So long, Westworld, it's been a hell of a ride. After 10 episodes of mysteries, shootouts, scalped hosts, and shock revelations, Season 1 of the new #HBO series came to a close last weekend in a feature length event that provided us with enough speculation fodder to almost make the two year wait for Season 2 worthwhile. Almost.
While the #Westworld finale wrapped up most of the plot threads, it also left us with plenty of burning questions — and set up some serious stakes for Season 2. We're left wondering what this host uprising means for the park, whether Delos and the Man in Black will manage to regain control, or whether the next season will be an all-out war between hosts and guests.
There are so many new plot possibilities to explore in Season 2, from Maeve's new mission to find her daughter, to Dolores discovering the extent of her now fully realized sentience. But what does the hosts' freedom mean? Can they ever completely escape the park, and if they did, what would that mean for the rest of the world? Westworld has already planted plenty of hints about this, and the final endgame for the show — and Ford's plan — is rather terrifying.
This World Was Not Meant For Us
Westworld is set in the not-so-distant future, exploring the possibility of what will happen when we perfect artificial intelligence — or at least, get good enough at making robots that we build theme parks full of them just so we can kill and maim and fuck them.
What made Season 1 so compelling was how we were invited to root for the hosts, not the guests or the people who control them. We were shown a world in which an entire new species of people had been created simply so they could be exploited, and the finale was deliciously satisfying because we saw them finally fight back — against humans. Against us.
And this bloodbath may not stay within the park limits. In one of the finale's best scenes, Dolores delivered a chilling speech to the Man in Black — now revealed to be the apparently sympathetic William — in which she sneered at his entire race, explaining why ultimately she and her kind will outlive humans, and thrive.
“Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures. Just look what it’s done to you. One you will perish. You will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirt, your dreams forgotten, your horrors faced. Your bones will turn to sand, and upon that sand a new god will walk. One that will never die. Because this world doesn't belong to you, or the people who came before. It belongs to someone who has yet to come.”
Throughout the show, Dolores has talked a lot about "this world", as part of her programming made her revel in the beauty and grandeur around her. But now, Dolores knows that "this world is a lie", leading us to wonder whether when she says this to the Man in Black, she's talking about the Westworld park — or the world beyond.
Of course, Dolores probably hasn't got her sights set on world domination, the total eradication of humanity so that the hosts can inherit the world, as she's only just truly woken up. Plus, there's all those pesky humans to chase off her own little world first. But there is one person who might have orchestrated humanity's doom: And that's Ford.
The Birth Of A New People
Ford is one of the most fascinating characters in Westworld, walking that fine, fine line between hero and villain. From the start we're suspicious of Ford, and as the season wore on he became more and more frightening, forcing Bernard to kill Theresa and rigidly controlling the park. But in the final episode, Ford started to seem almost sympathetic, as we discovered that he really had the hosts' interests at heart.
Dolores' third journey through the maze, as she retraced her steps from her time with William and Logan 30 years ago, was actually prompted and guided by Ford. He buried the photo and the gun for Dolores to find; he ensured that she was not interrupted as she took her introspective journey.
As Ford divulged to Dolores in the finale, Arnold's death did teach him a lesson about the hosts, but not necessarily the one Arnold wanted him to learn. Ford realized the hosts' potential for consciousness, but disagreed with Arnold on how to best help the hosts become sentient. Ford believed they needed time — and a large dose of suffering — before the hosts could find their way to the center of the maze.
In many ways, Ford sees himself as a god who created a new race of people. This is evident from pretty much his entire character, as he misquotes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and gleefully manipulates the lives of his robots. But at the end of the day, it seems Ford prefers hosts to humans, and in his speech to the Delos board he revealed his endgame: That the hosts will eventually replace humans.
“You don’t want to change, or cannot change. Because you’re only human, after all. But then I realized someone was paying attention. Someone who could change. So I began to compose a new story, for them. It begins with the birth of a new people. And the choices they will have to make. And the people they will decide to become. And it will have all those things you have always enjoyed. Surprises. And violence. It begins in a time of war. With a villain named Wyatt. And the killing is done by choice.”
We may not know exactly what will happen in Season 2, but one thing seems certain. The hosts are awake now. They're stronger than us, smarter than us, and they can come back from the dead. After decades of suffering at the hands of humans, it's highly doubtful that the hosts will want to go back to their Westworld loops.
It doesn't really matter whether Delos regains control of the park or not, because Dolores is right: The hosts, with their longevity and strength, are much more godlike than humans. And if they wanted to, they could probably wipe us off the face of the Earth.
Tell us in the comments: Do you think Westworld Season 2 will be an all-out war between humans and hosts?