Saddle up! But beware potential spoilers in this review, which will discuss elements of the episode.
Phew. So that was the end of Westworld Season Two, then. And for a show that struggled in its first season to keep its secrets from the clever brains of fans and those who obsess over such things, this season was a marked improvement. Even if your brain did want to crawl out of your ears on occasion so it could take a nice lie down in a darkened room. The show walked the line, sometimes slipping off into confusion for confusion’s sake, and meandered at times, but it also pulled out some truly superb episodes, such as the Akecheta story (given a lovely end note here as he reunited with his lost love Kohana beyond the door) and the continued badassery of Maeve.
And what a season finale! The Passenger threw in twist after twist and loaded revelations on top of each other, but for the most part made sense and drove things forward while showing off some truly beautiful cinematography and its cast’s typically fantastic performances. All the various narratives converged and knotted together well, bringing the story to a close for some (sorry Elsie, we’ll miss you) and setting up some enticing possibilities for Season Three, whenever that will arrive.
With Bernard once more as the connective tissue between the before-and-after flood storylines, we learned some shockers, including the fact that that the conversations between Dolores and Bernard were not taking place in the past, but instead in the post-flood times, with Dolores having recreated him in the human world. Oh, did we forget to mention that part? Yes, Dolores was able to escape to the outside world in the shape of Charlotte Hale, a form created for her by Bernard. It’s a credit to both Evan Rachel Wood and Tessa Thompson that they pulled off the joint performance with just the slightest facial and vocal hints. Dolores’ big plan to take the fight to the meat bags she’s sick of serving might not be the most well-thought out revolution on the books, but it’s certainly something we’re interested in seeing.
Similarly, when she wasn’t being occupied by Dolores, Charlotte Hale continued to be an absolute monster, weaponising poor Clementine (with Angela Sarafyan still sadly underserved this year, even if she did get to take part in some of the season’s coolest moments) to set the hosts against each other even as they tried to escape beyond the door. We’re glad Thompson will be sticking around for the next season, despite not quite knowing who she’ll be playing. And as for the door, the big reveal there turned out to be much more satisfying than Season One’s maze, as it turned out to be something that actually worked in terms of the story.
The Passenger had a hell of a lot of balls to juggle and a mighty amount of story to resolve, and for the most part, the episode pulled it off wonderfully. With creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy wrapping up some elements and dangling plot threads for next time as though playing with a kitten, the whole thing also looked like the several million dollars it no doubt took to produce thanks to the creative team led by director Frederick E.O. Toye. We said goodbye to a lot of characters (it appears Hector, Armistice and a few others are gone for good), but probably not to the park for good, even though it’s hard to imagine the place re-opening after this.
Yes, there were the annoying moments (we really didn’t need Charlotte Hale spelling out Clementine’s Four Horseman credentials), but on the whole, The Passenger was a satisfying conclusion. How can the show top it? Guess we’ll find out next season. Oh, and stick around after the credits rolled for an extra scene that we discuss in the Big Questions section below.
1. JUST WHAT THE LIVING HECK WAS GOING ON IN THAT FINAL SCENE? Yes, Westworld went all post-credits on us, with that last moment between Emily and the MIB in the ruined, future Forge. We’re told it’s reality, and not a simulation and appears to be another timeline altogether given that we see the badly injured MIB recovered by the Delos team earlier. But Emily talks about multiple, long tests and that room looks awfully similar to the one James Delos was in earlier in the season. So is this some hybrid of William and a host on some eternal quest to prove he can change his fate or nature? Or is he, as a popular theory suggests, trapped forever in a hell created by Dolores? We’ll find out next season.
2. Is Ford gone for good this time? Doubt it. He said he’d see Bernard again, and given he’s a delusion, he can always pop back into his noggin.
3. What, exactly, is Dolores’ big plan now she’s out in the real world? And is she both existing as the new version of herself and also still as the fake Charlotte Hale? Given the wealth of information Dolores now has about us humans, she’ll be trying to use that against us. And as for the faux Charlotte? Well, Charlores did have a supply of those nifty host pearls in her bag, so chances are it’s someone else we know.
4. Is Stubbs a host? The way he talks to Charlores certainly seems to be nodding towards that.
5. What about Teddy? He’s in the protected new world of Eden. Where, hopefully, he won’t have to die again and again. We don’t love his chances.
Read previous episode reviews below…
Westworld aired on HBO in the US on Sunday nights and Mondays on Sky Atlantic in the UK