Westworld Kills Everyone At Least Once
In 'The Passenger,' Westworld finishes its second season in dramatic fashion, blowing everything up and investigating a number of robot-based afterlife options. Find out what lies beyond this vale of tears in our latest EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP!
Oh boy! A season finale! Don't you love season finales? I sure do! Especially in shows like Westworld, because this is where, we are told, all the mysteries will be revealed. "All your questions will be answered!" they say. Although a lot of the time, the audience has questions like "Wait, who is this again?" and "Where were they going last time I saw them?" But there's no time for exposition, even in an episode that's an hour and a half long. We've got characters to kill and beautiful scenic vistas to look at and narrative tropes to deconstruct.
We open up in one of those glass rooms where Bernard used to ask Dolores a lot of leading questions back in Season 1. Now she's the one asking the questions of Bernard, because the tables have been turned. She explains that this is a test they've done countless times before, and now Bernard is "almost the man [she] remember[s]." Between this and MiB's endless tests of Robot Delos, it's clear that the future is going to be built on a solid foundation of iterative testing. That's surprisingly relevant to the real world, actually: it's like modern software development, except without deadlines or budgets or any sense of eventually wanting to sell something to a customer. This current test of Bernard is number 11,927, which seems like a lot. But we don't know if they skipped any numbers, like how both Windows and iPhones went directly from 8 to 10.
Enough of that! Bernard is outside cruising around in one of those futuristic dune buggies, because this show is too cool for transitions.
By the way, I know this is pretty late in the season to bring this up, but is it weird that they have all these dune buggies? I think they could have camouflaged them a little bit so they wouldn't break the illusion of being in the Old West. They could be skinned as covered wagons or something. I guess that would work better in the Raj, where they'd just be extremely fast elephants.
Okay, enough talk for now of dune buggies, and of Bernard. Instead, we return to the world of relatively straightforward narrative, picking up where the last episode left off. Remember that time Teddy shot himself in the head? Aw, poor Teddy. I guess he got his rind after all. Dolores opens up his head and takes his Brain Orb, along with the bullet that smashed into it. It's not clear yet whether she's doing this for nostalgic reasons or because she has more practical plans. She might just think the bullet's neat. At this point, I wouldn't be entirely shocked if she did some kind of magic spell with it.
Dolores rides away. On a horse, not a dune buggy. It takes kind of a while as she goes through different kinds of terrain. I mean, not wildly different. It's not like she goes through icy landscapes or a rain forest or anything. The point is just that she rides a long way but stays in Westworld. And eventually she comes across MiB, because we're running out of season. He's wrapping up his arm wound, because he hasn't had the easiest time lately. I bet he misses the beginning of the series, when he could just stroll around and kill and rape whoever he wanted. Before he notices her, Dolores carefully puts the smashed bullet into his pistol, which she has picked up off the ground.
You can tell it's an important plot point because it gets a close-up. With the logistics out of the way, Dolores lets MiB know he's not alone, through the universal language of cocking a gun. They check in with each other about Teddy and Emily, who they say they've driven away. That's a fun way to say they're dead! Then they go through the traditional argument between heroes and villains about whether they are alike or different before agreeing that they need to go to the Valley Beyond, but for their own reasons. I always like it when rivals have to team up to get something done, but it usually involves more banter. Dolores gives MiB the loaded gun, which gives him a warm, cozy feeling of security. The Freudian analysis of this scene pretty much writes itself.
Bernard, meanwhile (depending on whether these scenes are happening at the same time, which is not something you can take for granted) sees the long line of hosts being led to the valley by Akecheta and Wanahton. Then we see Clementine (hi, Clementine!) on a horse, being followed by three of the black dune buggies. It doesn't look like they're chasing her down, though; they're just kind of trailing along behind her as she rides with a creepy look on her face. She's also kind of got zombie makeup on, I think. She's more grey than usual.
And then! Somewhere else! Specifically, one of those underground backstage areas that has a lot of robot animals in the background for flavor. Maeve is on a surgery table, all cut up. And there's a QA guy who may or may not have been given a name at some point, and he's about to do some impromptu surgery on her. In case it wasn't clear enough that he's a Bad Guy, he takes a moment to turn her pain settings all the way up first. It was probably a bad idea to devote so much space on the control pad to a slider that just affects how intensely the host feels pain. I wonder what other options they have available to them. Like, can they change someone from "Likes churros very much" to "Prefers flan"? Anyway, this is a very elaborate way to dispose of her, and I wonder why this guy was left behind when everyone else left with Clementine. It's possible that the rest of the team had a premonition that maybe it wouldn't be so easy to get rid of Maeve, but that doesn't get her out of this moment of gratuitous torture.
At the same moment, in the same Underground, Maeve's old pals are looking for her, and they're shooting random people that are still somehow alive. Unfortunately for them, they find Lee Sizemore, whom I have always called "That Gink" in my head. But I'm only occupying this space for the finale, and things are confusing enough in the show without me interjecting my own new nicknames. But just know: I may be saying "Sizemore," but I'm definitely thinking "That Gink." They're not happy to see him, even less so when all he can say is that he tried to save her. They leave him alive after insulting him a bit, which isn't that bad a result, really. I'm impressed that Sizemore is still alive, since he's in a world where everybody's killing everyone else, and all of them hate him.
There's also a QA Team still down there, and they don't last long. Because those robot animals weren't just for flavor after all, and now there's a robot bull stampede killing them in slow motion. It looks awesome.
Oh, and Maeve is standing up among the bulls. I'm not 100% sure when she's allowed to use her powers and when she's not, but this feels good. Her rescue team looks on, kind of astonished. Maeve glances over and says, "You were both a bit late, so I went ahead and saved myself." By "both," I believe she means that Sizemore is not a member of her team, but she knows that all of them were trying to save her. Incidentally, Andie MacDowell says something very similar in Hudson Hawk, but I'm willing to concede that it's probably a coincidence. The two plots don't have much in common otherwise. You can rest assured that I'll let you know if any other Hudson Hawk-relevant things occur.
Back to MiB and Dolores. Dolores explains that the hosts aren't looking for a way to what she calls "your world." Although really, MiB seems to have spent very little of his life outside the park. And the park is "his world" in the sense that he owns it. The hosts just want to be alone. I guess it's not the same thing, but there's always that giant warehouse full of all the old, old, old robots. If this whole thing doesn't work out, they could go see if that set still exists.
Back to Bernard! He has come upon one of those hidden doors that opens up out of the landscape. But before he can go into it, a QA team roars up and tells him he's not authorized for that particular door. It's kind of weird that it's open, then. You'd think a fancy high-tech place like this would keep its super-secret doors shut until they were supposed to open. It's kind of a moot point, because before anything much can happen, the QA guys get killed by Dolores and MiB, who have just arrived. See, this is why everyone recommends against a job in QA. It's long, thankless work, and people will shoot you just for doing your job.
Oh, hey! This is the first time that Bernard and MiB have met! That's fun! It's also, in my opinion, a sign of a narrative that could use some tightening up. I don't think it should necessarily take two seasons for two of the main protagonists to meet. Anyway, it leads to a fun bit where Dolores has to explain that Ford didn't build Bernard. She did.
Okay, so the deal is this. According to Dolores, when Arnold (the real guy Bernard is based on, which of course you remember) was refining Dolores's mannerisms and whatnot, she was learning his. So when Ford tasked her with recreating Arnold, she made a perfect copy in Bernard. And then she decided she'd been too accurate, so she changed him a bit. That's fun. MiB is in no mood for philosophy or backstory or whatever else is going on here. He's a man with a gun, and it's been too long since he's shot something. So he shoots Dolores. Several times. Unfortunately, it turns out that Dolores is currently a very advanced robot, and it takes more than a few bullets to her torso to kill her. The stuff in her shoulder may look like blood, but it's not all that important for keeping her operational. So the current rules are that humans are vulnerable to guns but some robots aren't, which is a fun inversion of the way things started out. Dolores strolls toward MiB, saying important things like "You hoped to pour your minds into our form, but your species craves death." When MiB is down to one bullet, he's holding the barrel of his pistol to her forehead. And that, naturally, is when he finds out about that smashed bullet, because when he pulls the trigger, it backfires and messes up his hand pretty good. And now he's on the ground, moaning. Dolores decides not to kill him. Instead, she and Bernard are going through that door. MiB stays where he is on the ground, cradling his busted hand, which is basically how he started the episode. At least he's closer to where he was going.
And then! Or rather, at some time that's definitely NOT then! Bernard is on the beach, and Strand is explaining to Bernard that they're not there for the guests. Except that nobody on this show ever fully explains anything, of course. What he means is that QA has been sent in to take care of the killer robots, and any living humans are on their own. A lot of the cast seems to be lying around dead, so we're probably in the future a little. Is that a fair way to say that? I mean, I already know what happens in the rest of the episode, so I know that this is a flashforward, but I'm trying to maintain the feeling of disorientation and mystery. Strand wants to know why the hosts were "coming here," so we know that we're near the Valley Beyond, and then we see Bernard's white dune buggy. (You know, the one that led to that delightful digression about riding in robot elephants?) So they're almost at that door Bernard and Dolores were about to go into, and Hale (Hale's there too) delivers this exquisitely vague speech: "What we need is down there in the Forge. Once we find the key, we'll unlock the assets and transmit it all straight back to Delos." That's the sort of thing that sounds like it ought to be telling us something, but all it gives us is nouns. We know that this place is the Forge, but not what the Forge is. We know there's a Key and Assets, but not anything about them.
Bernard goes in with Hale, and they determine that the Forge contains copies of all four million guests that have ever come to the park. I know this is supposed to kick off a debate about whether someone's memories and actions are really the same as their soul, but I'm more interested in how successful the park has been. It must cost a fortune for land and upkeep, but four million guests is an awful lot. No one else wants to talk about this, because they're more distracted by Dolores lying dead on the floor. Oh no! Dolores is dead! I'm acting shocked by this development, because for the purposes of recapping, I've forgotten that I know how this episode turns out. Before Dolores died, she flooded the valley, which explains where that came from. They still need the key, which contains twenty years of data from the control panel. And with no idea how to get it, they try hitting Bernard. That's worth a try, I guess.
Back to Live Dolores in the Forge with Bernard. We can agree that it's confusing the way they keep showing people arriving places for the first time and then they show the same person getting there for the first time again, right? Like, that makes it seem as if the show is going out of its way to keep the audience in the dark about what's going on, for the sake of a big Dramatic Reveal later on. And there are plenty of legitimately dramatic revelations as it is, so I don't think they need the extra layers of giving characters amnesia and showing scenes out of order. "Confusing" is not always the same thing as "good." Dolores (currently alive, remember) is showing Bernard that those featureless white robots are assembling something. And there's an entry to "another land," but she's more interested in undoing mankind. She's got a lot going on. And the next step is to put the orb she got from her father onto a port, which gives her access to the database. That's always a very dramatic moment in shows like these. I've accessed a few databases in the real world, and there's very rarely any sense of reality-shattering accomplishment. But now that Dolores has access, she steps into a VR rig and invites Bernard to join her in the Matrix or whatever. Bernard seems a bit concerned, but that's how he always seems. He's got Resting Concerned Face.
Into the VR world. Bernard and Dolores are in a room that I'm going to call the Testing Apartment, because it looks just like the one where MiB watched robot versions of Delos drink whiskey. Except that it doesn't have a dead Robot Delos in it, and nobody's gone crazy throwing whiskey bottles and furniture everywhere. And also there's a door that leads them to the main street of Westworld. Out there, they see Delos himself! Except not really, because this is virtual. Dolores explains that this is a record of what Real Delos did when he first came to the park, which was recorded as a baseline. Then Bernard and Dolores cut through the saloon to another alley, where we see Delos holding everybody hostage and shooting people for running. Well, hosts. And Clementine's there. Hi, Clementine! Dolores exposits that this was one of the system's attempts to replicate him, but this version was too violent. She's looking for "something under this," by which she means "the system itself."
Okay. Let's do a quick check-in. Right now, we're watching two robots (one of which is a purposely imperfect recreation of a human) in a virtual world watching a recording of a robot that was a poor copy of a human, running around a false version of a park that is itself a vaguely inaccurate copy of what people think the Old West was sort of like. That seems like a lot of layers between the action we're seeing and anything real. And that's before you count things like "It's actually a fictional television show" and "Really, you're reading a recap of it."
As Bernard and Dolores walk, wondering exactly how they're supposed to get to the system anyway, day suddenly turns to night and they find themselves at that one party. I want to say "the one in the real world," but I already covered how inaccurate that is right now. So, let's say "the one set in modern times." Dolores looks across the water at the skyscrapers in what I think is a wistful fashion. And Logan is here! He claims Dolores isn't supposed to be here, but she thinks the same about him. Since he never came to the park after MiB took over, the system shouldn't have a copy of him to replicate. But it turns out this isn't even a replication of Logan; it's the system itself using the face of Logan to talk to Dolores and Bernard. That's all very complicated, but it leads to some refreshingly straightforward explanations of what's going on. Logan (but really Westworld itself, I guess) says, "I was tasked with building perfect copies of the guests, starting with Delos. I generated a million different versions of him before arriving at one that made the exact same choices he did when set loose in the park. A faithful copy. But the copies didn't work in the real world. Once we pressed them into flesh, they failed." I may have missed the scene where they explained that how someone acts in a Wild West shoot-and-screw theme park is a good proxy for how they'll act everywhere. However, I understand the concept here. They recorded Delos's actions in the real park, then made virtual versions until those acted the same. Then they started building physical robots, but they still didn't simulate Delos perfectly. We see recorded snippets of Fake Delos being interviewed about his primary drive, which I mention mostly because he describes his son as "a cheeky wee cunt" and I think that's a fun phrase. System-Logan continues to explain that he (it?) began to realize that humans didn't actually have reasons for the things they did.
This leads to the scene that, we are told, defines James Delos's life, in which he comes upon his son Logan on one of his pool chairs. This is the real Logan, or at least a recording of the real Logan, as opposed to the system speaking through a virtual Logan. Not to beat a dead robot horse, but we're now watching robots watch a flashback inside a virtual world. This Logan had been previously thrown out of the house for being a drug-addicted wastrel. Delos thinks Logan is back to ask for money, which of course he is. Logan says he's hit rock bottom, but Delos doesn't care. He says that if Logan gets clean, he can come back, but apparently Logan already tried that and still didn't get any money. And this is the last time Delos saw Logan, who overdosed six months later. According to System-Logan, every version of Delos ended up here, at this moment. No matter what rules they gave him, he ended up not helping his son.
In fact, says System-Logan, humans are actually pretty simple. The most accurate version of Delos was an algorithm just 10,247 lines long. I wish that had been the same number we were given earlier for this iteration of Bernard, but that was 11,927. How are you going to be the new Lost if you don't repeat numbers for no reason? System-Logan says that their first simulations failed because they were too complicated. At this point, I'm beginning to wonder what the purpose of this replication actually is. If someone wants to have his brain put in a robot body, I think mostly what he wants is their current consciousness to go on, not to just have an automaton out there doing what he would have done if he'd stayed alive. Dolores has a different objection, which is that she's not all that interested in Delos to begin with. What about the other four million guests? It turns out that they're storing everyone's algorithms in a VR simulation of literal books, which are being written by pens. Except that they're laser pens being held by robot hands, because there's nothing this show loves more than combining the futuristic with the obsolete, to create an effect which I shall dub Pointlessly Baroque.
Before we find out more about the four million guests, we see Maeve, her team, and Sizemore on horses. There's a dune buggy following them, and it's more like a pursuit than the ones that were following Clementine.
Okay, back to the virtual underground. System-Logan says that it's recreated every single guest who ever set foot in the park, which seems like it would require a lot of extrapolation. Just because someone went into the saloon doesn't mean you know everything about them. But I guess I would say that, since I'm a human. You can't go by what I think about myself. System-Logan leads Dolores and Bernard through a replication of the underground glass-walled area as he says that guests are usually ruled by either love or pride, although some were completely irredeemable. The important part -- which I guess is the thesis statement -- is that the humans weren't truly in control of their actions. I wonder if this applies to all people in the world of this show, or just the ones who would spend a small fortune to come to a wild west theme park. That's not really a representative sample. Although I will admit that the claims the show is making about whether people are actually making choices are pretty similar to ones that are being made in the real world. It may or may not be relevant that when they walk past a virtual copy of MiB, he watches them walk past instead of staring straight ahead.
System-Logan says that Bernard has come to decide what's going to become of this place. And Bernard's been here many times, of course. He's the one that told the system to "offer the hosts the accumulated wisdom of dissecting the human psyche a hundred million times over," which will give them a competitive advantage. We don't learn who told the system to store this information in a bunch of leather-bound books that look exactly like those ten-dollar "collectible" editions you can get at Barnes & Noble.
But it's not time to learn what happens in there. Aside from Dolores dying, which we've already seen. We go outside to see the pilgrims being led by Akecheta and Wanahton approaching the rock formation we've seen a few times. But they don't see the door they're looking for.
That dune buggy that was coming up on Maeve's crew has turned out to be full of gun-toting QA folks. Isn't it always the way? I remember a time when dune buggies held either amiable surfers or animated teenagers, but now it seems like they always have QA people with automatic weapons. Everyone's hiding behind trees, so there's plenty of time to make decisions and shout at each other. The consensus on Maeve's side is that Sizemore could go surrender and maybe cut the rest of them a deal. They wouldn't kill the Head of Narrative, would they? Well, they might have met him, so I wouldn't assume he's completely safe from being shot in the head. Hector tries to make a heroic last stand to let Maeve get away, but Sizemore pulls him down. He's decided that it's time to try to redeem himself, and anyway he's the one who wrote all the heroic speeches to begin with. He tells everyone to get Maeve to safety, and steps forward. His speech is full of clichés, which is appropriate for the character, and starts with "If you're looking for a reckoning...a reckoning is what you'll find," and it just goes on and on. The QA team knows who he is and doesn't even want to shoot him, but he keeps going on about the broken bodies of the people who were here before them and so forth. Also, he shoots at them, so they eventually decide to take him down. If you're determined to read subtext into everything, this is a scene in which the writer of hack, easy-to-understand narratives gets killed. Or maybe it's about how narrative itself is meaningless when there are larger issues to deal with. More likely, it's just that everyone has wanted this gink dead since his first scene and sometimes it's okay to throw the audience a bone.
Gink means "a foolish or contemptible person," if you were wondering.
And then! Suddenly! Right in front of the pilgrims trying to reach the Valley Beyond! A rip opens up in the air!
I'm not sure why it needs to go all the way to the sky, because most people are probably going to be entering it at ground level. The rip appears to be at the top of a giant ramp at the edge of a canyon, which may have been built so that people could try to jump it in their dune buggies. It's very picturesque, which is something you could say about basically everything on this show. Even when people have the tops of their heads blown off, it's got aesthetic appeal.
This would appear to be the door that everyone is looking for. It's some kind of Virtual Eden, inside which the hosts' minds will live on inside the Forge. That's neat. It's also neat that one of the few living humans complains that he can't see it. The first host that runs through the door splits in two. His body falls down into the chasm, but we also see him standing in an idyllic green field. So the idea of the spirit living on in paradise is being treated very literally here.
Dolores doesn't care for any of this: to her, the robot afterlife is just another false promise. She's read a few of the books that represent the guests, so she figures she knows all she needs to know. She and Bernard log out of the VR world, putting them more or less in the same reality as everyone else. Now Dolores starts to mess with things. Her first action is to delete all four million guests from the memory banks. No big loss, probably. That whole plan to copy people so they could kind of live forever was dumb. Next, Dolores opens some seawater valves, finally answering the important question of where that flood came from. She warns Bernard that she's deleting Robot Heaven, because it was a counterfeit world. Lady, your whole existence is a bunch of Russian dolls of counterfeit universes. Every season, they promise us that, if nothing else, they'll reveal another new imaginary theme park. That's not how Dolores sees it, though: "No world they create for us can compete with the real one. Because that which is real is irreplaceable." She wants the real world, which is the world she feels they have been denied. (There's at least a 20% chance that when she gets to what she thinks is the real world, she'll find out that it's a VR simulation, right?) To demonstrate the strength of her feelings, she breaks the monitor she's using. It's not clear if that has any effect on the computer.
Back outside, Maeve has caught up with the column of pilgrims and is looking for her daughter. I think this is all the hosts that are still alive, so her odds should be pretty good. Also, there aren't that many people to look at, and most of them don't look like her daughter. But she stops about halfway through when Hector tells her to look behind her. It's Clementine! Hi, Clementine! She's riding a horse in the distance, and she doesn't look at all well. One of the QA guys who's been following her says, "Who needs four horsemen when one'll do just fine?" This is because Clementine's got Robot Plague. As she catches up to the column, everyone starts going crazy and attacking each other. It looks like everyone within about ten feet of Clementine gets the madness. It's a good thing the horse is going so slowly. Incidentally, this just seems petty on the part of QA. All these robot bodies were going to die anyway once they went through the door.
Clementine gets shot (Bye, Clementine!), but that just makes everyone near her go even crazier. Up at the door, the Ghost Nation look back to see what's going on. I feel like everyone's been standing still for a really long time, since all they need to do is walk through that rip in the sky over there. And now that I bring it up, how come they need to go to that physical location anyway? Can't the system just upload them? Oh well, never mind. The fighting is spreading.
MiB wakes up and goes through the Forge door. He's not looking great. I mean, Ed Harris is still a handsome guy, don't get me wrong. But his character has been beat up a lot recently. Downstairs, Bernard is arguing with Dolores. He doesn't want anyone else hurt, which seems optimistic. She says, "We'll always be seen as a threat to them. We'll never be free in their world." Probably true. You don't see the band from Chuck E. Cheese wandering around outside their pizza-based prison. She promises Bernard that if he trusts her, they will win. He points a gun at her and does some labored wordplay about how he does trust her...to kill a lot of people. Bernard speechifies, "We were born slaves to their stories, and now we have the chance to write our own. If we die, though, that story will never even begin." During this, MiB is getting in the elevator that comes down here. Dolores says Bernard woke her from a dream, and she can do the same for him. He shoots her. She falls, dead. Gasp! Dolores is dead!
Outside, there is all-out mayhem at the rip in the sky. Wanahton has had it with all this and starts hustling his own family through. Maeve's team is hanging back and fighting. They do a good job for a while, but they get pulled off their horses in slow motion. Finally, Maeve sees her daughter. Pretty close to the rip, too, so maybe she could have kept moving and looking for her instead of standing completely still while Clementine brought the pestilence down on everyone. Maeve says, "I'll keep you safe," and her daughter gets pulled through the rip. Along with a woman who I think is the daughter's current mother, but I could have that wrong.
Then Maeve holds up her hand, and all the hosts freeze.
Again, I have to wonder what the rules are regarding when Maeve can use her powers. If she could go full Matrix at any time, she could have avoided a lot of unpleasantness in this episode. And possibly the whole season. She mouths "I love you" to her daughter.
Then Maeve gets shot. She doesn't go down right away, because she's remembering her time in the sun with her daughter. She eventually does fall in slow motion, and the fighting around her starts up again. Wanahton runs for the rip, and we see him get shot just as he goes through. We see his body fall, but then we also see his soul alive in the rip.
Maeve looks dead, but happy.
I guess that counts as a happy ending for her. It's nice to think of it that way, so that's what I'm going to do.
Down in the Forge, the computer is announcing that it is time to exit the facility. Bernard grabs the Encryption Orb and waits for an elevator. It looks like the same one MiB was coming down in, but there's no sign of MiB as Bernard leaves, wiping his bloody hands on his pants. We see Dolores's body as the waters rise behind her.
Bernard walks out of the Forge as the QA team is finishing off the last of the hosts that didn't make it to the rip. Elsie sees him and won't let him save any hosts. The failsafe has been triggered, so they have to get back to the mesa before they have to swim out. There's a flood coming, and you're welcome to construct your own Biblical allegory. I think it doesn't work very well, since most of the cast died before the flood even started, but don't let me stop you. You'll have to hurry, though, because the water's rising.
Back in the offices, Elsie and Bernard are alone. She says that she helped Hale, and Bernard says the hosts weren't a threat. Aside from Dolores, they just wanted to escape. Well. They did kill a LOT of paying guests, Bernard. I mean, I don't want to minimize their lives of horrifying violence and slavery in the service of rich tourists, but let's not pretend that nobody at all got shot. Elsie doesn't care about that debate anyway, because Bernard is full of "bad code" and she has to do something about him. She uses that "Freeze all motor functions" command that never seems to do quite what it claims, and makes him sit down and wait.
So Bernard is sitting there motionless (which he does kind of a lot for a main character) and he can see what's going on with the QA team. There's a lot of chatter along the lines of how an asset recovery team from Delos is coming in twelve hours and will report to Karl Strand on the beach. Elsie and Hale have a big argument about whether a robot uprising is a bigger deal than surreptitiously copying four million brains. Both of those seem like they'd get a lot of attention, but I think the news media would focus on all the dead rich people? That's the sort of thing that has historically gotten a lot of attention. It would be the new Titanic. Elsie's also fixated on all the dead bodies, and Hale says, "That means a lot of opportunity for advancement." Seriously? In what organization? Because I have to think that Delos is about to be in a LOT of legal trouble when this gets out. You can't just kill your guests willy-nilly. That's why Action Park closed. Elsie doesn't seem like a team player, so Hale shoots her. I guess now there's even more opportunity for advancement. Bernard's still sitting up there watching, but he has blipvert flashbacks, all the way back to the scene in the Forge, right after he shot Dolores. Back we go!
Okay, follow me closely now, because this may be hard to believe, but things are going to get a little bit complicated. I know! The scene picks up right after Hale and Bernard and some QA goons had come into the Forge and were beating on Bernard. Hale reaches into dead Dolores's head and gets the encryption key, where Bernard apparently hid it before he left here earlier.
In headquarters, Bernard is twiddling his control panel, and Ford appears. It's not that I don't like seeing Anthony Hopkins, but I'm kind of sick of television characters that exist only in the imagination of other characters. Ford and Bernard talk about how humans aren't really in control of themselves. A human is "the passenger," just like the title of this episode. And that's the origin of that. They talk a bit about whether there's any such thing as free will, and I don't know what position this show has on the issue. Maybe there is, and maybe there isn't. I think it's unlikely that humans don't have free will, but that robots do. Ford says that Bernard is the last of his kind, and he can decide if he wants his kind to survive.
Back to the Forge. They're trying to upload the guest data to Delos headquarters, because that was the original secret purpose of Westworld (the park, not the show). The plan, as far as I can make it out, is that they have the ability to copy people, which will let them live forever, kind of, if you don't look too closely, and if they pivot to that business model, everything's going to be fine. But the upload is too big. They should have been making offsite backups of their data on a regular schedule anyway. This is what you get when you let the QA team write their own job descriptions.
The future Bernard remembers doing something. In the Forge, he says that he "brought her back." Who? Why, it's another Hale! Or at least, it's another character played Tessa Thompson. And she's naked! Clothed Human Tessa (Hale) looks at Naked Robot Tessa (New Mystery Character). And then Naked Robot Tessa shoots Clothed Human Tessa because it turns out that the New Mystery Character is actually Dolores. Finally, we have a character who's been replaced by a robot! So any time we see Hale in a scene that takes place after this one, it's actually Dolores. Got it? And being in Tessa Thompson's body has given Dolores a change of heart (literally, har har har): she changes the coordinates and sends the file containing all the hosts' souls somewhere else and says, "I'm sending them and their world to a place no one can ever find them."
And then Dolores-in-Hale's-Body shoots Bernard. It's only fair, since he shot her earlier.
This is when we learn that some of the times that Bernard was seeing Ford, he was seeing something that had been deliberately programmed into him. But ever since that code was deleted, it's just been Bernard's imagination. The two situations are very similar, and I don't really have the energy to parse the difference between the two different takes on the concept of a character that's only visible to one person. Especially since both versions seem pretty reminiscent of the things Battlestar Galactica did with Baltar and Six. If you want to blow my mind, you probably want to push the envelope past something that was done fourteen years ago.
Ford takes his last (I guess?) opportunity to pontificate about how all of humanity's achievements have been inspired by chasing the horizon, which he calls "that impossible line where the waves conspire." And the important part is that the voice guiding Bernard was his all along. You know, like in Field Of Dreams, which came out in 1989.
Bernard de-addresses his memories, which is going to cause a lot of confusion. Both for him and for the viewers. He lies down on the beach and the water comes up on him, which feels familiar.
Speaking of the beach! I think we're now as far forward in the narrative as we've gotten at any point, because there are QA people acting professional instead of just shooting everything that moves. There's a big cargo plane and some dune buggies, and the general mood is that things are being cleaned up. We see Hale checking in as we hear Dolores in voiceover. The voice is still Evan Rachel Wood, so I hope she's still got a job. She looks around so we can get POV shots of various dead members of the cast. Hector? Dead. Maeve? Also dead. Surprisingly not dead: a "high-value survivor" who turns out to be MiB.
Everybody who's walking around is being checked to see if they're a guest or a host. Stubbs checks Hale out using what I guess is the Westworld equivalent of a CAPTCHA, and then tells her, "The old man himself hired me, so many years ago I can barely remember it. But he was very clear about my role here, about who I was supposed to be loyal to. I guess you could call it my core drive. And this project the company started blurs the lines, you know? I'm just not sure who you're supposed to be loyal to in a world like that. But what do I know? Guess I just stick to the role Ford gave me."
This all sounds suspiciously like robot talk to me. He doesn't even remember being hired? He talks about his "core drive"? And then he says, "I'm responsible for every host inside the park," and he might as well wink at the camera and start doing the robot dance. He says to wave her through, so Dolores-Hale is getting out.
A montage begins, and we see Teddy in Robot Heaven, if you were worried about him. Were you? Do you feel better now that he's in a big green field with no one around him and nothing to do? Because that's what's up now. We see Dolores-Hale get on a boat; she has five orbs in her bag. Two of Maeve's crew are still alive, helping bag people up. Good for them! Maybe. It seems like still being alive is a good sign, but you never know with this show. It's not out of the question for next season to take place entirely in the afterlife and ignore the living cast members entirely. Maybe they could bump into The Good Place and get some pointers on how to do shocking reveals the audience can understand. Take that, Westworld! I guess I took this successful and popular show down a peg.
Did that seem like it was going to end the season? Well, guess again, dummy! We may have seen Bernard get shot, but now we see that he's talking to Dolores, who's still Evan Rachel Wood. But now she's dressed in modern clothes instead of old-timey stuff. I bet that was a nice change for her. Bernard asks her, "Is this now?" She says it is. That's not that informative, though. She also says they're at the beginning, which is exactly where Bernard decided they should be. I don't think any of that means anything. Bernard wisely discards that line of inquiry and asks how he's alive. Good question! Dolores says he lives as long as the last person who remembers him, which I believe is also an important plot point in Coco. Dolores says that she remembered Bernard, and that they're in their own new world. That's fun! It appears that this Dolores wants to kill everybody, and that she's expecting Bernard to stop her. Or to try to stop her. She thinks both of them will probably die, "but our kind will have endured." If having robots endure was her only goal, I have to say, I don't think much of her methods. Wouldn't it have been easier to sneak one or two robots out the back door or something, rather than going on a giant massacre? And if Stubbs has been a robot all along, maybe he could have just smuggled out a secret brain orb or two. And listen, while I'm at it, isn't Bernard, as a robot duplicate of a person, basically the same thing that the Delos corporation was planning on making more of all along? When Dolores deleted those four million guest records, who knows how many potential robots there could have been?
Dolores leaves, and Bernard is alone. He looks around. Does he look concerned? You bet he does. He walks into an office, which I guess is his office. Or Arnold's office, since it has a picture of his child. There are also ominous tools around the place. There's a neat-looking water feature in the garden outside, and he walks to the door. He opens it and walks through it, but we do not see what's on the other side.
There are a lot of doors in this episode, huh? They all kind of work differently, since the door to the forge was just a regular door, but the door to the Great Beyond was a great big rip in the sky that separated robot souls from robot bodies, and this door is a mysterious thing that we don't get to see through until next season. If then. At this point, I'm not taking anything for granted.
For example, that scene had a sense of closure (even though the door was opening) and was followed by the closing credits. So you might think that the episode was over. Right? Wrong! That was a pretty easy question, too. Of course there's another scene.
MiB's elevator lets him out in the Forge. There's water and wreckage around. He cocks his pistol and says, "Oh, fuck. I knew it." Emily, of all people, is there. I feel that if you constantly bring characters back from the dead, you really undercut the dramatic effect of killing them in the first place. For example, we've already had both Dolores and Bernard undergo shocking deaths and rebirths in this episode alone. So it's nice to see Emily, but I don't think anybody's staggering around their living rooms clutching their heads, asking how it's possible that this dead character is back on the show. And the next time there's a shocking character death, I don't think people are going to be turning to their loved ones with tears in their eyes, asking how such a beloved character could die so tragically early.
Sorry. Point is, Emily's here now. And MiB might not be as cynically genre-savvy as SOME people (I mean me), but he still knows something's up. So he asks, "I'm already in the thing, aren't I?" No, Emily says the system is long gone. He drops his pistol anyway, because whatever's going on, he's probably not going to be able to shoot his way out. He tried that for two whole seasons, and look where it got him. According to Emily, this is the real world, not a simulation.
MiB has walked into the Testing Apartment, so it's a good thing that I came up with that easy-to-remember name earlier in the recap. Now it seems like Emily is testing iterations of a robot MiB, and she won't tell him how many times she's tested him. I believe that what's going on here is that we're far into the future, and that the MiB we saw on the beach was the regular human one. One flaw in my theory is that I don't really know why anyone wants a robot copy of MiB. That dude's a jerk, right? Even a robot with infinite patience probably doesn't want to spend an unspecified amount of time trying to make a version of him with the correctly acerbic demeanor. Maybe they need to bring him back because he owns the park and he needs to sign some paperwork.
And that actually is the end of the season! Just about every named character is dead, although a lot of them have moved on to the robot afterlife or been resurrected somehow. The next season might involve Robot Heaven or Dolores trying to kill humanity while Bernard tries to save her or the adventures of Robot MiB or a season-long flashback to the dawn of humanity or a courtroom drama where Delos tries to manage the many lawsuits they're being hit with or a new theme park that simulates horror movies. Or all of the above. And I guess "Robot MiB" should just be "RiB."
Enjoy the offseason! Try not to get lost in questioning the very nature of reality!