Unpacking the Finale of HBO's 'Westworld'

Unpacking the Finale of HBO's 'Westworld'

Breaking down all of the surprise unveilings and twists in the finale of HBO's latest hit show.

Breaking down all of the surprise unveilings and twists in the finale of HBO's latest hit show.

Text: Ian David Monroe


This, in retrospect, especially after finding out about the two timeframes last episode, seems almost too obvious. The clues go all the way back to episode 2 when William picks his white hat. The symbolism here is too obvious to ignore. What we learn in the reveal is that despite someone's good intentions they are ultimately capable of anything, even things they didn't know they were capable of. We see this in Delores, too, who goes from not being able to fire a gun to killing key characters and slaughtering everyone. Which leads us to...


Ford always made it clear that his new storyline was rooted in a truth, but Delores being the original “Wyatt” still came as a big surprise. Most viewers assumed Arnold was “Wyatt” since so little was known about both. Also, given Delores’s consistent wholesomeness, it seemed almost unfathomable that she could kill so many people. It does however explain why Teddy was the only one who survived the murder sprees.


Maeve’s awakening, so to speak, was arguably the best and most badass part of the second half of the season, which makes the revelation that it was all preprogrammed/pre-written all the more devastating. Since she breaks the computer pad mapping out her coding, we’ll never know if her decision to stay and search for her daughter at the end was sentience or programming. Here’s hoping for the former. (More on this later.)


We find out why in the finale. In a scene with Delores, Ford concedes that to acknowledge the consciousness of the hosts “would have destroyed my dreams,” which explains why he denied it for so long. But he has obviously recognized just how wrong he was: “Wasn't it Oppenheimer who said that any man whose mistakes take 10 years to correct is quite a man? Mine have taken 35.” By asking Delores to shoot him with the same gun she shot Arnold with, Ford completes a loop that matches his partner's, recognizing that he had in fact built an arena of torture for sentient creatures. What remains to be scene is whether or not Ford was the one using the Arnold username login to orchestrate Maeve's escape and more.


Anyone who thought an actual maze (with zigzagging walls and an epicenter) existed was fooling themselves. Early on, we learn that the maze is not for guests, but hosts. It’s repeated a few times throughout the season, which is why it should come as no surprise that the center of the maze is actually sentience for the hosts. One could argue too, metaphorically, that the human characters were in mazes of their own in exploring what is moral. This is especially true for Ford, who was always looking to test the boundaries of his sanity and skills, only to find his own truth. As he said: “Every choice could bring you to the center or spiraling to the edges towards madness."


What was up with the long camera hover over Ford and Bernard/Arnold’s handshake? It certainly felt purposeful. Combine that moment with Ford’s comments in episode 1 about the early hosts—“A simple handshake would give them away”—it's theoretical that one could assume Ford is a host himself.


Is there really a difference? Delores decided on her own to kill Ford in the end, but he is the one who orchestrated all of it, so technically she was following the will of her maker. It seems as though Maeve made her own decision to return to see her child in the end, proving her free will and humanity, but that yearning to see her daughter is part of her centrifugal programming (her "core" code), so did she really? In Westworld it doesn’t seem like there is much of a difference between the two concepts, which seems to be one of the points made by the first season. In reference to Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, which Ford points out as a representation that the divine is in our minds (based on the shape of the human brain behind God), this makes sense: the divine may or may not be in our minds, but does it matter?


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