After a seven-year hiatus, Westworld returns for its fourth season with a premiere aimed to catch us up on four important characters and where they all ended seven years after the Season 3 premiere.
The Auguries, the season premiere, is a solid set-up for what's to come, but Westworld keeps its cards close to its chest as usual. This film has enough action and mystery, but it also suffers from certain old-fashioned gunfighting clichés that aren't solved until much later in the story.
As a preface, I'd like to address Dolores in the audience. Specifically, I'd like to ask how actress Evan Rachel Wood was still on the show when Dolores Prime was pronounced dead in her original host body after season one.
After being renamed “Christina,” Wood's character has become the latest mystery to be unraveled. For the most part, she lives an isolated existence as an NPC and side-missions writer for a video game studio. Is that to say, is she a human being? Probably….not.
There is no connection between Christina's world and William, Caleb, and Maeve's universe at this point in Season 4, and it also doesn't feel like a whole existence. To put it another way, you could compare it to the first two episodes of Moon Knight.
As a host in Westworld, her life was essentially the same as it is now in this form. Even less so, in some ways. Oscar Isaac's character was only experiencing leftovers and residuals of his existence.
— Westworld (@WestworldHBO) June 21, 2022
Throughout the film, we witness references to Christina's mother, Dolores (played by Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose), as well as specific aspects of the rom-com genre, such as a blind date and a roommate (played by the Ariana above DeBose).
In the clockwork routine, Christina is disturbed by an “unknown caller” (12 Monkeys' Aaron Stanford) who is determined to find Christina and obtain answers about something called “The Tower.” It's hard not to think this is some simulation or possibly The Sublime itself.
Even though the ending of her storyline has already been revealed (though I won't say anything more for fear of spoilers), the return of Christina to Westworld isn't exactly the adrenaline rush or inspiration this series needs to kick off the new season.
After all, some have argued that the show lost its way a few years ago — or at the very least, was growing in scale and building toward something massive before that happened. This time, the show focuses on a little more realistic and a little less catastrophic stories.
Ed Harris's William, who only exists in host form, is now the second big seasonal mystery following Christina/Dolores' new home. No one knows what William's goal is yet, but he may be pursuing the Sublime Key that Serac (Vincent Cassel) sought in Season 3.
With an endless supply of cash and a legion of host mercenaries at his disposal (as well as sure “flies” capable of…well, you'll see), he's well-positioned to carry out his homicidal plans. He has his eyes set on Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul), and it is these new attempts on their lives bring the duo back into action.
It's one of the Show's Quietest Starts in a While
This is where Season 4 struggles the most, at least in the early going. People in the (future) planet have revolted after learning that their lives were being shaped and limited by the powerful A.I., Rehoboam, and as a result…robots are prohibited.
Jonathan Nolan's social-shaping algorithm ideas from Person of Interest appeared to be escalating in Season 3 with the Rehoboam element, and Season 3 hinted at war for Season 4.
As a result, that tale has been condensed and reduced to off-screen action (and a brief flashback). Then there are the soapy steps Caleb's story takes to get him back in the game: a daughter he wants to protect (so much that he needs to leave, right?)
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A saint of a wife who's had to live with Caleb growing increasingly dissatisfied with inert family life. During Season 3, we were on the verge of revolution, and now the momentum is shifting in the opposite direction.
However, there are seven more episodes to go, and Westworld is never short of surprises. “The Auguries” features plenty of gunfire, knife fights, and ax hacking, yet the episode has a low-key tone for a new show season. Dolores/Christina has the key to another thrilling conclusion, which will be massive this time.