“This isn’t a dream, Dolores. This is a fucking nightmare.”
I know my reviews of Westworld are already a little late but damn, I think I might need some more time to unpack this one. What a great finale it was though; answering most of the questions the season had raised while posing many, many more. And just when you thought it was over the show delivered even more cliffhangers to keep you in suspense during the off-season (which hopefully won’t be as unbearably long as last time). Some were pretty easy to understand (the is he/isn’t he a host question, re: Stubbs) But some were a little bit more opaque (whatever the hell was going on with the MiB). So I’m not aiming to discuss all of the episode’s twists and turns, we’d be here all day, just the key moments.
First up; Maeve’s gang. Maeve’s been on life support after being shot by Delos techs a couple of episodes ago (who were called in by Sizemore). But last week we saw her visited by a vision of Ford, who gave her a new lease on life. Waking up this episode, and kitted out in an awesome wizard-y looking cloak, she’s become more powerful than ever. Not that it lasts too long though as she’s one of the episodes main casualties. Her death is awesome (holding back a wall of violent hosts so her daughter can escape) and definitely not permanent, but it still stung after everything she’d been through. Thandie Newton’s portrayal of Maeve as tough, uncompromising, but ultimately good was one of my favourite parts of the show and was a real counterpoint to the progressively evil Dolores. Sadly she wasn’t the only casualty; in fact, most of her team were wiped out this episode. Hector and Armistice were shot down during the final firefight and Sizemore went out reciting his Hector-bank-robbing speech, finally completing it after all the times it’s been cut off. The turnaround on my opinion of Sizemore has been one of the seasons biggest surprises. Last season I hated the obnoxious bastard but this season he’s become one of my favourite characters. It’s partly down to the showrunners but mostly down to actor Simon Quarterman, who imbued Sizemore with a newfound sense of heroic sacrifice – that didn’t for one moment feel forced. And with him not being a host, it’ll probably be the last we see of him.
William continued his current trend of getting life-altering injuries but somehow surviving. This episode saw his hand get blown off after Dolores tampered with his gun (on the flipside it was nice to see them together again). I’m super happy Ed Harris can continue to be in the show but I’ll be damned if I can guess where his plot is going. If I had to hazard a guess I’d say that William was picked up by Delos techs after his injury and taken to the beach, where we see him. Then the William we see after the credits in a decrepit version of the forge is a host in the far, far future being tested for fidelity. Maybe next season will see future host-William escape into the real world and we’ll see how hosts have integrated into society. The show spanning this crazy amount of time wouldn’t even feel out of place. The bar has been set pretty high with the non-linear storytelling shenanigans of season 1 and 2 so I’m very curious as to how Joy and Nolan will top it in season 3.
Elsewhere in Westworld, Bernard and Dolores were coming to a head over the fate of the hosts. Bernard believed the ‘valley beyond’ (basically the cloud for host brains) was a good idea for the future of the species, whereas Dolores thought it just another gilded cage. Of the hosts who went to ‘the door’ (the entrance to the valley beyond) only about a third got in; explaining what the tech meant when he said a third of the host bodies on the beach had empty brains – because their consciousnesses had been zapped to the afterlife. Anywho, after the two had a turn killing each other, the episode ended with one of the shows bigger twists; Dolores’ brain being transplanted to the to a host version of Hale and escaping to the real world. And then going on to rebuild her old Evan Rachel Wood self along with Bernard. So now Dolores and Halores are in the real world ready to wreak havoc and good-guy Bernard is there to put a stop to it. Can we still have a Westworld with the main bulk of the show seemingly not being in the park itself? There are enough parks left out there to explore, some we don’t even know about. Whatever happens, I’m completely and utterly absorbed. Bravo Johnathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Just don’t take so long with season three…