What a crazy ride this season has been.
HBO is aching for Westworld to be the next Game of Thrones and while the show hasn’t achieved total greatness yet, the potential is certainly there. I thought the show’s pilot was pretty darn excellent, and this was even better.
This is not a simple show; numerous layers are constantly being peeled away, and you can never truly trust the developments unfolding before you. The season finale elevated this paranoia to an insane degree with a number of brilliant bombshells. First off, William is none other than the Man in Black (we’ve been watching two separate timelines the entire season)! Although this theory was widely predicted by many online, I was caught completely off-guard. It’s the kind of twist that works because it puts everything we’ve seen thus far in perspective, and it genuinely makes me want to rewatch the season with this brand new piece of information. How awesome is that?
And then there’s Maeve, played to perfection this year by the uber-talented Thandie Newton.The brilliance here is that we’ve been rooting for the android every step of the way as she slowly gained consciousness and began to assert her control (not to mention her genius intellect) over her captors. The heartbreaking revelation that everything about her rebellion is in fact part of yet another “narrative” is just so deliciously depressing. Is her getting off the train at the end and choosing to stay in Westworld for her daughter also part of the storyline? Who knows, and I can’t wait to find out!
If I had any qualms, it would be that too many people ended up being somebody else. We recently discovered that Bernard is in fact Arnold (or modeled after Arnold), and we now know that Dolores is basically Wyatt? It’s all a bit too ridiculous for my taste, but the writers don’t drop the ball by maintaining focus on the humanity (pardon my choice of words) behind the characters. I loved learning that the infamous maze is in fact Dolores’ mind, and that it’s only because she didn’t let her own voice drive her insane that she could finally achieve true consciousness. It’s an empowering arc for a character that has been weak for far too long.
Now let’s take a moment and praise that astounding final sequence, as Ford commits suicide mid-speech through Dolores blowing his brains out. Even better is her turning fire on all the board members, and the previously-stored away hosts attacking the gala. The highlight here is William’s excited smirk as he gets shot and realizes that the stakes are finally real. Kudos to Ed Harris for expressing so much with a single expression. Phenomenal!
Truth be told, I have no idea where the show is going to go next, and that’s a very exciting prospect. The fact that season two won’t be premiering before 2018 (yup, we’ve got a whole year of waiting) means the writers will take their time and hopefully plot out a stellar sophomore year that’s not rushed by network interference. Fingers crossed!
– Love the opening as we see Dolores’ full robot layout.
– Finally all those random flashes made sense as we discovered that it was in fact Arnold who asked Dolores (alongside Teddy) to kill all the hosts so that Ford wouldn’t be able to open the park. She then proceeded to finish Arnold off with the same gun she used at the end (and not before Arnold said the “violent delights” line).
– Some trivia: William owns the majority share of Westworld. Not bad at all!
– I just love how Maeve raises the aggression levels on the tablet to maximum power. Woah! Also, can I please get me one of those?
– The fly on Armistice’s face is pretty ominous right? Remember the pilot’s ending?
– Gruesome imagery: Armistice biting the tech’s finger off and then proceeding to FEED IT to him.
– How satisfying was it to see Hector get his revenge on the sleazy necro-perv? Watching that freak lube himself off was seriously disturbing.
– Interesting to note that William famously picked the white hat when he first arrived in Westworld. In this episode, we finally see him picking up the black one. Talk about a transformation.
– After all this time, we realize that Ford was in fact on the hosts’ side. He was actually trying to help them achieve consciousness through suffering (and Dolores’ maze). At least that’s how I understood it.
– Blood-pumping moment: Dolores going full-on warrior on William. Why did she have to lose the fight though?
– The image of Dolores dragging William across the ground was a beautiful visual parallel to him doing the same thing to her in the premiere.
– So this is how Logan’s story ends? Naked and on a horse?
– Sweet moment with Maeve kissing Clementine on the forehead.
– Laugh-out loud moment: Felix thinking he might be a host.
– Is it pronounced Ber-nerd or Bernaaaaaaard?
– I miss Theresa. Can’t she come back in host form? And what about Elise?
– I was really close to gouging my eyes out during Teddy and Dolores’ cheesy scene at the beach, so imagine my relief when it turned out to be a show for the board members. Whew.
– If Dolores cries ONE MORE TIME… Poor Evan Rachel Wood!
– Semi-shocking imagery: the hosts practicing different sex acts in the background.
– It’s a funny yet unsettling moment to see the woman at the gala shooting the android with such glee.
– There’s a Samurai-themed park! Seriously this show can go on for dozens of seasons!
– The fact that the maze was inspired by Arnold’s son didn’t really surprise me. It looks like a kid’s toy.
– I didn’t notice at first but it’s Clementine who shoots William at the end!
– Post-credit scene: Armistice chopping her hand off. What a badass.
Ford: I take it I’m not being promoted.
Hale: When you’ve reached the top, there’s only one direction you can go.
Armistice: They don’t look like gods.
Maeve: They’re not. They just act like it.
Host: This one has a guilty look.
Sylvester: No, that’s just my face. Tell her, it’s just my face.
Ford: See, it took 500 years for someone to notice something hidden in plain sight. It was a doctor who noticed the shape of the human brain. The message being that… the divine gift does not come from a higher power… but from our own minds.
A wildly complex and twisty season finale to the year’s most ambitious new show.