These violent delights have violent ends — and that’s just how Westworld finished off its first season. HBO’s mind-bending new sci-fi drama saw itself out on Sunday, December 4, in a hail of bullets and bloodshed, as the robot hosts of the titular theme park awakened to their destiny. Connections were revealed, AI consciousness was achieved, new mysteries were teased and at least one human finger was bitten off over the course of the series’ extended, 90-minute season finale. Below, we’ve rounded up five key moments.
From Billy the kid to the Man in Black
Savvy fans called this one well in advance of the big reveal, but it was still a major moment: the official confirmation that sweet William (Jimmi Simpson) and the creepy Man in Black (Ed Harris) are one and the same. After his transformative first visit to the park (in which he ultimately murdered approximately one million robots), William became its major shareholder, leading him to 30 years of visits that culminated in his final, obsessive search for the maze.
But the problem — as Westworld’s hosts repeatedly tried to tell him, bless their little android hearts — is that the maze wasn’t meant for William. In fact, it wasn’t meant for people at all.
Dolores at the center of the maze
The maze is meant for one thing, and one thing only: to lead the robots, specifically Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), on a journey inward toward consciousness. Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) created it to test her, and he wanted to abort the park’s opening when he realized that his creation was, for all intents and purposes, alive. When Ford (Anthony Hopkins) refused, Arnold tried to sabotage Westworld by merging Dolores’ story line with one belonging to a new narrative, one in which a character named “Wyatt” massacred every host in the park.
With the help of Teddy (James Marsden), Dolores killed them all, and then killed Arnold — who thought that a human death would seal the park’s fate. Which it did, sort of. It just took 30 years, while Dolores located the thing everyone comes to Westworld to find: herself. Robot consciousness achieved, y’all.
Maeve’s great escape
Meanwhile, Dolores wasn’t the only one breaking out of her loop and into uncharted territory. Maeve (Thandie Newton) executed her escape plan — while Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) executed … well, everyone else. (RIP, Mister Necro-perv.) With help from Felix (Leonardo Nam), Maeve made her way out of the labyrinthine Delos complex and onto the train.
Freedom? Well, maybe not. For one thing, it seemed that Maeve’s great escape was actually yet another script written into her code (by Ford, maybe). But for another, the train left without her on it — while Maeve made the surprise decision to turn back in search of her daughter from a previous narrative. Free will, or just a narrative twist?
A whole new world
Apart from its shocking final scene, the biggest WTF moment in the finale came as Maeve and her comrades escaped through the Westworld complex — and stumbled into the lab for another world that was decidedly non-West.
Between the “SW” logo and the robots with katanas and kabutos, it appears that the Delos umbrella also includes an ancient Japan-themed park called Samurai World — and Lord knows how many others. Either way, we won’t know the truth until season 2. Until then, all we have is Felix’s stammered explanation: “It’s complicated.”
These violent delights have violent … beginnings
And finally, the shocking denouement: The nature of Ford’s mysterious new narrative was revealed at last — along with the reason why he needed basically every host in the park to participate. At a black-tie gala celebrating the new story line, Ford told the crowd that this would be a tale taking place “in a time of war,” centering on “the birth of a new people and the choices they will have to make.”
And how did this story begin? With the freshly conscious Dolores stepping up behind the Westworld creator and putting a bullet through his head — as an army of awakened robots emerged, guns blazing, from the darkness. Cue the screaming and panic (except from the Man in Black, who looked absolutely delighted as a host’s bullet hit him in the arm). And cue the end credits: Whoever emerges victorious in the battle for Westworld, we won’t find out until season 2.
Tell Us: What did you think of the shocking finale?
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