Mystified by Westworld? You’re not alone. The HBO sci-fi brainteaser finally doled out answers to its biggest mysteries in Sunday’s season finale — but, of course, it raised plenty more about what’s to come. Here’s what we’ll be pondering until season two.
“The Bicameral Mind” showed us the end of the world, or possibly the beginning, depending on how one sees it. Dr. Ford is dead, the Man in Black (a.k.a. William) is severely wounded, Maeve hasn’t quite left the building, and Dolores finally found herself. What this portends for the show’s return is anyone’s guess, but if you want to make a Westworld prediction of your own, give it a shot in the comments.
So, who’s still alive?
Not in the metaphysical sense, mind you, but in terms of characters who were born outside of a mechanical-engineering lab. William has a broken arm (which he handled like a champ, by the way) and sustained at least one bullet to the other, but he’s still standing when the finale — like Dr. Ford’s new narrative — takes its long journey into night. We never did see Bernard snap Elsie’s neck, nor do we know if any of Dolores’s bullets hit the duplicitous Charlotte Hale. However, Dr. Ford is very dead, orchestrating his assassination as an end to the loop started 35 years earlier by Arnold. (It’s worth noting that he set off a new, hellish wheel of suffering and reckoning in the process, as opposed to Arnold’s more humane motivation.) Theresa? Still dead. Logan? Presumably alive — the park wouldn’t just let a guy die out there, right? — but he likely scurried back to daddy with tail between his legs. And let’s not forget Ashley Stubbs, Westworld’s head of security, even if the finale all but chose to.
Is Maeve trapped in a new narrative?
A cynical viewer would argue that Maeve was programmed to nearly escape — after causing sufficient chaos and distraction — only to return to the park and its endless torment of suffering. After all, that’s essentially what Bernard tells her when she forces Felix to raise him from the dead. But in an episode that, to invoke Lee’s assessment of Dr. Ford’s little sideshow before his fateful speech, was rather morbid, it’s empowering to believe that Maeve stepped off that tram of her own free will. Either way, it looks like Felix better saddle up for another adventure with his new BFF.
You didn’t really think Anthony Hopkins would stick around for multiple seasons, did you?
His role had one-and-done written all over it. Unless that youthful Dr. Ford appears in more flashbacks, and/or HBO pays Hopkins a whole lot of money to reprise the role. The dude’s 78 years old! He doesn’t need to spend countless more months on some grueling shoot. Hopkins — out.
What’s the story with the hidden brain in Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam?
Ask the guy who figured it out.
Are the samurai hosts important? Or was that just an Easter egg for Futureworld?
Fans of the original Westworld flick were treated to a glimpse of Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger earlier this season, so it’s nice to see that those who swear by its sequel, Futureworld, weren’t left out in the cold. (Not that it’s been underrepresented in Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s vision.) Felix waves away Maeve’s questions about the shogun soldiers, but if they wind up waging war in season two, let’s hope they look a lot more impressive than Futureworld’s crude lampooning of martial arts.
If Maeve’s daughter belongs to “Park 1,” does that mean Westworld is part of a franchise? If so, is there an Eastworld?
Why did it take so long for security to spot Armistice’s carnage?
Let’s chalk it up to Dr. Ford’s manipulation and leave it at that. Or maybe one of Maeve’s nifty tricks. She really knows her way around the place, huh?
Was Logan the good guy all along?
Here’s the sad thing about William: He couldn’t find the center of the maze because, apparently, he didn’t have a conscience guiding him. But was he always that way? Or was Logan right: Is the William who emerged in Westworld more “real” than the guy he was before he stepped into the park? And if that’s the case, does that make Logan more admirable in retrospect? Nah, he was probably just a dick.
When does Logan’s dad die?
After seeing Dolores wooed by some unworthy guest, William heads back to Delos, determined to run the company so he can buy a dominant share in Dr. Ford’s dream. But how long did he actually have to wait to assume control? Once he ran the place, did he immediately buy majority ownership in Westworld? How well did the investment pay off before he finally faced down Dolores at what he assumed to be the Maze’s end? The details may seem inconsequential, but William’s backstory helps underscore how long and deeply he has spun out of control.
What’s next for Lee Sizemore?
Before the great Wyatt massacre, Westworld’s narrative director was primed by Charlotte to take Dr. Ford’s place in a far more ineffectual, token capacity. He would’ve been an ideal puppet, with an ego far more penetrable than Ford’s and an intellect much more pliable to do Delos’s bidding. Now he’s just a dude standing in front of an empty storage space, caught up in a madman’s experiment to steer the very ways in which we think about life, death, and consciousness — except no one is behind the wheel.
Why did Hector take Maeve’s betrayal so well?
Yes, Maeve almost definitely programmed him to be a good soldier. But what if whoever programmed Maeve to almost escape also programmed her to program him? Oy, I’ve got a headache now.
Are the flies psychotic too?
Nice little cameo from our winged insect friend, back from the dead like the baby bird hidden in Felix’s locker. That is, assuming it’s the same bug-eyed buzzer Dolores swatted in the pilot episode, like some weird pre-echo of danger while Dolores and other hosts had a post-improvisational awakening. Sure, it’s probably a different fly, but it’s still a nice bit of reverie.
Dustin the Necro-Perv had a thing for Hector?
Guess so. R.I.P., buddy.
Who else played Pigs in Clover as a kid?
You likely know it in some form or another. Plus, it’s an ingenious reveal of the Maze’s playful origins.
Does anyone really want to have control?
The ultimate control is self-possession, but even that’s less empowering than it seems. Dolores will keep contending with this question for what might be eternity — as Arnold so eloquently explains, consciousness is a journey inward through confrontation. It must not be avoided, but it can be so taxing and so toxic as you get closer to a dialogue between your past and present selves that you’re bound to hit a nerve. Or in the hosts’ case, demonstrate a glitch that prompts a Westworld technician to roll you back. Our endless attempts to pick ourselves up and stare down our traumas so we can “take it to the next level,” in William-esque parlance, is a lunacy that demands extraordinary strength and resilience. So why even bother, then? Why not stay in our loops, codified and conditioned? As the pressure cooker of “Bicameral Mind” vividly illustrates, it’s just human nature.