Warning: This recap contains major spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Westworld. Proceed with caution.
So… did the violent delights have violent ends, or what?
Westworld‘s 90-minute Season 1 finale had quite the mission: Answer enough questions posed by the previous nine episodes to satisfy loyal viewers, yet leave enough of a mystery to make those same fans want to buy another season pass to the park.
If you didn’t watch the season’s sci-fi swan song, “The Bicameral Mind,” here’s the major takeaway: Ford’s final narrative harnessed the power of all of the hosts who’d become self-aware and turned it against those who sought to shut him down.
Oh, and he did so by having a self-aware Dolores shoot him in the head while he was addressing the DELOS board.
Also of note:
* The Man in Black finally and officially outed himself to Dolores as William, who found his true nature in the park and became a black hat/mass robot murderer in his search for her. In flashbacks, we watched him (as a younger man) encounter her again in Sweetwater, and she (of course) had no idea who he was.
* Dolores found the center of the maze, and it was… a maze. A tiny one, buried in the ground underneath a grave marked “Dolores Abernathy” outside the church in Escalante. As far as I can tell, the maze was a test for the hosts who were becoming self-aware. Once Dolores found it back in the day, that was a signal to Arnold that she was alive — and that the park couldn’t, in good conscience, open.
* But when Ford promptly overrode his partner, Arnold had another idea: He instructed Dolores to kill all the other hosts, making opening the park impossible. He suggested that she enlist Teddy to help her, which she did. All those scenes of the two of them walking through town and shooting all the hosts in sight? Yeah, that happened. To put it in terms Buffy fans will understand: Dolores is Wyatt. Wyatt is Dolores.
* After a kickass fight between Dolores and MIB at the empty church, he stabbed her in the abdomen. Teddy came to her rescue, and at her request, carried her off to “where the mountains meet the sea,” where she died on the beach in his embrace… and as it turned out, that was the start of Ford’s new narrative.
* In another time-trippy segment, Dolores realized that the voice she’d been hearing in her head all this time was her own. In that same segment, thanks to Ford’s prodding and Dolores’ memories, we watched her kill Arnold in Escalante — at his bidding — because he realized that the park would still open unless there were real stakes at play (aka one human death as opposed to scores of robot ones). So he dragged a chair out into the middle of the Escalante town square, put on Charlie’s favorite song, and kissed Dolores’ hand before asking her to shoot him in the head. “These violent delights have violent ends,” he said, then she did as he asked. Then she shot Teddy and herself.
* As Dolores shot Ford and the DELOS board members who had gathered for the narrative celebration freaked and ran, all of the lobotomized hosts crept out of the woods and started firing weapons. Original Flavor Clementine even grazed the arm of William/MIB, who looked delighted that the hosts could finally hurt humans.
* Meanwhile, Maeve was so badly burned in the fire she started in the previous episode that she was rebuilt. And thanks to Sylvester, that explosive vertebra that would’ve kept her within the park was swapped out with a benign one. Hector and Armistice were remade, as well; while they were getting the finishing touches (which, sadly for Hector, meant getting sexually violated by a park employee), they both woke up and laid waste to the techs working on them. They joined up with Maeve and Felix; along the way, Felix brought Bernard back online. And Bernard had some bad news for Maeve: Someone had programmed her to escape, though she refused to believe that her exit was anything but an example of her freewill.
* About that escape: It got really violent. Many security guards were gunned down. Armistice got her arm stuck in a door and was seemingly left to her death. (Though did you watch all the way through the credits…?) Hector made it to the elevator before Maever revealed that she never planned to take him with her. He didn’t seem to mind. “Kick up a row, will you?” she asks, kissing him and leaving him to battle the armed men pursuing them.
* And Maeve, dressed as regular old park goer, even makes it onto the train out of Westworld. But she can’t stop thinking about her daughter in the park — it doesn’t help that Felix gave her the girl’s exact whereabouts — so she dashes off the train right before it takes off, presumably to head right back into the belly of the robotic beast.
* So was it Ford’s design this whole time to have the hosts take over? Depends on how you read a few pieces of dialogue. First, there’s Ford’s comment to Bernard: “Arnold didn’t know how to save you. I do… You needed time. Time to understand your enemy, become stronger.” Then, there’s what Ford tells the DELOS board about his new story: “It begins with the birth of a new people, and the choices they’ll have to make and the people they will decide to become.” Finally, there’s what Dolores says to Teddy just before she offs Ford and then begins firing into the crowd: “I understand now. This world doesn’t belong to them: It belongs to us.”
* Also: There’s a Samurai World?!
* No answers on those flies, though.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a post-mortem discussion with series co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. In the meantime, grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments and let us know what you though of the finale!