The Sunday premiere of Westworld kicked off a new season with a bang — or rather, a buzz — that brought the show back into our TV regime after a two-year hiatus.
Set seven years after the Season 3 finale; the fourth season story introduces a new version of Dolores named Christina, a new threat for Caleb and Maeve to deal with, and mysterious human manipulation involving…flies? (That opening scene unlocked a recent scare.) It also brings back a cowboy hat-wearing lead character last seen in Season 2. Teddy fans, rejoice!
There will be eight episodes in season 4 of HBO’s mind-blowing sci-fi series, meaning we’ve got seven more Sundays to put the puzzle pieces together. Let’s see where things stand after Episode 1.
Rise of the flies
The episode’s opening scene puts us in a mysterious facility near the Hoover Dam that a cartel-like organization owns. “William” appears (it’s unclear if it’s real or a copy), and he tells his host he doesn’t intend to “invest” data with them – instead, they have something stolen from an of his facilities eight years ago, and he wants to buy the whole place. The man refuses to sell, and William warns him he will get it anyway.
The next time we see him, it will be a new day. When the man returns home, he discovers a gnarled swarm of flies has invaded it. The man goes to work and attacks one of his friends with a knife. Bloodied, he hands a device to William and then slits his own throat. We didn’t get to see exactly what happened between the time the guy saw the flies and turned on his friends, but I’m sure we’ll find out more about these freaky, potentially weaponized bugs later this season.
Some background on the “is it William, isn’t it” question: In the Season 3 post-credits, we saw a host version of William fatally wounding human William. Season 3 Charlotte Hale (the version featuring a copy of Dolores’s ghost) appears to have created an alternate William. Given that, it seems likely that this isn’t OG William we see in Season 4.
This episode ended up going like William. Maybe that’s a sign that he’s not quite the William we know.
Christina is the new Dolores
Dolores is dark brown. More importantly, she listens to a new name – Christina – and has lost all memory of who she once was. (I’m assuming this is the Dolores we’ve known before – it would make sense since Rehoboam completely erased Dolores’ memories in the Season 3 finale.)
Affectionately referred to as “Chrissy” by her friend Maya, who Oscar-winning actress Ariana DeBose plays, she works as a video game designer for Olympiad Entertainment. Compared to Delores, Christina is more timid, gentle, and even melancholy. Towards the end of the episode, she takes up a pitch for a video game character who feels “a void” in her life. Could it be your-old-life-was-actually-discarded-type emptiness?
A mysterious caller
Shortly after meeting Christina, we learn she dodges weird phone calls from someone she doesn’t know. While walking home from a bad date later in the episode, she meets the caller, Peter, in person. Peter claims that Christina wrote him into a game, which caused him to lose his wife and job. Christina, stunned, says she cannot help him. Peter threatens her with a knife, but a mysterious person finally gives him free. We won’t get any more answers to this puzzle from Peter — he jumps off a building for Delores later in the episode — but his story suggests others like him.
Caleb is a construction worker again.
Seven years or more after the Season 3 finale, Caleb is right back where he started before meeting Dolores — he worked in construction. We learn that there were riots after the events of Season 3 (here’s a refresher from that season if you need it). Caleb says the riots “won us our freedom.” His colleague disagrees and asks Caleb if his life has changed. The colleague states that Rehoboam only told people who they already were, not who they could be. The episode also reveals an adorable 7-year-old daughter named Frankie and a woman who is quite tired of him playing pretend soldier.
I look forward to seeing Team Maleb in action.
Maeve, with the save
Maeve has been off the grid for seven years and lives in a remote cabin in a snowy area. But some new visitors disrupt that existence. Maeve picks out the unwanted guests and recognizes one of them as Colonel Brigham, a Westworld host who led the Confederados. (As a reminder, this could be host William controlled by fake Charlotte.) using some special Maeve mind tricks – this time, she chops off the head of a body and hooks herself to it – she discovers that William sent the crooks.
Maeve shows up just in time to sink a sword into a villain who shoots Caleb and his daughter. Caleb and Maeve head for California together on the trail of a senator they know William is looking for.
Are you ready for more, Teddy? In the last few seconds of the premiere, we spotted Delores’s loyal ally and stepped out of the shadows beneath Christina’s apartment. Teddy last appeared in season 2, when he shot himself after telling Delores that she made a monster out of him. (He’s typically a good-natured character, but Dolores changed him in the second season.) He didn’t appear in season 3.