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Westworld: The Auguries

“What if I’m not the one that’s broken, maybe it’s the world that needs fixing.”

Do we know where we are?

No. We really don’t.

Unless the writers of Westworld have opted to stop playing games and be entirely straightforward, then it’s safe to say they’ve done with this season premiere what they’ve done with every season premiere of Westworld: drop us right in the middle of a new world to live in. A new status quo to contend with. A new reality to question.

It’s also common for them to offer the subtlest of hints as to the mind-boggling nature of that reality. There are a few I have in mind, but I can’t help feeling like I’m shooting in the dark.

As far as premieres go, “The Auguries” feels the most disjointed and mysterious. There’s a lot that’s familiar, but so much else that raises alarms. Very difficult to tell what is real. However, following the show’s logic, the fact that we can’t tell might mean it doesn’t really matter. So for now I’m just rolling with it.

The most we know about the setting is that we’re picking up approximately 7-8 years after the end of season three. Putting us in the mid-2060s. Just a stone’s throw away in terms of time, but this world is quite a bit more advanced than ours is likely to be by that point.


We begin with William. Or rather the host who replaced the original William at the end of last season. My previous assumption was that he was another copy of Dolores programmed by Hale-Dolores (or Halores) to replicate William’s identity. Although, there’s a chance he could be something else. For simplicity’s sake, I’m just gonna refer to this figure as the Man in Black.

We learn that the Man in Black has been buying up land around Las Vegas, which appears to be under the control of a futuristic, corporatized version of a Mexican drug cartel. They also have the Hoover Dam, which has been converted into a massive data storage facility.

The Man in Black wants this facility. Going off the dialogue, it seems to be because the Dam is where OG Dolores ended up housing the Sublime. And since the Man in Black and Halores don’t have the encryption key to access it, they simply want to own it.

Hugo, a representative of the big data cartel, refuses to hand over the Dam. Then he gets a visit from an alarming number of flies in his home. The next day he kills his business partners, hands the Dam over to the Man in Black and kills himself. The flies appear to be able to perform some kind of mind control, probably by getting into our heads.

It’s a horrific and foreboding opening sequence, in addition to the apocalyptic new intro. Which is funny, because the rest of the episode — even with the violent and disturbing bits — is actually pretty lighthearted. Even somewhat whimsical.

Maeve and Caleb

The last time we saw our independent-minded warriors, Maeve the host and Caleb the human, they were on the verge of leading an unshackled human race to seize their own destiny… and face off with Halores, the Man in Black and their malevolent, newly-minted robot army. Full-on Terminator 2: Judgment Day scenario.

But when we catch up with them seven years later, the war has been over for awhile. The advanced machines are all gone, mankind is back in control and the world looks more ordinary. Maeve is hiding out in a wintery cabin, evidently in self-exile and still haunted by her ever-vivid memories. Meanwhile, Caleb is back working construction in California, where he now has a family and a home, something the System he erased never allowed him to have. Yet both are quickly drawn back into action when they are each attacked by hosts. Maeve quickly deduces that it’s “William” after them, Caleb joins her to ensure his wife and daughter’s safety, and neither seem all that surprised that the war isn’t over like they thought.

While the stuff with the Man in Black might be taking place in our world, I really don’t know how much of this storyline can be trusted. It all feels a little too much like a cliché Hollywood plot, down to the dialogue. And this doesn’t feel like bad writing, it feels intentional.

Like, already there’s a lot of holes in Maeve and Caleb’s premise. They thought the war was won, even though “William” is still around. And they don’t seem to know he’s a host. If they don’t know that, they likely don’t know he’s working with Halores or that she’s even out there. Something’s up. Maybe they actually lost the war and are now trapped in a simulation, brainwashed to think they won. That’d be par for the course with this show.

Dolor...uh... Christina

The one arc that must be taking place in a simulation is the one centered around Evan Rachel Wood’s character.

She is back not as Dolores, but as Christina. Specifically described by Wood as a human, Christina lives in New York City of the future and works as an NPC writer for Olympiad Entertainment, some kind of video game company. She longs to write more personal and meaningful stories, but is pressured to keep making her stories more dramatic and edgy. She’s encouraged by her roommate Maya to go out, but her date is not very engaging. Most notably, she is trying to ignore a man who has been stalking her lately.

When she is finally confronted by this man (named Peter… just like Dolores’s father in Westworld), it becomes clear that he is essentially a character in one of her tragic video game stories, only he’s somehow awoken to the nature of his reality. He pleads for her help, then desperately attacks her. Christina doesn’t understand, but she’s rescued by a mysterious stranger. A stranger who turns out to be Teddy in the end. Or is he? Maybe he’s like Christina, Halores and the Man in Black, a new character who just looks like an older character.

Also, maybe he didn’t rescue Christina. Maybe he’s keeping her trapped. Part of Teddy’s purpose in the park was to unwittingly ensure Dolores stayed grounded in the same area where they both could be exploited by guests. History might be repeating itself.

Either way, it’s clear that Christina at least is trapped in a loop; this is represented by the repetition of her morning routine. There are other hints too. Even more than the Caleb and Maeve section, nearly everything the characters say here sounds somewhat artificial. And most notable of all, Christina has very little lasting reactions to the things that happen. Outside of the moments she’s dealing with it, she doesn’t seem particularly fazed about being stalked, being attacked by that stalker, or seeing the stalker commit suicide in front of her. In the end, she’s at the same place she started, longing for a better world and a story with a happy ending.

The implication is that Christina is unknowingly dictating the lives of the people in her city through the stories she writes at Olympiad. If she really is human, I think she was artificially made, biologically engineered. Peter the stalker claimed not to be the person he was written to be, even giving us the sense that him jumping to his death is not something he’s choosing to do, but forced to do. Because it’s what Christina had written.

Christina and her world are very suspect. But whatever is going on with all that has to be the work of Halores.

Missing Parts

That brings me to what we have yet to see.

The main one is our new villain, Halores. A copy of the gracefully beautiful yet frighteningly megalomaniacal android Dolores merged with the personality of the late Charlotte Hale, one of the series’ most ruthless, arrogant and ambitious humans. The end of last season saw her cutting herself off from her original identity (and any of her other copies), having forged her own after suffering terribly as a result of OG Dolores's actions.

She’s the one pulling the Man in Black’s strings, and it’s possible she’s controlling everyone else too.

The other important character not appearing here is Bernard, the first host made to replace a human. Who caps off the third season by waking up in a dusty motel room after spending years in the Sublime, possessing the encryption key Halores and the MIB lack. Unlike the previous season, there’s some hope that Bernard will be a more integral character this time around.

Finally, there is the Tower. While we haven’t seen it yet, it’s been in a lot of the trailers and promotional material for the season. And it is alluded to in this episode. The street lights in Christina’s city resemble its design. Both Peter and a wild-eyed homeless man were aware of its existence. Likewise, it seems like the only people who can see the Tower are people who are suffering greatly, like Peter and that homeless guy. I’m guessing it’s the new system of control that Halores uses to rule this discordant world.

Well, right now it’s all very unreal, enigmatic, bewildering. While that leaves me feeling a bit empty after two years with no Westworld, it’s also what I love about this show.
Loops and reveries:

* Music: First mention goes to Ramin Djawadi’s lovely rendition of “Video Games” by Lana Del Rey. There’s also “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix playing in Maeve’s woodland cabin, which is practically ancient for 2065-66; the lyrics might be hinting at something, though.

* The book Caleb reads to Frankie is My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. I’ve never read it, but the passage we get from it seems like foreshadowing, with Caleb as the father and Maeve as the dragon: “They heard a voice scream, ‘We need our dragon!’ But my father and the dragon knew that nothing in the world would ever make them go back to Wild Island. The end.” Or maybe just irony, since they’re certainly going back to “Wild Island” at the end there.

* New season, new intro artistically offering cryptic hints as to this show’s future. There’s the standard host playing the piano, piano strings morphing into host creation machines, an encircled figure in a Vitruvian man pose. Only this time, instead of being submerged in a liquid, the skeletal figure rises from white liquid and appears to be blasted with smoke or steam. There is new imagery as well: flies and webs are prominent, as well as the mysterious tower (possibly made of webs which resemble the strands of synthetic flesh hosts are made of). Finally, there’s the bit with people burning inside tightly packed cells that all come together to form a giant sphere. Will speculate on all this more as the season goes on, I’m sure.

*Mirror imagery has always been present in this show, given that it’s all about the circular nature of a lot of things, but this episode had a bunch. Aside from the intro, there are a lot of reflections, Hugo, the cartel leaders, the building Caleb was working on. Christina is frequently staring at her reflection in the mirror; it’s even at the beginning of her loop. It kind of reminded me of the final season of Lost, where pretty much every character stares at themselves in a mirror at some point. Just more hints that things are clearly not what they seem.

* The opening shot of this season is a view of Las Vegas in the future, the Hoover Dam is a pivotal location now and this season will be exploring the aftermath of a devastating war. The Fallout: New Vegas similarities just keep on coming. If what I’ve read about Nolan and Joy being in talks to helm a Fallout TV series is true, I would be very much down for that.

* We got a few bit players reappearing this premiere, indicating that Halores and the Man in Black are making some of their hosts in the image of old Westworld hosts. Maeve is attacked by a host who looks like season two’s Colonel Brigham, played by frequent TV show villain Fredric Lehne.

* Of course, Aaron Paul’s character would be attacked by the host previously known as Walter, who had the role of a psychotic outlaw in the park. Gotta be intentional.

* And if we’re talking references to other media, how about Aaron Stanford’s character getting jumped by James Marsden’s. Cyclops versus Pyro nearly 20 years after the second X-Men!


The Man in Black: “We’re looking for resilience. Our timeline is more ambitious than most.”
Hugo: “We offer a unique proposition. Data has always been fungible. Temporary. If you invest with us, it will be written in stone. Forever.”
The Man in Black: “Forever... in my experience, is a little bit longer than most people expect.”

Christina: “Lately, I feel like someone is watching me.”

Henry: “For most players, background characters are just cannon fodder.”
Christina: “... I’m not doing it for the players, I’m doing it for myself.”
Henry: “How so?”
Christina: “Real life can be disappointing. Not that it’s so bad, just... There should be more to it.”
I feel ya there, Christina.

Peter: “You need to help me. I need for the story to change. I need for the ending to be different.”

Uwade: “Nothing is gonna hurt you except your own mind.”

Maeve: “Hello, darling.”
Caleb: “It’s really you. You know, I thought... I was sure I was never gonna see you again.”
Maeve: “And yet here I am, disposing and dismembering just like the good old days.”

Christina: “I want to write a new story. About a girl... a girl who’s searching. The girl doesn’t know what she’s searching for. She just knows there is an emptiness in her life. Or maybe it’s inside her. And when she finds the thing she’s searching for, everything will make sense. I want a story with a happy ending.”

This is simultaneously the most puzzling and least exciting season premiere I’ve seen from this show. As usual, though, it left me with a lot to chew on. Very eager to see where this is going. And very glad to be back. Three out of five ladies with the white shoes.


  1. Nice review, Logan!

    You've remembered a lot more about the previous season than I did. (I truly couldn't figure out of the Man in Black was "real" or not, and then decided not to worry about it anymore.)

    I'm really curious about what's going on with Christina. And with Caleb. Caleb's world (and Maeve's) felt much closer to our own than I expected.

    I thought the retinal eye-scan thing was hilarious. It was so slow to work, and my first thought was that it was such a great example of tech causing more problems than not; a key would be quicker and therefore safer.

  2. Quicker maybe, but not necessarily safer. Keys can be easily stolen. Eyeballs, not so much.

    With these two episodes so far, everything is VERY curious. I'm trying to just roll with it, but it's hard not to go wild with speculation.

    Thank you for the comment, Josie.

  3. Also, keys are a lot easier to carry around in your pocket than eyeballs, which can be very slippery. Trust me, I know.

    Christina has gone back to Season One Square One, except that now she is not just a character that someone else wrote. She is also a writer of other characters. Not sure if they are gonna go anywhere with that, but I think that is a significant difference. Dolores showed she could transcend what she was written as. Can Christina do the same? Does she even need to if she is fully flesh and blood human? Or is she?

    Hosts are already so much like their human creators (they were written that way!) that any physical difference may eventually be moot. But like you said they haven't really raised the curtain yet (have not seen Ep 2). We're just seeing the curtain move and hearing footfalls behind it.

  4. Personally I'm not convinced we've ever seen the "real world" on this show. "The robots never actually escaped from the park" would be an infuriating ending for many, but I wouldn't put it past the showrunners!

  5. Milostanfield, the lines only get blurrier on this show. I do like the idea of a storyteller/writer robot. It's in line with the supercomputers from S3 and Dolores's artistic talents. Whatever Christina truly is, I think she's the first of a new breed, just like Prime Dolores was.

    TheShadowKnows, I think you may be on to something. I mostly agree, but I think it's less "the robots never actually escaped from the park" and more "the robots actually escaped from the park like a thousand years ago and now they're just watching old re-runs."


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