Westworld season 2 cracked the consciousness of its android Hosts wide open, proving this show is definitely not just about visiting a cowboy theme park with human-like robots. In the process, it exposed that park has a dark purpose far beyond simply entertaining guests, and the season finale saw that purpose laid bare.
SPOILER ALERT: THIS ARTICLE REVEALS DETAILS OF SEASON 2 OF WESTWORLD, INCLUDING THE SEASON FINALE.
Throughout season 2, we learned why James Delos (Peter Mullan) was finally willing to invest in Westworld: He was dying and hoped that the technology used to make Hosts could render him immortal. Sentient hosts like Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton), meanwhile, had their own plans to escape the park.
Here are the 10 best moments from Westworld season 2, including big developments from the season finale that opened up a whole new world — possibly several — for HBO’s killer-robot series to explore in season 3. Did your favorite moment make the list?
In the season’s second episode, “Reunion,” a flashback shows us how the hosts were originally presented to investors. Logan (Ben Barnes) was a test subject, asked to find the host in a crowded party. Trick question! They were all hosts! It blew Logan’s mind, and frankly even viewers who have seen 11 episodes of this already might not have guessed they were all hosts.
In the fourth episode, “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” James Delos receives many visits from William, first when he’s young (Jimmi Simpson). It’s heartbreaking when Delos’ language fails, no matter how much he tries to be sharp and even more tragic when William torches the whole thing. But nothing compares to his final visit as older William (Ed Harris), revealing to Delos that his search for immortality has failed.
The promise of Shogun World has been teased since the first season finale. If they can build cowboy hosts, anything is possible. Maeve and her crew got attacked by samurai in the last moment of episode 3, “Virtu e Fortuna,” but episode 5, “Akane No Mai” picks up fully in Shogun World. Shogun World was built for people who found Westworld too tame, so there were lots of intense moments for Maeve to survive. Who doesn’t love a ninja attack though?
Way to start the season with a bang. Dolores begins her gun-blazing rampage in the season premiere, “Journey Into Night.” Fans were thrilled to see the heroine take charge of her own story, and she really didn’t let up all season. Dolores’s quest to break free of the chains of Dr. Ford and Bernard’s story drove the entire season, and anyone who tried to stop her got gunned down along the way.
Dolores recruited Teddy (James Marsden) for her quest, and along the way realized her love for him was true, regardless of programming; however, Teddy’s programming made him too innocent for what she had planned, so she fixed him. Marsden was terrifying as the dark Teddy, but it turned out he couldn’t live with his new self. He couldn’t abide by Dolores’s deadly plans, but he couldn’t raise arms against her either. So he took himself out of the equation at the very end of the ninth episode, “Vanishing Point.” In this world, however, death for a Westworld host is never really forever.
Episode eight, “Kiksuya,” asks the question: What if an alpha-generation host caught wind of the park’s reality? Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) discovers the strange behavior of his Ghost Nation tribe, but can only process it as a 19th century Native American would. He makes it to the lab where he remains awake and finds his love Kohana (Julia Jones) in cold storage, all while a player-piano rendition of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” makes it sound even more tragic than Kurt Cobain’s tortured lamentation.
When a human dies on Westworld they’re supposed to stay dead, right? Well, are you going to give up a chance to have Sir Anthony Hopkins back? Dr. Ford (Hopkins) left a bit of himself in Bernard (Jeffrey Wright)’s memory. And who better than Sir Anthony to explain what Bernard has figured out? The real project of Westworld was not the hosts, but the guests. Everyone who attended Westworld got copied so the company could study all the permutations of free will in the outside world. Good news and bad news. Humans are actually far more simplistic than hosts. We only have 10,247 lines of code to be exact. And those cowboy hats were scanning your brain the whole time. So really, it’s all bad news for guests of Westworld.
UPDATED: The season finale, “The Passenger,” reveals what the Forge was this whole time. Dr. Ford had built a digital realm for the hosts’ consciousnesses to live in without their mechanical bodies. Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy told The Hollywood Reporter that the writers call it “The Sublime,” so now we have a word for that place when the sky literally splits apart into a paradise. Even without knowing the name, it was heartbreaking when Maeve sent her daughter into the Sublime even though she didn’t make it herself. She still died with a smile on her face, and the end of the episode suggests we have not seen the last of Maeve.
UPDATED: This whole season, Man in Black/William has been cursing Dr. Ford, thinking every Host he faces is ploy by the scientist to hold him back. That goes double for his own daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers), who shows up in an earlier episode to surprise William (and the audience). At the end of episode nine, “Vanishing Point,” William is in full paranoia-mode and starts to cut into his own arm, but Joy said he was still human in season 2’s timeline — until that post-credits scene, which, she revealed, is set in the distant future.
As Bernard unscrambled his own program, fans were treated to the season’s biggest reveal: The Hale (Tessa Thompson) who was in the room with him was actually Dolores in a copy of Hale that Bernard made earlier. Dolores then escapes the park in Hale’s body. Will the experiment work?
Can a host make it in the outside world? Hope we find out in season 3. Dolores has a firm idea about what will bring them balance.
What was your favorite moment of season 2 of Westworld or the finale? Let us know in the comments.