Sunday’spremiere kicked a new season off with a bang — or rather, a buzz — landing the show back into our TV regimen after a two-year hiatus.
The fourth season’s story picks up seven years after the season 3 finale and introduces a new version of Dolores named Christina, a new threat for Caleb and Maeve to tackle, and some mysterious human manipulation involving … flies? (That opening scene unlocked a new fear.) It also brings back a certain cowboy hat-wearing main character last seen in season 2. Teddy fans, rejoice!
There will be eight episodes total in season 4 of HBO’s mind-bending sci-fi series, which means we have seven more Sundays of putting the puzzle pieces together. Let’s take a look at where things stand after episode 1.
Rise of the flies
The episode’s opening scene places us at a mysterious facility near the Hoover Dam that’s owned by a cartel-like organization. “William” shows up (it’s unclear if it’s really him, or a copy), and he tells his host that he isn’t looking to “invest” data with them — instead, they have something that was stolen from one of his facilities eight years ago, and he wants to buy the entire place. The man refuses to sell, and William warns him he’ll get it either way.
When the guy returns home, he finds it’s been invaded by a gnarly swarm of flies. The next time we see him, it’s a new day. The guy heads into work and proceeds to attack one of his buddies with a knife. Bloodied, he hands over a device to William, then slits his own throat. We didn’t see exactly what happened between the time the guy saw the flies and turns on his friends, but I’m sure we’ll learn more about these freaky, possibly weaponized bugs later this season.
Some background on the “is it William, is it not” question: In the post-credits of season 3, we saw a host version of William fatally wound human William. Season 3 Charlotte Hale (the version that’s fitted with a copy of Dolores’ mind) seems to have created alternate William. Given that, it seems very likely this isn’t OG William we’re seeing in season 4.
Christina is the new Dolores
Dolores is brunette. More importantly, she answers to a new name — Christina — and has lost all recollection of who she once was. (I’m assuming this is the Dolores we know from before — it would make sense because Rehoboam completely wiped Dolores’ memories in the season 3 finale.)
She’s adoringly called “Chrissy” by her friend Maya, who’s played by Oscar-winning actress Ariana DeBose, and works as a video game designer for a company called Olympiad Entertainment. Compared with Delores, Christina is far more timid, soft-spoken and even a little melancholy. Near the end of the episode, she records a pitch for a video game character who feels “an emptiness” in her life. Could it maybe be your-old-life-was-actually-deleted type of emptiness?
A mysterious caller
Soon after we meet Christina, we learn she’s been dodging tons of weird calls from someone she doesn’t know. While walking home from a bad date further in the episode, she encounters the caller, Peter, in person. Peter claims Christina wrote him into a game, leading him to lose his wife and job. Christina, baffled, says she can’t help him. Peter threatens her with a blade, but a mysterious person pries him off just in time. We won’t get more answers to this puzzle out of Peter — he jumps off a building in front of Delores later in the episode — but his spiel suggests there are others like him.
Caleb is a construction worker again
Seven years or more after the season 3 finale, Caleb is right back where he started before he met Dolores — working in construction. We learn that riots happened following the events in season 3, (on that season if you need it). Caleb says the riots “won us our freedom.” His coworker disagrees, asking Caleb if his life has really changed. The coworker argues Rehoboam only told people who they already were, not who they could be. The episode also reveals an adorable 7-year-old daughter named Frankie and a wife who’s pretty tired of him playing pretend soldier.
Maeve with the save
Maeve has been off the grid for seven years, living in a remote cabin in a snowy area. But some new visitors disturb that existence. Maeve takes out the unwelcome guests and recognizes one of them as Colonel Brigham, a host from Westworld who led the Confederados. Using some specialty Maeve mind tricks — this time, she chops off the head off of a body and hooks herself up to it — she uncovers that William sent the goons. (A reminder, this might actually be host William controlled by fake Charlotte.)
Maeve turns up just in time to sink a sword into a villain shooting at Caleb and his daughter. Caleb and Maeve leave for California together, on the trail of a senator they know William is looking for.
Are you ready for more Teddy? In the last few seconds of the premiere, we saw the loyal Delores ally and step out of the shadows underneath Christina’s apartment. Teddy last appeared in season 2, when he shot himself after telling Delores that she made him into a monster. (He’s typically a good-natured character, but Dolores altered him in the second season.) He didn’t appear in season 3.
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