November 29, 2016

Westworld - Pre Finale Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to write about Westworld all season. I guess this is my last chance to hypothesize and speculate before we are given all the answers[1]. I wish I had written my thoughts from episode one. There have been so many theories. It would be fun to look back on.

It is hard to believe the first season of Westworld is almost over, especially since we know it won’t be coming back for a year and a half. I have been sucked into the Westworld vortex. I have gone down the rabbit hole. I’ve thought so much about Westworld it feels like I have been watching for much longer than 9 weeks.

I have throughly enjoyed the experience of watching Westworld week to week then reading reviews online and even listening to a podcast each week. When I get this involved in a tv show I tend to build it up to a point where it can no longer meet my expectations. For the most part I felt like I was avoiding this with Westworld. However, that changed after episodes 8 & 9. As they started wrapping things up I started to lose confidence in an amazing ending.

Episode 8 (Trace Decay) had a lot of awkward exposition, especially from the “Man in Black”. He was my favorite character for the first half of the season, but has quickly lost whatever it was that made him interesting. He does feel like the one wildcard that isn’t under Ford’s complete control. I’m holding out hope the Man in Black has a satisfying ending.

I am firmly on board with the theory that the show we have been watching is taking place in (at least) two timelines. The William & Logan timeline took place 30 years before the current timeline; where the rest of the show takes place. I also believe William from 30 years ago is the Man in Black in present day.

Up until this past episode I believed that Arnold was never an actual person. That has all but been disproven now. I believe we have seen the rail Arnold speaking with Dolores and we just assumed it was Bernard.

Here is a bullet list of thoughts going into the finale.
  • I feel like episode 9 further confirmed the multiple timelines theory. It also appears that Dolores is retracing the steps of the look she took with William (aka Man in Black) 30 years before. It also appears she has made this same “loop” several times.
  • From the moment we found out Bernard was a host I believed that he was created in the image of Arnold. That was confirmed. What is more confusing than ever is when Bernard was created. I had initially believed he was created shortly after Arnold died. Based on episode 9 it seems like he may have been created as recently as 5–10 years ago.
  • I have a hunch that Ford’s new storyline has a much greater scope than what we see with Teddy & Wyatt. I think everything that is happening is somehow Ford’s doing… including all of the Maeve and Dolores stuff. The Man in Black is the only thing that isn’t Ford pulling the strings.
  • I think the maze is not a physical place. I think the maze is a sequence of events that the Man in Black has been trying to get to match up for a while now. All of the character loops have to align for him to find the center of the maze. I don’t know what is there, but I think Arnold will be present.
  • I think Dolores is Wyatt. I am not sure how to explain this one. I don’t have a lot of evidence. I think the massacre at Escalante that Teddy and Dolores remember actually happened, and Dolores was the killer. I am not sure of the circumstances where she kills Arnold though. If this is true and Dolores went crazy and killed everybody… why hasn’t she been decommissioned?
  • I think Maeve is setting up to carry out a similar massacre. I’m not sure how it will all go down, but I would not be surprised to see Maeve walk in and start mowing people down.
  • Is Elsie dead?
  • Are all of the workers that program and repair hosts themselves hosts?
  • Will the picture of the maze be explained? We have seen it so many times at this point.
  • Is anybody actually smuggling data out of the park? Who?
  • Why don’t we ever see Dolores’s mother?
  • What is the story behind the gun? What is its significance. I think we will definitely get that answer.
  • What did Dolores do to make Ford so mad at her? 
This season of Westworld has delivered some of the greatest moments of tv I have seen in the last couple of years. These moments have been sandwiched between bewildering dialog and awkward plotting. I have excused most of it because I don’t know the end. Maybe it all has a purpose and will come together to be a cohesive narrative. Maybe it will be a disappointment. We will find out next week. Either way, I have really enjoyed watching this season.

  1. I don’t believe for a second we will get all the answers in the finale.  ↩

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