Westworld: Season 2 created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (HBO, Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Productions, Kilter Films)
Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Angela Sarafyan, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quarterman, Shannon Woodward, Talulah Riley, Rodrigo Santoro, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Ben Barnes, and Jimmi Simpson.
It’s All Greek to Me
When I was working on my undergraduate degree, I made the mistake of minoring in Greek. Scratch that. Having completed the degree, I don’t consider it a mistake. During my studies, however, it was definitely a mistake.
Ancient Greek is a tricky subject. Unlike English where verb tense gives the reader context between past, present, and future—and the placement of the noun in the sentence adds context around subject and object, Greek conjugates or declines everything.
Put differently, English is easy because most sentences read linearly. You know the subject because it comes first. You know the object because it arrives after the verb.
Greek doesn’t care about linear structure. The way you write a noun in Greek provides the evidence for how it should be used. A noun used as a subject looks different than the same noun used as an object. For this reason, a Greek sentence can throw all the nouns and adjectives at the beginning of the sentence and end the sentence with a verb. It keeps the reader guessing but it can also be quite poetic.
The fence dog quickly over jumps. That makes no sense in English but in Greek, you would understand it clearly.
Westworld as a Return to My Greek Minor
Watching the latest season of Westworld, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a long sentence written in Greek, where the last episode functions as the verb to tie it all together. While such a practice adds to the mystery of the Greek language, it doesn’t really help Westworld.
For Season 2, Westworld has doubled down on its subterfuge and multiple timelines. As such, most of the season feels more like a puzzle to solve rather than a story to tell. As such, recapping and setting up a basic plot is difficult to do. Truthfully, not much happens.
A Season in Aftermath
Spoilers for Season 1, but Season 2 largely explores the aftermath of the host uprising that ended Season 1. There are bodies everywhere; the robots come to terms with their personhood.
Of course, the multiple timelines aim to confuse, depicting the immediate aftermath of the robot uprising next to the corporate cleanup weeks after. The space between these two events comprises this season.
For those considering Westworld, your enjoyment will largely coincide with your willingness to engage in Westworld’s game. If you are willing to invest the effort in solving the puzzle, it could be rewarding, much like trying to figure out where an Ancient Greek sentence is going before the verb lands at the end.
But if you just want a story, Westworld isn’t for you.
Verdict: 3 out of 5