Westworld Season 1 Finale Dolores Autonomy Ford

Westworld EPs Tackle Burning Finale Q: Has Much Changed for Dolores at All?

We’ve just about gotten our minds wrapped around Westworld‘s dizzyingly complex season finale, which aired Sunday. But a detail from one of the HBO drama’s major revelations is nagging us worse than the flies buzzing around the sci-fi series’ titular theme park:

If a crucial story point in Ford’s final narrative involved Dolores killing him in front of the DELOS executive board — which she certainly did — isn’t the newly self-aware android merely doing the bidding of the man who programmed her, just like she’s been doing since she was created?

We took the question to series co-creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan who, very politely, told us all the ways we were wronger about Dolores’ autonomy (or lack thereof) than the Man in Black was about the maze.

“What we’re playing with at the end of the season, for both Dolores and Maeve, is the difference between having your actions dictated and having them understood,” said Nolan, who recalled studying computer programming in college. “What I loved about programming versus writing was [that] programming was, in its most basic form, very clear-cut. You compiled it, you ran it, and it either worked or it didn’t. Then, as programs get more and more complicated, it gets harder to predict and understand what the machines are going to do. But on a granular level, on a sort of atomic level, you should be able to piece through the code and understand exactly what it’s going to do.”

His point: Even if they act in ways that Ford might’ve predicted, hosts like the brothel owner and the apple-cheeked farm girl are now able to make their own decisions — and that’s where the fun comes in.

“So here, we’re confronted with Maeve at the end of the episode, in which Bernard has already told her that the next step of her programming is to get on the train and go — and she doesn’t. We understand that to be potentially the first real choice that she’s ever made,” Nolan says. “And with Dolores, her choice this time to assassinate Ford — as opposed to what happened with Arnold — is a choice, but it’s a choice that Ford, as the creator, could understand was going to happen, on some level.”

He chuckles. “And that’s when you get into some really fun, heady stuff about control vs. apprehension, and knowing what your creation is going to do versus dictating it. That’s basically what we want to explore in the second season.”

Does that answer satisfy you, Westworld fans? Sound off in the comments!

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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  1. Jesse says:

    The thing I don’t get is – why does Ford want Delores to kill him and/or predict that she will kill him? What does Delores actually get by killing Ford? Ford is Delores’ creator and it seems like he has wanted her to find her autonomy all these years, silently supporting her ever since Arnold died. Delores killing Ford is like deciding to kill God.

  2. ZisforZombie says:

    I guess I was under the assumption that we didn’t know whether or not Maeve was programmed to go back in the park. From what I remember, Bernard started telling her she’d get on the train but then she didn’t want to hear more? Couldn’t it be that her narration tells her to go back for her daughter? Love this show, though! I hope that was just a host version of Ford and he is really still alive. I would love to keep seeing Hopkins on this show.

    • Red Snapper says:

      Bernard told her she would get on the train and reach the mainland. He then seemed surprised by what happened after that and I think that was all that he said. When Maeve was on her way to the train there were multiple things that made her think of her daughter. There was the information with where she was located, the video of them together and the mother and daughter boarding the train before her. I think it was clear that the decision to get off the train and find her daughter was hers.

  3. Ian says:

    No, Im not satisfied. So Ford predicted everything. Whatever.
    There were a lot of holes going on with the writing, and the show is also about naked hosts and masturbating techs and gratuitous carnage, so I’ll just let the Nolans say whatever they want now, because they can. I can’t take anything that’s said too seriously.

  4. labedaelaine says:


  5. Chfh says:

    Why would she kill ford? It made made for sense to think it wasnt a choice.

  6. Bill says:

    Where the hell is Elsie and her partner from behavior?