Warning: This story contains spoiler for Episode 1 of Westworld, Season 2.
It has been a while (4th December 2016, in fact) since we got to hum along to the Westworld credits (don't lie, you do it too), and, well, something's off. The sequence at the beginning of "Journey Into Night" is slightly different from the season 1 version, in ways that I believe will turn out to be pretty significant in terms of where the narrative is going.
For comparison's sake, take a look at the original credits below:
The changes are subtle. Season 2's credits still open with that duality of the sun rising over a rocky ridge, which actually turns out to be a light bulb glaring over a robot skeleton; mysterious fingers still plug away at a piano, then lift up, revealing it actually plays on its on. But since this is Westworld, a show that takes pleasure in burying clues and symbolism in pretty much everything, we'll take every hint we can get. Here are the standout changes, and some ideas on what they could mean going forward.
1) The mother and child
The first season highlighted a host couple in the throes of passion, a reference to the relationships that certain robots were forming between themselves in defiance with their programming. The new sequence instead shows a mother and her baby, perhaps alluding to Maeve's quest to reunite with her host daughter in the homesteader park, and with obvious religious undertones of Madonna and child. Maybe Delos took a cue from Blade Runner 2049, and developed a secret plan to back robot-reproduction as a way to reduce the cost of actually producing them. Hey, this is Westworld — anything is possible.
2) The host bison
The horse being built in the season 1 credits has been replaced by a host bison— presumably the same one that hits the glass of the Delos lab in the season premiere, terrifying Lee Sizemore. The bison has long been a symbol of the American West, holding particular importance in certain Native American cultures. (The white bison, in particular, is considered by the Lakota to be a holy symbol of "abundance and prosperity.") But it's also a very tangible connection to the land, one that, in this case, is going through some pretty significant changes in ownership. The parallel with white American conquest of Native American lands is hard to miss, and it's likely no coincidence that the host Dolores declares to be unworthy of reaching the "Valley Beyond," also happens to be a Native American warrior.
To that last point, co-creator Jonathan Nolan recently told Vulture: “There were millions of [buffalo], and the westward expansion, by the time they were done, they were almost all gone,” he explained. “So as a metaphor for our hosts, the idea of a life form that’s supposed to share the west with human beings, and the humans weren’t terribly keen on keeping that dynamic alive, I thought it was a perfect addition.”
3) The water
The final scene of the credits, which originally showed a host's skeleton being dunked into whatever that white goo that makes up its fake flesh is, now appears to be floating in water. Could this have anything to do with the horde of hosts floating in the secret sea at the end of the first episode? My guess is yes.
Do you have any theories about the credits? Share them in the comments below!
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