Source: Warner Media

Review: 'Westworld' Continues with Intensity and Intelligence

JC Alvarez READ TIME: 2 MIN.

When it comes to truly immersive experiences, HBO creates original content that attacks the senses. The network's skill at creating engrossing character pieces is nothing short of transportive, but no other series in their repertoire – not even the one with all the dragons – is able to stimulate the curiosity and excite the nerves like the Emmy-winning "Westworld."

After an incredibly tumultuous third season it appeared that the stakes couldn't get any higher, but as Season Four returns some time has passed and the "hosts" have settled in among their slavers... and there is an entirely more sinister agenda underway that could possibly result in the annihilation of the human race. Evan Rachel Wood is back as "Christina," a fiction writer who is not entirely fulfilled with her job and can't help but feel that there is something "out there".

Joining the cast this season is Oscar winner Ariana DeBose as Christina's roommate, who is determined to help her friend out of her doldrums and find some happiness. Things get a lot more complicated when a supposed stalker (whom Christina has never met) suddenly shows up has Christina wondering what is real and what is made up. This uncomfortable doubt is a trademark of the "Westworld" franchise, and is intricately woven into a plot that leads down a very dark rabbit hole.

Meanwhile, Maeve – played by the extraordinary Emmy-winning Thandiwe Newton – has kept herself in seclusion, although she has been keeping a close eye on Caleb (Aaron Paul), who has also moved on with his life. When Maeve's efforts to live off the grid are compromised, she and Caleb once again become targets of William (Ed Harris), the Man in Black. Their lives intertwined, Maeve and Caleb become fugitives, only to discover that Westworld is being rebooted.

After the massacre (from Season One), the den of debauchery has been resurrected, and now the macabre playground is under new management –�and those who are in charge now who have an even more sinister agenda than the depraved entertainment the park's artificial environments have to offer. Maeve and Caleb must work together, even as every step they take is under the watchful eye of Charlotte Hale (Tess Thompson), whose involvement helps make Season Four the best yet. (But don't worry: Series regulars Jeffrey Wright and Luke Hemsworth are back, as well.)

With all the earmarks of great television and sci-fi spectacle, "Westworld" Season Four has an intensity and intelligence that sets it above anything else in the genre. The series is as expertly acted as it is beautifully designed and directed, with the mystery unfolding with each cliffhanger episode. The new episode premieres on HBO, Sunday, June 26, at 9 pm EST/PT and will be available to stream on HBO Max, with a total of eight new chapters this season.

"Westworld" returns with all-new episodes Sunday, June 26, 2022.

by JC Alvarez

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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