Westworld season 2 review: Jonathan Nolan deserves Christopher Nolan-level love | tv

Evan Rachel Wood has emerged from the ensemble cast as the one true hero of the story.

Westworld: The Door
Forged – Evan Rachel Wooden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Jimmi Simpson, Luke Hemsworth, Rodrigo Santoro
Ranking – three.5/5

One criticism even the fiercest Westworld apologists couldn’t counter after was that the present by no means cracked a smile – regardless of a premise that positively calls for moments of levity, what with all of the self-serious philosophising and soul-gazing depth. And oddly, for a present that’s as a lot in regards to the limitlessness of human creativeness as it’s in regards to the pointlessness of our existence, it felt surprisingly restrained.

As you have got in all probability already gathered, I used to be not the largest fan of season 1, which HBO has retroactively supplied with a subtitle: The Maze. Though I ended my evaluate with the faintest whiff of optimism, if solely as a result of Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams are, as they’ve confirmed on quite a few events, two of the brightest storytellers of our instances. “There may be nonetheless hope that Westworld may get again on observe in season 2,” I wrote, “however with the unsure way forward for HBO’s different dramas… it’s completely obligatory for Nolan and Co to mount a serious revamp.”

The wild west all the time appeared like a quite archaic world to be restricted to.
(HBO)

Unbelievably, that’s precisely what they’ve performed. In season 2, whose subtitle, The Door, means that HBO is taking an anthology method to their new flagship programme, creators Nolan and Lisa Pleasure, handle each drawback – main and minor – that I, and apparently many others, had with the present. It’s a collection of episodes – 5 out of ten had been offered for preview – that’s each narratively and thematically bolder than the earlier season.

As soon as Nolan – who revisits the concepts which have fascinated him in movies equivalent to Memento and The Status, which he made together with his legendary brother, Christopher – has addressed his preoccupations, particularly, the ideas of free will, of predestination, of creation and intelligence, he lastly takes the present in what all the time appeared like the following logical course. By stepping out of its sandbox – each actually and metaphorically – Nolan, like his characters, opens himself as much as the wonders of the surface world, a world of limitless prospects that not feels restrictive.

For the primary time, Westworld is enjoyable.

Sure. Shogun World is actual, though actuality is relative.
(HBO)

Which was all the time the purpose, wasn’t it? Westworld, each the present and the park, was all the time meant as an escape – from a actuality that was seemingly too horrible to cope with anymore – and a cautionary story in regards to the inevitable pitfalls of synthetic intelligence. However for causes that may principally be boiled all the way down to blind, unchecked ambition, what Nolan and Pleasure did not carry to season 1 is exactly what makes season 2 such a noticeable enchancment.

Questions on actuality, about what it means to be human, about what’s actual and what isn’t — these are questions which have already been addressed many instances in movies and TV and, some would say, extra effectively than they’re right here. For example – and also you may not agree with this instance – there’s a largely forgotten Matt Damon film referred to as The Adjustment Bureau that’s maybe some of the distinctive explorations of the idea of God. And there’s no higher movie in regards to the perils of enjoying God than Mark Romanek’s By no means Let Me Go. These are each nice science-fiction tales that convey large concepts by means of characters that really feel all the time actual (even when they aren’t).

Introducing Dolores (Daenerys Vol. 2).
(HBO)

Season 2 has sadly inherited a nagging season 1 drawback: Solely a few characters of the massive – at instances too massive – ensemble really feel like they deserve our persistence and a focus, even when they’re designed particularly to be the guts and soul of the present. In contrast to, say, Sport of Thrones, we haven’t had a sturdy sufficient starting to the story to make us care about what occurs to those characters now that they’re all concerned in an all out rebel. Dolores, the mild-mannered maiden, has now taken on an nearly Khaleesi-like persona, as she goes from city to city, amassing a military and convincing weathered previous males that she is the chief they’ve all the time been ready for. In the meantime, Maeve, Bernard and William, all geared up with new information and a shared previous, proceed their particular person journeys that take them to uncharted territories – each actual and imagined.

Thandie Newton channels her interior Valkyrie.
(HBO)

And crucially, Nolan and Pleasure haven’t restricted themselves of their efforts to rework the Westworld after its extra profitable cousin, Sport of Thrones. They’ve written occasion episodes, the type of episodes that may gentle up the web once they air. I can’t wait until you’ve all skilled episode 5, which is every thing you’ve hoped for and extra – shocking, thrilling, trendy, and a real tribute to the one artwork kind that Westworld truthfully admires: video video games. With out revealing any spoilers, Indian followers are going to flip out ten minutes into Episode three.

Westworld is hardly the path-breaking programme it ought to have been, and I don’t know if it ever will probably be – however at the least now, after vital modifications have been made, it isn’t the train-wreck it got here so near being. It could make sense for it to maintain reinventing itself each season, to maintain venturing out into unexplored corners of its world and to focus its vitality into telling a narrative that may be as pleasurable as it’s cerebral.

READ | Westworld season 1 evaluate: So, has HBO lastly discovered its Sport of Thrones substitute?
READ | Godless evaluate: One of the crucial satisfying exhibits of the yr, Netflix ends 2017 with a bang

Watch the Westworld Season 2 trailer right here

Comply with @htshowbiz for extra
The writer tweets @RohanNaahar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *