Analysis Mode: The Grand Unifying Theory for the Westworld Season 1 Finale
Westworld Season 1, Ep 10 | Airs Dec 4
With the creative mights of some of the best known twist makers in Hollywood behind it, Westworld has immediately become a show that fans pour over in search of hints, easter eggs, and spoilers. With that in mind, we forgo our usual preview in favor of a consideration of the biggest twists the finale may have to offer. Now entering... Analysis Mode.
About 35 Years Before the Events Seen in Season 1, Episode 1 The Original
Ford and Arnold begin working on the park. The hosts pass the Turing test. Arnold wants more and begins attempting to bootstrap consciousness with the Bicameral Mind. The Bicameral Mind, if it worked, would possibly give the robots true human consciousness. Instead of being stuck on a never ending loop, responding only to inputs given by park employees or guests, the Hosts would be able to consider their actions and decide what they wanted to do. As Arnold continues his work to create Hosts with full consciousness, he is working with one host in particular: Dolores. Those meetings are shown to us when Jeffry Wright, as Arnold, meets with Dolores in the glass room under the church- a location which will eventually become known as the center of The Maze. His work is progressing well until his partner, Ford (Hopkins), has Dolores kill him.
About 30 Years Before the Events Seen in Season 1, Episode 1 The Original
Ford opens the park in Beta to potential investors, including William and Logan who are there representing the Delos corporation. Logan is interested in buying a larger stake in the park to round out the holdings Delos already has in other, similar, high end amusement parks around the world. On their visit to the park, William meets Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) who has had foundational work laid for her towards the development of the Bicameral Mind. Because of this pre-work, Dolores hears Arnold's voice in her mind, encouraging her to do things. This is one half of the Bicameral Mind. Unfortunately, she does not yet have the ability to couch her thoughts- or Arnold's commands- into the context of her own memories. She frequently tells William that Arnold wants her to do something because she is hearing Arnold's voice as the subconscious commands that make up the first half of her bicameral mind.
"These violent delights have violent ends"
William's adventures with Dolores eventually take him to Escalante. Upon arriving in the exact same place where she used to speak directly with Arnold, who she considers to be akin to God, Dolores loses her bicameral mind. She starts shooting everybody. William and Teddy (James Marsden) join in to protect her. Also present in some capacity is a Shakespeare obsessed Peter Abernathy (Bradford Tatum), whose reaction to the massacre is to declare that "These violent delights have violent ends". It's an absolute massacre that the park is not prepared for while still in Beta. Employees of the park have to swarm in and shut this nonsense down for the safety of the guests. All hosts, including Dolores, have to be shut down and gutted. They'll all need full overhauls so that whatever bug just happened can be reset. Fearing this means the end of his relationship with Dolores, William speaks for the company. He will buy a majority stake in the park. And Dolores will not be reset.
About 15 Years Before the Events Seen in Season 1, Episode 1 The Original
After 30 years of dancing around corporate oversight and liaisons from the Board, Ford is tired. The guests change, but they're all really the same person. The Hosts have been improved slightly, but they're all essentially the same as they were back when Delos bought the park. The day to day nature of his job requires him to be too hands on. He doesn't have the time in the day to step back and see the big picture of what Westworld is and where it is going. So he decides he needs an assistant to help with the day to day. He creates a Host modeled after his partner Arnold. Bernard, as he will be called (also Jeffery Wright), will handle the coding, the problems with the Hosts, the Board and it's problems. This way, Ford will be able to focus on a mission that will actually interest him: continuing Arnold's work on the Bicameral Mind.
Beginning with the Events Seen in Season 1, Episode 1 The Original
William's wife has died. He is heartbroken by her passing, but also by the man he has become since he first came to Westworld. When the got engaged he was a good man, content with his lot in life. When he left the park he was filled with the rage of over-ambition. The anger that comes from wanting something he knows he cannot have. He desperately tried to work against this by creating charities for the sick and impoverished, but the feeling lurked. His wife and daughter recognized this anger in him. When his wife died, his daughter abandoned him and he was left with nothing. So, putting a picture of his wife in his pocket (the same picture, in fact, that his brother-in-law Logan gave him on his first visit to the park) he returned to the park to try and get that thing he cannot have. He believes that if he can solve Arnold's puzzle, he can unlock the secrets to reminding Dolores who he is and who they were together.
Meanwhile, Ford has begun work on what he calls Reveries. The cover that Ford gives is that these Reveries are supposed to improve the humanity of the hosts by giving them access to their past incarnations. Through this backdoor access, the Hosts will be able to improvise better and to make more realistic gestures. However, it will also give them access to their own memories. By unlocking this memory bank for them, Ford has constructed the second half of the bicameral mind. The Hosts can now have thoughts, in the form of Arnold's voice commands, which they can contextualize within Ford's Reveries. They can think. They can choose to stay on a loop or get off it. They can choose to obey a command or ignore it. They have been given consciousness. They just need a significantly traumatic event to trigger the fully formed Bicameral Mind.
William, now dressed all in black (and played by Ed Harris), begins to try and activate the Bicameral Mind. He does not want to start with Dolores though, because if he fails he will have destroyed the last thing in the world he cares about. Instead, he finds Maeve alone with her daughter in the prairie. He kills them both. But before Maeve dies, he sees a glimmer of life in her eyes. He says as much to Teddy later on in the series. "She was alive" he says by a campfire. Having discovered how to activate his robot lover, he goes to her on her new loop- where she is kept in check by Teddy who is reprogrammed as Dolores' lover to keep her on her loop, shoots Teddy, and tells Dolores that they are going to "start at the beginning". He drags her into the barn (does not rape her!) and activates her Bicameral Mind.
Ford rejects the new story created by Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the park's head of narrative in favor of his own story. He will be overhauling the park to make it look like what it did 30 years ago. Working with Bernard has made him nostalgic. He regrets ordering Dolores to kill Arnold. He wants to honor his friend's legacy before he dies. So, in addition to pursuing the Bicameral Mind, he has begun to reset the park to its original layout. He has uncovered the church, which was the entrance to the lab where Arnold did his experiments with Dolores, and has built a storyline about "Wyatt" into the narrative of the park.
Dolores is a robot who has suddenly developed the ability to remember things, which can be a bit confusing. So Dolores perceives her memories to essentially be time travel. One minute she is by a river with William saving a Confederate soldier. The next, she is on her own by the same river which is now filled with dead bodies. One minute she is walking through the woods, the next she is stumbling through those same woods with a slash through her stomach and blood all over her shirt. The dissonance between her programming and her newfound memories cause her to go off her loop and return to Escalante, which has recently been rebuilt by Ford.
William and Dolores converge on the entrance to the maze. William finds out that he cannot reset Dolores to her original state. Or maybe he can and her memories of him are just as poisoned as his wife's were. It is also revealed that Dolores is Wyatt. Wyatt's gang descends on Escalante and they start a new massacre. This time Ford is killed by Dolores. With the Hosts having developed a Bicameral Mind and no Ford left to stop them, the park becomes a war zone. Dolores and her gang begin activating as many hosts as they can while park officials and guests hide for the safest places they can find and William is once again caught in an unclear moral middle-ground. Role end credits and begin the countdown for Season 2.