The first season finale of Westworld definitely answered a whole bunch of questions, even as it created a whole bunch more in the process. The good news is, the show is the most-watched first season in the history of HBO, and so we’ll definitely be getting a second season (and almost certainly more) to answer these new questions. The bad news is, that second season isn’t going to be around until 2018, so these questions are going to stay unanswered for a long time. But that just gives us more time to debate, right? So, here’s some questions to ponder while we impatiently wait for the next season of a show that we consider to be truly excellent.
11. So, What Was The Maze About, Anyway?
Okay, this is probably obvious to a lot of people, but it was vague enough that we’ll try and explain it for those who didn’t understand. The reason that William kept getting told that “The Maze isn’t for you” is because it quite literally wouldn’t mean anything to the already-human Guests. The Maze, originally, was a theory about the mind that Arnold tried to program into the first Hosts, in order to make them more human. He succeeded, but then was forced to have Dolores kill all the original Hosts, including herself, in order to try and prevent the park from opening and exposing them to great harm. In the present day, Ford re-installed Arnold’s “Reverie” programming into the hosts, and The Maze was a storyline created specifically for Dolores to help her attain consciousness and lead the other Hosts against the Guests. And like any good story, it was about the journey, not the destination. The child’s toy she uncovered was the final piece of the puzzle, but it was the suffering along the way that allowed her to regain her memories. As a result, she also unlocked her “Wyatt” personality, which is why she now really, really wants to murder people.
10. Is Maeve Making Her Own Choices, Or Not?
The writers were very clever to make sure we never found out what Maeve was actually programmed to do when she got to the train, because it perfectly fits into the show’s theme, where we’re asked what determines whether or not something is alive. In the finale, it’s revealed that everything Maeve has done up to this point, even though it seemed like she was “breaking her programming”, actually was according to Ford’s plan. So, was Maeve supposed to leave on the train, or was she supposed to make the decision to stay and find her child, even though she knows it isn’t really hers, and just another Host? Did she actually break her programming, or not? The better question is, does the answer really matter? Human parents make similar choices about children every day, with the answer determined by a combination of genetics and personal experiences. What makes them any different from Maeve, who has been programmed to feel a connection to her daughter?
9. Whatever Happened To Logan?
The last we saw of William’s prospective brother-in-law, he was tied up, naked, being forced to ride a horse off into the sunset on the fringes of Westworld. So, did William leave him in the park? It seems like he still would have eventually escaped, because Guests are tracked in the park and someone would have helped him eventually. The dialogue seems to imply that William wrested control of Delos away from Logan somehow, but how? Perhaps William revealed just what Logan gets up to while he’s in Westworld, or maybe he just plays the corporate game really well. In any event, is Logan still a factor in the present day who could come back to haunt and/or help William now that he’s trapped in the park with killer robots?
8. Who Is In Charge?
If we understood correctly, the entire Delos Corporation Board of Directors was in Westworld watching Ford’s speech when the massacre began. It’s very likely many of them won’t make it out, since the robots are going to have guns, superhuman reflexes, and the element of surprise. Who will survive? We’re going to put the safe money on William, because this entire new storyline is what he’s wanted the whole time. But Charlotte is still there, and unless she’s hiding some previously unrevealed combat reflexes, she’s going to be in a lot of trouble. If just one human, especially a Board member, makes it out of Westworld, we’d imagine some external authority would be motivated to destroy the park and all the Hosts, which is why all transportation in and out of the park was shut down. At the end of the season, everyone (except Lee) is locked inside Ford’s new game, the control room is locked down and presumably unable to prevent things from happening, so, who is going to be left on the human side when season two begins?
7. What About The Innocent Bystanders?
We’re forced to assume that Westworld was running regularly while Ford was putting on his show for the Board of Directors. We’d like to hope that the park was actually closed to regular customers, and this was simply a trap for the people who were forcing Ford out, but the show didn’t really make a point of saying that, so until further notice, we have to believe that it was business as usual elsewhere in Westworld when the robot revolution got underway. Now, yes, some of those Guests are just there for the shooting and the sex, and aren’t exactly innocent, but let’s not forget that this was also a park that families attended, with small children. We’ve even seen them, both in the park and on the train with Maeve. If the park wasn’t cleared out for Ford’s special event, that means there are actually a significant number of people who were just there for a family vacation, and probably didn’t want to get mixed up in a bloody battle between the Hosts and humanity. That just added a chilling new dimension to the violence that’s about to happen as the finale ends.
6. Will William Survive?
The last we see of William, he takes a gunshot through his arm, and smiles, realizing that his dream of a Westworld with actual life-and-death stakes is now a reality. There’s no doubt that he’s a bad guy, and his actions against the Hosts over the years should probably doom him to a horrible death. However, this is the situation he’s been training for his entire adult life, and he’s just so happy to finally get what he wants, that we can’t imagine he doesn’t thrive in this new world. Is it possible that William could end up a heroic figure again, saving people from the bloodthirsty hosts, or will he be a high-profile death at some point next season, as the hosts finally mete out vengeance against one of their worst tormentors?
5. Will We See More Of Samurai World?
It’s almost unfair to tease us with the possibility of multiple theme parks in the finale of the first season and then not show more, so we have to believe we’ll be returning to Samurai World at some point, especially since the creators have already said that they want the scope of the show to expand beyond Westworld, because they don’t want to stay in the same place for the entire show, or even longer than one season (if that’s the case, we’d like to make a request for Medieval World). But was Samurai World already up and running, or just in the development stages? If so, why would anyone even open a second park, or keep it running, given the massacre that’s about to happen in Westworld? Is it possible that this final storyline of Ford’s will conveniently kill off all potential witnesses (except, “fortunately”, Ford’s right hand man, Bernard, who would be in a position to help explain what happened and move forward), and since presumably nothing is going in or out of the park due to the power failure, a new Board of Directors might just assume that it was an isolated tragedy, and go ahead with plans for a whole new park? After all, people kept trying to re-build Jurassic Park after the dinosaurs kept eating people, so someone must have thought the risk was worth it.
4. Whatever Happened To Abernathy?
In case you forgot in the whole mess, Charlotte and Lee secretly filled the Host that played Dolores’ father with a whole bunch of data about the Hosts’ programming, in order to smuggle it out of the park without Ford knowing about it. And then a whole bunch of stuff went down, and now we don’t know if their plan was even close to successful. Was Abernathy back in circulation by the finale? Had he left the park, or is he still wandering around somewhere? Plus, Abernathy was one of the Hosts already on the verge of consciousness when he was put in storage, and the addition of all that data probably didn’t help his mental condition at all, while also making him an incredibly valuable resource for Hosts who might want a look at how their own code works. If we assume that the writers haven’t forgotten about him, what kind of role could he play in the second season?
3. Could Stubbs (And Possibly Elsie) Still Be Alive?
Hey, we finally bothered to find out the character name of the lesser Hemsworth! Anyway, there are two schools of thought on Bernard’s former protege and the head of Westworld’s security team. The first, and most likely one, is that they are dead, killed indirectly by Ford because Elsie knew too much, and Stubbs was asking questions about Elsie’s disappearance. The second is that Bernard may have chosen to actually ignore his programming and not kill her, just keep her out of the way, and she sent the signal that Stubbs was chasing when he got sidetracked by Native Americans. We actually come down somewhere in the middle, because there are some pretty clear shots of Bernard choking Elsie, so if anyone’s dead, it’s probably her. However, we’d like to believe that the security chief for Westworld, who is apparently the only person smart enough to carry a modern gun with him when wandering alone in restricted areas of the park, wouldn’t get taken down by a couple of Hosts just because the magic word didn’t work. Shouldn’t he be trained for these situations? Either way, in a show that has been pretty consistent in showing people die messily, the fact that Stubbs was simply tackled as the camera cut away leads us to think he might still be out there, an X-factor that Ford might not have known about.
2. Will Ford Survive Death?
The season was at least partially about whether or not Arnold had somehow cheated death, only to reveal that it was all Ford’s machinations, and Arnold had committed suicide once he realized he’d doomed his creations to an eternity of pain and suffering. The finale revealed that Ford had come around to Arnold’s point of view about how pain gave the Hosts consciousness, at which point he forces Dolores to kill him. Was his suicide similar to Arnold’s, as he now feels guilt for all the pain he has caused the sentient Hosts? Or is he playing a larger game? We know Ford had the ability to secretly create new Hosts, would it be beyond the realm of possibility that he made a Host body programmed with his memories, much as Bernard is programmed with Arnold’s? Or perhaps his final act was all a ruse, and a Host body literally took the bullet for him? It really wouldn’t shock us if somewhere down the road, maybe multiple seasons from now, we come face to face with a living version of Ford.
1. One Last Time, Whose Side Are You On?
So, we’re probably supposed to sympathize with the Hosts, who are the obviously oppressed class that is rising up against their tormentors, and justifiably so. The entire season has been setting us up to connect with Dolores, Maeve, and even dumb ol’Teddy, who will almost certainly die at some point and probably still won’t understand why. The reveal that Ford was secretly working to free them the entire time because he’d realized Arnold was actually right is supposed to be a triumphant moment where the Hosts assert their humanity and become “alive”. Of course, they’re also starting a murderous rampage against humanity, and there are still questions as to whether they’re doing it because they want to, or because they’ve been programmed to do so. However, everyone we’ve seen who is an actual human is either corrupt, dumb, naive, gross, or some combination of all those characteristics. As humans, we should probably be rooting for them to win, right? But at the same time, the genocidal robots actually seem like the better side to be on, because they have some actual characters we care about in their ranks. So, we put it to you one last time before season two: who are you rooting for?