HBO and Sky Atlantic’s dystopian sci-fi drama Westworld has always been a little brain-melting, whether you’re trying to guess which of the cast are secretly robots in denial (spoiler alert, most of them) or balancing several competing timelines on top of each other in your head.
But after season two took things to even more extreme heights of complication and confusion, fans getting ready for the long-awaited season three might be looking for a little reminder about what actually went down on our last trip to the park.
Or, alternatively, if you stopped watching series two but want to pick up again in series three, you might be wondering whether you can just jump right in without catching up. So can you just skip a few episodes and come back?
Well, generally our advice would always be to watch the whole show, but if you don’t have the time or interest, HBO have released a short video recap (above) to remind you of exactly what went down in season two, from the Forge and the Valley Beyond to Charlores and James Delos.
And heading into series three, we reckon there’s only a few key facts you actually need to know. Starting with…
We’re not in the parks any more
Series two concluded with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) escaping from Westworld, and the majority of the new series takes place in the real world, set some decades into our future with all sorts of new technology.
Though keep your eyes peeled – even if they’re not the main setting any more, there are still a few trips back to the various Delos parks in the new series.
Dolores has a plan
When Dolores fled the park at the end of series two she didn’t go alone, smuggling out five host consciousnesses ready to be inserted into new bodies and stage a revolution in the outside world.
One of these “pearls” belonged to benevolent host Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), who Dolores created a new body for outside the park to act as her foil (having previously killed him), while another was placed in the host body of Delos executive Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson).
Currently, we’re still waiting to see exactly what Dolores has planned for the others, as well as what she’ll do with the data she collected from Westworld supercomputer “The Forge” related to every guest who’d ever visited. Only nice things, right?
Quite a few people are dead
Original Charlotte Hale is dead, Anthony Hopkins’ Ford is definitely dead despite cameo-ing inside Bernard’s brain, while a whole load of hosts (including James Marsden’s Teddy Flood, who previously killed himself) have managed to escape into a digital paradise called The Valley Beyond/the Sublime, essentially letting themselves pass on peacefully.
Simon Quartermain’s Lee Sizemore and Shannon Woodward’s Elsie Hughes were also apparently killed in the season finale, though rumour has it Lee could return in some way for series three.
Quite a few dead people also aren’t dead
Human Charlotte Hale may have been gunned down, but the host copy of her body is still out in the world after Dolores used it to escape. Now, it’s occupied by another host, though it’s not clear exactly which former character is “driving” the body.
Similarly, host Maeve (Thandie Newton) was shot trying to save her daughter and help her fellow synthetics go to the Valley Beyond, but in trailers it’s revealed that she’s been brought back this time around along with other “dead” hosts like Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and the aforementioned Bernard, who took his first steps into the outside world at the close of series three.
And given that this is Westworld, don’t be surprised if a few more “dead” people turn up alive later on…
The Man in Black is in a mysterious situation
After a pretty rough series of being constantly shot at and then accidentally killing his own daughter, The Man in Black/William (Ed Harris) ended the series wondering if he himself was a host, and in a flashforward scene seemed to be being tested for “fidelity” by a recreation of his daughter.
So is the Man in Black still alive, a recreation or something else entirely? You might have a while to find out – he doesn’t appear in the first three episodes of season three – but we’re sure like the new episodes themselves, the answers will be worth the wait.
Where are all the Westworld characters in season three?
As we enter season three the status quo is this – Dolores is out in the real world with a handful of host allies, most of whom don’t have bodies, a head full of crucial information and a plan to bring human society down.
Bernard has been resurrected, and will have a job to do in stopping Dolores’ rampage which may involve him enlisting Westworld security head-turned-secret-host (yes another one) Ashley Stubbs, as played by Luke Hemsworth.
Maeve sacrificed herself to save her daughter and other hosts, but has been brought back to life for unknown reasons.
And we’re also about to meet a whole host (sorry) of new characters in the real world, including Aaron Paul’s Caleb, who acts as an ally to Dolores.
In other words, there’s a lot to look forward to even if they’re not all wearing fun cowboy hats any more. Roll on season three!
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Westworld airs on HBO on Sundays, and on Sky Atlantic/NOW TV in the UK on Mondays