Spoilers from ‘Westworld’ Season 2, Episode 4 will be discussed, as well as details from the previous season.
Before the show takes a bold turn in both genre and setting in next week’s episode, venturing deep into Shogun World in a Japanese-dubbed mystery, “Westworld” continued its central plotlines further towards startling revelation in this week’s “The Riddle of the Sphinx.” As Bernard yearned to uncover more concerning both his origins and purpose as a host, old faces returned to the park and dark truths began to come to light. As William’s story played out further in both the past and present, as The Man in Black and as his father-in-law James’ successor, this week offered insight into the troubling past of one of the show’s most cryptic characters. It also worked to clue us in on the philosophical upbringings of the park, ideals which continue to pit its immersive world towards complete anarchy.
After Bernard escapes Dolores and her rebellion-bound posse, he quickly finds himself in the company of fellow programmer, Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward), whom he abandoned in a cave when he was under Robert Ford’s control. As the two reunite, they discover a hidden bunker containing sensitive information about a proposed host-human hybrid. Bernard recalls that Ford sent him to retrieve the control unit for a second hybrid, unbeknownst as to whom it was intended for. In a flashback, it is revealed that James Delos became the first host-human hybrid, as his brother William engineered the project following his brother’s death. In the present, we find William and Lawrence continuing their trek towards salvation when they encounter Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker) and the Confederados. Barely escaping, William encounters another figure along his path — his daughter Grace (Katja Herbers).
As “Westworld” treks slowly but surely beyond its titular park to its remaining five worlds run by the Delos Corporation, the show has retained a distinct vagueness surrounding the park’s true origins, as well as its intent to alter the nature of its still-unknown future. While we’ve been clued into Anthony Hopkins’ Robert Ford and his powerful ambitions as the co-founder of Westworld, we’ve slowly been introduced to the Delos family. Season 1 of the series painted Ben Barnes’ Logan Delos as the arrogant, self-indulgent son of James Delos (Peter Mullan), and Season 2 sought to display how Logan, as well as his brother-in-law William (Jimmi Simpson), came to power under the watchful eye of Mr. Delos. As this week’s episode ventured towards answers for Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard, it also dropped a slew of surprising revelations concerning the rise and new becoming of the Delos patriarchy.
Like the past three episodes of this season before it, this week’s episode of “Westworld” found many of its answers concealed in the past. While the episode found Bernard uncovering a figure of his past at Westworld in fellow programmer Elsie Hughes, the majority of its 70-minute runtime went into unspooling the whereabouts of the Delos family. As Episode 2 in “Reunion” saw founder James Delos somewhat reluctantly passing his keys to the park and its consequences to his son-in-law William, “The Riddle of the Sphinx” aimed to delve into just how William earned his power over James. When it is revealed that James Delos actually passed away long ago, his mind melded with that of a new host-human hybrid under the eyes of William himself, the truth behind the purpose of the park and its cerebral inhabitants was subtly revealed.
With our time in the past with a young William and the ill-fated host of James Delos providing us with plenty of tantalizing information, everything from the apparent suicide of Logan Delos after losing the park to William to the ambitions towards achieving immortality with the proposed host-human hybrid, the episode succeeded in unraveling its dense chronology further before diving deeper into the worlds it hasn’t yet revealed. While the continuing stories of Bernard and Elsie, and The Man in Black’s voyage towards escaping the park, might have taken a backseat to the haunting descent of James Delos, “The Riddle of the Sphinx” teased more of the brutal and startling endgame that is set to arrive.
Season 2 of ‘Westworld’ airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. Catch up on Season 1 now on HBO Go.