A lot of things happened in the first season of Westworld. Too many things, some might say. What started as a show about a futuristic Wild West theme park filled with human-like robots the ultra-rich could maim and defile for kicks turned into much, much more. (Kind of.) The show was a puzzle box, and prided itself on that, which proved to be both good and a little frustrating as the season progressed. The good: As the layers peeled themselves back or were forcibly ripped back by murderous futuristic robots and their Svengali-like creators (I could be losing the analogy here), the show revealed itself to be ambitious in a way that few shows are, with smart and precise editing keeping multiple timelines in play as the season developed.
The less good: Some of the mysteries got sniffed out long before the show was ready to reveal them and others were so densely packed that trying to make sense of them, even now, many months later, requires spreadsheets charts and PowerPoint presentations. Again, it was a lot.
And so, what we’re going to do here is attempt to provide a basic guide to what happened in season one and where the show is heading into season two. We do this for two reasons. One, because it will be helpful, hopefully, for you, the viewer who enjoyed the show but just wants to start watching season two without falling down an internet trap door and emerging two hours later with all the hope stolen from your eyes. Two, because we don’t especially want that to happen to us either. This is not a graduate-level Westworld course. If you are looking for that, please, feel free to seek it out. You will have no trouble finding one online. But today, right now, we’re going to keep this as light and simple as we can. For both of our sakes.