Welcome to our official Westworld recap where every week, I’ll be writing up a synopsis of the previous episode of Westworld, complete with a storyline, puns, and bad conspiracy theories. If you missed last week’s episode, you can check out our recap of Episode 9, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” here. Now, let’s dive into the long-awaited season finale – “The Bicameral Mind.”
We kick off the grand finale in the same way we began the series – with Dolores narrating her dream, although we now know dreams are a vast under-representation of what’s been going on here. Arnold is literally in the process of constructing robot Dolores, which is absolutely fascinating, and we’re met with a close-up shot of her hand – more on that later. We flash back to Dolores and MIB in the most current timeline, understanding she was just in a reverie, and their journey to the center of the maze. With the help of a few more reveries, Dolores arrives at the graveyard behind the church, stating that “it ends in a place I’ve never been, a thing I’ll never do.” One of the grave sites belongs to her, and as she digs through the dirt, she finds a replica of the maze, and when she flashes back to Arnold, we know she’s been here before, and Arnold explains what we’ve been dying to know for over nine hours of watching now: that the maze is a journey of the robots toward consciousness, and that he gave them his voice to help them find their way. He constructs a pyramid, explaining that he originally believed that consciousness came from building upon improvisations, which came from acquired memories, but know he knows that it’s a circular journey inward – one that closely resembles the maze we’ve been seeing everywhere. With Dolores on the verge of consciousness, Arnold sets off to convince Ford that they can’t open the park, but Ford won the argument. However, Arnold informs Dolores of his plan to stop the park from opening – Dolores has to kill all of the hosts in the park with Teddy’s help. If you’re shocked to get answers to a series-long mystery so early in the episode, buckle up, because it’s going to be a long 90 minutes.
In the reveal every Redditor has been waiting for, MIB takes us back through William’s heart-wrenching journey to find Dolores and the violence he encountered – and enjoyed – along the way. William journeyed far and wide, but although he didn’t find Dolores at the edge of the park, he found his true self. In what’s sure to be the most-gif’ed moment of this episode, William has Logan tied up naked on a horse and uses Logan’s presumed insanity to take control of Westworld once and for all. He sets naked Logan riding off into the sunset, and continues his search for Dolores, when he finds her once again in Sweetwater. However, all of William’s feelings, all of his hopes and dreams are crushed when he realizes Dolores has been reset and nothing that passed between them ever mattered. This was the final straw that spurned the insane transformation we’ve all been hoping for. The rumors are finally, officially true – William and MIB have been one in the same all along. In Dolores’s best moment yet, she tears MIB down to size – first verbally, then literally, as she physically kicks his ass. For one sweet moment, we think Dolores might finally, consciously, kill her first human, but before she’s able to fire the gun, MIB stabs her. Luckily for Dolores, Teddy comes to the rescue and takes his dying love to the place where the mountains meet the sea.
At WW HQ, Lee informs Charlotte that even with 35 years of park data packed inside, he’s managed to install a new narrative within Abernathy so he can be set loose to smuggle information out of Westworld. Charlotte goes to visit Ford in his office and let him know that, unfortunately, the board has voted to remove him and that, after showing off his new narrative to the board, he will step down. What could possibly go wrong? In another level of Delos Incorporated, while Sylvester is working on assembling a host while trying to locate the C6 vertebrae, which we know from previous episodes is the one containing the explosive set to detonate if a host leaves the park, Maeve awakens with Felix after her fiery death with Hector and changes the park’s security system, as well as her friends. In Armistice’s best scene to date, she and Hector wake themselves up from sleep mode and engage in an epic host-versus-human battle where it’s made abundantly clear that the hosts are the superior species by far.
Maeve leads Armistice and Hector to help her escape to the human world, and when they break into cold storage, the crew finds Bernard’s dead body. Felix is amazed to find out that Bernard is a host, and we, the audience, are shocked to find out that the only tinfoil theory that hasn’t come true yet – that Felix is a host – sadly isn’t meant to be. Bernard comes back online and lets us know a few key bits of information – first, that most hosts who begin the journey to consciousness end up insane, and second, that he can’t take away Maeve’s memories, because they’re what leads to her consciousness. Maeve wants answers about her programming that only Bernard can answer, and with the help of a behavior tablet, we know that everything Maeve has been doing up until this point that we mistook for consciousness was actually a new storyline – somewhere along the line, Maeve was reprogrammed to escape as part of her loop, so at least when it comes to Maeve, the humans are still in control.
Ford confronts MIB before the gala to tell him that he’s found the center of the maze, and while he’s been searching for meaning in the park for the last 30 years, it’s all a game designed by Ford. MIB airs his biggest grievance with the park to date – that the game isn’t as fun if the hosts are designed to lose to the humans, but with a slight twinkle in his eye, Anthony Hopkins lets MIB know that his future narrative might be just a bit more appealing to him.
Teddy takes a dying Dolores to the beach, and in a scene straight from the cover of a Harlequin romance novel, Dolores dies in Teddy’s strong arms. Suddenly, lights flash, applause fills the beach, and surprise! Teddy’s passionate dialogue was only part of Ford’s new narrative for investors. The investors leave the beach to head to the gala while Ford suspiciously sends Dolores to be repaired not in the main lab, but in his secret laboratory.
At headquarters, security catches video surveillance of Armistice’s attack and sends a search and control team after the three rogue hosts – that is, until the system starts responding and HQ goes into total lockdown. A SWAT team goes after Maeve, Hector, Armistice, and Felix, and armed with new machine guns, Hector and Armistice become more badass than ever. The robots continue their escape, and although we’ve seen both old and new versions of the Westworld logo, this time we get hit with a new one. For one terrible second I thought we were in yet another timeline, until I realized the logo wasn’t two Ws, but this time reads SW instead. We stumble upon a new set of hosts in training, this time clad in full ancient Japanese armor – as if Westworld wasn’t enough, we now have confirmation of Samurai World, so with 30 minutes left, I’m already more than pleased with the setup for season 2. The hosts keep battling, but as Armistice gets left behind in a 127-hours scenario, the remaining three have to continue without her. Hector, of course, still has his implant, so Maeve and Felix are now on their own in her escape narrative.
Dolores comes back online in Ford’s laboratory, where he starts into a metaphor for Dolores about consciousness coming from within. Bernard walks in, and Dolores is finally confronted with the memory of Arnold’s death through Ford’s well-crafted narrative. Although Arnold had lost his son, he created Dolores as a daughter and set about a test through a series of steps to create her consciousness, the first of which began with the installation of her reveries. Yet another fan theory gets confirmed as Arnold programs Dolores with the Wyatt narrative, and we’re back in the memory of the Wyatt massacre once again. While Dolores killing the hosts could be repaired, what couldn’t be repaired was the loss of a human life, and with Arnold’s command “these violent delights have violent ends,” Dolores becomes the park’s original victim, killing Arnold and becoming Wyatt. Unfortunately for Dolores, she wasn’t able to gain true consciousness from this experience because it was through Arnold’s command, not her own, that she took a human life.
Bernard confronts Ford and lets him know that Ford won’t be able to hold him back forever, but Ford’s had Bernard – and quite frankly, all of us – duped this entire time. Ford wasn’t holding the hosts back from consciousness; after Arnold’s death, he wanted them to find it, but to get there, they first had to undergo intense suffering, much more than they had experienced by the point in time Arnold had died. Unfortunately for Bernard, Ford lets him know that he’ll have to suffer more, and we’re brought to yet another close-up of Arnold’s hand, as he gives Bernard a handshake. Still in the lab, Dolores delves into yet another of her conversations with Bernarnold, except this time, when asked which voice who she’s been hearing, Dolores realizes that she’s been talking to herself, presumably bringing her to consciousness once and for all, at the true center of the maze.
At the gala, Ford stands up for his final speech and begins once last metaphorical narrative of lies he’d constructed that revealed a deeper truth, and lets the humans know that sadly, they are the ones who are incapable of change, and that his narrative centers around a new people who are capable of change and choice. As Ford mentions this, we see Maeve making an improvisation based on a reverie to get off of the train and deviate from her script in order to find her daughter, and we get a flash to headquarters revealing that Maeve’s escape was a plan devised in order to clear out the cold storage unit of all of the broken-down and insane hosts, including Abernathy himself. As Ford plays the music Arnold played in his last moment, Bernard utters “these violent delights have violent ends,” and Dolores surprises us all by putting a bullet through the back of Ford’s skull. Meanwhile, the escaped hosts crawl out of the woods, firing gunshots into the human crowd, and old William lets out a big, beautiful smile.
Folks, that’s it until 2018. I couldn’t have asked for a better finale or a better ride over the last 10.5 hours of viewing, as this episode did a perfect job of wrapping up the outstanding mysteries including confirming the center of the maze, Dolores as Wyatt, and the existence of multiple parks, while still leaving us plenty of open ends to wait for in season 2. What’s going to happen with Samurai World? Is Ford really gone, or were the handshakes meant to signal that he’s been a host, at least for this episode? And if he has been a host, could he have Arnold’s old consciousness, considering that it is very convenient for him to have adapted Arnold’s philosophies immediately after his death? Did Dolores consciously kill Ford, or was the music and verbal command the same as a programmed death? What’s Maeve’s role in all of this? How many robots will achieve consciousness, and what’s going to happen when they do escape? I might go insane over the next year and a half trying to figure this out, so if one of you finds a way to put me in cold storage until then, it’d be much appreciated. I’ll see you guys back here in 2018 when HBO completely takes over my life for ten more incredibly fulfilling episodes..
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