Inside the Epic Finale of Westworld
We'll have to wait until 2018 to find out how the thrilling events in Westworld's epic 90-minute finale, "The Bicameral Mind" play out. Obviously, if you haven't seen the finale, stop reading.
If there's one thing that seemed apparent throughout the entirety of Westworld's first season, it was that Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was always several moves ahead of everyone else. It was apparent in nearly every scene he was in, from the earliest scenes when we saw him gently rebuffing (or manipulating) his number two, Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), to his elegantly menacing lunch with Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babbet Knudsen) where he proved every little detail in the park, including the hosts, was under his direct control. Even in the moments it looked like he'd been beat—when board member Tessa Thompson (Charlotte Hale) and Cullen staged a violent showdown between two hosts, or, even more spectacularly, when Bernard seemed to have Ford cornered—the old man was really the one in control. While the sub-Reddit sleuths had been picking apart every single detail of the show, often correctly—the multiple timelines, the fact that William's (Jimmi Simpson) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) were the same person—what was always constant was Ford's dominance.
Yet while Ford was the park's indisputiable Alpha, what wasn't clear was what he actually wanted. The origina story of his partnership with Arnold was set up as the artist (Arnold) versus the dictator (Ford), with the latter getting the upper hand. What we learned in "The Bicameral Mind" was that the "new narrative" he'd been working on was, in a sense, an grand act of penitence. Ford had believed Arnold's despearte act of having Dolores/Wyatt (Rachel Evan Wood) kill all the hosts, and Arnold himself, to spare them from the torture of being sentient playthings for creepy humans was wrong—until he realized he was right. And so Ford's new narrative was also his last, and it came to thrilling, bloody fruition in the season finale, with the old man ceding control of the park not to Tessa and the Delos board, per her command, but to Westworld's rightful heirs and Arnold's children—the hosts.
"If the first season was all about control," says Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan, "then the second season will be all about chaos." This is the gift that the all-controlling Ford bestowed upon the hosts—they could now control their own narratives and, perhaps, create their own society out of the chaos to come.
Check out this video that goes inside one of the most ambitious premiere seasons of the year with Westworld creators Nolan and his wife and co-creator, Lisa Joy, and some of the show's stars. One of the interesting tidbits here what Evan Rachel Wood says about her character Dolores, and what it might hint for season two:
"If Dolores is the oldest, this girl has seen three lifetimes of pain and trauma, I think there would only be so much that one could take, whether you're human or not."
Perhaps season two's Alpha is Westworld's very first host.
Featured image: Episode 10: Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Anthony Hopkins. photo: John P. Johnson/HBO