7:49am PT by Josh Wigler
'Westworld': 17 Burning Questions After the Season Finale
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season finale of HBO's Westworld.]
After spending a season shrouded in darkness, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) finally bursts into the light. She's arrived at the center of the maze, and she's keenly aware of what to do next.
"I understand now," she whispers to Teddy (James Marsden), her Chestnut revolver close at hand. "This world doesn't belong to them. It belongs to us."
With that, Dolores opens fire on the humans gathered in Escalante for the unveiling of the final Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) narrative. Little did they know, these guests were the star players in the show: Ford's final act, literally and metaphorically, features the hosts finally making their move on the guests who have imprisoned them all these years.
It's an unexpected turn for both Ford as a character and the show at large, one that sets the table for a very different second season. Here are some of the questions we have now about that second season, and the questions we still have about the show's first season finale, called "The Bicameral Mind."
1. So, Ford Was a Good Guy All Along?
First of all, if we learned nothing else from the Man in Black (Ed Harris) and William (Jimmi Simpson) twist, it's that the line between hero and villain is often a blurry one. But in the spirit of simplification, no, it does not seem Ford has always been on board with waking up the hosts. He tells Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) that it was only through suffering Arnold's loss that he finally came to realize the truth about the creatures he's built. Was Ford already at that conclusion by the time Westworld started, or was it something he arrived at somewhere along the way? In any event, despite his best efforts now to free his creations, there's no doubting that Ford has a monstrous side as well; just ask Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) or any of the human employees now trapped in the park and waiting for an inevitably grisly doom. To paraphrase Felix (Leonardo Nam) from elsewhere in the episode, Ford is complicated.
2. Is That It For Ford?
Not only is Ford complicated, he's also dead, shot through the head right before the season's end. (Congratulations, Dolores, you have now killed both of the park's founders. It's not like we had any pressing questions for either of them!) Arnold committed suicide through Dolores, and Ford did the same, with the key difference being that this time, Dolores chose to kill. But that can't be it, right? Surely Ford has some back-up Ford host in cold storage? It's not impossible, though the way Ford describes the new narrative as his "final" story really does feel… well, final. We can certainly hope for Anthony Hopkins' continued involvement on the show, if only in digitally de-aged flashback form. We can also expect Ford to live on as an idea, as the hosts wake up thanks to his actions. After all, perhaps Ford is like Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin; not really dead, but simply reborn as music.
3. What's Dolores' Next Move?
Dolores stands at the center of the maze, eyes wide open to her true reality and her place within it. She kills Ford, then opens fire on the other gathered Delos board members. The park is in utter chaos, and Dolores is at the eye of the storm. The next question, to evoke Radiohead as the show so often does, is: "Where does she go from here?" Will Dolores become an inspirational revolutionary, the person best equipped to bring her fellow hosts to the promised land — the proverbial place where the mountains meet the sea, the center of the maze? Or will she become a full force of terror against the humans trapped within the park, showing no mercy for those she encounters? Remember, Dolores isn't just Dolores. She has a little bit of a Wyatt streak in her as well — and that villainous DNA could have bad implications for the future.
4. Is Teddy On Board?
In the finale, history repeats itself as Teddy watches Dolores instigate a mass shooting in the middle of Escalante, almost 40 years after the first one that claimed Arnold's life. As he watches Dolores now, Teddy looks horrified, not inspired. We know that he's programmed to have an eternal adversary in the form of Wyatt, who just so happens to also be the person he's programmed to love: Dolores. As the show starts to focus on "the birth of a new people and the choices they will have to make," Teddy looks poised for a conflict in which he must reconcile his feelings for Dolores as his soul mate and Dolores as his sworn enemy.
5. Are We Done With William?
And that pertains to both versions of the character, really. Is there any reason to check back with Jimmi Simpson's iteration of the character, or have we seen all that there is to see from Young William? (For his part, Simpson tells THR that he's not contracted for season two.) And what about Old Man William? The artist formerly known as the Man in Black sustains a gunshot wound to the arm once Wyatt's minions come out of the woods, leaving him with a satisfied grin on his face. Is it fair to assume he didn't survive the rest of the assault? Maybe, but that would be doing a disservice to William's proven abilities to dismantle hosts with ease. Granted, the hosts can really fight back now, but season one made it clear that we should never underestimate William.
6. Are We Done With Logan?
If we're done with Young William, then we're almost certainly done with Logan as well, at least as played by Ben Barnes. It's not impossible that Logan still exists in the present day. He could even be one of the board members trapped in the Escalante shooting rampage, or maybe he's visiting one of the other nearby parks. (More on that in a minute!) If we have an Old Man William, there's no reason we can't have an Old Man Logan, if you'll forgive the Wolverine of it all. It's a wonderful casting opportunity, too. Just to throw it out there: Bill Paxton, anyone?
7. Sizemore Dodged a Bullet, Didn't He?
Really, of every single character who could have gotten shot up in Escalante, the show decides to remove Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) from the violence? Somehow, the shallow storyteller evades true danger yet again. Though there's something delicious about the idea of Sizemore being all alone, trapped inside the veritable battle dome known as Westworld, with a sniveling season two reappearance all but guaranteed.
8. Where is Abernathy?
Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) intended to smuggle Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum) out of the park with Ford's I.P. installed in his brain. Clearly, she's distracted with other matters at the moment. Even still, Abernathy (and his fellow decommissioned hosts for that matter) is nowhere in sight when Sizemore goes to retrieve him. Where did he go? With all that sensitive intelligence swimming around in his brain, and only a modicum of personality to disguise him as vaguely human, Abernathy just became one of the show's most powerful walking-and-talking MacGuffins.
9. Where's Elsie?
The spirited technician, played by Shannon Woodward, disappeared in episode six. Later, Bernard experienced visions of choking his colleague, leaving he and viewers to assume the worst about Elsie. But there's some wiggle room there, right? She's not dead until we see the body. Sadly, the finale offers zero closure in this regard, leaving Elsie's fate completely unknown. Even if she's alive, she's out there in the park, waiting for capture at the hands of homicidal hosts.
10. Where's Stubbs?
Like Elsie, security director Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) was last seen under precarious circumstances, overpowered by members of the Ghost Nation. Anyone expecting the finale to feature Ashley and Elsie working together in some secret corner of the park was in for a disappointment, as Hemsworth's character was completely missing from the episode. As with Elsie, it's not lights out until we see some bodies… but it's worth being nervous.
11. How Afraid of Armistice Should We Be?
Let's go with "very, very, very afraid." The snake-tattooed Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) is so deadly that in a post-credits scene, she pulls a 127 Hours on her pinned arm and resumes killing humans without skipping a beat. As much as we want to root for the hosts to become conscious, characters like Armistice perfectly demonstrate the flip side of the coin — the destructive potential of such a powerful creature. Given that she's the final main character we see in the season, Armistice is positioned for a bigger role in the story next year, which can't be good news for anyone who crosses her path.
12. What's in Park 1 Sector 15 Zone 3?
This is where Maeve's (Thandie Newton) daughter is located, according to Felix. Against her initial instincts (or programming, as it were), Maeve decides to ditch her escape plan and stick around Westworld in order to reunite with the daughter she loved in her previous build. But the exact location of this character is mystifying on a couple of levels, the biggest one being this: Park 1. Which leads logically to a follow-up question...
13. How Many Parks Are There?
During her escape attempt, Maeve enters a facility emblazoned with an artfully designed "SW," a logo we have not seen up until this moment. As she travels inside, she sees Samurai warrior hosts sparring against one another. When asked to explain the situation, Felix can only offer two words: "It's complicated." A Facebook relationship status does not do the situation justice. We now know Westworld is not the only park on Westworld. And that's about all we know. The original film featured two additional parks, Medieval World and Roman World. Will they factor into the show's future, too?
14. Samurai World? Really?
It's worth taking a moment to pause down and appreciate the very real prospect of seeing Old Man William throw down with a bunch of Samurai hosts. Just picture the possibilities contained within a world based on Feudal Japan, as designed by the dreamer of dreams, Robert Ford. Not a bad mental image, is it? Samurai World might not be the one we deserve, but it's certainly one we need to see in season two.
15. Will We Ever See the Outside World?
Maeve was our best shot at getting our eyes on the way the world works outside the park. Now that she's ditched her escape plan, and now that the park is submerged in chaos, the odds of getting away from the Westworld of it all have significantly decreased. The show asks the audience to view the story through the hosts' perspective, too, so it's not especially likely we'll have a human character to guide us through life outside of the park. Unless…
16. Will Humans Become the New Hosts?
The host-guest relationship has been completely flipped on its head, with Ford's mechanical creations now capable of killing humans. Does that leave room to explore the victimization of the human guests in season two? The show's first year successfully expended energy on getting viewers to root for the hosts against the humans, but there's now potential to subvert that perspective, or at least add some nuance by introducing some new sympathetic human characters who are currently unwittingly trapped in the park.
17. Will Season Two of Westworld, like The Leftovers, Let the Mystery Be?
Throughout the season, fans were buzzing about a few elaborate theories that ultimately panned out: Bernard as a host, Bernard as an Arnold doppelgänger, and William as the Man in Black. In the latter example's case, some fans guessed William's true fate as early as the show's second episode. Will the way viewers unraveled the series' mysteries impact the way the story unfolds in season two? Perhaps, but even without the Monday morning quarterbacking factor, the show has reasons to start turning away from its maze-like narrative structure. Season one successfully answered several mysteries key to understanding the park's dense mythology. With those questions out of the way, the second season of Westworld is positioned to turn inward and explore the mysteries that are bound to spring from the impending actions of the hosts as they find their way in a dangerous new world.
What are your burning questions heading into Westworld season two? Sound off in the comments, and stay tuned to THR.com/Westworld for more on the finale.