Westworld Season 1 ended in a dual bloodbath: one out in the park as Ford's new narrative took hold and one in Delos' headquarters, spearheaded by Maeve in her desperate attempt to fulfill her programming and leave the island. But not everyone was at the "Narrative Release Party" or in Delos' headquarters when the crisis began. Two characters were AWOL in the park: Ashley Stubbs and Elsie Hughes. Where is Elsie in Westworld Season 2? The last we saw of her, Bernard was choking the life out of her. But is she really dead?
According to actress Shannon Woodward, who plays Elsie Hughes, we should not worry. Despite Bernard's memories of what happened that suggest a dire fate, fans have more Elsie to look forward to in the coming season. Speaking to Elite Daily, she promises she'll be back.
I am somewhere in the park, I can tell you that... It’s confirmed that I’m back and I’m somewhere in the park.
That's good news for fans of Elsie, who was one of the few characters in the series so far without a hidden agenda or some massive secret plan that's currently underway, waiting to be exposed.
Woodward thinks that's key to why her character resonates with fans, regardless of the fact she is one in a sea of characters who aren't defined as "good" or "bad". Elsie is a character who was "built to be liked," no pun intended.
I mean I think, [showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy] have constructed this show where there really are not villains and there are no heroes… But Elsie is the closest thing to a traditionally structured hero. She’s like an old-school Michael Crichton hero, something straight out of Andromeda Strain. And so is Stubbs! Elsie and Stubbs are very Crichton-esque. And I love that about it!
It turns out Woodward is a huge fan of Michael Crichton, who wrote the original screenplay for Westworld back in the 1970s.
Those are the books I grew up on, and I think, you know, they wrote this character and I grew up on, and those Crichton books, those were the first grown-up books I ever read, and it informed who I thought I was and who I wanted to be and I think it just all kind of came together.
As for what's happening in Season 2, Woodward says this year is all about the characters figuring out who they are.
Now that the hosts are autonomous, they’re really deciding who they want to be. And on the flip side of that, now that the humans have lost control of their world, they have to decide who they are in the face of this, and what they want to do, who their allies are and where their morals are.
As for Bernard, who betrayed her character last season, Woodward swears she never saw it coming. "I mean she trusted him implicitly, totally." And if Elsie does find out Bernard is a host? She'll be totally surprised. Even now, after what happened, Woodward says Bernard is a stand-up guy.
Bernard is trustworthy. It’s just that Ford took over his brain. It’s not that Bernard was ever duplicitous. He was just used as a pawn.
Having been completely out of the loop for several episodes, when Elsie rejoins the story, she's most likely going to be surprised to discover what's happened, and the chaos that's enveloped the park. But Woodward doesn't think Elsie will take sides. "Elise’s always been Team Human and Host."
If only there were more like her in the park, perhaps this season wouldn't be the bloodbath it's shaping up to be.