In the ‘Westworld’ season finale recap, Ford finally unveils his new narrative, the Man in Black is revealed and Maeve makes her escape…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The creators behind ‘Westworld’ promised answers during the 90-minute season finale and the episode titled ‘The Bicameral Mind’ did not disappoint.
As theorized for weeks now we learned that William was in fact the Man in Black this entire time — a much harsher, brutal man than we first met when he got off the train back in episode 2 (which actually took place 30 years ago) but they are one and the same.
It was also revealed that none of the hosts were actually self-aware or conscious until the very end when Dolores finally denied her programming and reached the center of the maze, which meant she woke up. All of the other hosts who seemingly gained consciousness throughout the season — including Maeve who has been following programming this entire time — were merely navigating the path set forth for them by Arnold when he created the park.
In reality, Dolores was the host who was always supposed to wake up and she finally opened her eyes when realizing that the voice inside her head wasn’t Arnold and it wasn’t God — it was her own voice telling her what to do.
At the heart of the episode was the realization of the piece of psychology that haunted ‘Westworld’ throughout the first season — the bicameral mind.
It’s the idea that early man had two parts of the mind — one that was speaking and the other that listened and obeyed, almost like a voice of God. Eventually, humans evolved to realize that the voice inside the head was their own and that’s when true consciousness was achieved.
Arnold felt like he could achieve the same thing in the hosts at Westworld so he started out by implanting his voice in their heads, but the robots still struggled to differentiate between the actions to obey and what the other side of their brains were telling them. That wasn’t the case with Delores, who finally woke up before making her first choice as a functioning, conscious being.
It’s that the world no longer belongs to humans.
It belongs to the robots.
With that said, let’s recap the ‘Westworld’ season finale titled ‘The Bicameral Mind’…
The Center of the Maze
At the end of last week’s episode, the Man in Black arrived at the church where Dolores found herself while still trying to decipher if this was the past or the present. It turns out this was present day but Dolores was reliving the journey she took with William 30 years ago. Back in episode four, the head of security was notified that Dolores was off her loop and wandering far away from her ranch in Sweetwater. At that time, they park’s security force couldn’t figure out if she was with a guest or not. It turns out, Delores was all alone while trekking through the park the get back to the place where her life began. That journey also interceded with William once upon a time and that’s where she truly fell in love for the first time.
Fast forward 30 years, the Man in Black forces Dolores to shave him — a continued sign of his dominance over her — before he finally forces her to find the center of the maze. Dolores stumbles into a cemetery where she finds a grave marked with her own name. She digs into the dirt and finds a box and inside is a maze just like the one we’ve seen all season long.
It turns out there is no maze — it’s nothing more than a child’s toy.
The Man in Black is enraged and he ends up hitting Dolores while demanding that she take him to the real center of the maze. After all this time searching, he can’t believe that this is really it. Just then, Dolores declares that the Man in Black should be careful because her one true love will soon ride in on his stallion and rescue her from the dastardly villain. When the Man in Black asks this hero’s name she tells him it’s William.
That’s when the Man in Black reveals his true identity.
It seems 30 years ago when Dolores escaped the camp where Logan originally kidnapped her, William became obsessed with finding his lady love. He tied up Logan and dragged him through the park with him — just like he did 30 years later while forcing Lawrence to do the same while searching for the maze.
He traveled through towns, rounded up an army and even reached the outer limits of the park but never found Dolores again. After so much death and destruction while laying waste to anything and everything that got in his way while trying to get to Dolores, William took a darker turn and that’s when he put down his tan hat and picked up a black one instead. He also sent Logan off bare assed into the fringes of the park — where he ended up we don’t know.
What we do know is that William eventually returned home, married Logan’s sister and took over the company — Delos Corporation — and then immediately became the primary investor in Westworld so he could continue to live out his fantasies whenever he pleased.
William eventually found Dolores again one day but he noticed at that moment that her flirtacious interaction after dropping that can in the street was just a way to continue on the same loop she’s been on for years. She didn’t remember him and he had no more influence on her than the rest of the visitors who came to the park. William tried spending time with Dolores on subsequent trips, but over time he got bored with her and needed something new to drive his insatiable thirst to be satisfied.
Now in present day, William is the Man in Black and he’s searching for a way to make the hosts conscious so this game is no longer just a way for weekend warriors to kill and fuck their way through a vacation. William wants Westworld to become real and the only way that can happen is by the hosts waking up and humans facing real consequences for their actions.
Dolores struggles to comprehend that the man she loved is actually the black hat wearing miscreant that’s been beating her up this entire time. She then realizes that her beloved William is just like all the other humans who come here — hell bent to fuck or kill their way through the park. William then explains that there’s one key difference when it comes to him — he owns this world.
That’s when Dolores lays out a chilling representation of William’s true mortality, no matter how much money he has or worlds he claims to own. Eventually, time runs out on everybody — at least the humans.
“Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures. Just look what it’s done to you. One day 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’s yet to come.”
It’s almost a harbinger of things to come — the robot uprising if you will — but William is still obsessed with finding the center of the maze. It can’t just be a toy. That’s when Dolores hits him with a line he’s heard several times while on this journey — the maze is not meant for you.
At that moment, Dolores punches William and drags him into the church where she gives him a thorough beat down. Just when it looks like Dolores is going to finish him off, William stabs her in the gut just like Logan did 30 years ago.
William believes he’s finally got the upper hand even if he didn’t find the center of the maze but out of nowhere Teddy comes charging in on his horse, fires off several shots and saves the day. William falls to the ground riddled with bullets — except he’s really just fine — while Teddy rides off with a wounded Dolores as he promises to take her to where the mountains meet the sea, which will be her final resting place with the wound in her belly too deep to heal.
How the Story Begins
To understand how Dolores came to be requires going back to the time when she was first brought online more than 30 years ago by her creator Arnold.
The moment Dolores was “awake”, the voice she heard was Arnold and that same voice remained in her head forever — or so we thought. Throughout Dolores’ development, she would meet with Arnold in private — all those sit downs we saw throughout the series were those interactions — as he continued to probe into her mind to find out if she could truly become self-aware.
Arnold continued to explore the host’s minds in an attempt to reach consciousness and that’s when he set upon a discovery. Instead of looking at the host’s brains as a pyramid where they would achieve consciousness by moving up one level at a time, the real goal was more circular — like a maze — where the goal was to get to the center.
So Arnold set Dolores on a mission in hopes of making her self-aware but even when she reached the maze (that same toy in her own grave), she couldn’t quite reach the point where the voice inside her head was anything more than just programming. Still, Arnold felt that she was close enough to achieving the goal that the park shouldn’t open because the robots were nearly conscious.
An argument ensued with Arnold and his partner Robert Ford and the park opening was going ahead as scheduled.
So Arnold tried one last trick to keep Westworld from opening its doors.
He programmed Dolores to merge with another character in the universe — a brutal cult leader and mass murderer named Wyatt, who would lay waste to all the hosts and even go as far as killing a human.
Yes, Wyatt is Dolores.
He programmed Dolores while also giving her Teddy as a helper and they set out on a mission to kill all the hosts in the park before setting the stage for one grand finale. While Arnold had been trying desperately to create new life, in many ways Westworld was just compensation for losing his own son Charlie. He never got past the tragic loss of his own child and all Arnold wanted to do was give life to something else in an attempt to fill the hole lost from his son dying.
With nothing much left to live for, Arnold programs Dolores to put a gun to his head and then pull the trigger. In other words, Arnold committed suicide by telling D0lores to kill him and it was all a plan in hopes of keeping the park from ever opening in the first place.
Sadly it didn’t work because Dr. Ford discovered the scene and never allowed the story to reach the people in charge. It was all cleaned up, Arnold’s body was disposed of, Dolores and the other hosts were reprogrammed and the park opened without an issue. A few years later a wealthy businessman named William became enamored with the place and invested his money in Westworld that allowed the park to stay open for the next 30 years while Dr. Ford continued his work.
What was Ford trying to accomplish? Stay tuned for that later.
The Great Escape
Following a season long trip where Maeve — the ambitious brothel madam — woke up from her programming induced slumber and started to fight for an way to make her escape finally came to fruition this week.
Her plan begins by altering the specifications in two other hosts — Hector and Armistice — who serve as her guards while tearing through the buildings in an attempt to crossover into the real world. Armistice wakes up during a routine maintenance trip while biting off the finger of the hapless technician who just happened to be on duty. Meanwhile, Hector killed the perverted tech, who was attempting to have sex with him while still unconscious.
Both of the technicians died before Maeve showed up with Felix and Sylvester in tow as the group plotted to make it out of the building and evade capture. Before they can leave, Maeve needs to retrieve one more thing — she wants to find Clementine, who is currently sitting in cold storage with the rest of the half dead robots no longer in service.
When they reach the basement, Maeve finds Clementine — hollowed out and no longer functioning — but they also find Bernard after he shot himself in the head on Ford’s orders. Felix is shocked because he obviously didn’t know Bernard was a host but Maeve tells him to get the robot back in working order because she has questions that need answered.
Felix fixes the wound and brings Bernard online.
Maeve wants Bernard to look into her history to find out who was altering her code before she was able to do it herself. If you remember, Maeve discovered a couple of episodes back that while she was increasing all her levels like something out of an Xbox game, someone had already been tinkering with her software.
Bernard looks into the programming and finds that someone had been messing with Maeve long before she became self-aware. He even finds that her entire revolt has been planned. From the first time she “woke up” inside the brothel to her subsequent blackmail against Felix and Sylvester to recruiting the other hosts to help her escape — it’s all been a design that someone entered as her new narrative.
Maeve refuses to believe it before storming out of cold storage and making her way out of Westworld.
Upstairs, security alarms go off but then suddenly all the lights and computers go dark and the park shifts into lockdown. Maeve and her cohorts weave their way through the buildings — with Hector and Armistice providing cover by killing several security guards along the way. The group even wanders into another part of the park labeled ‘SW’ — we assume Samurai World — where samurai warriors are practicing sword play. Felix tells them this is a whole other story — presumably another world similar to Westworld.
In the original ‘Westworld’ movie, there were three worlds to explore including one set in the Old West, one set in Medieval times and another called Roman World. It appears we’ve only seen a small portion of this entire park.
After the shoot out, Maeve finally makes it to the elevator where she leaves Hector behind — he was only meant to help her escape but not get there himself. Meanwhile upstairs, Armistice is trapped during the lockdown but a post credit scene reveals that she actually gets loose by cutting her own arm off and wandering away. Where she ends up will remain a secret until season 2.
Finally, Maeve is only steps away from getting out of Westworld when Felix gives her the last piece of the information she asked for before this entire caper started. He found the location where her ‘daughter’ was located in the park. The note is labeled ‘park 1’, which only further confirms the existence of other parks besides Westworld.
While Maeve is driven to rescue her daughter, she decides it’s time to leave because that child host was really just another part of her programming.
She steps on the train to leave the park but with the doors closing, Maeve steps out, driven by a voice inside of her head that told her to go back. Maeve was never going to leave. This was all part of her programming just like Bernard tried to tell her. Now she’s back in Westworld but we won’t know what happens next until the show returns.
Journey Into Night
Charlotte Hale — the manipulative Delos operative inside the park — is still expecting to drive Dr. Ford out of Westworld so she can enact a new set of rules while also exporting out the technology that makes the hosts to employ for some kind of project the corporation is working on.
Charlotte informs Dr. Ford that he’s been voted out but she will give him tonight to unveil his new narrative in front of the Delos board, who has arrived to witness the grand occasion before he will retire in front of everybody. She’ll allow him a graceful exit but in the end, Ford must go away. Charlotte also instructs Lee to make sure Abernathy — the robot host they are using to smuggle out all the information on the technology to create, build and run the hosts — leaves the park on time. Charlotte also tells Lee that once Dr. Ford is gone, he can be in charge so long as things return to a simpler, less complicated story involving the hosts.
Meanwhile after William/The Man in Black wakes up from his shootout with Teddy, he finds Dr. Ford there to greet him. Ford tells him once again that this maze he’s been searching to find is something that was never intended for him. It was only for the hosts. William is enraged while taunting Ford that he only went through all this in an attempt to set the hosts free because this place is still just a game so long as the robots can’t fight back.
Dr. Ford then tells his old “friend” that he should stay tuned to see his new narrative unfold because he might just like it.
Cut away to a scene on a beach where Teddy holds Dolores in his arms as she speaks to him with her dying breath. She explains how they are trapped there with no hope to escape before finally expiring. Teddy holds her close when lights come up and both of the hosts freeze.
Dr. Ford walks up and introduces this as the ending of his new narrative called “Journey into Night”. The Delos board rips up in applause after it finishes. It appears this entire story throughout the season — including the parts played by the Man in Black/William — have been staged as this grand exposition for Ford to unveil this new narrative. Of course there was a greater purpose to all of this after he takes Dolores into an old field lab — the same one where she used to meet with Arnold after being created.
Down in the lab, Dr. Ford repairs the damage done to Dolores from her run in with William as well as being stabbed. He then begins to explain to her about the programming that was used when first creating her and how she’s always had a fondness for painting. Ford then points to the classic painting from Michelangelo titled ‘The Creation of Adam’.
Ford remarks how this painting was originally viewed as a scene of God literally creating Adam but a deeper look shows that the image behind the deity is instead in the shape of the human brain. The message being — “the divine gift does not come from a higher power but from our own minds.”
In other words, the voice of god, consciousness if you will, comes from inside the human brain — just like the bicameral mind.
Ford then introduces Bernard to Dolores after keeping them separated ever since he created this robot clone of Arnold. This is further evidence that all of the interactions we saw between the two of them this season was actually Delores talking to Arnold.
He reminds Dolores about her past programming — being merged with Wyatt and killing Arnold essentially at his own request. Ford realizes at this point that he’s finally finished Arnold’s work as Delores has woken up knowing that the voice she’s been hearing all these years is her own.
Before leaving, Ford also explains to Bernard that after Arnold died he decided that his old partner was correct about the hosts eventually gaining consciousness. Where Arnold failed, however, was not realizing that the hosts would need time to evolve into self-aware creatures. So Ford took over his partner’s work and helped the hosts to continue working through the maze until finding the center.
Ford also tells Bernard that part of the key to getting the hosts to “remember” was through suffering — the same emotion that tore Arnold apart after his son died. Over the last 30 years, the hosts have evolved through suffering because the humans would make sure of that but now he believes they are finally coming online and it’s time for this world to be handed over to the new kings of the jungle.
Ford says his goodbyes to Bernard while shaking his hand one last time — an embrace that might have some importance in the future. Perhaps Ford handed over his control of the hosts to Bernard until they are all awake?
Outside, Ford begins to give his final speech as Charlotte anticipates this being the moment where he retires. Lee makes his way down to the basement to retrieve Abernathy but when he arrives, it’s empty. All of the former hosts that have been decommissioned are missing.
Ford’s speech sounds less like a goodbye to the park and instead a farewell to life. Downstairs in the lab, Dolores finally wakes up after truly hearing the voice inside her head and she soon makes her way upstairs while holding the same gun she used to kill Arnold 35 years ago. It was a gift from Ford before he left her alone in the lab to work through the last stages of her evolution from robot to something more.
Dolores embraces Teddy and tells him everything is going to be all right because she realized what Arnold and then Ford have been trying to teach her this entire time — “this world doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to us”.
As Ford explains how he’s telling his last story — one that ends with a death by choice instead of command — Dolores makes her way on stage, cocks the hammer on the gun and shoots him through the head. As the crowd erupts in terror, Dolores’ face changes from one of naivety to villainy while gunning down anyone and everyone fleeing from the celebration.
Meanwhile, the Man in Black has moved away from the celebration to have a smoke when he spots an army of hosts descending upon him. A shot rings out and he gets tagged with a bullet when William sees the hosts — some clothed, others half naked with Clementine amongst them — as they charge towards him. A smile creeps across his face because for the first time in 30 years, William is facing true peril courtesy of the hosts in Westworld.
As Dolores continues to gun down the guests, the other hosts just stare on in delight while the humans scurry like cockroaches when the lights are flipped on. In this case it’s the robots who are the light because they are finally alive for the first time. Ford’s narrative ended with his own death not unlike how Arnold was killed 30 years ago except where he actually ordered Dolores to kill him, this time around she did it by her own choice.
Dolores is the first truly conscious host in all of Westworld and the days of humans ruling the Earth may have just become numbered.
‘Westworld’ returns for season 2 in early 2018 on HBO.