In the Westworld recap, William goes on a journey of self-discovering, Dolores gets closer to the valley beyond and Bernard tries to get rid of the voices inside his own head…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The penultimate episode of Westworld season 2 left us with just as many questions as we now have answers with a deeper dive into William’s history as well as a journey that takes us closer to the valley beyond.
Following last week’s truly beautiful episode that revealed the background of Ghost Nation leader Akecheta and the revelation that he may have been the first host to truly gain consciousness, the latest episode was a series of flashbacks to set up the season finale.
While William was going back in time with his daughter Emily as they searched for answers to what led to his wife’s suicide, Dr. Robert Ford was still making his presence felt inside Bernard’s head and communicating a message to his favorite host, Maeve.
Dolores was on the path to the valley beyond when she discovered that her message that not all the hosts were ready to walk through that door to a new world may have hit closer to home than she expected.
Meanwhile, Charlotte Hale’s plan to get the park back under control was unveiled and that may lead to a reckoning next week between hosts and humans.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of Westworld titled ‘Vanishing Point’…
Dolores has been on one long journey to travel from killing Dr. Robert Ford to the valley beyond, where she believes the hosts can finally crossover into the land of the living and conquer humanity.
Dolores’ path has been one wrought with blood and death but in her estimation, the ends always justify the means — including changing her beloved Teddy’s programming to transform him from a sweet, caring individual to a man driven by vengeance and anger.
This week, Dolores’ journey is nearing its end when she encounters the Ghost Nation, who have come to stop her from traveling to the valley beyond. The group led by Akecheta’s No. 2 in charge informs Dolores that her journey stops here because she’s not meant for the valley beyond.
Remember from last week’s episode, Akecheta felt that the valley beyond was a doorway to the other side for the hosts, but he’s not trying to get there by slaughtering anybody who steps in his way. In fact, Akecheta has actually been saving people rather than killing them.
Akecheta is absent when we meet the Ghost Nation as they confront Dolores — a hint that he’ll likely play a major role in next week’s finale — and she’s not one to be deterred. Dolores orders his troops to gun down the Ghost Nation and a firefight ensues until almost everybody is dead.
The last ones standing are Dolores and Teddy with one member of the Ghost Nation trying to get away. Dolores sends Teddy to kill him but when it comes time to pull the trigger, he hesitates just like he did when she wanted him to butcher the remaining Confederados several episodes ago.
After allowing the last Ghost Nation member to escape, Teddy travels with Dolores to a house on the edge of the valley beyond where she believes they’ll find the answers they’ve been seeking to leave this world behind and crossover into a new one.
But before leaving, Teddy tells Dolores a story about how she’s always been everything to him from the very moment he was brought online. Teddy remembers when Arnold first created him and as he looked around the room, the first person he locked eyes on was Dolores, who was sitting there amongst several hosts. From that moment forward, Teddy has always been attached to Dolores and he’ll never be able to break that bond.
The fact that Teddy remembers all of this tells us that he’s finally become fully conscious, perhaps for the first time since this uprising started. Teddy has been flooded with memories — some good, a lot bad and he’s coming to realize that the person he’s been for so many years isn’t the same one that Dolores altered in order to transform him into a killing machine.
Teddy tells Dolores that he’ll never break free of her so the only way to truly move on is to put an end to it all. But Teddy can’t raise a hand to Dolores — he loves her too much — so instead he puts the gun to his own head and pulls the trigger.
We’ve been wondering all season long what led to Teddy’s death and now we know — he took his own life because he couldn’t reconcile with what Dolores did to him no matter how justified she may have felt by altering his code to serve her own needs.
Now Dolores is truly alone with only one place left to travel — the valley beyond.
With Bernard still hearing Ford’s voice in his head, he’s also going to journey to the valley beyond but on the surface it seems he’s intent on stopping Dolores from gaining access to ‘The Forge’ — which is the place that houses all of the history on the guests that has been gathered for decades as part of Delos’ plan to transfer human consciousness into the body of a host.
Ford’s voice first guides Bernard to visit Maeve, who is still pinned down to a operating table, her neck and arm opened up and she’s as near death as a host could possibly be without expiring.
It seems the scientists from Delos have copied the code from Maeve’s brain that allowed her to control other hosts and they have turned it into a virus that will be spread throughout the mesh network that connects all of them together.
The Delos scientists have reprogrammed Clementine, who is not dead after all, and uploaded the code into her consciousness that now allows her to pass along a message of rage to any of the hosts she encounters. Now by simply raising her hand, like Maeve once did, Clementine can instruct the hosts to kill each other.
It seems the plan Delos has to stop this robot uprising is by unleashing this code into the network through Clementine so all of the hosts will want to kill each other rather than go after humans any longer.
As for Maeve, Ford asks Bernard to step close enough to the glass so he can pass along a message into her brain through that same mesh network.
Ford speaks to Maeve and professes his love for her like a father to a child and because he never had any children of his own, she was the one he cared about the most out of all of his creations. Maeve was Dr. Ford’s favorite and thus he tried to program her to escape this place and he was the one who gave her all these wonderful powers that would allow her to step through that door from fantasy into reality.
Unfortunately, Dr. Ford didn’t anticipate Maeve gaining consciousness on her own and instead of leaving through the door he left open for her, she opted instead to go find her daughter. Much like Maeve was driven to find her daughter, Dr. Ford is determined to save his own child.
So with one last kiss on the forehead, Dr. Ford passes along a final piece of programming that uploads into Maeve — he’s turned her mesh network access back on again so she can call out to the other hosts for help.
As for Bernard, he escapes with Elsie after telling her that Delos has been capturing the memories of all the guests who enter the park and they plan to transfer the consciousness from humans into host bodies much like what was attempted with James Delos. Ford continues to whisper in Bernard’s ear that he can’t trust Elsie and she will turn on him when he needs her most but he refuses to listen.
Instead, Bernard hops in a Jeep with Elsie as they leave to go find the valley beyond where the hosts have been traveling since the uprising first started.
Before they get there, Elsie stops to get some ammunition and weapons that they can use in the upcoming fight and while she’s gone, Bernard continues to battle with the voice in his own head. Finally, Bernard snaps and decides the only way to take back control is to eliminate Ford from inside his brain.
So Bernard ties himself to the steering wheel to ensure he won’t hurt Elsie and he then plugs a control pad into his arm manually so he can begin deleting the code that belongs to Ford. With each line meticulously deleted, Ford fades away and Bernard is his own man once again — or at least that’s what we’re led to believe.
When Elsie returns, she finds Bernard plugged into the board and she wonders if he’s about to turn on her. Instead, Bernard tells her that he had to delete a glitch before handing her a tracker and telling Elsie that Delos security will be there soon to retrieve her.
Bernard has to go on the rest of this mission alone and so he leaves Elsie behind as he begins driving to his ultimate destination — the valley beyond.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
The bulk of this episode takes place in a conversation shared between William aka The Man in Black and his daughter Emily after she rescued him from near death after a shootout with Lawrence and Maeve a couple of episodes back.
Emily rescues her father for a couple of reasons — partially to atone for the loss of her mother and also because she’s decided she wants to take part in William’s planned immortality to transfer human consciousness into a host body.
Before they go any further, however, William and Emily share memories looking back at the night his wife and her mother Juliet took her own life.
Emily has always somewhat blamed herself for what happened and that started long before the night her mother died. Instead, Emily traces the roots of her guilt back to a birthday party years earlier when her mother gave her a music box that opened into a dancing ballerina.
Rather than accept the gift, Emily threw it away in a fit of rage, angry that her mother failed to realize that she hadn’t danced in years and this was a side effect of her time spent toiling away at the bottom of a bottle.
Of course, William knows the real reason his wife killed herself and it had nothing to do with a discarded birthday gift.
The story starts at a charity gathering honoring all of William’s good deeds, but he looks as uncomfortable there as he does wearing the tuxedo on his back rather than the black hat he usually adorns inside Westworld.
There William has to correct one of his guests for a commonly misspoken quote about Alexander the Great that many of us remember from the movie Die Hard.
The misinformed quote says: ‘And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.’. The real quote from Plutarch actually says: ‘When Alexander was told there was an infinity of worlds, he wept, for he had yet to become the lord of even one’.
The quote is also relatable to William because he was the master of one world through his extreme wealth, power and influence yet it wasn’t the one he wished to conquer.
It’s there when William encounters Dr. Robert Ford, who pays him a visit to talk about their paths crossing coincidentally thanks to the secret project he’s been running at Westworld for years. It seems William had an agreement with Ford that he would allow him to run the park however he wanted but the creator would stay out of his project where he was attempting to implant human consciousness into a host body.
Ford tells William that the boundaries have already been broken as he slides a card over to his financial benefactor before leaving the party. The card contains William’s personal profile and the history of everything he’s done inside the park.
Meanwhile inside the charity event, William and his daughter Emily see his wife become increasingly intoxicated, which sadly was a common occurrence with her. As it turns out, Juliet’s affliction was partially caused by her own belief that the man she was married to wasn’t ever really there for her but instead he was always drawn back to a place he cared far more about — that being Westworld.
As the night goes on, Juliet gets more and more inebriated and it appears William will have to drag her home but she first has to unleash on him how he’s never really been there for her because his mind was always devoted to someone and somewhere else.
Back at home, William puts his wife down to sleep after another angry encounter with their daughter where Emily tells her mother that she’s going to have to go back to rehab. In fact, Emily calls the rehab facility and gets the doctor to agree to an involuntary admission for Juliet where he will be able to legally hold her for 14 days for treatment.
A few minutes later, as William talks to his daughter they both see water dripping down from the ceiling and that’s when he runs upstairs to find his wife laying in the bathtub, already dead from an overdose. Emily believes the threat of rehab forced Juliet into taking her own life and that’s why she’s continuously blamed herself ever since.
It turns out, Emily’s planned rehab stint for her mother had nothing to do with what drove Juliet to suicide.
As it turns out after laying Juliet down to sleep, William sat by her bedside and finally decided to come clean with his wife — believing her to be unconscious. He tells her his deepest darkest secrets — she’s right about everything and he’s never really loved her much less loved this life he made alongside her. William’s heart his always belonged to Westworld and that’s where he’s truly been himself while at home he’s simply wearing a mask to pretend he cares about his wife and all these charities and good deeds he’s been doing.
William also slips that profile card from Dr. Ford into a book before returning downstairs.
What he doesn’t know is that Juliet was awake the entire time and she’s not confirmed all the suspicious she’s had about her husband. So Juliet goes over to that book, takes out the profile card and proceeds to watch it — and she witnesses all the vile things her husband has done at Westworld over the years. She then takes the card and slips it inside the music box that she once gave to her daughter that was thrown away.
It seems Juliet rescued the music box from the trash and saved it for her daughter. She places the profile card in there before swallowing a bottle of pills, thus taking her own life.
Fast forward to present day and after sharing these stories with each other, Emily comes clean with her father that she got a hold of that profile card after her mother’s death and she learned about the man that William truly was. She learned that he cared more about this false reality than the life he built at home with a wife and child.
At that moment, Delos security arrives to retrieve them both as Emily called on them to send a rescue party so they could leave the park. When they arrive, the security forces recognize William as the boss and prepare to escort him out of the park.
Before they can do anything, William steals a gun and mows down the entire security force before aiming the weapon at his daughter.
William is convinced that Emily is actually a host that’s been programmed to come after him as part of Ford’s never ending game. William believes he figured out she was a host when Emily said that she saw that profile card because he never showed that to anyone.
So William turns the gun on his daughter and opens fire.
A moment later, William sees that same profile card that Ford once gave him clutched in the fingers of his dead daughter. William has just killed his only child because he was convinced she was a host.
Tormented with what he’s just done, William travels out into the desert and puts a gun to his own head but he can’t pull the trigger.
Instead, William hears voices in his own head and he begins to wonder if any of the choices he made were his own. He then takes a knife out and begins cutting into his forearm as the same spot where Bernard did earlier to manually plug into his personal mainframe.
Is the Man in Black actually a host and he’s been a host this entire time? Or has William played Ford’s game so long that he’s actually convinced himself that he’s become a host?
These are all questions we will hope to have answered in the 90-minute Westworld season two finale next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO.