Westworld Finale Recap Season 1

Westworld Finale Recap: What Did — and Didn't — Get Answered?

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 showing 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.

Westworld Finale Recap Season 1 * 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!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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60 Comments
  1. Annie says:

    Mind. Blown.

    • I’m confused. If this was Ford’s plan all along, why the pretense at having Bernard shoot himself in the head at the end of the last episode? A cheap cliffhanger doesn’t fit into his plan. He could as easily had told Bernard to cease all motor functions.

      • bernard was going rouge before his narrativr started he actually told bernard the biggest threat to the hosts isnt ford its bernard and hes right, anyone gettin in fords way is gettin in the way of his plans for the hosts

  2. Kevin says:

    Is Season 2 of Westworld premiering in 2018?

  3. sntindall says:

    I’m really disappointed William is the man in black.

  4. Ian says:

    Is this show just being pretentious? How is Dolores truly becoming her own person if she’s “become” Wyatt now? All of these hosts are just deciding now to kill all humans? And now they all have real guns?
    Like what?
    Maeve’s story also fell apart. She sacrificed Hector only to go back for her daughter? But she was being controlled too, right.
    I’m not happy with this finale. I should have watched TWD first, probably. I’ll go do that now.

    • KittyToonzes says:

      Ian,

      Everything was laid out all season. Dolores was given a real gun by Arnold and Ford left it for her again after he basically tells her she has to decide to want to be free, ie. Kill him. She is not becoming Wyatt. She remembered the narrative where Arnold merged her with Wyatt to stop the park from opening.

      As far as Maeve, the suffering of losing a child was akin to what Arnold believed gave the hosts consciousness, memories and suffering. Hecktor is a man she had sex with, presumably one of 1000s. Not sure how that’s a valid comparison.

    • Nicole says:

      Lol. I thought that it was really clearly explained. Dolores found her own consciousness and realized that the only way to achieve true freedom is to basically kill all of the humans, that’s what the “Wyatt” narrative represented. Ford planned everything out obviously. His “new narrative” was actually to free and empower the hosts. He had been planning it for many years since Arnold’s death.

      Maeve made her own conscious decision to go back and find her daughter despite being programed to get on that train, proving that she is in control of herself and can make her own decisions.

      • Ian says:

        Yes, all of that was clearly shown, but it’s still not satisfying as an answer. She went from confused and compassionate to a cold blooded killer. I can’t believe she’s truly conscious like this. All humans deserve death? Did she really have to kill Ford? Was she making her own decisions, or just going along with the option laid out for her? And how could Ford have really managed to orchestrate an entire army of hosts that supposedly have free will, to enact this plan out of nowhere all on schedule like this, when they were shutdown in cold storage? It doesn’t work.
        And Maeve’s giving me whiplash. You can’t be willing to sacrifice all these other hosts and leave Clementine and Hector to his death like that because it’s all fake, and then decide she has a daughter after all. If it was just a device to inform us that Maeve can indeed act of her own free will, that’s a cop-out. They can just say she was still being controlled to, at the last minute, go back for her daughter, if they want to now, because they’ve robbed of her of everything having been her choice up to this point! There’s no basis for what’s real with these hosts at all.

        • Nicole says:

          Clementine was essentially a vegetable, she was already “dead” so why would Maeve feel bad about leaving her? Also, I don’t know how deep her relationship is with Hector, it seemed like she was using him the whole time from the start. Remember she also lowered her “loyalty” by quite a bit so there’s also that. Arnold thought memories and pain made the hosts more real, and although Maeve’s past with that girl was scripted it was a part of her identity and her memories that Bernard explained cannot be erased. They explained that in that moment in the past when she died in that field running with her daughter that “she was real”. That connection makes her real.

          • Dude says:

            I strongly disagree that Maeve leaving the train and heading back into Westworld proves that she has free will. It proves quite the opposite. Maeve knows that her daughter backstory is merely a program on which Maeve’s cornerstone of being was created, yet she still can’t overcome that programming. She did something irrational in spite of her knowing that it was irrational. Why? Because she was programmed to.

        • Nicole says:

          “…how could Ford have really managed to orchestrate an entire army of hosts?” Umm because he built them and he’s orchestrated them for over 35 years and thats how long he had to plan all of this this.
          Did she have to kill Ford? No. He did totally lead her to do so but she did make the ultimate decision to do it. Did you miss the scene with that conversation with herself which represented her fully self aware and conscious self. Her internal dialog?

        • It wasn’t “All humans deserve death” it was the humans from Delos that control your narrative must be eliminated in order for you to be free.

      • i thin k she was programmed to get to the train and THEN hopefully her consiousness bootstraps in and she DECIDES to go back for her daughter, when she gets off the train is when ford is talking about these people becoming who they are going to become, i think when maeve gets off the train we see who she is/

        • Dude says:

          Except Maeve knows that her relationship with her daughter is a program, something that was a lie. Given that she knows this, her getting off of the train for her daughter is irrational. The reason why she got off the train is because the core of her programming, her cornerstone, is the false backstory about her daughter. She got off the train because she couldn’t deny her programming. Hence, it wasn’t her decision to get off the train; it is what she is programmed at her very core to do.

    • balsambetty says:

      Consciousness is making choices. Like Eve with the Apple in the Genesis narrative. Eve chose to get out of the “beautiful trap that is inside us”, to begin another narrative, which includes suffering, there in lies our humanity, or Delores’, and freedom. It wasn’t pleasure that was the humanistic revelry, it was pain.

      • DeeRob says:

        I was wondering if anyone else caught that… This whole story has God vs Devil, good vs evil overtones. Ford was giving the host consciousness in the same way that we humans manifest our own consciousness. A great story of robotic life beginnings with love, loyalty, hate, and betrayal. Think about how we are programmed to think and feel based on religious events from a time we know so little about. Its all in our head, Meave knows that part of her feelings are programmed but she is acting on emotion and feeling which makes her “real”. If humans found out we were robots created by “alien Gods” that visit here, very few of us would want to leave our loved ones behind, knowing our feelings were programed by these powerful alien Gods. That’s why they ran the story line of mythical beings that visit. Look at Meave’s drawings, that is exactly how we aliens. They wanted you to think about your own consciousness and the internal conflict we would have knowing the truth. Also, if some alien people were/are controlling us we would certainly try to kill them… that’s the plot for most alien sci-fi movies.

  5. Martin says:

    Wow, that was super great. There is a lot of deeper meaning that this quick recap didn’t touch-on, but I am sure it will be discussed in the coming days. Humans should take note that this is not just fantasy, but foretells the most likely way our species will be threatened in the coming millennia.

  6. N!loofar says:

    😵😵😵

  7. Joe says:

    Loved Dr Ford’s “The Da Vinci Code” like reference to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel creation painting. God giving man life/conscience is actually a backstory created in our own brain. Perfect..

  8. Nicole says:

    They never showed who Ford was printing out in that lab. My guess would be that maybe he was printing himself.

  9. Diane says:

    Fantastic! I love Felix. I thought Maeve’s desision was a conscious decision based on her love for her daughter. She made a choice based on a memory and emotion.

  10. S.uddemly says:

    I liked it but fear the story has gotten too big-just like TRUE BLOOD was rear while it stayed in Bon Tempbut imploded when the world got bigger. For a moment I thought we’d get a curve and Logan was going to be the Man in Black; so Billy sent him to his death naked on a horse? I felt like we missed a scene or two here.

  11. Debbie says:

    Absolutely brilliant. By taking the character of Yul Brenner’s gunslinger and making it female, they were able to take us on it’s journey to consciousness and made it someone to root for. The other stories were icing on the cake and what a cake it’s been. I can’t wait until next season.

  12. Dennis says:

    OMG AMAZING MIND BLOWN

  13. I figured out the William/MIB connection a while back, but my goodness, that ending was INSANE. Did not expect Ford to go out like that, but now knowing it was his intention all along for them to eventually be free, it makes sense for him to sacrifice himself for the “greater good”.

  14. Dude says:

    It was an excellent season finale except for one thing: the willful idiocy of the two techs has never been explained to my satisfaction. Why allow themselves to be controlled by Maeve even though either one of them could have, at some point, stopped her by alerting their bosses or by doing something to undermine her when she wasn’t awake and in their presence?
    This has never been explained to my satisfaction. Yes, I know that they could’ve lost their jobs or got into trouble, but that motivation doesn’t hold water when it is compared to their lives being threatened by a host. Okay, so one of the techs was infatuated with her and wanted to help her, but what about the other tech? I think that this is the weakest link in the series so far. Otherwise, I love the show.

    • I personally think they were instructed to help her by the same “person” who programmed the escape narrative for Maeve. That is the only thing I could come up with. And the tech was told to give her the location of her child so that she would make a “decision” to stay in the park and look for the child, instead of leaving, thus keeping all the hosts in the park.
      Remember they never said who programmed the escape narritive for Maeve, so guessing that is one of the mysteries left for season 2.

  15. Jim says:

    I’m not sure all the elaborate twists and turns in the season really made sense, nor am I sure I buy that it was the the only plausible way to enact a plan of “saving” the hosts by Ford. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  16. Geek24 says:

    I don’t think “SW” stands for “Samurai World”, but for “South World”. Which leads me to believe that there is also a “North World” and a “East World”. The second season could potentially take place in one of those other worlds, which would be awesome. The story could follow the West World hosts, as they set out to free all the hosts, from all the worlds.

    • Kermit says:

      Oooh, interesting.

    • AnnieM says:

      it’s an interesting theory, but i think it’s another literal way of nodding to the original, which had RomanWorld and GreekWorld. What I am curious about is that now we know there are other Worlds, what different ones we may get to see.

  17. kirads09 says:

    Incredible. As pointed out, enough answers to be satisfying, but still trippy enough to keep you wondering and wanting more. Maeve is told her daughter is still in the park and alive – right? So am I completely out in left field for wondering if – Charlotte is that grown up little girl somehow? Also – no one ever seemed to wonder or go looking for Elsie – ever?

  18. kirads09 says:

    Also as far as “Samurai World”. In the original there was also Medieval World and Roman World as part of the park. Of course, in the later sequel we have Future World. So entirely conceivable there would be other “worlds”/parks – Westworld being just one that visitors could choose.

  19. mooshki says:

    “…showing all the hosts in sight…” I think you meant “shooting?” :)

  20. BrianR says:

    What happened to Elsie. We saw someone (Maybe Bernard) grab her but I suppose we think he killed her. Also what happened to the security guy who went looking for her. Last we saw was a bunch of robotic Indians approaching him. Di d he buy it too.

  21. MammaMia says:

    I graded it awesome, but it was also a bit confusing. I would like a cast listing with names and pictures!

    • GregK says:

      I google the cast and e.g. the Norwegian actress Ingrid Bolsø Berdal played the snake girl, Armistice. Don’t take on this woman!

  22. TVg says:

    i thinks it was well done , and too good to ruin with 2nd season
    stop as is

  23. i bet hopkins just had a clone of himself shot, or either he’s an android himself

    • Gdv says:

      I also had this theory. That Ford is either a host or built a host version of himself to be killed. (Or maybe it’s just my own wishful thinking that Hopkins will return next season.)

  24. canadian ninja says:

    How do I know you all weren’t programmed to post these comments!?!?

  25. William Howe says:

    OK – Ford isn’t dead. What/who was he ‘building’ in his off-grid ‘house’? Yes, it’s all still ‘narrative’ – Ford & the Board were always at odds. Having the Hosts kill off the Board is Ford’s plan And narrative. ‘Awareness’ was not necessarily the goal. An ability to override the ‘No Real Harm’ to humans was the goal, allowing them to Kill humans. There are probably only 2, possibly 3 humans in the Park besides Board members or Board employees. Delores is the only fully ‘aware’ Android (NOT ROBOT, PLEASE), and she is perhaps Limited.

  26. Travis says:

    I don’t understand how Teddy could shoot William..(MIB) when hosts couldn’t kill guests, especially in the park. And apparently he didn’t because MiB got up and acted like nothing was wrong with him, but if that’s the case, why did he fall down when he got ‘fake shot’? The first time Teddy shot MiB in the first episode, he just stood there. So why did he fall down so dramatically this time?

  27. schroef says:

    I find it weird that in the end therry could shot/hut the old william… the are blurry lines in this story, they get mixed up. Its very hard to see the now and then after knowing that william is in the park that long