New 'Westworld' season brings dramatic changes, increased action
The last time we saw handsome Wild West hero Teddy Flood of "Westworld," he was staring in horror as his beloved, rancher's daughter Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood), murdered their creator, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), in cold blood.
As that word "creator" hints, Teddy's shock also stemmed from a dawning realization of his true identity. Instead of being human lovers in the Old West, he and Dolores actually are highly sophisticated robots in a vast theme park, where affluent guests don period clothes and use Teddy, Dolores and their artificial kindred for, well, whatever tickles their fancy -- adventure, violence, sex, it's all on the table.
Except now, as HBO's Emmy-winning sci-fi thriller returns for Season 2 on Sunday, April 22, the robots are waking up to claim control of this world, where up till now they've just been very expensive toys for humans.
It is a lot to take in.
"Once Teddy started to realize what he was and what was going on, his world turned upside-down," says James Marsden, who plays Teddy. " ... What we might find in the second season is Teddy waking up for the first time to sentience and understanding more about what he is. He has been given the opportunity to choose his identity over the one that has been programmed for him."
While Dolores has no qualms about leading a violent rebellion of the robotic Westworld "hosts," Teddy struggles with an existential crisis of sorts, which means he and his sweetheart sometimes are not on the same page.
"He's also trying to figure out what part of him is 'him' genuinely and what part is there just because that's what been programmed," Marsden explains. "He's been shot out of a cannon, especially since Dolores is now fully realized, for good or bad."
Fans can expect Season 2 to be exponentially bigger and more action-packed than last season, Marsden adds, since the Teddy-Dolores relationship is only one of several storylines woven into this epic yarn, which teases fans with puzzle-like elements and clues to what is happening and why. And "Westworld," which has won both popular and critical success, promises to just keep getting bigger: In Season 1, we learned that Westworld is only one of six interlinked parks owned and operated by a shadowy corporation called Delos.
"The first season, I was wondering, 'Are people really going to care about a relationship between two robots?'" Marsden says. "The conceit was ambitious, to say the least. But it was done so beautifully that it all meshed and worked. So the second season, we've set up this world and these characters. Now it's time to take the leashes off!"
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Returns at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 22, on HBO