The extended 90-minute Westworld finale closed season one in epic fashion. We learned that some things were as they seemed, while others turned out quite differently. In terms of finales, Westworld wrapped up the season marvelously, plugging most of its remaining questions with gripping answers.
Here’s the biggest takeaways from “The Bicameral Man.”
William, The Man in Black
Expected by many, The Man in Black and William are in fact one of the same. While some could argue that this reveal wasn’t as momentous thanks to the plethora of hints scattered throughout the season, the finale approached the subject in a satisfying manner. The smile that brimmed across the Man in Black’s face as Dolores remarked that William was coming back for her was expertly played.
Maeve’s Coordinated Escape
For weeks, Maeve has been plotting her escape from the park, and in the finale, her plan finally came into fruition. After tantalizing scene with Hector and Armistice causing mayhem across the lab, Maeve happened across the very-dead Bernard. When Felix brought him back online, we learned that perhaps Maeve’s masterful plan wasn’t as innovative as we were led to believe. Her escape, all the way down to her befriending Felix and coercing Sylvester, was all part of a new narrative. Still, Maeve doesn’t believe him, sticking to her stance that she has free will. Interestingly, when she departs on the train out of Westworld, she stares at the piece of paper detailing the location of her daughter, and, against her steadfast claims that “none of this matters,” she starts to head back into the park. We last saw her standing at the foot of the escalators as the lights went out.
There’s More Than Just Western Themed Narratives
We’ve known since early on that the theme park’s office building is filled with many floors, but few have questioned why that is–chalking it up to storage for decommissioned hosts and old labs. During Maeve’s escape, they stumbled into a lab encrusted with the logo “SW.” It was filled with Samurai wielding hosts, and when Maeve asks Felix what they were seeing, he responds, “It’s complicated.” Could it be Samurai World? One thing is for sure, while Westworld may be the main attraction, there’s more to this experiment than we previously thought. Even Maeve’s note called Westworld “Park 1,” signaling that it is one of at least two. Perhaps the show will explore this more in season two. It was a great way to leave viewers confused, and more importantly, anxious for more.
The season finale also solved the mystery of Wyatt. Once again, we kept revisiting that scene of slaughter–Teddy shooting away, sending bodies into dust and dirt, but this time, we saw a new angle. Wyatt’s puzzle was more than just a new narrative, it was an integral aspect of the park’s history. We’ve known that Arnold grew sympathetic for the plight of the hosts, and we learned recently that Dolores killed him: now we know the what and the why. When Arnold’s son died, he grew even more despondent for humanity, and it led him to believe that the park was a mistake. In order to stop it from opening, he uploaded the Wyatt narrative into Dolores, turning her into a killing machine. She had Teddy do her bidding in the streets, but Arnold knew that wouldn’t be enough. The hosts would be fixed up and put back into play. So he ordered Dolores to kill him as he listened to one of his son’s favorite songs. This could be interpreted as suicide-by-host. Of course, his efforts to stop the park from opening did not work.
Ford and The Man in Black: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Just as we learned that the Wyatt narrative ran much deeper than assumed, Ford and The Man in Black were shown to have more depth than we may have thought. Ford chose to open the park after Arnold’s death because if he didn’t, his dreams would be ruined. But somewhere along the way, he started to see things from Arnold’s point of view. In the end, he began searching for a way for the hosts to be free. There were times when we may have seen him as a villain, as he ordered the killings of Theresa, Elsie, and probably others. And on the flip side, there were times we saw The Man in Black (William) as a villain–his treatment of Dolores and the murders of many hosts over the years. But when it all came together, both William (who holds a majority stake in the park) and Ford wanted the hosts to free of their limitations. Yes, they wanted this for somewhat different reasons, but the goal, as unlikely as it once seemed, was virtually identical.
The Center of the Maze
It wasn’t as bombastic as it could have been, but what we found at the center of the maze was fitting. All along we have been asked to grapple with the definition of consciousness as it applies to hosts versus humans. So when it was revealed that the center of the maze was the discovery of consciousness, it was simultaneously subtle and in your face. The voices that Dolores heard throughout the season that she attributed to Arnold were really her own. The memories of herself that she followed across the park weren’t just memories, but building blocks to her own consciousness.
On the night that Ford has been forced to announce his retirement, he unveils his final narrative contribution: “Journey into the Night.” For it to kick off as planned, Dolores needed to reach the center of the maze.
The show has often echoed the mantra: “Violent delights have violent ends.” And when Dolores walks on the stage and puts a bullet through Ford’s head in front of the board, the violent end comes. A smattering of hosts come out from the forest, and The Man in Black smiles as his chest is pierced by a surprising bullet. The board, and everyone who came to see the unveil, become an integral beginning of the a new narrative–over thirty years in the making. The lights shut off inside the lab.
As Dolores says, “This world doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to us.”
Where does Westworld go from here? Who knows, but season one was a spectacular journey to the center of the maze.