We're just days away from the long-awaited return of Westworld, and a whole new season of mysteries, suspense, and even a new wing of the park. True to the nature of the show, creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are still keeping most details about Season 2's plot under wraps, but that doesn't mean they're completely unwilling to answer some basic questions about how things will work going forward.
Spoilers for Westworld Season 1 ahead.
When we last left Westworld, the park was in chaos. Ford's (Anthony Hopkins) "new narrative" had been unleashed, giving the hosts the ability to harm park guests for the first time, and Ford himself was dead by the hand of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood). As Season 2 picks up, Dolores is still in revolt against her makers, while Maeve (Thandie Newton) is on the hunt for her lost "daughter" (really a host programed to be her daughter in a past narrative, but the emotional connection remains for her) and learning more about the park's behind-the-scenes secrets. The hosts have achieved more independence than ever before, and they show no signs of stopping.
But how far can this revolt go, whether inside the park or out, if the hosts are just manmade machines? They're essentially corporate products, after all, so can't the morally dubious executives at Delos just shut them all down and send a clean-up crew in? Not exactly, according to Joy.
The hosts are basically organic. It’s cheaper that way to print them out. They eat, they sleep, they have sex, they can poop. It’s really like a human body with the one difference being where we have a brain, they have a CPU," Joy told Entertainment Weekly. "There’s a lot of potential for them. If you had a part of your brain that was a computer, self improvement would be a lot easier. The season will be exploring the intersection of where and how they’re human and some of the ways they can manipulate their own programming. So no, they’re not looking for a universal power plug or anything."
This is certainly something that's implied by Season 1 of the series, as certain hosts regularly go off on adventures that last for days and others are never taken in for maintenance unless something's gone wrong. What's less clear at this point is just how "organic" the hosts really are in practical terms. It's also not clear just how much they need these organic processes to survive, as Nolan claims later in the interview that "left to their own devices, they could live forever." We'll no doubt learn more about just how much the hosts need or don't need humans around as Season 2 goes on, but even if maintenance for rogue hosts is required, they already have someone on the inside.
Maeve spent much of Season 1 learning not just what she was, but how she worked, so there may indeed come a day when hosts program and reprogram themselves from inside their revolution. Plus, there's still Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), the park's head of programming who turned out to be a host himself, to consider. If anyone has answers as to how the hosts can live on indefinitely without human intervention, it's him.
Westworld returns Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.