The Westworld season finale managed to wrap up a plethora of loose ends while simultaneously opening manty other doors to what may follow. A number of fan theories were confirmed – namely that William is The Man in Black and Bernard is Arnold or Arnold is Bernard…I get confused and that the maze isn’t really a maze after all. What was brilliant about the finale was that these loose ends were tied up straight away and the rest of the episode focussed on more pressing matters – things that are going to be important for seasons to come.
One of the biggest fears surrounding artificial intelligence is its own self-realization that it is not a real human being. When Maeve was figuring all of this out and plotting her escape into the real world, it seemed like everything was about to come crashing down – the fact that she knew who she was could ruin Westworld entirely and take every Host along with her. However, little did Maeve know that someone had changed her narrative, someone with the username ‘Arnold’. Her entire narrative was about escaping Westworld, everything from recruiting bandits to help her and manipulating Felix into doing what she said. Every single second even up until she is on the train out of the park and changes her mind was written into her story. She believed she was fully in control but actually, she really wasn’t. The idea that these Hosts were developing so much to have free independent thought was a crazy one, but the idea that a human can trick a Host into thinking they have free independent thought is even crazier.
Dolores, meanwhile, comes face to face with the Man in Black again and she learns that actually she has been lost in her own memories this entire time, retracing her footsteps from long ago and remembering them with William. William wasn’t there, William became the Man in Black – obsessed with finding out the secret of the park and the center of the maze. A pretty down and out moment for William came when Dolores was taken away and he spent weeks looking forever, only to return to the town and find she had been reset and had no memory of him whatsoever. It is almost like when your character in a video game dies and they are regenerated, they then play the same story over and over with minor differences but without any overall impact on them. Imagine if your video game characters started moving about on their own? Yeah. Herein lies the problem.
Arnold wanted Dolores to solve the maze, it was always meant for her. The key to reaching the center of the maze is unlocking your own consciousness. Being aware that the voice inside your head is your own and not someone else’s. Dolores couldn’t figure this out until right at the last minute when she remembered a time when she and Teddy massacred an entire town. She killed Arnold, going against everything programmed within her and breaking out to commit murder. At the end of the episode, while unveiling his new narrative, Ford is standing on a stage addressing a crowd of shareholders. Dolores, pistol in hand, shoots Ford in the back of the head and proceeds to pick out members of the audience and kill them. Meanwhile, emerging from the trees are all the ‘dead’ Hosts, brought back to life and programmed to kill. In these final few scenes we are given links back to everything that brought Dolores to where she is now, Arnold and Ford made her this way, so did Ford program her to do this? Or was it Arnold? Who set all the old Hosts free?
Some interesting hints to the next season mainly revolve around the idea that there are multiple parks. Firstly, we are taken to another level of the labs under the park where we see Samurai Hosts practicing combat in one of the glass rooms. The etched SW has got to stand for Samurai World. Secondly, when Felix wants to tell Maeve where her daughter is, the piece of paper with her location on says ‘Park 1’. Interestingly this conjures up the notion that hosts are not exclusive to their park. So Hosts in Westworld can be reprogrammed to be in different parks – but what worlds are there out there? Are their Hosts going haywire too?
I guess we will just have to wait however for the revolution. That gives us plenty of time to watch Season One over & over…and we will.