Well, it’s been nine weeks, and we’ve finally arrived in the home stretch of Westworld‘s debut season. It’s been an interesting run of episodes for the fledgling series, with a level of intrigue rivaled only by its HBO contemporary, Game of Thrones. Many of its major plot points have been shrouded in mystery early on, and fans have taken that as their cue to wildly theorize. Suffice it to say, it’s been a god damn blast. So now that we’re mere days away from the season finale, what’s finally going to happen? Based on what we’ve seen so far, we have a pretty solid idea.
1. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Arnold’s death
The big reveal for Westworld‘s penultimate episode confirmed what many fans have thought for awhile: That Bernard is in fact a host double of Arnold, the park’s original co-founder. We also now know that Dolores was the one who killed him, although the exact circumstances surrounding that are entirely unclear. Did Dr. Ford program Dolores to take Arnold out of the equation? Or was it Arnold’s own creation turning on him?
Odds are we’ll find out the answers to those questions in the finale, with the series having already dropped a few hints in recent episodes. For now, the key to it all seems to be Dolores, now that she’s begun to recover her lost memories from decades ago.
2. Maeve’s quest for freedom
Of all the various story threads in Westworld, Maeve’s has been the most problematic. Somehow, we’re expected to believe that a host was able to coerce two low-level techs into entirely resetting her programming, to the extent that she can straight up control every other host in existence. How a park with security that’s immediately aware every time one of its androids has an unscripted sneeze doesn’t notice this is difficult to fathom, and yet here we are.
That brings us to Maeve’s goal: To escape Westworld entirely, ushering her fellow hosts out into the world to live their own lives outside of their predetermined loops. The early teaser for the finale shows Maeve disguised in a simple black dress, still holding the leash for Westworld’s two stupidest employees. One quick frame from the teaser makes it look like she makes it as far as the train that exits the park, so she’ll get pretty far in her escape attempt before it’s all said and done.
3. The grand reveal for Ford’s new narrative
We’ve been hearing Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) talk about his new narrative all season. Giant construction equipment has even been shown clearing a sizable space inside the park, telling us that it will be absolutely enormous (both in size and stature). Ford has demonstrated that he will go so far as cold-blooded murder to bring his narrative to life too, killing Theresa, Elsie, and Bernard in the process. What about his narrative is that important though? In a park that’s basically a large-scale audience-participatory stage play, it’s not entirely clear what the significance of Ford’s new story is. All we know is that its creation carries massive stakes for most of the show’s major characters.
4. William’s transformation into the Man in Black
With each passing episode, the theory that claims William (Jimmi Simpson) is a younger version of the Man in Black (Ed Harris) begins to make more and more sense. The most recent one showed him finally going full black-hat, slaughtering a group of hosts, in a move so heartless it even terrified his decidedly violent traveling companion, Logan. William may have entered Westworld a naive idealist, but he seems to have made the full transformation into a villain. Thirty years in the future, it’s not hard to see him becoming the jaded, obsessive Man in Black, determined to make his way into the center of the park’s mysterious maze. All that’s left is for the finale to confirm his identity.
5. No, the finale won’t end on a cliffhanger
After The Walking Dead infuriated an entire fanbase at the end of its sixth season, it sent a message to all showrunners concerning the proper use of cliffhanger endings. Thankfully, Westworld‘s own creators got that memo loud and clear. The information we currently have tells us that the first season will be decidedly more closed-ended, with Jimmi Simpson confirming as much in a recent interview. “It’s not some bullsh*t cliffhanger where you’re like, ‘Oh f**k, what now?'” he promised, claiming that it’s more in the realm of “‘Oh my God, thank you, and I can’t wait for more.'” Given that we’ll have to wait until 2018 for new episodes, it’s nice knowing we’ll get some semblance of closure at the end of Season 1.
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