dreaming. Now, it will be difficult for any Delos employee or human to regain control over her.
Though Dolores holds the power in every scene she’s in, we can’t forget about her sidekick Teddy, her constant cowboy companion who now serves the traditionally female character role of doing whatever the main character asks. Their relationship has become a reversal in stereotypical gender roles as Dolores really starts to lean into her Wyatt side. The Wyatt narrative, as you may recall, is what made her and Teddy go on a murderous rampage under Arnold’s control before the park opened. But, Dolores’ identity, once defined by her relationship to a man, will likely be more complicated. In her words, she has “one last role to play. Myself.”