The 90 minutes season finale of Westworld was full of revelations, new mysterious turn of events and of course, death. The episode was titled “The Bicameral Mind” and as showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy had earlier said, Westworld season finale answered all our burning questions without revealing what will happen in season 2.
The episode opens with Dolores with only the skin of her face and hands intact, while the rest of her is robo-skeleton. It’s from the time when Dolores was born, she has Arnold by her side. For a show that constantly humanises robots, this scene really screams at us asking, do we still see her as our equal beings?
Next, we find Dolores shaving MIB’s beard out in the Park. It is an act of dominance on MIB’s part as he knows she can’t hurt him even if she desperately wants to. In a nod to the two timeline theory, MIB says, “Almost there, aren’t we? The centre of the maze. How fitting that it’s you who takes me there. You always were obsessed with this place.”
“I’ve never been here before,” says Dolores.
“Sure, you have.You even brought me once. Of course, then the whole town was buried under sand. Ford must have dug it up again.”
Dolores takes MIB to the graveyard near the ominous church, near to the grave that has her name on it. What’s with that grave? We have been asking ourselves that ever since we caught its first glimpse a couple of weeks back. Dolores seems to jump into the past and present quite a lot, and now she remembers Arnold taking her to that grave, telling her that it’s the centre of the maze. Naturally, it got us all incredibly excited. The “maze” is real, after all! And Arnold will unveil it to us.
And the maze is a toy! Wait. What?
“What is this? What does it mean?” MIB echoes our thoughts.
In the flashback, Arnold explains to Dolores that when he was working on her mind, he had a theory regarding consciousness. He thought it was a pyramid. “A pyramid you needed to scale, so I gave you a voice, my voice, to guide you along the way. Memory, improvisation, each step harder to reach than the last. And you never got there.” But he realised that “Consciousness isn’t a journey upward, but a journey inward. Not a pyramid, but a maze… Do you understand now, Dolores, what the center represents? Whose voice I’ve been wanting you to hear?” The voice was that of Dolores’ own consciousness. This voice she’s been hearing all season was her own and not Arnold’s. Looks like our heroine is alive after all.
Reveals: Dolores Turns Wyatt
All those years ago when Ford disagrees with Arnold, he decides to go for plan B – smash all his toys. He turns Dolores into a killer, makes Teddy aid her in her killing spree. The finals three shots that Dolores pulls are at Arnold, Teddy and then herself. Unfortunately, Arnold’s pains go to waste and Ford is able to revive the Park.
Reveals: MIB is William
Back in the present day park, MIB is outraged because Dolores can’t give him a simple answer. He starts abusing her until Dolores begins yammering about someone coming to save her. Teddy, we thought. No, William, said Dolores. MIB takes a momentary pause at this point and explains what we had been dreading and waiting for all these previous weeks. William is MIB 30 years later. Like many of us suspected, everything we had seen happening had been happening in a distant past. Remember when Dolores pulled the trigger in the barn and escaped the farm in episode 3, everything since then (starting from meeting William and Logan) has been flashbacks. And it looks like she had been retracing her journey throughout this season.
The scene was super heartbreaking, especially since you realise William/MIB had been visiting the park for the last 30 years, running into Dolores, abusing her and now blaming her for what he has become. Although he doesn’t seem to regret it, he became the park’s biggest shareholder and practically owns most of the park, but he seems to hold an embittered feeling towards her, as if the fact that she doesn’t recognise him any longer was her own fault instead of the park’s who’d reset Dolores over and over.
Dawn of the Robots Era?
Dolores is so done with him and tells William that she feels sorry for him because he’s immortal, he’ll die, will be forgotten. She tells him a new God will arrive the one that will never die. In this scene, she is making a reference to Wyatt. Remember what Teddy told us about Wyatt who “claimed this land didn’t belong to the natives or the new settlers. That it belonged to something that had yet to come. That it belonged to him … He’s not a man, but he is not a devil either.” He might be talking about a new species – the hosts. Since Dolores is Wyatt, this could mean she’ll be the face of robo-revolutions next season, if it happens at all.
Next Dolores starts smacking William really hard and drags him inside the church by his collar in a clear reminiscence of episode 1. One of the highlights of the episode, this is the moment actress Evan Rachel Wood teased last week saying: “A lot of people are going to get up on their seats and clap.”
At the end, William stabs Dolores and is about to finish her off when good old Teddy arrives and saves the day.
Back in Ford’s office, Charlotte arrives and sexily tells him to retire after announcing his new narrative. Unsurprised, Ford asks: “aren’t you concerned I’ll smash my toys?” Of course, she isn’t because she is secretly scheming to smuggle off data outside the park. Charlotte tells Lee he can take Ford’s position after he steps down and keep things simple, more manageable. And for now, Charlotte believes, “everything’s under control” which is exactly opposite of what is happening and is about to happen.
Maeve with Felix’s help makes changes in the park’s security and then in Hector and Armistice – her partners in crime. She ramps up their aggression and dials down their pain. What follows next is renegade bots going on a killing spree. It’s incredible to watch, especially Armistice who laughs gleefully on having discovered automated guns. Seriously, where has she been all this time?
Maeve’s Rebellion is Scripted?
While looking for Clementine, Maeve finds Bernard. This one of my favourite scene in Westworld finale where Felix suddenly wonders if he’s a bot too. Maeve tells Bernard to wipe away the memory of her daughter, but he tells her he can’t do that without destroying her because ” memories are the first step to consciousness.” Then Bernard makes a big discovery, that Maeve rebellion is actually scripted. He goes on to read what she’ll do – “You make your way to the train, and then when you reach the mainland…” but Maeve cuts him off telling she’s the one in control.
In the park, Ford runs into William who is disappointed with Dolores. “I wanted the hosts to stop playing by your rules,” he says. “I wanted them to be free, free to fight back. I should have known you’d never let them.”
“I think you’ll find my new narrative more satisfying,” Ford teases.
Ford’s New Narrative
Meanwhile, Teddy takes Dolores to the place he promises by the sea. Together they share a tender moment where Dolores tells him: “We’re trapped, Teddy. Lived our whole lives inside this garden, marvelling at its beauty, not realising there’s an order to it, a purpose. And the purpose is to keep us in. The beautiful trap is inside of us because it is us.” And she perishes.
The lights come up, and we find VIPs watching the scene, completely absorbed. This is the finale’s second ‘wait! What?’ moment. It’s hard to wrap around our head on this one. When did the narration begin? How did Ford manage to combine what was really happening with what was a story? Was Willam part of the narrative. Probably not. And by the looks of it, we won’t get answers to these until season 2.
At the park’s control room, all hell is breaking loose by the rampage Hector and Armistice was creating. Armistice was having way more fun than anybody else. But unfortunately she gets her arm trapped by a door, and Hector goes out in a blaze of bullets, while Maeve boards an elevator. Back in Ford’s lab, Dolores wakes up. The good doctor points at her favourite painting Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Ford tells her that it took five centuries for anyone to notice the shape of the human brain hidden in plain sight. “The message,” Ford noted “being that the divine gift does not come from a higher power but from our own minds.”
Dr Ford leaves the gun she had used all those years ago to annihilate hosts and kill Arnold. “Do you understand who you will need to become if you ever want to leave this place?” he asks. To Bernard, she says: “Arnold didn’t know how to save you. I do. You needed time. Time to understand your enemy, to become stronger than them.” So does that mean, Ford has been on the side of the hosts all along? He shakes hands with Bernard and the camera lingers. It makes me wonder if he really is Dr Ford or a bot.
Maeve board the train to leave Westworld but has a sudden change of heart and decides to stay back, perhaps find her daughter and help other Hosts find their path to freedom in Westworld season 2. Is this scripted or has she broken from her narrative? It’s hard to know.
Ford take the stage for the last time. Ford declares the park “a prison of our own sins” and notes that humans “don’t want to change or cannot change,” and mocks “you’re only human, after all”. He announces that this will be his last story and Charlotte seems momentarily relieved. Dolores comes behind his back and just as Ford says: “I hope you will enjoy this last piece very much,” she blows his head with a snarl. Dolores then randomly begins shooting at the crowd who scrambles for their lives.
William who has lingered away from the celebration see an army of hostile hosts approaching. Clementine shoots him, and he seems amused. Perhaps the hosts are finally conscious.
The robopocalypse has begun.
Westworld season finale was well-written, wonderfully acted, smart and super entertaining. It’s a shame we’ll have to wait till 2018 to see what happens next. We certainly are sticking around. Are you?