It almost feels like we’ve been in a deep and dreamless slumber for the past nine weeks, and the “Westworld” season finale airing Sunday may finally pull us out of our loops. It’s been a heckuva first go so far for the HBO series, and co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have set the finale up to dole out some major revelations. Not to mention that time Evan Rachel Wood, aka Dolores, told us the last two episodes will leave you “with your heart broken and mind blown.”
While we prepare to say goodbye to our new friends, both human and host (at least until Season 2), let’s look back at the biggest reveals from the show.
Warning: Spoilers for “Westworld” Episodes 1-9 ahead.
There are at least a couple of timelines at play.
A major theory that fans have floated around since the introduction of William (Jimmi Simpson) was that the show was following multiple timelines. Many theorized that William and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) are one and the same. Need proof? Notice that the Westworld logos are different in William’s and the Man in Black’s respective scenes, and they’re seen carrying similar knives, to name just two examples. As some have pointed out on Reddit, the Man in Black once claimed that, in a way, he was born in the park. Seems pretty in line with William’s revelation in Episode 7, where he sees how the park had allowed him to “glimpse a life” where he could be “truly alive.”
While we can’t say for sure that the Man in Black is William, we know that they’re not in the park at the same time, based on the hosts’ roles in their scenes. Take, for instance, the host who originally ushered William into Westworld, who is seen in early Arnold-era scenes of the park, and later as one of Wyatt’s crew by the time the Man in Black is in town.
Vulture has a good rundown of the show’s multiple timelines if you still have questions.
Bernard is a host.
Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) right-hand man behind the scenes is ... dun dun dun ... one of his own creations! After living under the safe assumption that Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) was a real guy who led Delos’ programming division, wooed Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) in his spare time, and often missed his wife and dead son, Episode 8 blew the lid off that idea.
All the tragedy that made Bernard feel “real” was simply Ford’s storytelling. When Bernard questioned why he would knowingly cause such pain, Ford explained that having a sad past to remember and revisit made his creations more realistic. Yeesh.
Episode 9 ends with Ford directing Bernard to shoot himself in the head, but he’s a host, so ... maybe he’ll be back for the finale?
Bernard was made in the image of Arnold.
Not only is Bernard a fancy robot, we learn in Episode 9 that he was also created because Ford missed his buddy and Westworld co-founder, Arnold. (In some ways, Bernard is probably more useful to Ford, considering he’s under Ford’s complete control.)
We learn early on that Arnold died around 34 years ago in the park — prior to its opening to the public. However, multiple hosts throughout the series are seen “talking” to Arnold, implying that he still has an influence on them.
It appears Arnold’s connection to Dolores is the strongest. Scenes we previously thought were between Bernard and Dolores, where they are facing each other in a clinical-seeming room, are actually depicting Arnold and Dolores (!). Throughout the series, we learn Arnold and Ford had different intentions for the hosts — Arnold, in particular, wanted them to feel human emotions fully and have memories to inform those feelings.
In Episode 4, Bernard/Arnold tells Dolores, “There’s something I’d like you to try. It’s a game. A secret. It’s called the Maze.” He explains that if she can find the center of it, she’ll “be free.” It stands to reason, then, that scenes we see of Dolores’ journeys both with William and by herself are her attempts to follow the Maze, whether she knows it consciously or not.
Hosts “relive” their memories.
We now know that hosts — Dolores, Maeve (Thandie Newton) and now Bernard in particular — don’t experience memory in the same way humans do. While we recall a past time and are able to fuzzily imagine it, hosts feel as though they are actually living it once again. Knowing this, once-jarring cuts to Maeve’s previous narrative as a homesteader, or the quick flashes where Dolores is with William one moment then alone the next, sort of make sense.
Sylvester, the Delos tech who is often at odds with Maeve’s schemes, explained to her that “your mind isn’t like ours. When we remember things, the details are hazy, imperfect, but you recall memories perfectly. You relive them.” This information reinforces the idea of multiple timelines. If Dolores’ flashbacks are crystal-clear, then all of her scenes with William could be only memories.
Dolores killed Arnold.
Throughout the series, we learn that Westworld co-creator Arnold died before the park ever opened to the public. The circumstances of his death, however, were always mysterious.
Dolores’ journey back to the town with the church triggers memories she has of her long-ago meetings with Arnold in the hidden room beneath the landmark. As she sits in the same chair where she once faced her creator, she suddenly has the capacity to “remember,” as Arnold always urged her to do: She was the one to kill him. Whether or not this was intentional on Arnold’s part is still unknown.
Along these same lines, we’re almost certain that Wyatt, the bad guy Teddy (James Marsden) really, really wants to find, is a stand-in for Dolores. It seems Dolores was behind the massacre the show often shows in flashbacks, and that the memory of this was altered for Teddy.
Maeve is assembling an “army.”
Once Maeve gained sentience, she realized she wanted to GTFO of the park. We last see her recruiting outlaw Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) as her henchman and having sex with him in a flaming tent — you know, just normal stuff — in order for the two hosts to reach “hell” together.
In previews for the season finale, Maeve makes it down to cold storage (a group of decommissioned hosts who just seem to be waiting for an opportunity to turn into an angry robot horde, TBH), so we can only imagine how far she gets in her plan.
The Man in Black knows Charlotte Hale (the Delos board member).
Until now, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) has been imposing her will behind the scenes, but we finally see her enter the park in Episode 9. There, she runs into none other than the Man in Black and ... they know each other?! We learn the Man in Black, who is a wealthy philanthropist IRL, is a fellow board member and totally indifferent to helping Charlotte oust Ford. This is his fucking vacation, Charlotte, geez!
Stubbs is ... in trouble.
Is no one checking on the security head (Luke Hemsworth) after he gets captured by Ghost Nation? Is everything in shambles? On that same track, are we sure Elsie (Shannon Woodward) is really super dead at the hands of Bernard, or just, like, pretty dead?
Logan’s situation isn’t looking too good, either.
We last see the show’s most lovable jerk (Ben Barnes) being held down by William, who just massacred an entire camp of hosts, holding a knife to his throat. “He had it coming!” you might say. But does Logan really deserve to die, even if he did butcher William’s favorite sentient host in a supremely disturbing manner? We’ll have to wait to see what Episode 10 has to tell us.
The season finale of “Westworld” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.