Well bravo, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. I practically live on the subreddit for that show and I can tell you that from what I have seen not a single person predicted the ending of Westworld's season finale. Hell, I made some guesses and I was spectacularly wrong.
For 9 weeks people had 7 days between each episode and they used that time to form theories, look for clues, assume where it was all going. And while we predicted the reveal that the man with the charisma of a wash cloth (no offense but seriously what the hell?) will turn into Ed never-take-off-that-tuxedo-sir Harris, we hardly predicted anything else.
So many of us assumed and hoped that Abernathy will show up as the Professor and then we will see him on the train in the last scene of finale. We assumed that the Man in Black was driven by love - and holy shit, did they punch us in the heart and kick us in vaginas with that story arc progression in finale. I assumed Ford had Arnold killed. Practically everyone assumed Ford was evil. And we were all surprised.
The finale was 90 minutes long so it would be pointless for me to recap everything in big detail, but there were really just two specific story arcs - what was going on in the park with Dolores and the Man in Black and the headquarters events. Woven into all of this where glimpses of the past not designed to trick us, but to explain to us what happened. I liked it - no smoke and mirrors, just answers.
We learn of what the maze is - it is a 'game' made for hosts to recognize the voice they hear inside as their own (this all is based on bicameral mind theory that I am kinda grasping but don't ask me to explain it to you cause I will fail). In the past Dolores almost solves the maze. She doesn't succeed and because she went so far, Arnold is forced with a horrible choice - to let her suffer when she inevitably becomes sentient or to override her memory. So he programs Dolores as Wyatt and her and Teddy kill all the hosts. Dolores then shoots Teddy, and as programmed by Arnold kills Arnold and then shoots herself.
In the present time the romantic reunion we thought we were getting goes horribly, horribly wrong - Dolores leads the Man in Black to her grave and digs up a toy that Arnold gave her - a maze. The Man in Black is furious that Dolores didn't tell him about the center of the maze and starts beating her viciously (and I'm having flashbacks to Sweet Dreams). Dolores tells him that there is a man out there who truly loves her and who will come back to her. William.
Oh, my dear, sweet Dorito....we then get to see a flashback where William is looking for Dolores. He kills hosts on his way. He sends naked Logan on horse to ride away - but not before Logan tells him it was never about Dolores, it was all about William and basically the asshole he turned out to be is who he really is. I'm assuming pretty much everyone thought Logan will die but here he just rides away tied up on a horse. So we don't know for sure what happens. Idea for season 2 - Ian McShane shows up as older Logan to have a face off with Ed Harris and I drown in my own drool.
Anyways, William finally finds Dolores and sees her pick up a can and talk to another guest. And thus The Man in Black is born, or rather revealed - a nihilistic, cold and cruel man. And he was that man for a long long time, perhaps always. It's a very bold turn for the writers - seems like the love story was never a love story at all (Evan Rachel Wood seems to think it was one but to me it seemed William was always self-centered, just hiding behind the facade of righteousness).
On one hand I'm sure I'm supposed to like the fact that Dolores didn't need a man and was truly on her own on her journey. But I really did like the idea of William falling in love and this being his reason. Given the Romeo and Juliet angle in the show it just seemed to fit. That bold turn though does remedy a lot in this season - but it makes me wonder what the writers will do with Ed Harris' badass albeit cruel character now - let's face it I'm just rooting for him for shallow reasons and not wanting to lose such an incredible actor from the show. But if the hosts deserve vengeance, they deserve one on him too.
But back to the actual events of the show things got even less romantic as Dolores informs MiB that one day there will be nothing left of him and the others like him. She basically implies that the humans' time is over and the robots are the new gods. Dorito then proceeds to kick his ass but MiB fights back. The whole thing was damn brutal .I read interview with Ed yesterday and he says it was fun to shoot especially for Evan but holy shit was I cringing hard during all of this. Dorito then points a gun to MiB's face but she doesn't shoot him because he stabs her in the gut.
I was kinda thinking we will get....you know:
'Dolores I came back for you!'
But instead I got a fucking MMA fight:
Then Teddy shows up, shoots MiB and takes Dolores away. MiB yet again wakes up with oh shit look on his face.
In the headquarters Ford is planning a big launch for his narrative. At the same time Armistice and Hector wake up and Hector kills - to I'm sure the applause of every single person watching - rapey necro perv, while Armistice bites off another tech's finger and then spits it out in his mouth. Maeve and Felix join them along with Sylvester - whom survived the finale which I am legit shocked about.
They go to cold storage and Felix is startled to find dead Bernard there. After Maeve informs him that Bernard was a host and asks him to repair him there is a very funny moment of Felix wondering if he is a host too. Bernard is revived and he tells Maeve that her entire escape plot is not her own - someone programmed her this way.
During all of this Charlotte goes to Ford telling him he should retire. She also has a conversation with Sizemore. I am also stunned Charlotte survived. Ford approaches MiB in the park and tells him to come join his narrative launch.
Teddy and Dolores make it to the beach and she dies in his arms. Suddenly the lights turn on and we see a bunch of guests and board members in formal clothes and Ford presenting his narrative. At some point during all of this MiB showed up in tuxedo
I went like this:
Maeve, Hector and Armistice make their way through the headquarters. They see a bunch of samurai hosts and Samurai World logo. Armistice arm is stuck and she tells them to go. Later Maeve abandons Hector but he doesn't seem too heartbroken about it. Felix fixes Maeve up with clothes, bag and info about her daughter - interesting take away being 'park I' yet again suggesting there are other parks). Maeve says it was never really her daughter. She gets on the train and sits down and there is a woman sitting there with her little girl opposite Maeve.
Dolores is brought before Ford and he introduces her to Bernard. And this is where the real reveals happen. Ford basically tells Dolores that it took him all this time to understand his mistake. He implies that he wants Dolores and others to be free and have their revenge. When Dolores is on her own she finally unlocks the maze and recognizes her inner voice as her own becoming conscious.
Ford talks a bit to Bernard telling him good luck and then shakes his hand. Then Ford gets up on stage and starts talking about his new narrative. MiB goes to the graveyard and lights up a cigarette.
As Ford is talking Dolores emerges, in her blue dress and with a gun in her hand she walks over to clearly worried Teddy telling him the world belongs to them now.
Dolores slowly makes her way to the stage.We see Sizemore open the door to cold storage only to discover it is empty. We then switch to MiB who hears something.
Ford is giving a wonderful monologue about new people and new choices. Dolores approaches closer to the stage. Maeve leaves the train. She wants to find her daughter. She leaves the
bag with contents unknown behind, so reddit has something to wonder
about for the next year.
Bernard realizes what is about to happen and whispers the violent delights line. Dolores, to Teddy's horror shoots Ford and kills him. MiB gets shot in the arm by Clementine and then sees the entire army of hosts from cold storage approach him. His reaction?
Dolores stands on stage shooting the guests. Other hosts smile upon seeing the leader of their long overdue revolution carry out their vengeance.
Nolan and Joy were, pardon my french, full of shit with their proclamation of all the answers being provided with finale - where was Elsie? Where was Stubbs? Where was Abernathy? What's the deal with two different pictures Abernathy found? Hell, the finale generated other questions - what happened to Logan? What about the other parks? Was Ford in charge of those too? Who the hell was Dolores based on?
Still, the switch in the last few moments was incredible - someone from the cast or crew stated that season 1 is basically a prequel to the real story. I wish that prequel lasted several seasons - I wish we saw more guests and more of the park as run by Delos but perhaps we saw enough. Because it seems that the real story Nolan and Joy wants to tell is the robot uprising.
This is a very interesting set up. I, as a general rule, never root for humanity so the approach the show is taking with showing us events from the perspective of the hosts makes it even easier for me to root for them. Per Ford's own words the humans evolved as much as they could and the hosts seem to be the next step. But apparently there are people who think that humans aren't bad guys here because these are "objects" and most of them didn't know the robots could be sentient.
Let me ask these people this - a conscious being which understands the concept of murder and rape has been raped and murdered and exploited for 30 years. Now tell me - doesn't that being deserve revenge?
The incredible twist happened all thanks to the brilliant writing for the character of Ford and Anthony Hopkins' astonishing portrayal. That some awards bodies nominated C-class actors from that other HBO show and not him disqualifies them completely. Ford has began as mysterious but seemingly benevolent genius. Then with each episode we saw him being more cruel and creepy and seemingly interested in more and more control over the hosts.
And now we know - all of this he has been through led him to one conclusion - the humans don't deserve this world. I truly hope that the creators stick to their decision - there are already theories floating around about that handshake and the host being made in Ford's basement, leading people to believe that the Ford shot on stage was a host. But as much as we will all miss sir Tony on the show the whole point was for Dolores to kill a human being out of her own free will.
This has been remarkable performance from Hopkins. Actually every single person in the cast was great - even Tessa Thompson who was uneven in this season was lovely when her Charlotte had tears in her eyes during Ford's moving speech. Maeve's storyline was easier to watch than in last episodes and Newton was yet again fantastic playing her.
I was also very impressed with James Marsden during the last few moments where he portrayed the terror of realizing Dolores is Wyatt so well. I'm hoping we will see the conflict between these two next season - it seems that Dolores is gonna be focused on revenge while Teddy may just find something good and worth protecting in the guests.
This has been an incredibly bleak affair. I don't know what I was expecting thinking that the love story will bring some levity - after all in Nolan's romance arcs someone always commits suicide, gets killed or Batman gets the wrong address from the Joker. Not only did we watch the brief flame of love die for William so quickly with him not even putting up a fight, but we saw the death of innocence - not just his. Dolores' too.
That was perhaps the most depressing thing here. We met Dolores as this happy, optimistic, sweet girl. She has been abused for years but in the morning, the very next day, she was brand new. Her memory was resetted, and every morning she knew hopefulness I don't think me or you feel when we wake up. And now that sweet Dolores is gone. All that she has now is anger and blood lust.
Overall, even though I might not have liked the direction a lot of things went in this has been a spectacular season and the decision to start the uprising so early was very brave. I'm hoping that we will get, in season 2, a more straight forward narrative (one has to wonder if William's arc was even necessary considering he didn't really become someone else, just got the incentive to show his true colors) and we get to meet the characters - I say meet because now that the hosts are becoming free they finally get a chance to develop their own personalities.
These violent delights really had violent ends. We will need to wait to see what the new beginning looks like but if season 1 is any indication, our patience will be rewarded.
PSA: There is an after credits scene in finale.
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