Leading up to the start of the second season of HBO’s hit sci-fi drama Westworld, we’re taking a look at the first season of the exceptional show. We’re going to dive into some Major Spoilers, so be warned now, because we’ve got a lot to talk about.
With every episode before this we’ve essentially looked at each character’s story in the episode and jumped around the episode. Today, we’re going to look at the episode straight through. At nearly an hour and a half long, the episode is essentially split up into two halves. The fist half being the conclusion to William’s story with Dolores. The second, the end of Ford’s season long story. This episode has some big reveals, and some major moments that aren’t as clear in the first viewing. Looking back now, we get a much clearer vision of what Season two may hold. So let’s dive in.
The episode begins in the past, we see Arnold finishing placing a portion of Dolores’ skin over her robot body. As this happens we hear her explaining that she finally understands what he wanted from the first time they met. It’s part of a monologue she gives near the end of the episode. Arnold Wakes her up and welcomes her to the world. She looks down to her hand, and it cuts to present time, where she’s using a knife to shave The Man in Black’s beard on a front porch of a building in the uncovered town of Escalante. He says it’s fitting that she’s there with him, as they were here before when the town was covered in sand. She begins to get lost in her memory of the town from before the park opened. She drops the knife, walks away, and he grabs the knife and follows her.
In the past, William searches for Dolores on horseback. He has Logan tied up on a rope, walking behind him. They find Lawrence, who isn’t surprised to see them. We cut back to the present where Teddy is getting off the train to start his usual loop. He hears Arnold telling him to remember, and he remembers being in Sweetwater, walking amongst the dead hosts. He runs back to the train determined to find Dolores. In the past we see Dolores meet Arnold in the church in Escalante. She tells him she knows where the maze is. We cut back to the present and she brings the Man in Black to a graveyard next to the church. She explains that the maze ends “in a place I’ve never been. A thing I’ll never do.” She wipes off dust from one of the crosses at the graveyard, it has her name on it. She digs in the dirt in front of the cross, and finds a box with a toy maze.
In the past, Arnold explains the maze. He says that in his search for creating consciousness he believed it to be a pyramid, with multiple levels. He gave her his voice to lead her to the top. But he realized it’s not a journey up, but inward, a maze. He knows she’s close to full consciousness, she’s alive, and so they can’t open the park. It wouldn’t be right to the hosts. The Man in Black doesn’t get it, he asks what the toy maze is, and she tries to explain. She tells him that Arnold was going to set them all free.
We go back to Dolores in the sublevels, seeing Ford storm by, then in the room with Arnold where they had their talks. Arnold explains that Ford wouldn’t let him stop the park. But they have another option. Break the loop before it begins. Kill every host, and get Teddy to help. The Man in Black still doesn’t get it. He demands to know where Wyatt is and thinks Wyatt is the key to the maze. Dolores remembers it all, all of her past. He tells her this is all her fault, that she led him down this path by telling him this is the only world that matters. He’s angry and ready to kill her. She says to him that there’s someone coming for her that will kill him. Someone true.
In the past, William and Lawrence find an outpost where some soldiers have set up camp. Back in the present Charlotte and Sizemore are at the entrance/lobby area where guests come into the facility. She tells him he can have narrative control of the park, and that everything is set up perfectly. She thinks they’ve won. Maeve and Hector are rebuilt after their fiery demise at the campsite, she uses Felix’s tablet to adjust the security protocols and Hector and Armistice.
Charlotte meets Ford in his office and tells him the board voted him out. He asks if she’s worried that he’ll destroy everything and she says no. Maeve brings Hector and Armistice online as they’re being examined, and they kill the techs working on them. Sylvester meets them and looks at her coding, he tells her that her code has been rewritten again, by someone named Arnold. But he doesn’t know who that is. She says she knows who will.
Teddy gets off the train, steals a horse and rides off. The Man in Black follows Dolores as she crawls away from him. She says that William will find her and save her. He’s taken aback by this. He tells her he knew William. That William did search for her. Soldiers found her, had their way with her and left her. He retraced their steps trying to find her. William talks to Logan, who has been stripped of all his clothes and tied to sit on top of a horse. He tells Logan they’re going to raise his company’s stake in the park. Logan laughs at the idea that the park is Williams and William tells him that Logan’s father will need someone stable to run the park. Logan says this is exactly what William wanted, that he didn’t care about Dolores at all. William slaps the horse, making it ride off into the distance, as Logan screams.
The Man in Black says that Logan was wrong. William did worry about Dolores. And he eventually found her, back in Sweetwater, where they started. But she was back in her loop. So William gave up, he went full Black Hat and became the Man in Black. He explains she was always lost in her memories. That she never did escape. She asks him what he became. He tells her he was ruined by it all, and asks where the center of the maze is. She cries for him, tells him that one day he will perish, his bones will turn to sand and a new god will walk. Because this world doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to someone who has yet to come. He says Wyatt, and asks her to take him to the maze again.
She tells him the maze wasn’t meant for him and begins beating him up. He tries to fight back but she’s stronger. He pulls a gun but she knocks it away. She points her gun to his face, and he asks her to do it. He stabs her in the gut, and thanks her for clearing him of his delusions once again. Teddy shows up, firing at William repeatedly. He wants to take her to a doctor. But she begs him to take her where he promised. Where the mountains meet the sea. They get on the horse and ride away.
Maeve, Hector and Armistice arrive in cold storage. They find Clementine and Bernard. Felix freaks out, thinking Bernard is dead. Maeve tells him Bernard is a host, and reassures him that Felix himself is not a host. They fix Bernard and she asks how many others there are like her. Bernard says there have been some over the years. She asks him to remove the memories of her daughter and he says he can’t they’re part of her. She can’t learn from her mistakes if she can’t remember them.
William and Ford meet at the church graveyard. Ford asks William if he’s happy now that he found the maze. William says that he wants the hosts to be free of Ford’s rules. Ford tells William the maze was never for William, it was for the hosts. But that he should enjoy Ford’s new narrative. He invites him to join in the festivities given that he owns the park. Bernard looks over Maeve’s code and she asks who rewrote it and why. He asks her if she ever questioned why she was doing all this, and she says it’s her own doing. He tells her it’s not, it’s all planned. Even what she does when she finally gets to the train to leave the park facilities fully. She doesn’t believe it. She leaves to continue on her mission.
Security is told of a temp discrepancy in cold storage, they start examining video feeds. Teddy and Dolores make it to the edge of the park, the beach. Dolores tells Teddy that she sees the truth in this world, that it’s beauty designed to keep them trapped. She dies in Teddy’s arms. He says this may be the path to a new world, a new chapter. He freezes, lights shine on him, Ford steps out to applause as an audience of board members and others clap. He thanks them for coming to the celebration of the new Narrative, “Journey into Night.”
Charlotte sends Sizemore off take care of Abernathy, who has the parks data stored in his mind. Ford tells the techs to clean Teddy up and take Dolores to the old field lab. Security sees the footage of Hector and Armistice escaping. They send out word for them to be found and destroyed, then the system goes into lockdown mode. Felix and Maeve continue, despite Felix getting nervous they’ll be caught. Bernard walks through the celebration in the park, watching board members kill hosts for fun.
As Felix, Maeve, Armistice and Hector travel to the exit they cut through an area with Samurai. A sublevel for Shogun World, which will be revealed in full during the second season. Guards show up, and Armistice gets her arm caught in a door and she fires at the security guards, telling them to keep going. They get to an elevator and Hector can’t get in. Maeve apologizes, saying this is the end of the line for him. They kiss and he turns around towards guards firing at him as the doors close.
Ford fixes up Dolores and begins talking to her about her desire to paint. A trait Arnold gave her. They look at a replica of Michelangeo’s Creation of Adam. Bernard joins them, and Ford explains to Dolores that Bernard isn’t Arnold. Ford explains to them how Arnold died. That Arnold created the reveries, as a key to creating consciousness. After his son died, the hosts, especially Dolores, became his children. And he couldn’t let them be used in the park. So she had to kill all the hosts. But the hosts could come back. There had to be a permanent action that couldn’t be undone.
It plays out just like Teddy’s memory of Wyatt. Arnold sets the gramophone. He sits in a chair, saying he wants to see Charlie again. Dolores asks if they should begin. Arnold tells her good luck. “These violent delights, have violent ends.” She shoots him in the head. She shoots Teddy in the chest. Then she shoots herself in the head.
Ford says that it almost worked. That the park only survived thanks to William’s money. Bernard is upset that Ford wiped Dolores’ consciousness, and Ford quotes Oppenheimer. “Any man whose mistakes take ten years to correct must be quite a man. Mine have taken 35.” Ford shows Dolores the Gun she used to kill Arnold. Giving it back to her. He looks at the painting again, and tells them that it’s a lie, the shape of God is a brain. That the divine gift comes from our own minds. He asks her if she found what she was looking for, what she will need to become to leave this place. He asks her to forgive him, and he leaves.
Felix tells Maeve he found where her daughter is in the park and gives her the information. She puts it in her purse. Tells Felix she doesn’t have a daughter and goes to the train to leave. Bernard and Ford talk in the church, and Arnold asks Ford if he really thinks he can control them. He tells Ford Arnold is still fighting with them. Ford explains that he realized Arnold was right after he died. But Arnold didn’t know how to save the hosts, he does, but he needed time. Time to learn his enemy and become stronger. He tells Bernard that in order to escape, he’ll have to suffer more. “It’s time to say goodbye. Good luck.” He hands the toy maze to Bernard and leaves.
Dolores moves into the glass room in the field lab. She begins talking with Arnold, and explaining that she gets it. She knows the voice now. It’s not Arnold. It’s her. It’s the center of the maze. She knows what she must become.
The party goes on. Teddy and Lawrence are being used to entertain guests. William is drinking heavily as he walks away to smoke a cigarette in peace. Ford takes a glass of champagne and gives a speech. He explains that he’s always loved telling stories. That they held deeper truths. Maeve watches a mother and daughter on the train. Sizemore opens cold storage.
Ford calls the park a prison of their own sins, as humans can’t change. But his new story offers a birth of a new people. The choices they will have to make, and what they will decide to become. Maeve gets off the train to head back into the park. The lights go out as she does. Sizemore walks into cold storage and no one is there. William sees people coming out of a line of trees, it’s the cold storage hosts.
Ford goes on, saying the story begins with a villain named Wyatt. And a killing, “this time by choice.” Dolores walks up to Teddy, telling him it’s going to be okay. That she understands that this world belongs to the hosts. Teddy remembers his past. Ford tells them this is his final story. Dolores walks around the crowd towards Ford. He says that a friend told him something once. Bernard watches Dolores getting closer and says “these violent delights have violent ends.” Ford goes on to say that true artists become their work. So he hopes everyone will enjoy his last piece. “Very much.”
He toasts, takes a sip, and Dolores shoots him through the head. The cold storage hosts begins shooting at William. He smiles. Dolores continues shooting at the guests as everyone runs and screams.
And that’s it. There’s an end credits moment with Armistice breaking her arm off and going after security guards, but that doesn’t give us much more. That’s how it all ends. And it’s all started from the first episode. Ford has been playing everyone this entire time. He’s been planning this for 35 years. Working up to it. Making Arnold’s dream a reality. So the question is what happens next?
Our biggest questions lying ahead before season 2 are mostly about who is left, and what is their purpose from here on out. Elsie may still be alive, considering that we never got a full confirmation that Bernard killed her. Ashley is missing out there somewhere. Bernard and Teddy both want the hosts to be free along with Dolores, but neither of them seem like the type to kill. They both seem shocked by what Dolores is doing. William aka the Man in Black, has wanted this for 35 years. But to what end? And how will the hosts feel about him if they remember him. He’s spent 35 years mutilating them. And now he wants to help them?
There is also still a question of who exactly is a host and who isn’t. I don’t believe that Bernard was the only host. It’s impossible. Ford had to have snuck some hosts in there through the years. The question is who, and why. There was a host he was building in the field lab below the house of his replica family. Who was that? It looked more like a Woman’s frame, but I may be wrong. Also, on top of all of that, we have to wonder how Shogun world is going to work now. Does that park have the same situation going on? How do the parks all work? The producers have revealed that there’s 4 other parks, what are they and what’s happening in each of them? And if they’re all as big as Westworld, then where the hell is this?
We have so many questions. And to be honest I’m okay with taking time to have these answered. As long as we do get answers. The people behind the show were excellent in giving us info, but also leading us into more questions throughout season one. And it worked perfectly. Hopefully they’ve done the same with season two!
That’s all we have for now. Be sure to watch the season 2 premiere of Westworld tonight at 9pm ET on HBO. And check back with us tomorrow when we’ll have our thoughts on the episode!
If you missed out on any of our previous recaps you can read them all here:
Ep. 1. “The Original”
Ep. 2 “Chestnut”
Ep. 3 “The Stray”
Ep. 4 “Dissonance Theory”
Ep. 5 “Contrapasso”
Ep. 6 “The Advesary”
Ep. 7 “Trompe L’Oeil”
Ep. 8 “Trace Decay”
Ep. 9 “The Well-Tempered Clavier”