Previously on Westworld, “Vanishing Point”
I live in this weird space where I want the fiction I consume to surprise me, but I also like to figure out the twists and turns as I go. Luckily, the type of shows which inspire that sort of scrutiny (The Leftovers, Westworld) are solid and deliver so that when the twists are revealed, I feel satisfied… and a bit smug, but always thoroughly entertained and satisfied. Unlike with season one of Westworld, this season I wasn’t as obsessed with figuring it all out before episode ten. Obsessed, yes, but not as. To help a few of our readers track the multiple timelines this season, I created this guide. It was as I was putting the finishing touches on it that I realized we should probably be doubting more than Bernard’s memories going into the finale.
There’s a whopping eleven days between Bernard leaving Elsie and waking up on the beach. And since last week’s episode established that everyone else’s narratives (Dolores, Teddy, MIB, Maeve, etc.) all led to the time he left Elsie, this meant that they could all (save Bernard) be dead by the time he wakes up on the beach (not just Teddy), and that’s exactly the case. I went into this episode excited for the revelations those missing days implied, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Together Again, At the End
Dolores takes Teddy’s control unit and heads for the Valley Beyond. She finds MIB digging in his arm, still thinking he may be a host. Having seen Emily’s dead body, she knows they’re both responsible for the deaths of people they loved. She gives him a gun and allows him to accompany her. They reach the door just in time to save Bernard from a QA team. MIB finally meets “Arnold,” but Dolores admits that though she was tasked to make him a perfect replica of Arnold, she changed him to be enough of his own person. To be Bernard. With the door already open, MIB turns on Dolores, but his shots don’t kill her. They don’t even slow her down. His final shot misfires and takes out his hand. She leaves him there, unwilling to give him the death/peace he desires.
Dolores and Bernard enter the Protagoras Facility 01, the underground building housing all the guest data and the door to the escape the hosts hope to find. Dolores isn’t interested in that. She wants the data as she believes it’s her best chance at wiping out mankind. She and Bernard enter the framework and find that it has taken on the image of Logan Delos, created from the memories of James Delos (its first subject). Logan explains that the creations based on Delos’ actions in the park weren’t enough. Even when they finally created one that would do exactly as the real Delos had done when he first visited the park, it wouldn’t work. The system realized that knowing what they would do in the park wasn’t enough. To really know the person, they had to know who they were outside of the park as well.
This is of particular interest to me as we’ve often debated this on the podcast. I never bought that MIB would decide he was truly a terrible person because he didn’t feel anything when he killed Maeve and her daughter. If you always know deep down that they’re not real, does it mean anything? To me, the fact that he killed his real daughter and still went on this quest — even going so far as to believe that he might be a host to explain away his actions instead of taking responsibility — says more about him than his attack on Maeve, though the end result is the same. He’s a piece of shit.
Through all of its studying, the system came to the conclusion that humans are actually quite simple. Making them complex was the problem. We are, according to this universe, little more than 10,000 lines of code and we act based on the lies, core drives/directives we give ourselves. For instance, James Delos’ host told the technicians that his primary drive was his love for his son and that even though he gave Logan a hard time, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for him. This turns out to be a lie when the system shows Dolores and Bernard the one moment Delos would always return to: the final time he saw his son, begging him for help, and he turned him away. Logan died of an overdose six months later.
I Went Ahead and Saved Myself
Maeve controls the dead hosts in the lab to kill the technician preparing to dismember her. In case we forget that humans ain’t shit, he made sure to turn on Maeve’s pain receptors before he got started. With him out of the way, the hosts begin to repair Maeve’s injuries.
Hector, Armistice, Felix, Sylvester, and Hanaryo find Sizemore apologetic and sitting in his own tears. They all continue on to rescue Maeve, but she’s got that handled. Bulls under Maeve’s control run through – literally — a QA team. They leave for the Valley Beyond.
They Made a Choice
Dolores and Bernard are taken to the virtual library that stores every guest’s profile/consciousness copy. Dolores begins to read as many as she can before the entrance to the world created for the hosts opens. Logan explains that it was Bernard (at Ford’s behest) who instructed the system to allow Dolores the access she’d need to, hopefully, survive in the real world. What better chance do you have against your enemy than to know it better than it knows itself? The other hosts can enter a world created just for them, The Forge, and free of any human influence. Dolores is mad petty, though.
Outside the simulation, she wants to destroy it all and sees the new world as just another prison for the hosts. If Dolores has her way, she’d kill all the humans and any host who gets in her way. For the moment, that host is Bernard, who shoots Dolores in the head and tries to salvage what he can, but the system’s failsafe has already been triggered and the valley begins to flood.
You Carry My Heart With You
Shortly before this, Maeve’s group is being chased by a QA team and when Hector steps up to sacrifice himself so Maeve can continue on to her daughter, Sizemore insists it be him instead. We finally get to hear the rest of Hector’s revised Mariposa heist speech via Sizemore, who is gunned down after delivering the last line. The others arrive at the Valley Beyond.
The doorway (which only hosts can see) opens and the hosts begin to enter. To them, it looks like a tear in reality with a beautiful meadow on the other side. As they enter, their bodies fall into the valley below (where they are later found in S2E1 when the valley is fully flooded), but their minds enter the meadow. Before they can all make it through, Charlotte Hale arrives with a few members of QA, Elsie, and Clementine on a horse. Clementine rides into the crowd of hosts, literally death on a pale horse, causing them to kill each other as she goes.
Hector, Armistice, and Hanaryo hold off as many hosts as they can so Maeve can have a final goodbye with her daughter before Akecheta ushers her (and her new mommy, NotMaeve) through the doorway. Maeve uses her power to freeze the attacking hosts long enough for this to happen, but then she, Hector, Armistice, and Hanaryo are gunned down by QA. Akecheta makes it through and is reunited with Kohana.
You’re Not In Control, Bernard
Bernard comes outside to find Hale, Elsie, and all the dead hosts. He thought stopping Dolores would be enough because he viewed her as the real and only threat. Back in season one, Ford told Bernard that he placed way too much faith in humans and now here we are. He’s dismayed to learn that Elsie helped Hale kill the hosts who didn’t make it through. Since they are unable to stop the oncoming flood, everyone rushes back to the mesa.
Alone with Bernard, Elsie expresses concern that he is not fully in control, but she’s willing to talk to Hale on his behalf. When he pushes the matter, she uses her narrative control to make him freeze and then sit. She goes to talk to Hale in the control room while Bernard watches from a window above. Elsie threatens to expose the human cloning project unless she gets something she wants out of it. Hale goes along briefly, but says she’s read Elsie’s file and knows Elsie isn’t as morally flexible as she’s putting on. She puts two bullets in Elsie’s chest.
Horrified, Bernard calls out to Ford for help. When Ford appears, Bernard admits that he was wrong and he would like Ford’s help in stopping Hale. With Ford’s help, Bernard makes a control unit for Charlotte Hale. When Charlotte’s alone in the basement, Hale’s host shoots her and takes her place.
Bernard is on the beach, about to purposely scramble his memories so if he’s found out, they won’t be able to learn what he did. He also understands that Ford was never really there when he asked for help. He imagined Ford in order to do what he wanted to do. Bernard lies down on the beach and waits to be found.
So, every moment with Hale after Bernard wakes up on the beach isn’t really Hale. Got it? Good. Let’s continue.
I’d Thank You For My Second Chance…
Now we’re back to right after Bernard tells Hale (not Hale) and Strand that Abernathy’s control unit was taken to the Valley Beyond. Remember: They’ve already drained the water and retrieved all of the hosts bodies that were in the water. The reason a third of them had no data is because their data/consciousness went into the new world (simulation) and their bodies fell below. The rest of the bodies — with data — are the hosts that killed each other or were shot by QA.
Hale’s group is preparing to head over there when they get notification that some human signals have been picked up in the park. Hale orders Stubbs to take a small team to retrieve them.
Once they’re inside the facility, they find Dolores’ body, but they still don’t know where Abernathy’s control unit/the decryption key is. Hale (not Hale) figures out that Bernard hid it in Dolores’ dead body and they’re able to unlock the system. They prepare to upload the guest data to Delos just as Bernard starts freaking out. He remembers asking Ford for help and making a host body. He remembers making a choice to help the hosts over the humans. He says he brought her back and then scrambled his memories as to not be discovered. Who did he bring back?
Dolores. Not Hale is actually Dolores. She kills Strand and everyone not named Bernard. She then sends the new world, The Forge (with the hosts who made it), to a system with no gateway back, but places one more pearl (soul) to go along for the ride before she does. Now, what to do about Bernard? Well, she kills him, too.
I Would Rather Live With Your Judgement Than Die With Your Sympathy
Stubbs oversees the evacuation of survivors on the beach. He’s surprised to see Hale is leaving and not staying to monitor the data retrieval process. He tells her he was hired by Ford himself and that his “core drive” has always been his loyalty to the hosts… in the park. And he lets her go.
She leaves the island with five control units in her purse. As she does, it’s revealed the Man in Black survived, but is in bad shape. She uploaded Teddy to The Forge, leaving behind the best part of who she was. Felix and Sylvester are tasked with gathering the dead hosts and determining which can be salvaged.
Together Again, At the Beginning
Bernard wakes up in a lab, but not in the park. Dolores put his control unit in a Bernard host body. She also made a new Dolores body. The tools were left for them inside of the house Arnold had built on the mainland.
“Ford promised us a way out and he was good to his dying word.”
Dolores leaves Bernard with the knowledge that she’s not going to stop what she has planned and she knows he’ll try to stop her. They clearly have very different ideas on how the hosts should try to live and thrive in the real world, and I’m excited to see how that plays out in season three.
What Were You Hoping to Find?
Earlier in the episode, as Bernard was preparing to leave Protagoras after killing Dolores, the Man in Black wakes up outside where Dolores left him. He gets in the elevator and heads down below. But when Bernard calls for the elevator to go back up, it’s empty.
That bit with the Man in Black was some time in the future, long after the system has been destroyed. We know this because after the credits, the Man in Black makes it down below and finds the facility run down and he’s greeted by a host version of Emily. She says they’re not in the system, but they are in the park or what’s left of it. She leads him to a room much like the one where James Delos’ hosts lived and asks him what he was hoping to find. He wanted to prove that no system could define who he was.
She offers him a seat and begins a test of fidelity.
Analysis. What Prompted That Response?
Stubbs as a host explains a lot of his behavior throughout this season and it falls in line with Robert Ford ensuring that he had control of the park with “sleeper hosts” in place.
I would be fine if the post-credit scene was the last we saw of the Man in Black, but that’s doubtful. It feels as though it could be a glimpse into the far off future, after the series has officially ended. The future of the park, and maybe even Dolores’ efforts in the real world, rely on this character being around in season three in some capacity, so I don’t see the series skipping over what happened to him after being left outside the Protagoras facility.
Dolores left with five pearls: Bernard’s and the host wearing Charlotte Hale after Dolores recreated her own body. Teddy is uploaded into the new world (The Forge). So who are the other three?
Saving the rest of my comments/questions for tonight’s podcast.