Series Issues & Finale Thoughts: Westworld imagines The Bicameral Mind

These violent delights have violent ends.

Westworld likes their quotes cryptic. That one belongs to Shakespeare, and was the last phrase uttered by Peter Abernathy, Dolores’ father, upon his demise and/or malfunction all the way back to the first episode. This week, that seemed to be a pattern in Ford’s mind. It’s also obvious that the director of the park likes his history cyclical.

(Source: HBO)

(Source: HBO)

Oh yeah, please consider spoiler warning included here. I’m not doing a recap, but I’m discussing the finale so spoilers are implied.

If I like mysteries and theories, I also love the way that Westworld not only dances around them but makes the final reveal. There’s an elegance in its execution. Even if you’re aware of what’s coming, it’s still enjoyable. Yes, William became the Man in Black. He’s actually the park’s biggest investor and primary shareholder. His quest for the center of the maze was misguided and literal.

That’s because as we learn from Dolores and Ford will confirm later, the maze was not for him. Or any of the guests. It was an internal search within that hosts would take on to achieve consciousness. And as Arnold confirms via her memory, Dolores has made it to the center of her personal maze.

And Wyatt? Well, I must concede the fan theories were right. Wyatt was an alternate character for Dolores all this time. He only had a face in Teddy’s nightmares. In reality, Dolores was made to kill Arnold as well as all hosts. Even Teddy helping her was part of the plan. Arnold didn’t want the park to be opened.

(Source: HBO)

(Source: HBO)

Was Dolores’ story of re-discovery all part of Ford’s setup for his new narrative? I’m not sure. I think he noticed things over time and recycled her behaviour so it would fit. But Teddy’s return certainly was scripted by the director just so the past lovers could have a final goodbye with the moonlight for a background and the invited members of the board as the audience.

Does that mean that Maeve’s rebellion is also part of Ford’s narrative? Another possibility that is all but confirmed by Bernard. The loyal developer was found and revived by Felix when Maeve breaks into cold storage with Hector and Armistice in tow. Bernard lets her know: it’s not the first time Maeve wakes up. This has happen before. Ford wants Maeve to revive the hosts in cold storage. In the end, Maeve finally obtains everything she needs for her escape although it’s her alone boarding the train.

(Source: HBO)

(Source: HBO)

Except for one last restraint that ends stopping her. Her daughter’s location. She shrugs it off earlier, but as she sits in the train contemplating a mother and daughter in front of her, it just seems to create turmoil. Her future is uncertain, but the chain of events she has set in motion is not.

Ford is done. Well, at this point we all expected him to pull a card from his sleeve. And he does. Dolores adopts the Wyatt persona one more time. History repeats itself as she shoots ‘the general’ a role that is Ford’s. She then proceeds to start killing the members of the board. The Man in Black is the sole witness to the rest of the hosts emerging from the trees, armed and with murdering intent. He smiles as he gets shot. The hosts have finally been allowed to fight without holding back.

And finally, we got a little post-credit scene where Armistice cuts her arm off to free herself of the door. With rifles pointed at her, she lunges forward with a smile. Violent delights indeed.

Superb ending to an amazing first season, completely re-watchable and both self-contained and open ended. It’s been quite a ride.

Highs/Lows/ViolentEnds:

  • Dolores was always meant to go back to the gun, and to the conversations she had with Arnold. However, the proof she has reached the end of the maze, which is attain consciousness, is to be able to listen to herself. This scene can feel a little bit like a letdown, but it does make sense. Dolores is self-aware. She can judge herself, correct herself and learn on her own.
  • Maeve has been awake before. So has the park gone through a previous host rebellion to this scale? Or did Ford just quieted it down last time? Is there any importance in Maeve finding her daughter from a previous narrative or is just the one emergency restraint to keep her in the park?
  • Arnold wanted the hosts to become self-aware. Once they did, he no longer felt they should open the park. Who came up with the Wyatt narrative, Arnold or Ford? Sounds more of a thing that Ford would do to take out Arnold and his hosts. At the same time, does that mean that Arnold accepted or engineered his fate?
  • There’s something about Ford’s appearance in the finale that makes me doubt he’s dead. After the ending with Teddy and Dolores in the moonlight, the handlers are told to take the hosts but to put Dolores in the smaller lab. This is to clean her up and turn on her Wyatt narrative. However…
  • This one’s a theory. The host we saw getting built in the smaller lab underneath the church might be a copy of Ford. Ford is who we see talking to the members of the board. The real Ford is downstairs, setting Dolores on Wyatt mode. The Ford host gets shot, a surefire way to simulate his own death but remain inside the park and in control of everything without being seen again.
  • Teddy’s destiny has always been tied to Dolores. Unfortunately, he’s never been in control. Even the “rescue” in which he seems to abandon his loop and find her is part of Ford’s narrative. A narrative that included William, Mr. Black himself.
  • I find it infinitely more interesting that Elsie is alive, so chances are high that she will return in Season 2.
  • I don’t really care if Mr. Stubbs is alive. We either see him alive, not ever again or he’ll be a corpse.
  • Hector Escaton and Armistice… I’m not sure. Perhaps they’ll show up somewhere.
  • I am glad that Bernard is alive. Ford doesn’t seem to be surprised to see him. He also seems to leave things in Bernard’s hands when he wishes him good luck. Or he means good luck with the robot rebellion.
  • The Man in Black. It’s hard to say, because the plot on season 2 might change greatly. Are we going to get any flashbacks to past William? Is this character done? Is the park done with him? I can see him coming back as the antagonist again, provided he has a new goal. Just don’t make the maze a real thing, it will detract from Dolores’ journey in this season and cheapen the plot.
  • Will we get also a jumpy timeline in Season Two? Or will it turn into a survival storyline where a few guests will have to hide from the hosts? If Maeve comes back, will she join Dolores/Wyatt or will they fight for power? But I can bide my time for the second season. There’s still much to enjoy out of the first one.

That will do for now.

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