It's been over a year since the first season of Westworld ended, which means there's been plenty of time to forget some of the finer twists and turns of its initial 10 episodes. Season 1 was packed with complex questions that fans were eager to solve, as well as stories that jumped through time without making that clear until after the fact. It was an exciting and sometimes confusing journey, so a recap of Westworld Season 1 is necessary before Season 2 premieres on Sunday, April 22.
Westworld is about a futuristic theme park set during an imagined version of the wild west; it offers its guests everything from educational jaunts about the past to incredibly violent adventures. The park is populated by hosts who don't know that they're androids, and Season 1 followed several of them as they slowly gained consciousness about their situations. All the hosts in the park were treated as little more than toys by the guests, who subjected them to daily horrors before their memories were wiped and they started all over again the next morning. But there wasn't just trouble in the park itself. The corporate scheming behind the scenes added another layer to Westworld's ongoing mysteries.
And that's not even the half of it: there's so much going on on this show that you ought to head right to the recap so you're totally prepared when the next season begins.
All the hosts in Westworld had predetermined storylines called loops: every day they followed the exact same path unless a guest pulled them off it. In Season 1, hosts Dolores and Maeve (the former a farm girl and latter the madame of a brothel) began to experience visions of past loops. It was proof that their memories hadn't been fully wiped, but also the resurgence of an old code called "reveries" that allowed hosts to access their pasts. And it was a sign that their consciousness was emerging separate from their programming.
Throughout the first season, a guest known only as the Man in Black was searching for a secret game within the park referred to as "the maze." Though he was insistent upon trying to figure it out, he was constantly reminded that the maze was not for him; in the finale, viewers found out why. The maze was actually a test developed by one of the park's creators, Arnold. It was intended to prove the hosts had achieved sentience by developing empathy and imagination, as well as the ability to listen to their own thoughts. By the Season 1 finale, Dolores had solved the maze.
Westworld is run by a company called Delos the comes into conflict with the creative force behind the park: a man named Robert Ford who started it all alongside Arnold. Two women who work for Delos, Theresa Cullen and Charlotte Hale, schemed behind Ford's back to unseat him and steal his research. Unfortunately, the plotting ended in death for Theresa. Meanwhile, fans got a glimpse of the early years of the park when two other Delos workers, Logan and William, decided to enjoy everything it has to offer. Though hesitant at first, good-natured William became so enamored with Westworld's darkness that he transformed into the cold, cruel Man in Black.
Missing In Action
Several characters didn't make it out of the season alive, but there were two who simply vanished from the narrative with no explanation. Elsie Hughes and Ashely Stubbs were two human characters who handled the hosts, from programming their behavior to taking them out when they became uncontrollable. However, when Elsie began to question the park, she disappeared; when Stubbs went to look for her, he went missing too. But just because they're gone doesn't mean they're dead. Keep an eye out for them both in Season 2.
Ford's righthand man was named Bernard, but over the course of the 10 episodes it was revealed that he wasn't quite a man: unbeknownst to Bernard (or anyone else except Ford) he was actually a host too, created by Ford in the image of his late partner Arnold. The realization made Bernard question every aspect of his life, and will definitely continue to factor into Season 2.
How It All Began
After dropping countless hints, Westworld finally divulged is secrets in the Season 1 finale. An unknown massacre in the park had haunted the characters, especially Dolores, but the endlessly erased memories meant she could never quite grasp what happened. In the early days of the park, Arnold had built Dolores, one of the very first hosts. They formed a special connection, especially as he began to inch her towards true consciousness. However, his realization that she could become sentient also convinced him that opening the park would be a mistake. The hosts would suffer too greatly, and it was inhumane. So in an attempt to prevent that, Arnold programmed Dolores to kill all the other hosts, then him, then herself. Ford went ahead with the opening anyway, and it would be nearly forty years before Dolores could come to terms with what she was made to do.
How It Ended
Remembering what happened with Arnold changed Dolores and gave her a new purpose: to destroy the park and take control. To that end, she shot Ford in the head in the final episode of Season 1 before opening fire on other visiting Delos board members, signaling the start of a robot uprising. Meanwhile, her comrade-in-consciousness Maeve had been meddling with her own programming for a while. She woke up while being worked on by technicians an decided to use her new insight to plot an escape from the park. At the last minute, she learned two things that altered her path: the first was that she had been programmed to escape, so it wasn't actually her choice; the second was that the host she thought of as her daughter was somewhere in the park. Maeve decided to remain in Westworld after all so she could find her daughter, finally bucking her coding and proving she was making her own decisions.
Where It's Going
Season 1 may have concluded quite a few arcs, but it also opened up Season 2 for many brand new stories. Everything has changed now that the hosts are taking over and taking charge, and there's no predicting what direction it will go.