Westworld has got to be one of the most intellectually taxing TV shows out there. You need a notebook, an Excel spreadsheet, a quantum physics degree and at least two accountants to try to keep track of who’s who, when is when and just generally what the hell is going on.
And after last night’s season 2 finale, ‘The Passenger’, here’s a breakdown of some of the most important revelations – and what they really mean.
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Dolores is now Charlotte
Host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is one of the central characters in the show and when fellow robot Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) killed her in the finale, fearing she’d break free into the real world and start slaughtering humans, we gasped.
But Bernard quickly regretted his decision after he saw how park boss Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), a human, was just as ruthless as Dolores. She’d just murdered Elsie (Shannon Woodward) to keep her from revealing the secrets of the park after all.
So, in the end, Bernard pulled off an enormous switcheroo: he made a copy of Charlotte Hale’s body, uploaded Dolores’ consciousness into that body – and then Dolores killed Charlotte, essentially replacing her. This means Dolores is now free to explore the real world, in disguise.
And there were even hints that Dolores had been Charlotte for quite a while. As you’ll know, Westworld doesn’t operate along a standard time-frame, with lots of shifting between the past, present and future without tipping off the audience.
One hint is that in earlier episodes, Charlotte/Dolores had been looking for Peter Abernathy, who is actually Dolores’ father.
Looking forward to season 3, a conflict has now been set up between Dolores (who still wants revenge) and Bernard (who is trying to keep the peace) – but who will win out as the hosts venture out into the real world?
Stubbs was a host all along
Another big reveal is that Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) has more than likely been a secret host this whole darn time.
According to GQ, when Dolores escapes the park in Charlotte Hale’s body, she gets cornered by Stubbs. Strangely, he lets her escape and tells her that he was personally hired by Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins).
“I guess you could call it my core drive,” he says. “I guess I just stick to the role Ford gave me.”
William/The Man in Black is a host too?
In a final head-scratching moment, the post-credits scene shows William/The Man in Black (Ed Harris) being confronted by his daughter Emily (Katja Herbers).
“Tell me, what were you hoping to find?” she asks.
“That no system can tell me who I am,” he replies. “That I have a fucking choice.”
“And yet here we are. Again.”
The Man in Black realises at that moment that after all this time he is just another host clone, repeating this time loop over and over again.
What does all this mean?
The strongest argument that this season has been making is that humans and robots are a lot more similar than we want to admit. We like to think that, unlike the hosts, we have free will and yet it’s often the case that we all follow predestined paths in life.
And in fact, in the universe of Westworld, the hosts have now learned to change their own primary drives and achieve self-awareness, meaning that they might evolve even beyond humans.
If you managed to keep up with this article, then that’s a pretty sobering thought.
(Images: John P. Johnson/HBO)