In case you missed it, the season two premiere of Westworld hit us with an unexpected full-frontal scene from handsome British actor Simon Quarterman. Granted, the nudity isn't a first for the series, but the scene is a turning point for his character, Lee Sizemore, and a metaphor for the shift in power that has taken place in the park.
"There's a few moving parts in the scene," said Quarterman to The Hollywood Reporter. "There's the shift in power, in those terms, especially in seeing this happen with one of Maeve's creators, someone who writes her storylines and has controlled her actions and her mind. Seeing her take her creator and stripping him naked . . . we're seeing that shift in power now. The hosts are now in control."
At the end of season one, Lee agrees to create a story narrative that would allow executive director Charlotte Hale to smuggle valuable intellectual property out of the park via host Peter Abernathy. In exchange, Lee would gain creative control of the facility in the wake of Dr. Ford's forced retirement. However, the plan never takes shape because all of the hosts in cold storage disappear before Lee can make his move.
In the season two opener, we return to find the park in ruins and Lee fighting for his life against a cannibalistic villain of his own creation. He finds a savior, however, in Maeve, who agrees to provide him with protection if he uses his knowledge of the park to help locate her daughter. While this pairing may seem odd on the surface, forcing the narrative director to take part in one of his own stories delivers the kind of poetic justice that's very much in line with the reckoning theme promised last season.
Based on the strength of the premiere episode, it's hard to believe that Simon Quarterman is a relative newcomer to Hollywood. Lee Sizemore is Quarterman's first stint as a series regular on US television, even though he's honed his craft on British shows such as Down to Earth, Holby City, and EastEnders. He's also appeared in smaller films such as The Devil Inside (below), Estranged, and Negative.
So with that said, will Lee survive the season? Our guess is a resounding yes. Quarterman's ability to move between cowardice and bravado brings humor and heart to the role of Lee Sizemore, a role that creates a powerful juxtaposition to the hosts who are struggling with what it means to be human. To cut Quarterman loose this early in the evolution of the series would put an end to the much-needed levity in a show rife with graphic violence. Plus, with Elsie currently out of the picture, Lee is the only human character naïve enough to ask questions and act as proxy for the audience when things get mysterious.