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Westworld finale: What came true, what we got wrong and what wasn’t answered

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There are a couple of questions we still have

John P. Johnson/HBO

Westworld’s season finale did a reasonable job of wrapping up loose ends and addressing different theories, but there are still a couple of questions that went unanswered.

[The following contains spoilers for the entire first season of Westworld, including the season finale.]

For the most part, all the major theories were confirmed. William is the Man in Black. Dolores is Wyatt. Maeve kickstarts the violent host revolution. Combined with theories confirmed from previous episodes — Bernard is Arnold; there are multiple timelines, etc. — it’s hard to find fault in the ability of showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy to bring an arc to completion.

Still, there are a couple of areas left gray and a few questions remain even after an intense 90-minute finale and 10 episodes in the first season.

What came true

Theories are the backbone of Westworld’s popularity. By the fifth episode, it seemed like there were too many questions being introduced each week and the show wasn’t going to be able to answer them all. The fear of what transpired with Lost became a popular conversation online.

In the end, most fan theories came true.

Bernard is a host

This idea popped up early in the season, but only in the eighth episode did we learn Bernard was a host. He was created by Dr. Ford and, like the new Maeve, possessed a considerable amount of intelligence compared to the other hosts roaming Westworld. We learned that Bernard’s memories of his son Charlie were programmed by Ford to give him a back story. Though Bernard had control over the different hosts that he helped create, Ford had the ultimate control over him. Another theory sparked around the same time and came true in the ninth episode.

Westworld episode 9 John P. Johnson/HBO

Bernard is Arnold

There is some dispute among the community over how to refer to Bernard, but he is a version of Arnold. Technically, he was built in Arnold’s image, but he is Arnold to the hosts he commands and talks to. While the ninth episode confirmed what we had known all along, Sunday night’s finale expanded on it.

The original Arnold had a son named Charlie, and the reason Ford kept that part of his back story around when he created Bernard was because there was a sense of intuition and creativity that Arnold had when it came to his son. Ford wanted to make sure that part of Arnold was kept alive when he built Bernard.

Charlie’s death left Arnold depressed and unable to move on. After teaching Dolores how to think for herself, he planned a reunion with his son, effectively arranging his suicide. To understand more, we have to move to another theory confirmed Sunday evening.

Dolores is Wyatt

Yes, Dolores is Wyatt. Well, kind of. When Arnold realized Dolores could think for herself and had truly become alive, he realized they couldn’t open the park. Arnold told Ford this, and ultimately, Ford disagreed. In the final episode, Dolores sees a younger Ford, perhaps in his 30s, running through the empty halls of Delos’ engineering bay, calling out Arnold’s name. The two were fighting about whether or not to open the park. When Arnold realized Ford had no intention of shutting down the park, enslaving the hosts to this life of never-ending insanity, he developed a radical solution.

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He merged Dolores’ host identification with Wyatt’s, creating a new character that he and Ford had been working on for a narrative. Unlike Dolores, who had a sense of moral justice and ethical decency, Wyatt was a cold-blooded killer who could murder anyone — host or human. Arnold told Dolores that, as Wyatt, she had to kill all the hosts and visitors to prevent the park from opening. She couldn’t do it alone, however, so he also wrangled in Teddy.

“Teddy would do anything for you,” Arnold said to Dolores at one point.

After the two killed everyone in town, Arnold explains that the program he and Ford designed wouldn’t let him leave alive. He knew that, and after playing Charlie’s favorite song on a phonograph, he allowed Dolores to shoot him in the head, before she took her own life.

It’s ironic that the person the Man in Black was looking for, and the secret he was trying to learn led him to Dolores, the woman he fell in love with years ago as William. That leads us to our next theory.

Different timelines

This was one of the show’s most popular theories, and one of the first to be answered. In the eighth episode, after Dolores realizes she’s been suffering from multiple flashbacks and memories, she asks William when they exist. It was the confirmation fans needed.

The season finale didn’t do anything more to address the timeline, but it did wrap it up with lengthy explanations of how William became the Man in Black, the events that transpired with Wyatt, and how Arnold came to be.

Maeve would lead the host uprising

Maeve went from being the madame at a brothel to discovering that she wasn’t human, to manipulating two engineers into helping her escape from Westworld. Of all the characters, Maeve proved the most successful at achieving her goals, maybe tied with Ford.

Westworld episode 8 John P. Johnson/HBO

In the finale, not only did Maeve board a train headed out of Westworld to begin her life anew as an awakened being, but also she kickstarted the host revolution she wanted. Taking control of Hector and Armistice, she set their aggression levels to the maximum, and removed their empathy. The result: Two murderous, vicious hosts who proved capable of deranged attacks on humans in a horrific scene involving two unsuspecting engineers.

Eventually, the Delos security team picks up on what’s happening and sends its armed guards to handle it. Hector and Armisstic prove to be a touch match for the entire army. If you stuck around for the post-credits scene (like a Marvel movie!), you would have also seen that, unlike Hector who we’re led to believe is dead, Armistice is very much alive.

What we got wrong

I use the word “we” here to absolve myself of some of the responsibility, but this section is very much what I got wrong. For example, while many of my co-workers argued that the Maze wasn’t an actual place, I refused to budge on my stance that it was a physical place.

Well ...

The Maze isn’t an actual place

Nope. The Maze is definitely not an actual place. The Maze, as Arnold explains to Dolores, is a test of consciousness. Based on a toy that belonged to Charlie, Arnold realized he couldn’t treat consciousness like a pyramid. It wasn’t something that could be scaled up; it had to be found inside of the host themselves.

“Consciousness isn't a journey upward, but a journey inward,” Arnold explains. “Not a pyramid, but a maze. Every choice could bring you closer to the center or send you spiraling to the edges like madness.”

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Ed Harris as the Man in Black in Westworld. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO
Westworld's Maze theory


This means that when Dolores learned she was in control of her thoughts and was her own person, she had reached the center of the Maze. This is why everyone from Lawrence’s daughter to Angela to Dolores kept telling the Man in Black that the Maze wasn’t meant for him.

At one point, Arnold asks Dolores whose voice she’s hearing in her head. To this point, we had assumed it was Arnold’s. Dolores identified the voice as Arnold, eventually Arnold identified the voice as his own, but in the end, it wasn’t his.

“Do you understand what the center represents?” Arnold asks. “Whose voice I've been wanting you to hear?”

At first she doesn’t, but by the end of the episode she realizes she’s been hearing her own voice from the beginning. She’s been guiding herself to his moment and that’s when she realizes what she must do, essentially transforming into Wyatt.

We would see the outside world

I kind of got this right, but not in the way I intended. In tonight’s episode, we saw beyond the areas of Delos that we’ve seen all season, but we didn’t get the view of the outside world that I wanted. The closest we got was seeing Maeve get on the train which leads to the outside world, but we still don’t know how Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have imagined that to look like. Is it circa 2016? Is it circa 1984? Or is it set in 4087?

I just want to see a car. Or maybe even a flying car.

Unanswered Questions

What happened to Elsie and Stubbs?

Seriously, we still don’t know what happened to Elsie. And remember, in the last episode when Stubbs was attacked by the Natives who live on the outskirts of Westworld? What happened to him? Normally, I would assume they’re dead, and that might very well be the case here. But Westworld isn’t afraid of showing death.

HBO

In fact, in the past two episodes, Westworld made it very clear which characters are alive and which are dead. Theresa died brutally, Bernard died visibly, and two engineers died in a gory scene. Westworld confirms its kills with visuals of the dead bodies, and we still haven’t gotten that with Elise and Stubbs.

I thought Sunday’s episode would resolve that question, but it looks like we may have to wait until 2018 to learn the truth — unless Nolan and Joy spill the beans in an interview before then.

What happened to Logan?

In the season finale, we last saw Logan sitting buck naked on a horse and being sent off into the wild plains of Westworld. He was left without food, water or shelter by his former best friend William, but we still don’t know if he made it out alive. Again, are we to assume Logan was left for dead by William, or like Elise and Stubbs, must we wait to see what happens?

The other interesting aspect of Logan’s character is that he’s a close friend of William’s outside the theme park. The two characters have common friends and acquaintances — William was engaged to Logan’s sister and the two were in business together. It seems unlikely Logan would be left for dead and William would have to explain everything. Plus, wouldn’t the family ask Delos’ security to find him? My bet is we haven’t seen the last of Logan yet.

Where is Maeve’s daughter exactly?

One of the finale’s biggest twists was the revelation that Maeve’s daughter is still alive. Felix gives Maeve a piece of paper telling her exactly where her daughter is. At first she doesn’t want to find her, but she has a change of heart when another mother and daughter sit down across from her on the train. So, where is Maeve’s daughter? We know she’s in “Park 1,” but where exactly is that?

This seems like a pretty important question and one that will most likely be addressed in the second season. Maeve’s past remains one of the most interesting plot lines on the show and I hope it’s something they explore further next season.

Well, that’s it folks. After 10 week, the first season of Westworld is over. The second season premieres in 2018, but if HBO does one thing particularly well, it’s keeping interest up while a series is off the air. Expect to hear more about Westworld developments next year.