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All the Westworld theories you need to remember heading into the finale

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Timelines! Murders! More revelations!

John P. Johnson/HBO

It’s been 10 weeks of theorizing and anticipation since Westworld first became a part of our lives, but the end is in sight. To prepare for the end of the show’s first season, it’s important to remember everything that’s happened and the last theories we have left going in.

Jimmi Simpson, Westworld’s William and the center of one of the most talked about theories, told the CBC that “all the answers would be revealed on Sunday.” Based on photos released earlier this week from the finale, it certainly looks that way. Now that we know who Arnold is and confirmed there are multiple timelines, let’s run down the biggest theories to keep in the back of your mind as you watch the finale.

My advice: keep this open in a tab and refer to it if need be while the episode is going on.

William is the Man in Black

This remains the biggest theory that fans have been discussing practically since William was first introduced. In the past couple of episodes, we’ve gotten more evidence to support this theory. In the last episode, for example, when the Man in Black walks into the church to greet Dolores, she runs up and says William’s name. Some could argue that she merely thought it was William, who she had been traveling with but got separated from after being attacked by Logan, but there’s something about her encounter with the Man in Black that seems to hint otherwise.

Then there’s William’s ongoing character progression. When William first started his trek with Logan, he was the antithesis of his sadistic friend. He didn’t want to necessarily hurt anyone and — unlike Logan — he didn’t want to have sex with any host he saw. Instead, William remained sweet and fell in love with Dolores, eventually breaking away from Logan and starting an actual romance with the host.

In later episodes, however, William turns darker. He wipes out all of Logan’s army, becoming more violent and cruel. We know that the Man in Black doesn’t care for the sanctity of life. (We learned in the eighth episode that he was the one who killed Maeve and her daughter in a previous timeline to see if he was capable of committing the most vile acts.) If William got his taste of killing in a previous timeline and returned to the park year after year to try and find Dolores, the Maze and push his own boundaries, it makes sense that he would become the Man in Black.

There have been other, less substantial clues that people have thrown at the wall to see if they stick — like the idea that William’s white hat is literally becoming darker as the episodes go on — but the theory seems to be the one that most people believe will be confirmed this Sunday.

Dolores is Wyatt

One of the other big mysteries that has taken over Westworld lately is the question of who Wyatt really is. We know that Wyatt lead the massacre against a group of hosts in a town — which is also being heavily debated at this juncture — but there are a few signs to Wyatt being Dolores all along. There have actually been arguments made that Teddy’s narrative assigned to him by Ford is actually just a retelling of the events that transpired in a previous timeline — about 30 or so years ago — which lead to Dolores killing Arnold.

Let’s back it up a little first. The most obvious clues we have about Dolores being Wyatt have come up in the past couple of episodes. During one of her flashbacks, Dolores sees herself on a rampage in a “town covered in sand.” A place, coincidentally, that the Man in Black knows of, which also helps reiterate the theory that he’s actually William in a different timeline. We also know from Teddy that Wyatt heard the voice of God, and we know that Dolores was having conversations with Arnold, one of the founders of the park. In essence, a god-like figure to the hosts he created with his own hands. It’s also become adamantly clear that Teddy and Wyatt share a close relationship, and we know from all 10 episodes there’s no one Teddy cares about more than Dolores.

Westworld - Dolores in Sweetwater John P. Johnson/HBO

One of the last remaining roadblocks to this theory, however, is the gender predicament. We were actually shown a glimpse of what Wyatt supposedly looked like, played by Sorin Brouwers, and that seems to imply that the character would be male. Still, it wouldn’t be unusual for showrunner Jonathan Nolan to use a different actor entirely to throw people off the scent of the big twist — he did it in Memento, for example. In the photos released by HBO this week from the upcoming finale, Dolores and Teddy are staring at each other in the town and things seem pretty intense. It seems almost painstakingly clear that Dolores is Wyatt, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday.

What is the Maze?

We still don’t know where, what or if the Maze is a real place, but if it is, we certainly don’t know what’s at the center of it. There are theories, of course, with some suggesting that the Maze is actually a metaphor for the “awakening” of hosts. I’m less inclined to believe that theory, but this is one of the questions that puzzles me the most.

It’s also, as I have said previously, one of the biggest questions the show has to answer in its finale. We know that both Dolores and the Man in Black are on the hunt for it, and we know it’s in the city that they ended up in at the end of the ninth episode. We know that’s how Dolores got to Arnold and, while that seemed to imply that the Maze was Delos, based on previews for next week and photos, it looks like it’s something else entirely.

In the photos for next week, there’s a scene where the Man in Black and Dolores are walking through the cemetery together, an ominous cross sitting on top of a grave bearing Dolores’ name. We know that the Maze isn’t meant for humans, as both Lawrence’s daughter and Angela have told the Man in Black, so it seems like it’s still somewhere where hosts become fully aware of their existence and what they’ve been built for.

Remaining questions

There are a few other questions that the finale needs to wrap up, but they’re less theories than they are loose ends. For example, what happened to Elsie and Stubbs? Both were attacked, but their bodies were never shown, so it seems unlikely that they’ve been killed off. When Theresa was killed, we were shown the actual murder and a bodybag in the following episode. Nolan and co-showrunner Lisa Joy went out of their way to prove that Theresa was actually dead. We haven’t seen that happen with Elsie or Stubbs so that seems to point to the idea that they’re still alive.

Also, what’s on the outside world? We know that one exists and we’ve seen pictures of people in what appears to be a very modern world — remember the photo of William’s fiancee that Logan pulls out of his jacket? — but we’ve never actually seen anything outside of Delos and Westworld. It’s about time we get some kind of idea of what that looks like, and it seems like the perfect opportunity to wrap up loose ends with Maeve’s storyline. Does she make it outside? Does she get to see anything beyond Westworld?

All of these questions and theories should be answered on Sunday. The cast members and showrunners have all said as much, but don’t expect it to end on a perfectly clean note. Between this finale and the second season, which is set to debut in 2018, there are almost two years of space that HBO will have to do something with to keep viewers interested. The easiest way to do that is to introduce some kind of cliffhanger that fans can pore over, and I think we’re going to see something like that happen in this finale. In my opinion, it will either be the William and Man in Black reveal or it will be the identity of Wyatt.

Westworld’s finale airs on Sunday Dec. 4 a 9 p.m. ET. It will run for 90 minutes instead of the usual 60.