Ladies, gentlemen, and robots in the midst of existential crises: get your TUMS handy. Ready or not, after a two-year break, Westworld has catapulted itself back into our lives, debuting its fourth season Sunday night on HBO. If you had any doubt, the premiere episode, "The Auguries," induces precisely what the Westworld tab for people jonesing a mix of paranoia, lament, mild hunger, sharp anxiety, and joint pain would feel. The episode, surprisingly, takes place seven years after the events of Season 3, which is long enough to make Westworld, at times, feel like an entirely new show. So, for all of you wanting to understand what the hell is going on with Christina, or simply wish to give a big ol' "Howdy!" to welcome back Teddy, here's our recap of the Season Four premiere.
You think I'm gonna poke fun at this season's ~new~ character, right? Christina, the Evan Rachel Wood-played video game writer who is Definitely. Not. Dolores? I'm not. Genuinely, Christina is the most brilliant, Westworldian troll in the history of the series. We've long learned by now that Westworld gets a kick out of disorienting and confusing its fans to unholy oblivion, though it's often been in the form of dispensing and randomizing orbs from the robot brain gumball machine. So how could Westworld outdo itself? Well, kill off Dolores in Season Three, bring back the same actress the next season, and make her an entirely new character, but give said new character so much resemblance to the old character that the whole thing borders on self-satire. Christina, apparently, works for a company called Olympiad Entertainment, writing scripts, primarily, for Non-Player Characters (NPC). Basically, what Dolores was in the Westworld park. There's an increasingly strange mystery in this episode, too, which sees Christina harassed by a mysterious guy who's convinced that she's writing the events of his life. Are Olympiad Entertainment's video game characters sentient in the same way Delos hosts are? Is Christina imagining all of this? Will Westworld ever stop fucking with us?
Later in the episode, we learn that seven years passed since the events of Season Three. Seven years! It's a somewhat baffling choice, because for the better part of three seasons, Westworld was driving madly toward a full-on war between robots and humans. In the Season 3 finale, with the gorgeous, Fight Club-reminiscent shot of Maeve and Caleb watching the city explode, it felt like we'd get to see the battle play out as soon as Season Four picked up. Instead, Westworld fast-forwarded through it all, showing where the likes of Maeve, Caleb, and Robot Man in Black ended up after it all. For now, we'll have to give Westworld the benefit of the doubt, and let the story unravel a bit to see why we needed to jump forward in time by nearly a decade. But it's hard not to feel like the choice lost the series some momentum.
Maeve and Caleb Vacation Together
With the season premiere's great reuniting of Maeve and Caleb, we have the most comprehensible storyline of Season 4. It seems like Robot Man in Black is up to some shit—at the Hoover Dam, no less—and Maeve and Caleb (Maeleb? Caeve?) have to team up to stop him. Especially because he's very likely sending resurrected Delos hosts to murder them both. By the looks of the preview for Season 4, Episode 2, their quest will lead straight back to the theme parks, including a new world seemingly based on Scorsese-esque mobster films. Maeve and Caleb's adventuring will probably be what brings the likes of Bernard, Charlotte Hale, and Clementine (?!) back into the fold.
Welcome Back, Teddy
Teddy! Our sweet boy. At the end of the episode, a very James Marsden-looking man shows up outside Christina's Manhattan apartment. (What's the rent there, by the way? Olympiad Entertainment can't be paying that well.) We last saw the kindhearted cowboy—and Dolores Abernathy's love interest, you know, before she tooled around with his programming—in Season 2, Episode Nine, "Vanishing Point." At the end of that episode, Teddy shoots himself, unable to deal with the changes to his code/Dolores's rise to batshit villainy/the general highs and lows of being a brobot.
But now, as things usually roll in Westworld, he's inexplicably back. One thing we do know, is that this James Marsden-looking man is definitely-probably Teddy. If you caught the behind-the-scenes video after the episode, you would've seen Marsden divulging that he knew about Teddy's eventual return around the same time that the show's creators informed him of the cowboy's demise. So whatever the hell is going on with Definitely-Not-Dolores, it seems like Westworld will play its cards somewhat straight with Teddy. Will Mr. Flood be the one to tell Christina that she looks exactly like his manic theme park host ex? I'm sure she'll take the news well!