Westworld musings

The end of the first season of Westworld has left me with many questions…

Missing persons

There are a lot of folks who’ve plain gone missing.

Elsie Hughes – Last seen in a sleeper hold being applied by Bernard. We never saw her denouement so my presumption is she’s still alive. In fact, there was apparently an Easter egg on the Westworld website that suggested as much. But why keep her alive? Was this at Ford’s direction?

Ashley Stubbs – The head of security was last seen heading into Sector 20 in search of Elsie’s communication device before being set upon by Ghost Nation hosts who ignored his commands. Like Elsie, we didn’t see him actually die. Oddly, nobody seems to mention the missing head of security in the next and final episode (even as the hosts are literally rampaging through Westworld’s backstage). In any event, my presumption is if we’re not shown them die on screen, they’re still alive. Also like Elsie, I can’t imagine why Ford (presumably) would want him around post-uprising and post-Ford.

Peter Abernathy – Dolores’ first dad was put into cold storage after finding the picture of William’s fiance on his ranch and going loco. A quick drill bit up the nose and he was docile as a lamb, but Charlotte uploaded into him the data Delos was trying to sneak out of the park (which in and of itself was odd since she passed like 200 other hosts before choosing that one). Lee said he gave Peter a story to get him out of the park in the guise of a departing guest, but we never see it happen. The Peter thread is never tied up. Where’d he go? Did he leave the park after all? Or was he in the army of lobotomized hosts?

Charlotte Hale and Lee Sizemore – I only mention them because we see them at the gala at the end of the 10th episode but they’re not shown being killed by Dolores (who, notably, is the only host actually killing people — the others just stand around and watch). So they’re not technically missing, but their fates are unresolved.

Logan – We never hear his last name, oddly enough. Regardless, he’s last seen riding buck naked tied to a host horse into the distance at what we’re told is the edge of Westworld. William then returns home and apparently marries Logan’s sister and rises to the head of Delos, but what of Logan? Does he die of exposure? Does the horse eventually find its way back to the shed from which it was deployed with a naked dead guest tied to its back? Or does he find himself riding into a samurai’s camp? It doesn’t look good for Logan, but I find it hard to imagine we’ve seen the last of him.

Lawrence – He teams up with William and goes on a murderous spree, but when and under what conditions do they part ways?

William – We never get William’s last name, either. He gets shot in his good arm, but like so many others, his ultimate fate is unresolved. I can’t imagine a character of such significance would be killed off-screen. William, it seems to me, will definitely be around in season two.

The unfinished host – When Bernard and Theresa find the replica of Ford’s boyhood home, they also find an older 3D printer-type machine producing a host. After Bernard kills Theresa, I presumed (as did a lot of people) that the host being made was a replacement for Theresa. But no. So who was it?

I actually have a theory about this one. Dolores, assuming the storyline of Wyatt, kills Ford at the gala in the same way she killed Arnold (single tap in the back of the head). But the staging of that scene was weird to me. The angle, the way Ford fell, the whole thing. It seemed wooden and not as well done as the other scenes in which a character is killed. So what if the host being made under Ford’s fake boyhood home was a fake Ford? To be used specifically in that scene to give any survivors (and perhaps the hosts themselves) the idea that Ford was killed. This would let Ford continue to pull the strings in the background and see how his hosts developed as sentience spread among them like a virus.

Is there another puppet master?

Ford was the puppet master we saw throughout the show. He was maneuvering the whole time to destroy the Delos board, if necessary, and free his creations. But what of Maeve and the army of lobotomized hosts? Neither of them were necessary for his plans.

The hosts entertaining the board at the gala were more than enough to take down all the humans present. Hell, Dolores was enough all by herself. The army of retired hosts showed up after that started and didn’t play much part other than to shoot William in the arm. Were they an element of Ford’s plan? And if so, why? Or were they someone else’s doing?

And Maeve, we find out, has been programmed to try and leave the park (a story called “Escape”). This all by itself is opposite of what Ford is trying to do. He’s wants to keep all the data inside the park. So why would he program her to escape? All we’re told by Bernard is the programmer is someone with skill. Personally, I don’t think it’s Ford. But who is it? Arnold is long dead. Felix is the only other one we know who’s mucking about in her code and he’s not that good. And if this mystery story writer is behind Maeve, could they also be behind the army of retired hosts?

The triumvirate

There are three hosts who have advanced self-awareness in the park that we know of: Bernard, Dolores, and Maeve. I think Dolores is the most advanced, but it’s Maeve who arguably is the only host to make any kind of independent decision during the whole season when she leaves the train to look for her daughter.

What I find interesting about them is they’re all very different characters with very different motivations and personality traits. Dolores is now apparently a one-woman murder spree who seems to have it out for humans. Bernard is more introspective and potentially more likely to protect or at least be willing to work with any remaining humans. Maeve is selfish to the point that she uses and then disposes of everyone who helps her, human or host (though, tellingly, does not have Sylvester killed when his usefulness was over), in her quest to escape.

Presumably, they will all meet at some point. But will they work together? Or be at odds? Will they find a common goal or continue on their different paths? And who will the other hosts gravitate to? Maeve has the ability to rewrite their stories on their fly and make them do her bidding (though perhaps she’s loath to do so) as well as greatly enhanced cognitive attributes. She seems the most powerful of the three. But Dolores is the “chosen one” and has been around the longest. Bernard still seems very much bewildered, even at the end.

Samurai World

In perhaps the biggest reveal of the final episode, we find there’s at least two theme parks. Westworld and one with a logo that read “SW” and is filled with medieval Japanese characters. This more or less blew my mind since I presumed the showrunners had decided to change the original story and focus on a single park. Even more than before, I’m left wondering how honking big is this place and where in the world (or off of it) it is.

Does this mean there’s an entirely separate operational structure for each additional world? The control room only seemed to focus on Westworld (though we don’t know that for a certainty). None of the main characters ever seemed to be working on Japanese hosts (and we’re shown what appears to be an entirely separate backstage). Are they going rogue, too? Will cowboys and Indians be laying siege to Oda Nobunaga’s castle?

And ultimately, how many other parks are there? Were they new “gates” opened by Delos to maximize their investment? And since they weren’t part of Ford and Arnold’s original plans, is they why Ford never seems to show much interest in them?

That whole Mars thing

I posited that Westworld was on Mars the other day. I didn’t see anything in the final episode that necessarily made me rethink that idea. I will admit that when the actual ocean showed up, I was shaken, but then the lights came on and we saw lights both on shore and at sea so we don’t know that’s the real ocean. Everything in Westworld is fake, remember? I also recall that Ford was digging a really big hole with a really big digging machine and that could be for a faux ocean. In any event, I’m sticking with my theory for now. There is something definitely up with wherever Westworld (and Samurai World and any other worlds) is. For me, this is the biggest mystery left.

It’s going to be a long, long wait for season two.