Another year, another great TV show season. Westworld season 1 was the big breakout of 2017 alongside shows such as Handmaiden’s Tale and Britannia, proving that high budget TV is becoming the staple form of fantastic storytelling. With such a great and mind-bending season 1 I was both excited and a little hesitant on season 2 in the build-up to 2018, and now that we’ve concluded season 2, let’s go over what we liked and disliked.
This season felt much more disjointed than season 1, which unfortunately made it come across as having a much less cohesive narrative. Ultimately, I really enjoyed the season, with some episodes being spectacular standouts and certain story arcs having me hooked. However, as a season, the interconnection between the episodes felt weak in places, with a lot of intense narratives interlocking on top of the already overly complicated time distortion, I’m unsure if this feeling is a valid criticism or a reason to re-watch the season with an understanding of where it goes.
The start of season 2 really frustrated me, despite the great performances and scenes, the number of questions being added to the mountain of confusion Hammond left us at the end of season 1 was overwhelming. Whilst I see why the set up was necessary, it felt very drawn out, and left me not being as excited for the following episode week on week for the first few episodes. Again, in hindsight, a second viewing with more context may allow me to invest more into the narratives and complicated writing rather than in asking more and more questions.
Some spoilers ahead.
Overall, the best parts of this season for me in particular were Maeve’s journey through ‘Shogun World’ and Bernard’s very confusing back and forth discoveries. The story, cinematography and execution of Maeve’s story in Shogun World was, for me, the highlight of the entire season. Of course, all the actors in this show have an outstandingly ability to convey stories through characters, but Thandie Newton takes Maeve to a whole other level. The intricacies and details of her episodes kept me so intently invested it made me want more and more of Maeve. Honestly, I would jump at a spin off show for Maeve, I could watch that character for seasons of content.
Bernard’s story took an interesting turn this season, with the return of Elsie (thank god). I was so, so angry at how they ‘killed off’ Elsie in season one, as she was one of my favourite characters. Now that she’s back and a bit pissed, her and Bernard’s journey was interesting and kept me hooked on deciphering what was happening when and with who.
Another, single episode story that really stood out to me and kept me invested was William’s attempt to immortalise his farther in law. With striking performances from Ed Harris and Jimmi Simpson, the story that unfolded in that episode was one of shock, phycological horror and malice.
All in all, season 2 fell flat in parts, and felt disjointed as a whole, but managed to tell some deep tales and more often than not, had us hooked.