It’s hard to talk about Westworld‘s fourth season without fear of giving too much away, so I’ll just say this: It’s awesome.
The twisty sci-fi drama from Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy returns to form after a confused Season 3, with Season 4 delivering compelling character-driven arcs, thrilling action sequences, and continued musings on free will and the true cost of immortality.
What is happening in Westworld Season 4?
Credit: John Johnson / HBO
Well, if I told you, that would be spoiling half the fun of the season. All I’ll say is that we pick up quite some time after the revolution that kicked off at the end of Season 3. Caleb (Aaron Paul) has a family now, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) returns from the Sublime with several new revelations, and the host Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) continues her quest for vengeance against humanity. She’s teamed up with the host version of William (Ed Harris), meaning we get a lot of classic Man in Black moments reminiscent of Season 1.
One of the season’s biggest mysteries revolves around Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), or the lack thereof. Dolores perished in the Westworld Season 3 finale — although death is extremely nebulous in this show — but Wood is back for Season 4. Now she’s playing Christina, a game writer who keeps getting threatening messages from a stranger. Who Christina is and how (or if) she connects to Dolores remains to be seen, but it’s another fascinating piece in the puzzle that is Westworld.
Other interesting puzzle pieces include a spooky tower, Christina’s employers, and some very frightening flies. What does it all mean? This season is surprisingly forthcoming with its answers: The first four episodes sent to critics for review are immensely satisfying. However, in true Westworld fashion, every answer raises even more questions.
Westworld Season 4 remixes iconic Westworld scenes.
Credit: John Johnson / HBO
One of the biggest delights of Season 4 of Westworld is seeing the show revisit some of its most well-known moments, only with new twists. For example, James Marsden is back, but not quite as the Teddy we knew. Meanwhile, Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) experiences versions of her own old host loop, only from an entirely new perspective.
These references to past seasons could risk feeling self-indulgent, but Nolan and Joy tweak the moments just enough that they play very differently in Season 4. Now these flashes of the past land with a creeping sense of dread, effectively elevating the show’s sense of intrigue.
As Westworld continues to expand outside its original park, the callbacks are treats for viewers who remember just where we started. However, they’re also proof of just how far the show has come from its original concept, making this season a strong synthesis of the old and the new of Westworld. With its epic scope and some of the show’s most devastating storytelling so far, Season 4 of Westworld is not one you want to miss.
Westworld Season 4 premieres June 26 at at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max, with a new episode weekly.