‘Westworld’: What Lies Beyond “The Door”?

The HBO drama’s second season premieres April 22.

The creative minds behind Westworld are keeping their thoughts to themselves, at least as far as tipping off any secrets about what’s coming up in the new season of the series.

It’s safe to say Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Maeve (Thandie Newton) and the other hosts will greatly advance their journeys of consciousness and self-discovery, now that Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is dead and the park has fallen into disarray. The story will expand to the point that at least one other park will come into focus: Shogun World, first teased in the season one finale. Flashbacks will exist, affording the younger version of William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) another story in this universe, if not another trip to the park. Beyond that? Lips are sealed.

Except for one very intriguing detail: “The Door.” It’s the secret name of the show’s second season, as revealed by creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Indeed, the pair identified “The Maze” as the unofficial title for the first season of the series. “Everything in the park is code,” someone utters early on in the season two premiere, and those words of wisdom extend to the meta narrative surrounding the show’s creation, secret season titles included.

In the weeks ahead, Westworld fans will bend over backwards looking for answers about the true nature of “The Door,” and how it will be both literally and figuratively rendered. Certainly, the new season will provide countless clues along the way. For now, let’s bend over backwards over a different but related exercise: combing through the archives of season one for clues about future season titles.

For instance, we first hear the phrase “the door” all the way back in the second episode of the series, “Chestnut,” as William arrives at the park for the very first time. After selecting the white hat, William is sent off to discover Westworld, walking through a door that leads him into the train car, which leads right into Sweetwater. Whether or not this is the same door at the heart of season two, it’s at least an early instance of the word that will come to define the next batch of Westworld episodes. 

Are other words with looming importance buried deep within the sprawling first season? Maybe, maybe not. With the premiere itself looming but not yet available for wide consumption, there’s no reason not to spend some time speculating away. Here are some buzz words from the first season that could come to define the series as it continues to grow and expand:

The Disarray

“Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray.” It’s among the first lines uttered in Westworld, as Dolores guides us through her programed view of the world around her. She chooses to see the beauty; at least, it’s what she once chose. The woman seen at the end of season one likely sees the world differently now. Should the park descend into further chaos and delve deeper into the dark depths of human nature, “The Disarray” could speak rather well to a season of choice.

The World

Within the aforementioned quote, Dolores talks about “this world.” Elsewhere in season one, she and Teddy (James Marsden) pine about the greater world and their shared desire to run away together “some day.” If the hosts successfully conquer the parks in season two, it’s reasonable to guess that they will turn their gaze to the world beyond their own. A season of Westworld that exists largely outside of the park — or a season focused on the hosts escaping the park for the wider world — could be defined under such a wide-sweeping word.

The Mistake

“Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool: the mistake.” Wise words from the late Robert Ford, uttered to his friend and colleague (and secret creation) Bernard early on in season one. It seems like a mission statement for the series: transformation and advancement is made possible by making mistakes. A season falling under this subtitle could focus on the human faces of Westworld coming to genuine grips with the mistakes they have made in their treatment of the hosts; likewise, some of the hosts might even reconcile their own mistakes, should someone like Dolores dive too deep into her Wyatt-inspired notions of vengeance against mankind.

The Pyramid

Ford and Arnold developed the hosts by channeling the Julian Jaynes theory of the “Bicameral Mind,” which posits consciousness as a pyramid — which feels like an abundantly rich name for a season, given what it could entail. It speaks toward consciousness, of course, right at the core of the show’s thematic territory. It also speaks to a physical object and place, much like “The Maze” and “The Door.” It also could point us in the direction of another park. “Egyptian World,” anyone?

The Music

“An old friend once told me something that gave me great comfort. He said Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin never died. They simply became music.” These are among Robert Ford’s very last words, right before he’s shot in the head by Dolores in front of a packed crowd of Delos board members. Music has a central role on Westworld, thanks to the powerful and experimental score from Ramin Djawadi. As of the show’s most recent episode, “The Music” takes on even more meaning, as a lyrical analogue for “death.” When the series’ final season inevitably comes — hopefully not for a long time — “The Music” would be a more than apt way to play out the final notes of Westworld.

 

What are some of your predictions for future season names? Sound off in the comments below and keep checking THR.com/Westworld for more coverage all season long.

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