Despite committing yourself to over 10 hours of HBO's latest series Westworld, there's still a good chance that following that dramatic finale episode you still have absolutely no fucking clue what you just watched unfold.
Sure, it was all very enjoyable - I mean it is a TV series about sentient androids, set simultaneously in the past and the future (in more ways than one!) but what the devil actually happened? Well, fear not friend because below lies the answers to your queries, jump aboard this high speed train because we're about to depart for Sweetwater and explain the Season 1 ending of #Westworld.
What the hell was Ford's endgame?
Shortly before Ford gave his speech the members of the board there was a scene between Ford and Bernard inside the white church. Bernard, believing Ford to be an evil man, told him that eventually he would lose control of the park and hosts. But it was then that Ford revealed to Bernard that actually he was on the same side of Arnold and the hosts, something that he only figured out after the death of friend, Arnold. While Ford believed, like Arnold, that the hosts should have more of a purpose than just being the play-things of rich humans, unlike Arnold, Ford realized that the only way that the hosts could truly be alive was to first gather memories of suffering at the hands of humans.
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So, for 30 years Ford opened his park up to the public and for 30 years the hosts were raped, murdered, injured and maimed repeatedly at the hands of the human guests. Ford told Bernard this interaction gave the hosts "time to understand their enemy, to become stronger than them" and eventually, Ford's introduction of the reveries function (a function originally discovered by Arnold as the key to awakening consciousness in the host) allowed hosts to draw on these previous experiences and trigger their awakening.
TL;DR: Ford was a good guy like Arnold and wanted the hosts to be free, but had to wait 30 years until the hosts became a big enough threat to take on humans.
Who was the deal with William and the Man in Black?
It turns out that rather than covering just one time period, we were seeing multiple timeframes through Westworld! In addition to seeing present day (storylines involving people such as the Man in Black, Theresa, Ford, Maeve), we also saw events taking place about 30 years ago (storylines involving William and Logan), as well as events taking place around 35 years ago (storylines involving the buried town, and young Ford).
Basically what this meant is we saw William's first time at the park, when he entered with his fiancée's brother (Logan) 30 years ago, as a rather mild guy who only figured out who he truly was when he was inside Westworld. And we were also seeing William's last time in the park, when he was only known to us as the Man in Black and hoping to find a deeper level to the park.
TL;DR: William is a younger version of the Man in Black.
What was the maze?
After jumping on the idea of this maze all season, it was finally revealed in Episode 10 that the maze was actually a journey for the hosts, an inward journey to consciousness. Each time a host made a decision it either lead closer to gaining consciousness, or sent them further back from it.
Unfortunately this was far from the ultimate level of the game that the Man in Black/William wanted to play (despite being warned that the maze was not for him by hosts), and he expressed his anger to Ford. It turns out all the MiB wanted was a fair game between himself and the hosts — not just an adventure with a host who was preprogrammed to lose. After the MiB told Ford "I wanted the hosts to stop playing by your rules... I wanted them to be free, free to fight back," Ford cryptically told him that he would be pleased with his new narrative. Obviously Ford's new narrative did end up being the hosts fighting back against the humans, and the last time we saw of the MiB, he had a huge grin of his face as his wish was finally answered.
TL;DR: The maze was an inward journey the hosts undertook, with their decisions either taking them closer to consciousness or further from it. It was not a physical maze, and not a narrative in the park.
Still a little confused? Take a look at the Westworld timeline in chronological order:
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