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'Westworld' gets a needed upgrade in its pretentious quest for the meaning of ...

HBO's futuristic cyborg/cowboy drama "Westworld" returns Sunday after a long absence, still dreary as a rain cloud but with noticeably less hitch in its git-along.

The statute of spoiler limitations has passed on the first season, so to briefly recap: In a distant future, a Western-themed adult playland called Westworld scrambles to recover from a park-wide cerebral meltdown in its population of "hosts" - extremely lifelike robots who play cowboys, gunslingers, damsels, Jezebels, Indians, infantrymen, banditos, etc., all of whom are now responding to a tweak in their programming, turning en masse against one another and the human guests who paid big money for the immersive Western experience.

Evan Rachel Wood returns as Dolores, one of Westworld's original cyborgs, programmed to play the sweetly accommodating role of a rancher's daughter-in-distress.

"Westworld" still heavily leans on such thickly sliced monologues to make its point, and although she is the moral-mechanical center of the show, there's a better version of this model - and a steelier performance - in the form of Maeve (Thandie Newton), the former brothel madam who engineered her own consciousness-awakening and now obsessively searches for the lost daughter she had in a different preprogrammed narrative.

To what I presume will be "Westworld's" fans utter delight, Maeve and others wind up far afield in another playground called Shogun World, filled with samurai warriors, martial arts and noble Geisha girls.

William's backstory - and that of his father-in-law, James Delos (Peter Mullan), the namesake of the corporation that owns the park - is easily Season 2's most intriguing element, promising more details of how Westworld was created and funded, and what its true intent may be.

Rather than reflect the panicky, competitive rush that results in all these half-thought, half-finished, fairly expensive and certainly mediocre series, "Westworld" demonstrates the proper way to spend a lot of time and money in a meticulous fashion.

READ MORE (Chicago Tribune)

  • Evan Rachel Wood on Creating Westworld's 'Dolores 2.0'Vulture
  • Westworld season 2: Dolores Abernathy star teases future 'CARNAGE' as robots
  • All The Lingering Mysteries Of 'Westworld' Season 1 Ahead Of Tonight's PremiereForbes
  • How To Watch 'Westworld' Season 2 and What to Know for the PremiereNewsweek
  • 'Westworld' Season 2: How Jimmi Simpson Slowly Became Ed Harris (Exclusive Video)Yahoo Entertainment
  • 'Westworld' season 2 reviews: 'Entertaining,' 'baffling' and 'ambitious' sci ...Goldderby
  • 'Westworld' Season 2: Voices From the Future Preview the PremiereHollywood Reporter
  • Why Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood rejected a role in Mean
  • The Promethean Puzzles of WestworldThe Atlantic

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'Westworld' gets a needed upgrade in its pretentious quest for the meaning of ...


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