And now we wait. After that largely satisfying season finale of Westworld's freshman season on Sunday, we're left with a few answers and a myriad of questions leading into season 2 (which is most likely very far off and currently slated for 2018). Apart from celebrating the mind-bending mysteries and timelines that are sure to go even more off the rails once the internet sleuths dig their teeth into them, it's also a time of celebration for HBO. The network has succeeded in delivering another series worthy of the word "epic," much like their other flagship, a little fantasy series you may have heard of called Game of Thrones. And while I love the endless struggle for power on GoT, it has been refreshing to see an entirely different take on power and humanity, one that feels a bit closer to home in our age of ever-growing technology. Sure, the day when we have theme parks populated by far too realistic human robots is probably in the very distant future, but it does provide a glimpse of what could come to pass in our yearning for technological expansion. It's been a hell of a ride for the past 10 episodes, so let's discuss some of what we learned.
First of all, the big one: the popular theory that The Man in Black and William are the same person was finally confirmed. This idea had been going around for a long time, much like the other one that came true when Bernard was revealed to be a Host, so I can't say I was entirely shocked by this development. However, that doesn't mean that the reveal didn't emotionally resonate with me. Much like Dolores, it still felt like a punch to the gut to know that the formerly kind and protective William aged into an amoral and often sadistic asshole. To know that the man Dolores thought she loved eventually became her rapist in God knows how many reboots...it's quite sickening. Thankfully we were dealt some saving grace with Dolores' rage-filled speech about humans becoming dust and a pretty badass fight scene between the Host and her captor. I'd say this is one battle that is far from over next season.
We also learned that the Wyatt narrative was essentially a smoke screen for Arnold to destroy the park before it could become operational. As we now know, Arnold instilled the idea to kill every other Host inside Dolores after she completed the maze, along with help from Teddy. She then put a bullet in Arnold's brain upon his request, which of course led his partner Ford to recreate him as Bernard. For all his talk about Arnold's misguided notions on the hosts' ability for consciousness however, it appears Ford had a change of heart down the line. We left off with fancy gala in the park that served as Ford's new narrative unveiling as well as his retirement send-off. Unbeknownst to the guests (and to the delight of The Man in Black/William), all of the decommisioned Hosts were brought back on line to invade the park and a newly woke Dolores ended her maker, Ford, in the same style she had Arnold, basically declaring Westworld a Host-run society. It was alluded that this was a design by Ford to perhaps set things right, or that he finally saw the light Arnold had so often talked about regarding the Hosts' potential to feel truly human.
And what about Maeve? Her mission to leave Westworld behind and start a new life succeeded...sort of. While she was able to escape the confines of the park, she wasn't able to escape the memories of her daughter and at the last minute, she got off the departing train to most likely search for her. But where? We saw a glimpse of "Samurai World," which begs the question, just how many worlds are there? How many parks are there that we have yet to see or even hear about? And since Maeve's entire escape narrative was apparently designed by someone and not of her own volition as she thought, who is this mysterious puppeteer pulling the strings? Was it Ford?
So. Many. Questions. It's safe to say that there will be a brave new world when we return to the series in 2018. The park as we knew it is most likely gone and will be in the hands of sentient Hosts. So a couple of questions to ponder. What will become of the humans trapped inside? Will the roles be flipped and now the humans will be like rats in a maze? Who is human and who is a Host? (At least the possibility of seeing any character again, even dead ones, is open if some of them are Hosts). Where exactly is the park? Are we even on Earth?? We haven't exactly seen what the "real world" is like outside of the park. And ultimately, what does it all mean if the Hosts can become sentient? How will they live outside of their constructed narratives?
I have no answers to any of these, but I welcome the many, many months ahead to come up with some theories. Stay tuned. Also, take our poll below and let us know if you're Team Human or Team Host!