The teaser for the fourth season of Westworld that dropped last month was tonally evocative and visually stunning, but it told us very little about what to expect from the narrative. Now we have the full trailer, and it has made us eager to learn more, as it looks like the show is about to head into some very interesting places.
(Spoilers for prior seasons below.)
As we’ve reported previously, Westworld‘s third season was the first to take place largely outside the tightly controlled environment of the original theme parks. Opening three months after the events of the S2 finale, Dolores (Evan Rachel Woods) had re-created her host body. We learned she was targeting an AI system called Rehoboam, which was developed by a company called Incite. To access the system, Dolores had to take on its creator, Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel), and various other adversaries with their own motives for stopping her—including William, aka the Man in Black (Ed Harris), who vowed to destroy any remaining hosts.
In the S3 finale, Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Dolores battled it out, and Dolores ended up in the hands of Serac. She was connected to Rehoboam but refused to give Serac any data about the hosts, so he deleted her memories. It was actually quite a moving scene, as in her last moments, Dolores made an emotional appeal to convince Maeve to turn on Serac. Rehoboam was deleted, William was seemingly killed by a host replica of himself, and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) learned that the system was merely delaying the collapse of human civilization rather than preventing it. He entered the Sublime, hoping to figure out how to rebuild. The final shot was Bernard re-emerging into his body, covered in dust—so who knows how much time had passed?
As the series has progressed, it has become harder and harder to keep track of the convoluted plot, multiple timelines, and characters—who’s a host, who’s human, who was human and is now being controlled by a host, which host is in which body, and so forth. The third season definitely unraveled a bit in the second half, although the finale was pretty powerful, giving us hope for the fourth season.
This new trailer provides more hope about the direction of the series. It opens with the host formerly known as Dolores waking up as a new persona, Christina, identified as a writer. Her voiceover informs us that this is the story of a girl who can see what nobody else can: “That there’s something wrong with the world. And that it’s her fault.”
Meanwhile, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) has captured the Man in Black. “Your kind made a sport out of hunting us,” she tells him as we see a small bug crawl into his eye. “You controlled our every move, and now I’m going to do the same to you. It’s time to evolve into the species that we were meant to become.” Bernard might have found a path toward realizing that evolution. But what if, as another voiceover contends, “We’re not here to transcend. We’re here to destroy.”
It seems that Maeve has re-created a Westworld prototype of some sort; a horrified Caleb (Aaron Paul) finds himself in the middle of it just as everything sets into motion. There is a montage of explosions, fight scenes, and an attack by a creepy, faceless android host, plus a brief shot of Teddy Flood (James Marsden) looking far more violent than his original programming intended. The final shot shows Caleb screaming as flies crawl over his face, presumably seeking an orifice through which to enter the body and assume control. Christina might want a story with a happy ending, but there are clearly forces at work intent on ensuring she doesn’t get it.
The fourth season of Westworld premieres on HBO Max on June 26, 2022.
Listing image by YouTube/HBO Max