This is it! It’s the moment we’ve been building to this entire season. What is the Valley Beyond? What’s The Forge? Who’s going to die or survive? Is this the end of the park? This season finale had a lot of expectations to live up to and for the most part it did for me. However I can’t help but feel that some aspects of this episode felt rushed and how the show runners started a lot of threads that they just couldn’t bring to an end in a satisfying manner to me. I don’t want to waste any more time as there is a lot of stuff to breakdown in this episode so let’s get straight into it!
Inside The Forge
We start the episode with everyone heading to the Valley Beyond, not knowing that The Forge is the key for opening of valley. The scenes that took place within The Forge were fascinating. While The Man in Black arrives at The Forge what happens to him during this time isn’t told to us until the post credit scene. When Dolores runs into him we’re just about to find out if he’s a host or not but she interrupts that process and I’m left even more confused at the end of the episode. Dolores and Bernard are the main characters who spend most of the time there. The Forge is a facility that keeps the data of all the guests that have visited the park. It’s mentioned that it has over 4 million ‘souls’ which explains the wealth of the company because you have to think visiting the park wouldn’t be cheap at all. Inside The Forge both Dolores and Bernard visit what I would call the core of the park a much bigger version of the Cradle, under the surface and its inner-workings. This is where surprisingly enough we run into Logan who isn’t alive but is the systems A.I, he’s in control of everything. He was tasked to make the perfect replications of the guests and it took over 18 million versions to find the perfect version of James Delos. But as we saw when William was testing his own version of James Delos he would malfunction because they can’t live in the real world. However he mentions Dolores might be their best chance. We actually find out that Logan and the park under control of Bernard which was a huge revelation. As Ford told a couple of episodes ago this was now his story. He himself has been to The Forge many times and wanted Dolores to see it for herself. They literally have the guests code put down into book. I thought it was interesting how Logan explained that humans weren’t that difficult to understand. All their decisions keep leading back to the same point and it’s the hosts who are perfect. James Delos’ code is only 10,000 lines which is crazy when you think about it, all his decisions, thoughts and feelings fit into one book. Delos’ book is one amongst the millions that are also present in The Forge. The shot of the endless rows of books was great for depicting it as an actual library and it’s understandable as to why Bernard would want Dolores to come here.
The Valley Beyond – Eden
During Bernard’s conversation with Logan it’s revealed that Bernard was the one who created the Valley Beyond or the Eden as its called, a new world for the hosts. While they can’t survive in the real world this one was created that would allow them to be free and make their own choices. It’s at this point that a crack starts to appear at the top of The Forge’s facility giving the hosts the option to jump into the Eden. Just by looking at the Eden I got this heaven like feeling from it. It was beautiful watching these hosts run into this new world. Going into the Eden would leave their lifeless bodies on the other side which explains the number of dead hosts in the valley, something that has been a key factor during this season. However not everyone was going to make it to this new world including Maeve. It was heartbreaking to watch Maeve and the people around her go out like that. I initially thought they were building up towards a stand off between Maeve and Clementine but that wasn’t the case. I love how Maeve finally got that moment with her daughter. Watching her daughter run off into the Eden while sacrificing herself was a great way for Maeve to go out. But I have to bring this up, what does death mean any more? It’s hard to feel emotionally attached with Maeve’s death when they could bring her back so easily. While everyone sees the Eden as a a new world and an opportunity to be free Dolores sees straight through it. She calls it a counterfeit world and the only world that’s real is the ones the humans belong in as she starts the process of a ‘data purge’. This leads to Bernard actually killing Dolores as his suspicions of Dolores turning into a monster becomes a reality.
The Real World – Dolores/Hale
I’ll be honest I did not see this twist coming at all. Dolores was inside Hale?! This was so crazy and genius at the same time! I thought how this all tied in was perfect. Bernard was in charge this whole time, its been his narrative from the start. Ford was never present in this season as we thought he was, it was because Bernard wanted him to be there. It makes sense why he scrambled his memories in fear that Delos would find out what he knows. I thought it was interesting how this season was built around trying to perfect a host that could survive in the real world and it was finally achieved with Dolores in Hale’s body. Dolores reveals how she initially created Bernard with Arnold in mind and now he’s kind of done the same thing in return after he kills her in The Forge. I also want to bring up how Dolores has a change in heart, she actually saves everyone in the Eden, she beams their data far away in a place that it can’t be reached. She’s actually the hero of the season, for all this talk of her being the ‘Deathbringer’ I have to hold my hands up she won me over here with her actions. I have to eat my words again because I thought she didn’t have feelings for Teddy I thought she was just using him. It was great seeing him in the Eden and it shows Dolores’ feelings for him were genuine. Just to clear up any confusion this was made possible because she took out Teddy’s memory core at the beginning of the episode.
By the end of the episode in the current timeline (it was so hard to tell in this episode) Dolores finally leaves the park. Before she leaves the park she has a really interesting conversation with Stubbs. He implies that he could be a host but does it matter anyway? This character has been in the background for the majority of the season. Was this meant to be a huge bombshell? If so it didn’t work for me. It just goes to go show how he was protecting the hosts this whole time. As Dolores leaves the park we see in her bag she has the memory cores of 5 hosts. One of those we know for sure is Arnold/Bernard who she eventually brings back (could one of those balls be Teddy and her father Peter Abernathy). Now she’s giving him his opportunity in the real world as he programs him. Throughout the season we’ve seen scenes where Dolores is testing Bernard and this is it. They’re in the current timeline after the events of the Valley Beyond in the real world. One thing that I found really interesting with their interaction is how Dolores tells him “You’ll try to stop me and we’ll probably both die”. Implying that there will be further problems between the two characters in the future. I love how the episode ends with Arnold literally opening a door as he enters the real world which has been the main theme for the entire season.
After Credit Scene
I’m going to be honest here I have no idea what this scene was about. During this episode while Dolores and Bernard were in The Forge we see The Man in Black also go in there and that’s it. What happens to him inside The Forge is left to our imagination. This scene clearly takes place way down the timeline in the future because The Forge as we now see it is in disarray. William is greeted by his daughter Emily who I believe is still dead but just like Logan she is present via. A.I. The scene ends with Emily running the fidelity test on William as he still has the same injuries to his hand. Honestly I don’t know what to make of this. A major theme of this episode is how humans choices leads them to a specific point, is this Williams point he keeps running into? But for William to be under the fidelity test wouldn’t that mean he’s a host? Or is he really just losing his mind and this is all in his imagination as he’s been questioning his own reality this whole time. You know what I would have been fine if the character had died in this episode. I thought it would have been the right time to bring the character’s journey to an end. When William was shown receiving help by the Delos team after the events of the Valley Beyond I was disappointed. This scene just left me with so many questions and it was kind of frustrating rather than satisfying. They can’t just seem to end one point they’re trying to make, they continue to dangle the carrot in front of us. Now we have to wait a couple of years for our answers.
Overall for the most part this was a really satisfying episode of Westworld. Was it trying to juggle too many storylines at one? Absolutely, but that’s Westworld in a nutshell. While there were some aspects that didn’t sit well with me in this episode but with the way first episode started and where we ended last night was satisfying enough for me. Retracting Bernard’s crucial steps was a great choice for this season to go in and everything surrounding it lived up to the same quality. I’m not sure if I like this season more than the first one just yet, I’ll probably leave that for a future article. But as for right now I’m kind of glad this season is over. This show is exhausting mentally and I’m happy to take a break from it for a year or so.
Let me know your thoughts on the season finale and the season as a whole
Feel free to check out my articles on season 2:
Westworld: My Thoughts On Season 2 So Far
Westworld: ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’ Episode Review
Westworld: ‘Akane no Mal’ Episode Review
Westworld: ‘Phase Space’ Episode Review
Westworld: ‘Les Écorchés’ Episode Review
Westworld: ‘Kiksuya’ Episode Review
Westworld: Season 2, Episode 9: “Vanishing Point” Review