“An old friend once told me something that gave me great comfort. Something he read. He said Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin never died. They simply became music.”
Wise words to be sure — and final ones as well.
The season one finale of Westworld pulled very few punches, if any, as it brought many of the HBO drama’s most mystifying mysteries to an end. It brought several characters to an end, too, including the one person was holding all of the cards all season long: Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), assassinated by Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), satisfying the show’s initial promise: “These violent delights will have violent ends.”
When Ford mentions that it was Arnold who pulled the trigger through Dolores rather than Dolores herself, well what’s the difference between then and now? She says she understands but does she? Are any of these thoughts truly her own?
The hosts suffered more in their three decades of subservience, and time has passed, but Ford is still pulling all the triggers, all the puppet-strings, from Maeve and Hector to Dolores and Teddy.
The latter pair leaves their encounter with the Man in Black and go “to where the mountains meet the sea” only to have Dolores die in his arms, and to have Teddy make a rousing speech afterward in front of an assembly of guests waiting in precisely the right location as Ford unveils his new narrative.
It was Ford all along. His story. His direction. Not Arnold, not Bernard or Dolores or Maeve. Even William, Westworld’s owner, was just a pawn.
Beyond Ford’s assassination, the final episode of the season, “The Bicameral Mind,” confirmed the biggest theory in Westworld fan circles: William (Jimmi Simpson) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) are indeed the same person.
The reveal comes as Old Man William smacks Dolores around, hoping to wake the information about the maze out of her. William remembers the old times, how meeting Dolores changed him forever and inspired him to buy out Westworld.
His feelings for her were ripped to ribbons when William finally found Dolores back in Sweetwater, her memories of their time together seemingly gone without a trace.
But in the present time, Dolores remembers William and gives him a solid beatdown (including a brutal arm break; not the worst thing to happen to the Man in Black’s arm in the episode). The Man in Black wanted a game with stakes? He certainly has it now.
While Westward’s ratings success has been evident since its strong premiere numbers, new HBO chief Casey Bloys took his time making a decision about the second season.
TV industry sources have suggested the show’s high price tag — an estimated $100 million per season — and concerns over whether Nolan and Joy had a firm grasp on the show’s creative direction caused the network to think hard before pulling the trigger on a renewal. In an interview with Vulture late last week, Bloys admitted to exercising a bit of caution before deciding.
“This is a big show, financially and creatively, for us. I wanted to make sure it didn’t start strong and fall off,” Bloys said.
“I wanted to make sure that what we had here was really working.” In the end, Bloys says Westworld “fully met my expectations,” and then some. “The nice thing about Westworld is, it’s a broad-based hit,” he explains.