Looking more conspicuously futuristic in its design (a byproduct of having escaped the original amusement-park-for-adults setting), the HBO drama still boasts an assortment of really good actors, augmented by James Marsden returning and Oscar winner Ariana DeBose and Daniel Wu among the new additions.
The most promising thread involves the renegade A.I. Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), who reunites with Caleb (Aaron Paul), taking off on a mission together. Their path intersects with the villainous and ruthless William (Ed Harris) as he pursues his own shadowy scheme, a character originally elevated by first-season mystery who is perhaps most symbolic of the show’s decline, having become progressively less interesting ever since.
Given “Westworld’s” initial acclaim in turning Michael Crichton’s original concept on its head and forcing the audience to see the exploitation of these synthetic beings through their eyes, the series is too high-profile a property to be completely ignored.
Still, having dutifully sat through half of this eight-episode season, the sense that the pieces can be satisfactorily put together, at least for those who were skeptical going on, feels asked and answered.
At one point, Maeve makes a darkly wry reference to the fight that looms by saying “disposing and dismembering. Just like the good old days.”
Alas, the “good old days” are just that, and except for those most invested in making “Westworld” make sense, no matter how much you play with the wiring it doesn’t look like they’re coming back.
“Westworld” begins its fourth season June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.