The first season of, "Westworld," was fascinating but felt like a ton of build-up. The second season delivered basically everything I wanted and was amazing. Then we had a messy but entertaining third season (some folks hated it even if I thought it was alright). Now, the fourth season has wrapped as of a couple weeks ago and I've taken some time to think about it. Overall, I would say it isn't as fantastic as the second season but is without a doubt a return to form in terms of being entertaining and at least making a semblance of sense. Spoilers follow this paragraph, so be warned.
"Westworld," loves to play around with our sense of time, doesn't it? The first and second seasons did it a ton and the third mostly avoided that technique, but after the fourth season seemed really straightforward at first, it threw us a big juicy curveball at the halfway point of the season. It turned out a good half of the show was taking place 20-ish years ago from the present and the, "Bad guys," as they were had already won. Tessa Thompson's kinda-Dolores-kinda-Hale had turned almost all the remaining humans into slaves for robots/hosts with the assistance of a host-version of the Man in Black/William/the always deliciously villainous Ed Harris.
Aaron Paul gets a lot more to do this season of, "Westworld," as Caleb and if I could offer one major complaint it would be Evan Rachel Wood does a ton less and is mostly removed from...well, everything, that occurs within this season (the excuse is that she's basically hooked into the city writing storylines for the humans, but I would've liked Dolores (or, "Christina," as she is now called) to have a bit more of an impact on this going-ons this season. Jeffery Wright and Luke Hemsworth make a fantastic duo as the all-business Bernard and jokey Stubbs, and Thandie Newton's Maeve continues to be a superb character as well. Yes, Westworld has always been a show absolutely packed to the gills with a stupendous cast. I'm just glad this latest season has a stronger plot for them to portray.
Oh, I didn't even mention how pleased I was that James Marsden's Teddy Flood (or at least a kinda-sorta version of him) is back after missing out on the 3rd season. I also was a big fan of new cast member Aurora Perrineau who plays, "C," and is later revealed to be the adult version of Frankie, Caleb's daughter (again, the timelines can be wild on this show). Ariana DeBose is superb as Delores/Christina's roommate too, even if she ends up barely utilized in the rest of the show outside of the city simulation Dolores/Christina made for herself. Assuming the show gets a fifth season (I worry about that with so many shows getting canceled at HBO MAX), maybe she can come back and do a bit more.
With so many characters, "Westworld," does quite the juggling act letting everyone get some scenes in whilst telling its increasingly twisty story of hosts not just rebelling against humans, but totally turning the tables. If you don't like weird and sometimes convoluted sci-fi then, "Westworld," has never been the show for you. However, should you not mind a sometimes-confusing-but-quite-fun ride this program almost always fits the bill.
4.5 out of 5 stars.