HBO has never been one for an elaborate synopsis for their shows. They're even less forthcoming with them on shows which are trying to keep spoilers under wraps. (My personal favorite, now and forever, is Game of Thrones Season 6 episode 7 "The North is Reminded.") But Westworld may have them beat. This week's synopsis is: “Why don’t we start at the beginning?” True to the production's word, this is exactly where they start in the show's very first cold open sequence, back at the very beginning. So where is Dolores in Westworld's cold open exactly? Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 2 follow.
For the first time, Dolores is not in the park, nor is she in the labs located underneath the park. She's out in the real world, with Arnold by her side.
How exactly Westworld sold itself to investors before it opened is not something fans have given a lot of thought to. Perhaps there was an assumption they brought those interested in investing in the concept to the park to see the landscapes and see the hosts in costume, most likely in the beta-test town of Escalante.
But this is not how Ford and Arnold rolled at all. Instead, they staged a convoluted presentation where they lured investors out to the nearby city under the title the "Argos Company," without letting themselves be seen. Upon arrival, they would be greeted by the hosts, who the investors would naturally mistake for company shills. In the end, what makes Westworld different than other companies trying to get funding for AR or VR is how real their hosts seem.
The hosts, therefore, were taken out of the park and placed in real-world settings, at least once, and perhaps more.
In this week's cold open, Dolores is confronted with the real world for the first time in her memory. (It may not be the first time she was actually out in the real world, but it's the first time present-day Dolores will recall later in the episode.) Stunned at the visual of a city, her first reaction is one of beauty.
It looks like the stars have been scattered across the ground. Have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?
Arnold admits he takes it for granted: "It doesn't look like anything to me." (Such a great callback.)
When Ford (seen only in reflections but voiced by Anthony Hopkins) comes in demanding they pack up and go, it becomes clear Dolores and Arnold are in his hotel room, and he's stalling having to bring her downstairs to the waiting investor. Arnold claims she isn't ready and firmly states they will send "the other one" instead, much to Ford's annoyance. ("The other one" turns out to be Amanda, and the investor in question is Logan Delos.)
But Arnold isn't interested in the investors. He has Dolores out in the real world and is seeing it through her eyes. He's so enamored of having her around, he decides to take her out for a walk in the city, to a construction site which turns out to be his future house.
Arnold tells Dolores his work in the park has taken over his life to the point he needs to move his family here. He needs to have "his two worlds" closer together. He shows her the room his son Charlie will have, confirming for the first time Bernard's memories of Charlie are in fact taken directly from Arnold's life.
These events are early enough in the timeline to be before Charlie became sick and passed away. Dolores and Arnold, it turns out, talk about Charlie often. It's obvious Arnold sees her just as much as his child as he does his own son. No wonder he couldn't bear to feed her to the Logans of this world.