The season finale is coming. We may not be prepared.
We’re less than twenty four hours away from the season one finale of HBO’s Westworld, and I’m equal parts nervous, excited, and ready for it to be over (until next year, obviously). Our ongoing Westworld episode coverage will pick up tomorrow night, but I wanted to take an opportunity before then to offer up thoughts on what I want to happen and what I expect to happen.
The two are rarely the same thing.
Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood)
Dolores’ adventure with William is happening thirty years prior to the present, a present where she’s still in her rut of being raped and murdered. So doesn’t this mean that her personal quest back then amounts to nothing? She clearly doesn’t succeed in reaching the freedom she seeks leaving her journey an empty one for the next three decades. It took the verbal virus – “These violent delights have violent ends” – from her father to awaken her in the present and send her back on the hunt for answers. When we last see her in the present she’s back to following Arnold/Bernard’s instructions in pursuit of the Maze, and it’s brought her to the church that stands above a small lab outpost. She “remembers” dead host bodies and recalls killing Arnold, and then recoils in terror as the Man in Black enters the church.
- I want it revealed that not only did she slaughter the town folk before killing Arnold but also that her massacre – caused by Arnold’s tinkering – was the inspiration for the legend of Wyatt. Dolores is Wyatt. In the present I’m hoping she kicks the MiB’s ass after the pair realize they’re searching for the same thing and only one can prevail.
- I expect to discover that someone else is Wyatt, for the MiB to triumph at the last minute in his fight with Dolores for the end of the maze, and for the season to end with Dolores waking up back on the farm again.
Maeve (Thandie Newton)
Maeve’s journey and character arc has been the most consistently engrossing for several reasons, not the least of which is its focus on the present. At first we cared because of her feelings for her daughter, but now we recognize her as the Spartacus she really is. She’s the most consciously aware of the hosts thanks to both the verbal virus from Dolores and her tinkering with her own settings back at the lab, and that opens up a world of possibilities for what she can accomplish.
- I want her to lead a robot coup (of current hosts and those poor, naked saps in the basement) that causes serious carnage back at the labs – lobotomizing some behaviorists, destroying the 3-D printers, etc – before finding herself at the entrance to a train/shuttle heading out of Westworld and back into the real world. It’s her Truman Show moment, and I want to see the door close behind her without even a glimpse of what awaits. And then I don’t want to see her again until the season two finale when she returns with a new plan for Westworld’s destruction.
- I expect her attempted coup to end with little success – she can’t “win” as there has to be a park to return to next season – but I still think she’ll get out of the park.
Teddy (James Marsden)
Poor Teddy continues in his inability to catch a break as his memories of this Wyatt character have left him alternately motivated and broken. First he wants revenge on Wyatt. Then he recalls that he helped Wyatt. Then he remembers that maybe he’s Wyatt? The varied memories are a bit of a fake-out on the show’s part, but his struggle to recall correctly could be explained by the reveal of who Wyatt really is. Theoretically, after being stabbed and killed by Angela, he should be appearing in the lab around the same time as Maeve and Hector, so the question is whether they’ll cross paths and join forces or if he’ll be pushed back into the park on his own for another go around.
- I want Teddy to head back to the park and realize that Dolores is Wyatt and that she convinced him to aid in the slaughter before gunning him down too. He wouldn’t have been able to kill her then, and he won’t be able to now when he meets her again. Poor Teddy.
- I expect Teddy to remember that his best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Wyatt shoot some people at 31 Flavors last night.
William (Jimmi Simpson)
Most characters on the show have grown more interesting the more time we’ve had with them, but William has actually taken the opposite route. He’s not exactly at Lee levels of annoyance, but he’s getting there. His shift from being a smart, compassionate man who recognizes what’s special about Dolores without forgetting that she’s artificial to a madman was too abrupt to be satisfying. So what, he gets drunk and has a change of heart that now leaves him wanting to tear hosts limb from limb?
To be fair, some of my frustration with the character stems from the theory that he becomes the Man in Black. The show seems to be leaning that way, but as interesting as a descent into darkness would be it’s an illogical fit in numerous ways. From the MiB saying previously that he gutted a host when the park opened – William doesn’t visit until years after the park opened, to it meaning that everything William experiences with Dolores is empty, his transition into MiB is a sloppy one. We’re supposed to believe he recognizes something human about Dolores, but changes his mind after seeing gears and spends thirty years torturing her and other hosts… and then only rediscovers his conscience again when he sees a dying Maeve with her dead daughter in her arms? It’s nonsensical and makes all of his Dolores time worthless.
- I want him to die. Harsh? Maybe, but it would be both a great misdirect having spent the season with him *and* a kick in the pants to fan theorists who’ve been on the nose with every other prediction.
- I expect him to be revealed as the Man in Black at which point I’ll stop caring about the character.
Man in Black (Ed Harris)
The MiB has been an intentional enigma for most of the season with only small reveals as to who he is beyond the game. We know he’s a Delos board member who does great work in the real world while playing a cruel, malevolent bastard inside the park, and we know that while he’s enjoyed the game his recent discovery of something more is propelling him toward the ultimate destination. That journey ends with a reunion with Dolores who’s also on the same path.
- I want it revealed that he’s Logan. All of the logical reasons supporting the William=MiB argument also apply to Logan, but he also has the benefit of fitting the character. Logan ignored William’s claim that Dolores was special which would explain why the MiB didn’t become aware of the host’s humanity until the Maeve incident, and from the very beginning he was the one wanting to find the park’s deeper, darker games. His final pairing with Dolores should also end with his willful defeat at her hands.
- I expect him to be revealed as William and for him to prevail over Dolores at the end.
Logan (Ben Barnes)
He was a prick at the beginning, but he’s always been perhaps the most honest character on the show – and that has to count for something right? But seriously, has anyone grown on you like Logan? He’s funny, practical, and trying to be a good friend by holding William back from insanity.
- I want Logan to kill William inside the park, perhaps in self defense, and steal his knife in the process. The guilt from this could inspire him to be a better person in the real world while only revealing his true self in the park. This should be followed with the realization that he’s the MiB, and after three decades of carnage he’s come to realize his good friend William was right all along. There’s more to the hosts then he realized.
- I expect him to die in mayhem of William’s onslaught thereby ensuring William’s rise to control their company back in the real world.
Bernard (Jeffrey Wright)
When we last left Bernard he had shot himself in the head at Ford’s order, but it’s unclear if that means he’s done. Obviously Ford could have simply wiped his memory again and started over, but shooting himself seems somewhat final unless Ford’s plan is to rebuild the brain from scratch to avoid a repeat of the issues.
- I want to realize that somehow, against the odds, Bernard circumvented the command and maybe only grazed his head with the bullet. I know, I’m a sap, but the poor guy needs a victory even more than Teddy. I’d love to see him join Maeve’s rebellion too.
- I expect he’s done and that Ford will somehow blame him for the inevitable carnage.
Ford (Anthony Hopkins)
Like a wily serial killer in a twisted thriller, Ford’s been consistently and frustratingly one or more steps ahead of everyone else – human or host – and the question now becomes how long he can keep that luck going. We know Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) and the board want him out, so he needs to either exit the show or somehow change their minds. We know there’s a slaughter coming, so it’s hard to believe the board wouldn’t replace the man they’re guaranteed to blame for it.
That said, he’s one of the show’s few characters whose journey could easily continue. It would be repetitive to see the likes of Maeve, Dolores, Teddy, and friends go through this whole dance again next season of becoming aware and struggling to break free, but Ford’s goals – while incredibly destructive – are far more modest and could easily continue.
- I want to see his terrifically expressive but too frequently smug face crushed by the now rogue little boy host version of himself.
- I expect Ford will skate by and somehow convince the board to leave him in place. Will he do so by blaming Charlotte and Bernard for the issues, or will he just replace everyone with robots? Unclear, but I expect he’ll persevere as the omnipotent and indifferent god that he is.
Elsie (Shannon Woodward)
Common knowledge seems to think she’s dead – we saw Bernard choke her out so it makes sense – but what if?
- I want to discover Bernard left her alive and that she’s hiding out in the park. Maybe she even sent the signal which drew Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) out to investigate? And maybe she used her hacking skills to control the Indian hosts in order to secure him until she could determine whose side he’s on? And maybe she’ll be the one to bring the fight to Ford and topple his reign of terror?
- I expect she’s dead and that a host version of her will return from “vacation” to become Ford’s new right-hand assistant – his new Bernard.
What do you want from the season finale? What do you expect?