“An old friend once told me something that gave me great comfort. Something he read. He said Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin never died. They simply became music.”
Not since peak Lost have I been so enthralled and amazed by a TV show. Everything was perfect; the performances, the direction, the music, everything. The finale of Westworld delivered on nearly everything the series had promised and left me eagerly awaiting the next season (unfortunately not estimated for release until 2018). The mysteries raised in the last 9 episodes were more or less answered and a few new ones took their place, leaving /r/Westworld something to think about for the next year. Some viewers will no doubt dislike how some plot lines were left but I think there was a good balance between answered and unanswered questions. Although I would have liked some closure on Stubbs. Seems the poor guy was forgotten about.
The performances were once again the highlight of the show for me. The stand outs this time were Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, and Evan Rachel Wood but everyone in it was at least great. It’s a unique thing only a few shows share, where the acting and writing are so good that you don’t even think about it as having been written. Shows like Breaking Bad and The Sopranos do it well too but it’s especially good with Westworld as the entire point of the show is about how most of these situations have been constructed. You don’t question the decisions of the characters because they make complete sense within this world show runners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have created. Plus every actor plays their character with complete conviction, so that when they do something it’s totally believable. Special mention has to go out to the MVP of this episode as well, Anthony Hopkins. For 9 weeks he’s been playing a complicated character whose motivations have been murky at best. This week however it was revealed that he wasn’t the complete megalomaniac we’d been led to believe, and had actually been trying to undo the mistake he made 3o years ago with the death or Arnold. The mysterious maze was actually for the hosts; it was the key to them gaining consciousness. And despite Ford going out on his terms, it was said to see him go. There are loads marvellous actors left in the show, so there shouldn’t be a void left by Hopkins’ departure but his wonderful performance will be missed.
The finale also finally confirmed another of the long standing fan theories, that William and The Man in Black are one and the same. If you figured out the multiple timeline theory then you probably got this too. It was predicated a long time ago by the especially attentive fans and was all but confirmed last episode, but it was still awesome when it was actually confirmed this episode. That The Last Crusade style shot of Jimmi Simpson’s William putting the black hat on, and it transitioning to Ed Harris’ old William was especially brilliant. It’s a sad fact that due to this, Jimmi Simpson and Ben Barnes’ Logan probably won’t be returning. It’s a shame, Simpson and Barnes were constantly one of the shows strongest parts but their story’s done, there’s not really anything left to tell. I could see an old Logan turning up and interacting with Ed Harris’ Old William but with the current state of the park (and the current state of old William) that might be difficult. On the plus side I don’t think old William/the Man in Black is dead. His journey to make the hosts finally fight back comes to an ironic end when he is shot during the party massacre. His smile at finally finding this was a moment of levity in an enjoyably grim finale. It looked as if he lived though, and his involvement in season 2 had already been confirmed by Harris anyway.
There was a lot going on in this episode, even by HBO finale standards, so I can’t mention it all. But another high point was the escape attempt by Maeve, Armistice, Hector, and a reluctant Felix. The reveal that Maeve breaking from her pre-designed loop was yet another loop was a interesting moment. I’m still unsure as to whether her decision to go back to the park and look for her daughter was her choice or the choice of whoever had put her onto this new loop. There was some cool action in this sub plot too, with Armistice and Hector gunning down security personal left and right. Both will no doubt return, and if you stayed until after the credits you can get a glimpse of what Armistice did next. The confirmed proof that there more than 1 world was perhaps the biggest moment of this sub plot, at least for me. The Medieval World and Roman World from the original film was one of the most interesting aspects of it and seeing Yul Brynner’s gunslinger in medieval world was the coolest scenes in the film. The TV show has gone down another, even more awesome, path and introduced ‘SW’ or Samurai/Shogun World. How much this will feature in season 2 remains to be seen but just the hint of samurai sword fights was exciting enough (here’s hoping for a cowboy vs samurai fight scene next season).
Westworld has definitely been one of the most interesting and exciting shows of 2016. No other show has captured the imagination of audience like this in a long time. I haven’t seen this level of dedication the fans to discovering the secrets of the show, even from the very beginning, since the days of peak Breaking Bad. A lot of the biggest secrets are out now though, so I do hope Season 2 will be able to live up to this. But let us trust wholly in show runners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, with this excellent first season they have earned it. I’m sure come this time in 2018 we’ll be reliving this same loop once again.