Summary: The Man in Black reveals to Dolores that he is William. Dolores finally gains true consciousness like Arnold had hoped. It's revealed that the maze was Arnold's revised idea of how to achieve consciousness for the hosts. It's also revealed that Teddy and Dolores' shootings in Escalante are the same incident as Dolores is actually Wyatt. Maeve, Hector and Armistice make their escape. Only Maeve makes it to the train but she decides not to leave to find her daughter. Ford unveils his new narrative which features Dolores killing him before killing everyone else as all the other hosts arrive to wreak havoc.
The Good: This was a great season finale, and was Westworld's best episode since its pilot. The season has been really hurt by convoluted storylines and unclear characters, so it's no surprise that the show excels when the plot is finally made clear and characters well-defined at last.
This was a very lengthy episode with an absolute ton of stuff which I enjoyed to talk about. I'm going to tackle everything at random because formatting this is going to be a real effort.
The Teddy storyline early on was well done. I really liked that we had a brief pay-off with the man who always bumps into Teddy as he kills him out of reflex after experiencing memory flashes. I also like how it helped to tie into the reveals going on in the Dolores storyline while also establishing that Teddy is approaching true consciousness along with all the other hosts.
Next I'll focus on the huge answers we got for the maze and Arnold. I thought the entire sequence when we learned about the maze was beautifully executed and provided us with very easy-to-follow exposition. I thought the actual answer that the maze was Arnold's revised pathway to consciousness was an immensely satisfying answer to the big question and it really fits in with the show thematically. Arnold's scenes with Dolores in the past regarding the maze were excellent as we got to really understand Arnold as a character when we see how he desperately wants Dolores to gain consciousness and to be real. I feel that this episode did an absolute ton to make us understand and care about the struggle Arnold went through, so we could actually understand why he wouldn't want the park to open and why he was so hell-bent on getting the hosts to consciousness.
As for the other big reveal regarding William, I thought it was handled very well. I did predict it, but I still thought it was a great reveal and it definitely helped make me care about William much more now that he is both William and the Man in Black, two characters who I sort of halfway understood. With both characters being one, it gives William much more depth so I can understand him much better than I did before.
Now regarding Dolores, I do like how they gave us a reason to care for her at last. Arnold did explain how suffering is what makes a human, and her suffering here finally awakens her consciousness. It also allows me to finally care about her character who seemed pretty average for the entire season. Evan Rachel Wood has put in a hell of a performance and it felt like a shame for her character to be rather bland. However, things finally came together in this episode for her. The explanation for Dolores' weird flashes was also great as she was apparently going back on the trek she went on with William while tragically imagining that she was back with him again. It's pretty tragic and does a lot to help us care for Dolores. We also got an explanation for the gun we saw her with before, as it apparently was the same gun she used to kill Arnold.
The Maeve storyline was pretty god with some nice twists and turns. The return of Bernard was great and I'm more than happy to see that he is still alive. But more importantly, the reveal that everything Maeve has done so far was programmed is pretty big. Apparently Ford wanted Maeve to escape Westworld herself to get to the real world. However, this twist wasn't just meaningless as it made the big moment where Maeve goes back for her daughter more significant, as this is now officially her first move where she went against her code.
It was great to get more motives for William to get a better idea of his character. Apparently he is looking for a real game to play with real stakes, which is good to know. It makes perfect sense and fits in with the character of William both in the past and present.
The unveiling of the final narrative by Ford was great. He delivered a really dramatic speech and his death scene was picture perfect and fit in completely with his character. I like that we finally understood what his goal was here, as he revealed that he is now correcting his mistake and is now going to finally complete Arnold's wishes for the hosts to achieve true consciousness.
The Bad: Once more, the Westworld staff are hopelessly incompetent. The fact that people can just change core host code with nobody noticing is a critical oversight. Additionally, having the core staff get locked down in the main room with no power is incredibly stupid has no realistic sense to it. And furthermore, nobody is watching any of the workers to make sure they aren't doing anything wrong which is just plain stupid. The stupidity of the Westworld staff is easily the weakest part of this show.
The show still had serious emotional problems here, notably with Maeve. We don't know enough about Maeve's relationship with her daughter, so I really can't buy into her decision to stay for her daughter. Furthermore, I think the entire season lost emotional attachment because of the show's desire to keep everything a surprise. Had we known about Arnold, understood that the MiB and William are one and the same, and also understood Ford's motives, I believe that the show would have been much better and more engaging.
The Unknown: Was Dolores modelled after somebody in Arnold's life?
What was with the dog in Teddy's flash? Does it have importance in the story?
What is the real world? We know that Westworld is in the future, but how is everything outside of it in the future?
Did William kill Logan somehow? Was it the host's bomb when it left the park? How would the Westworld staff just let that happen and how would they not get sued? Or is Logan still alive somehow?
Why did Ford want to send Maeve to the mainland? Also, considering the term mainland, does that mean Westworld is on an artificial island or something?
There were samurai training during Maeve's escape with the logo of SW. Is there a Samurai World which will be explored next season?
Is Ford truly dead? Or was that a fake version of him or something along those lines?
What will Armistice do next now that she escaped the door? Could she leave the park in Maeve's place?
Best Moment: The final speech by Ford followed by Dolores killing all while the host army arrives was the perfect note to end this season.
Character of the Episode: I'll give this one to Ford for once more being amazing, though Dolores is a close second.
Conclusion: This was a very good finale with plenty of great moments and a lot of pay-off. It delivered on all of my expectations and provided us with the most emotion and spectacle since the first episode.
As for the season as a whole, I thought it was enjoyable but had an absolute ton of wasted potential. After the great pilot, I would have hoped for a much better series with exciting moments and genuine emotion at seeing the hosts start acting out. Unfortunately, the show was clogged up by an endlessly confusing plot which completely took away from any possible emotional attachment. And yet, the show's biggest weakness was also its biggest strength, as it was very unique fun to try and piece together exactly what was going on in this show. Being unique is one thing this show definitely did, as watching it felt different from every other show on television, which I think is why it is a show that is worth watching, whether you enjoy it or not. It tried something new and while it didn't completely succeed, it was still something different. As for season 2, I'm not sure how to feel about it. It would be a pain to get yet another season of confusion, and I don't see that happening, but I have to wonder how the writers are going to make up for losing the entire confusion aspect of the show and I have to question if they are actually capable of writing a proper story. I do hope they are because we could get something special next season. This entire season almost feels like an extended prologue, and I'm interested to see which direction the main story goes from here.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.