SPOILERS for Westworld Season 4, Episode 1 ‘The Auguries’.
Westworld has finally returned to feed our brains more unanswered questions, cryptic details and mind-boggling additions that will have you questioning what’s real. After expanding into the real world with season three, this season seems to be sticking to reality (as far as we know), although it’s not the same reality we last left our characters in. In my Westworld season four predictions post I wrote up back in 2020, I played with the idea of a time jump – and it seems Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy listened (they didn’t). Now it may not be as drastic of a time jump as I thought, but this season takes place seven years after the ending of season three. In that time, the riots have ceased, chaos has died down and humans have won back their free will after the shutting down of Rehoboam.
The events very much follow on from season three, but the narrative seems to be kicking off in a brand new direction, much like season three departed ever so slightly from season two. The same characters are in play and similar concepts are being touched on, but the overall narrative seems to be something fresh. I could be wrong, but it looks to be heading in a more unique direction, meaning I have no idea what’s about to transpire with the future of the season. With that, let’s get into the play-by-play of this episode.
William is back in black!
Much like season three, this season begins with a cold open that sets the stage for the more confusing elements of Westworld’s narrative. We open with an unnamed businessman, played by Arturo Del Puerto, who meets up with our new host version of William (Ed Harris). We find out that William has been purchasing land all over the place and is adamant about buying some land off them, specifically the Hoover Dam. It seems there’s a mysterious facility inside the dam holding data that William is after. Is it the key to The Sublime? Or The Sublime itself? William mentions the data within is encrypted and was stolen from him eight years prior by someone who is dead – presumedly by the real Charlotte Hale or Dolores, both of whom fit the profile as they’re dead. Following a great William quote – “This is America, everything here is for sale” – the businessman says no to William’s offer.
This is where things get insane – the businessman returns home to find a swarm of flies infesting his closet and subsequently passes out on the floor. When he wakes up, it seems like he’s being controlled by the flies. It’s as if these ‘host flies’ have a way of possessing humans. The businessman goes back to his offices, brutally kills his colleagues, hands the land over to William for free and kills himself – all against his will. Now the big question is – how do these flies control humans to do their bidding, and just how has William managed to weaponise them. Seeing as there’s a fly in the show’s intro credits, they’re sure to play a big part in the season.
Stranger Things x Westworld crossover
When we catch back up with Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), she’s been hiding out in a secluded cabin in some rural town. She pulls out some of Eleven’s tricks from Stranger Things – flicks on the static radio and uses her electricity powers to reach deep inside her memories. At first, she’s remembering her time in Westworld, then she shifts and begins remembering things from within the seven-year time jump. Specifically, we see that Maeve and Caleb went on a couple of missions while the world was in disarray, one of which resulted in Caleb being injured and getting quite close to dying.
Maeve’s off-the-grid living is cut short when she’s paid a visit by a group of mercenaries who have hunted her down. After quickly dispatching of them and realising that they’re actually hosts, she taps into the mind of one of them and learns that it was William who sent them. This means that William is still working with Charlotte Hale and has an army of host mercenaries by his side – most likely the ones we saw being built in season three’s post-credits scene.
Caleb the family man?
A seven year time jump can do a lot to a person – especially Caleb (Aaron Paul). When we meet Caleb, he’s gone back to working construction – only this time things are different. We learn that the riots that began in season three resulted in humans winning back their freedom, effectively banning the use of robots and automated systems in place of human operation. This isn’t even the biggest development as we learn Caleb has gotten himself a wife and a seven-year-old daughter named Frankie. He must have really gotten to work quick since this is a time jump of seven years we’re looking at.
Throughout the episode we see him interacting with his family and showing some light signs of PTSD as he’s still struggling with his past. One night, his daughter ventures outside to gather her teddy bear when she’s greeted by a shady mercenary. Caleb goes out at the same time and saves his daughter from being shot.
Then just when they’re about to both be killed, Maeve shows up and uses her trusty katana to kill the mercenary and reunite with Caleb. Clearly William is the one sending his men after Maeve and Caleb, probably on behalf of Charlotte Hale, although we don’t quite know why yet. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Caleb knows who William is, when I believe he never did in season three. We learn that William is also targeting a senator in California, so Maeve and Caleb leave to hopefully intercept him before he can reach his target.
Another cool little tidbit in this scene is that none other than Manny Montanta cameos as one of Maeve’s hired guns, named Carver. He probably won’t play a main role in the series, but I expect to see his face a little more going forward.
The central narrative of this season is following none other than Evan Rachel Wood as (seemingly) a brand new character known only as Christina. In a stunning sequence beginning with her waking up in an identical way to how we saw Dolores waking up in season one, we learn a lot about this new character’s life – but not too much. There’s a lot to unpack in these sections of the episode, so here goes.
We learn that Christina (obviously a host) lives in an apartment in some lavish, futuristic city with her friend Maya, played by the Oscar-winning actress Ariana DeBose (West Side Story, 2021). On top of this, she’s been receiving calls and voicemails from a mysterious stalker and feels like she’s being followed – more on this in a minute. As she’s walking to work, some random passers-by say some pretty interesting things I’ll touch on soon. We find out that she works as a narrative writer at a video game company called Olympiad Entertainment – focusing primarily on writing for background characters, much like Dolores herself was a background character.
A lot of shady business begins going on from here. Christina answers the phone when her stalker calls and it’s someone complaining about one of the stories that she’s written. Following this, she hears something outside her apartment and walks outside to find the classic Westworld maze symbol on the ground – perhaps someone is trying to awaken Christina’s consciousness, much like with Dolores. It seems like the writers are dropping some little hints here and there that Christina is showing signs of an existential crisis – but if that’s the case, she’s very far off.
Following a date with an eligible bachelor, she’s confronted by her stalker, known as Peter (Aaron Stanford), who is undoubtedly angry with Christina. He keeps on claiming that the narratives she’s writing are ruining his life, pleading for her to stop what she’s doing. Perhaps, unbeknownst to Christina, the stories she writes pull people from the real world and force them to do things they don’t choose to do (not unlike the flies at the beginning of the episode). At this point, we just don’t know. When Peter tries to attack Christina, an unknown man comes out of the shadows and tackles him to the ground – but that’s not even the strange part. As Christina looks back to see the fight, both Peter and the mysterious man have disappeared. My theory as to what has just happened is that Christina was essentially ‘frozen’ by Delos technicians while they removed Peter and the mystery man from the area, and then unfrozen when the coast was clear – something we’ve seen happen many times in seasons one and two. But why would Delos technicians be around – I’ll elaborate in the conclusion.
After waking up the next day in exactly the same way as the day before, this time with a cut on her wrist from Peter’s knife, she’s once again called by Peter who is standing atop a nearby building. He questions Christina – “Is this up to me, or did you write this too?” – right before killing himself, indicating that the narrative Christina wrote ended with him killing himself. How and why these stories are impacting real people is still a mystery.
In one final moment, Dolores is standing out on her balcony as a mysterious man looks up at her from below – just like every romantic comedy out there. When he steps out from the shadows, it’s revealed to be Teddy (James Marsden), who we haven’t seen since season two as he was stashed away with the other hosts inside The Sublime. Chances are this is a “new” character much like Christina, unless Teddy made it out of The Sublime.
This episode introduces us to a number of brand new narratives, familiar faces and fresh characters, all while giving us a long list of questions to ponder. Speaking on the Christina arc, in which I loved the visual and narrative parallels between Dolores’ journey and Christina’s life, there are so many mysteries we need solving. There’s the strange talk of The Tower, something that was mentioned by both Peter and a homeless man. Other than the knowledge that only certain people can see it, it remains a complete mystery – it may not even be a physical tower.
Then there’s my big theory – I don’t think the content with Christina is in the real world, rather I believe what we’re seeing is one of Delos’ parks… or something similar. Now, regardless of whether it’s taking place before, during or after the events in the rest of the episode, I feel this is some sort of park environment. What gave this away from me is when Christina overhears a couple of people on the street saying quotes like “This is way better than expected”, “This place is fucking wild” and “Can’t believe this is your first time”. I can’t explain how this is possible, especially since I don’t know what’s happened over the last seven years, but I’m damn excited to see whether this is true or just a red herring.
In the end, this is an incredible place to start the season – giving us a largely cohesive chunk of the story, but leaving us with countless questions in the process. Not only am I excited to see what happens with the characters we’ve already seen, I’m keen to get some content with Bernard and all the other season three characters who are yet to make an appearance.
I am very encouraged by what I’ve seen in the first two episodes. Having already reconciled myself to the fact I’ll never know what is going on in Westworld, this season may be a bit easier to “get.” Good start to Season 4.