This should go without saying, but there are major spoilers here for Westworld episode 10, The Bicameral Mind. This is your only warning.
Wow, what a finale! Westworld has been absolutely stunning from start to finish. I’m pretty convinced that it’s impossible for HBO to make a bad show. While Westworld is not without it’s plot holes and flaws, it’s still a brilliantly made, painstakingly crafted and devilishly intelligent series.
Before we dive into our expectations and unanswered questions for season two of Westworld in 2018, let’s take a look at the major theories that were confirmed in the final episode.
This one is probably the least “theory” out of the lot, as it became clearer as the show went on that the events we were being shown were not necessarily in order. Dolores especially solidified herself pretty fast as an “unreliable narrator”, who frequently experienced intense memories that were as if she was reliving them. But, we see this confirmed this episode when we see the loop of her travelling to the centre of the maze once more and how it went down on her previous attempts. This theory, however, ties into one that was a bit more hotly debated…
William is the Man in Black
This was a theory that, in all honesty, I didn’t believe was true. I was all aboard the good ship Multiple Timelines, but this I just couldn’t see. The William we see is kind, caring and let’s face it, a bit soft. How would he go from that to the cold and callous Man in Black? But, as the episodes went on and we saw William become more and more brutal, the idea began to take root in my mind. It was clear that William’s true self was being revealed, and that true self is surprisingly dark. We see him dispatch multiple hosts despite his proclaimed love for Dolores, and clearly he begins to get a taste for it.
But it was confirmed as he and Dolores finally meet at the Church in Escalante, and Dolores proclaims that “he’s coming for me”, saying how “his love his real”. While this could be alluding to Teddy, my mind immediately jumped to William. Just for a moment though, the show presents the possibility that William and the Man in Black are not the same person – just before that notion is dispelled.
William tells the rest of his younger self’s story, telling how he looked for her, and the final heartbreaking realisation that she didn’t remember him. After all, she was just another host on a loop. To finish up, we get a brilliant transition of young William placing a black hat on his head, and the Man in Black looking up.
What can I say, I was wrong.
Ford is not a villian after all
While many of the show’s big reveals were figured out by fans beforehand (looking at you, r/westworld), this one came as quite a shock. For the whole season, Ford has been presented to us as the villian – the person hellbent on keeping the hosts in the park and under his control. Now while he is by no means a good person (Theresa, anyone?), he is acting out of love for the hosts. The new “narrative” he has been working on is actually guiding Dolores to true consciousness and free will. He has been pulling the strings of both her and Maeve to guide them both to their awakening and consequent “escapes”, so that they can finally be free of the humans’ mistreatment.
As brilliant a puppeteer as ever, Dolores and the army of hosts from cold storage descend on the Delos board as they celebrate in Escalante, drawing into question the survival of several key characters.
Dolores is Wyatt
Now this one, I have no idea how people saw coming. But, apparently they did. The clues for this one have been very subtle indeed, the most overt being the flashbacks that Dolores had in Escalante of herself killing the other hosts in the exact same positions as “Wyatt” in Teddy’s memories of him. We first see this confirmed in some flashbacks of Arnold, who apparently tried to stop the park from opening by getting Dolores to kill the other hosts (and Arnold) by integrating the “Wyatt” character into her.
Then, in the present day Ford says to her, “Do you understand who you have to become, if you ever want to leave this place?”. Soon after, Dolores makes her way to the stage where Ford is giving a speech to the Delos board, and begins re-enacting the Delos shooting by murdering the humans. However, unlike before where she was acting on orders from Arnold, this is a true choice made by Dolores, meaning that she has finally reached the centre of the maze and achieved true consciousness.
While there are undoubtedly countless small theories both confirmed and unclear, these are the major theories that have been running throughout the show. And credit to the fanbase – they were on point with most of them.
So let’s move on to the unanswered questions for season 2.
Hear me out on this one. You might be thinking, “Are you blind? Dolores shot him through the head!”. But take a look at this…
Nothing in this show is accidental, and the way that Ford holds out his hand to Bernard is definitely awkward and strange. Also, the close up lingers on Ford’s hand for a fairly long time, meaning that it’s a safe assumption there is something of significance here. Now let’s assume that this is pointing to something, there are two possibilities. The first, is that the Ford we see shot in the back of the head by Wyatt/Dolores is a host copy and that the real Ford is still out there. However, I don’t like this very much. It would cheapen the very powerful scene of the Escalante massacre, and also cheapen all he has done to free the hosts.
The second option is that it is the real Ford getting killed, but he made himself a host copy to carry on after he’s dead. He needs to make sure the hosts free themselves completely, right? This makes more sense and would also mean that there is someone still watching over the hosts and protecting them from the humans, who undoubtedly will want righteous payback after Escalante.
Did Maeve achieve sentience?
Another big reveal that we had in the finale was that Maeve’s big escape plan was really a new narrative line that she following, and not born of free thought at all. Up until the point in cold storage when Bernard is revived and shares this with her, she had been following the exact steps laid out in her programming. Of course, this led many to conclude that she had not achieved sentience at all. However, there is definitely an argument to be made that she did indeed achieve sentience.
According to the narrative above, Maeve is supposed to get on the train leaving Westworld and go out into the “mainland” (although what she would do there is unclear). In the cold storage scene, when Bernard is telling Maeve she’s been acting on orders this whole time, she refuses to believe it at first. He begins to list the steps, and Maeve cuts him off just as he begins to say the mainland step. Yet, just before the train leaves, Maeve gets off the train to go and find her “daughter”.
This means that Maeve has gone against her narrative and her programming, and whether or not she is truly sentient in the same way as Dolores is unclear, but I think she is on the path to truly breaking free and achieving consciousness. As soon as she broke pattern and went back into the park, she finally took hold of her own agency and her own fate.
Of course, we have no way of knowing what “Mainland” means. Very little in this show is simple, and it’s entirely possible that this is misdirection, and she was never going to leave the park in the first place. However, that would undo her whole arc, so I choose to think that she has finally found consciousness.
In the final climatic massacre of the Delos board, William is off by himself when the army of hosts from cold storage descend from the forest. In the crowd we spot the original Clementine, who shoots him in the arm. Realising that the hosts have finally gotten freedom and that the game is no longer rigged in favour of the guests, William smiles. But of course, with a horde of pissed off hosts coming toward him, his life is very much in danger. What he wanted was real stakes, and now he has them – which of course he could very well die in the attack.
My hope is that he somehow survives. When Clementine fires on William, he takes a shot in the arm when she probably could have mortally wounded him. Whether it be programming or simply luck, given that we have only really just learned who the Man in Black really is, it would be a real shame to lose him. Fingers crossed that he survives the attack, as he is undoubtedly one of the more interesting characters in the show.
Just look at that smile.
Of course, the main question now is what’s next for the hosts? With Dolores to lead them, will they all achieve consciousness? If so, what then? It’s been made clear the hosts can’t leave the park as they are, but since Maeve found a way around that, it’s entirely possible that the host’s next course of action is to go all Skynet on the “real” world.