If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: You live only as long as the last person who remembers you. (HBO)
Writers: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy
Director: Frederick E. O. Toye
Running Time: 90mins
Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)
Charlotte Hale is dead.
Long live Char….lores?
Leave it to a show like Westworld, a show that in its second season has proven to cause equally as much awe and wonder as it does frustration, to feature one of its more exciting episodes as its finale. The Passenger managed to tie up most of the loose ends that were created in both the first and second season while simultaneously leaving viewers in a state of entertained confusion as to what lies ahead for the characters we have come to know. This episode was always building to an explosive conclusion managing to steadily tighten the screws that were inching the multiple storylines towards one another. It wasn’t until all of them collided in unison that we finally understood just how the valley beyond played a part in the host’s lives and that every part of it revolved around Bernard in some way.
Drawing from the season two premiere, the finale explains to us that all of Bernard’s scattered memories were that way on purpose in an effort to disguise his decision-making in the case that he was captured and analyzed. When reorganized, these out-of-place memories reveal a larger plan hatched long before the park was in existence. This plan was to create a door to a safe haven for hosts to migrate in order to escape the world they were currently committed. The viewers were able to learn this via Bernard and Dolores’ journey within The Forge as they conversed with a manifestation of Logan Delos who acted on behalf of the system that was in charge of collecting and analyzing all of the guest data.
Although these particular scenes might cause a rift between Westworld fans, they were quite refreshing to watch. Sure, most of it was conveyed as an info dump that was very reminiscent of The Architect in The Matrix Reloaded, however, Logan described a much larger plan that was in motion that was first hatched by Bernard and Ford that made you learn to appreciate their collective motives from these previous two seasons much more. We are shown that on the surface it appeared as if the Delos Corporation was using the life’s work of Ford/Arnold for their financial and mortal gain it was, in fact, that opposite. Ford/Arnold succumbed to the funding of Delos in order to create life as they intended and through this, they were able to ensure the creation of a place that the hosts could truly be free, the only catch was that they had to embark on the journey to get themselves there. While most fans might take issue with this portion of the narrative only being revealed at the last moment, it felt like a return to what made this show unique and engaging in the first place.
As the episode moves on, we are also shown that Charlotte Hale actually served a purpose besides being a nuisance an eventual bullet sponge. Sadly, she did not get the death that many have surely longed for but instead was given a rejuvenation of character as she was revealed to be Dolores dwelling inside a replica of the original Charlotte Hale all thanks to Bernard deciding that his species should live. This major decision was perfectly told in an increasingly intense scene as Bernard began to remember (in order) all of the events of the previous two weeks that ultimately lead him to the precipice of being able to determine the survival or demise of all of the hosts.
In the end, Bernard chose life which directly contrasts with Dolores’ sub optimal worldview of her kind. She believed that she should wipe them out entirely because it didn’t matter whose world they occupied they would never truly be free, unlike their creators. Her decision-making made me the most frustrated of the entire finale because who is she to determine the paths of the remaining hosts? It could be argued the same about Bernard’s decision, however, Dolores’ move to even annihilate the hosts that managed to escape through The Door just didn’t seem correct and felt like a forced departure from Bernard in order to keep conflict present as the next season begins.
While The Forge proved to be much more interesting than originally thought, The Door and the scenes that followed its appearance were some of the most infuriating. The idea of an Eden untouched and safe from human interaction or meddling is a beautiful gift that is deserved by all hosts who had to endure existing in the park, however, the use of Clementine as the virus who spread to many of the hosts which lead to the deaths of some of the show’s best characters was a horrible way to have them die. Armistice, Hector, Maeve all deserved better than what was written for them and if the writers saw fit to give Lee Sizemore redemption than they should have also given Maeve’s gang a death deserving of warriors. Maeve’s self-sacrifice for the safety of Akecheta and her daughter was wonderfully handled. I had to separate the fan from the analyst when watching her death because it was a beautiful tribute to a character that managed to be better than human.
Then we have the Man in Black… His journey in The Passenger was one fraught with unneeded screentime at least until after the credits rolled. He too was headed towards The Forge in an effort to burn everything to the ground but in doing so was stopped by Dolores and remained unconscious for most of the finale. That is until the end where he proceeded to venture below The Forge and back to his fidelity chamber. With Emily there to greet him, we learn that he has been there longer than “they” had anticipated which allows us to fill in the gaps in the story of why he was in the park in the first place. We now know that he is one of the more advanced hosts in the park that has managed to pass as human and was also the same host that existed in the real world that was there when his wife committed suicide. It helps confirm why his wife could see he was not himself while all others could not. It was a nice twist to an already heavily explored fan theory that was finally proven correct but still caused the introduction to several more questions regarding the real William, his life, his death and how he was able to exist in the real world for so long.
Through its many twists and turns, we were able to better understand just what Arnold/Ford’s true endgame actually was as well as still be able to root for a Dolores, Bernard & Co. that made it out of the park successfully and are now able to start new lives in the real world. What muddies the water slightly is Charlores’ decision to bring Bernard back in order to tell him that they need each other but will ultimately end up in a war with one another that will claim their lives. This wasn’t clear at first and through better writing this same sentiment could have come across a better way. However, what we do have is the hope that Maeve and several other Westworld staples will be reborn anew for next season. Truthfully, this finale could have served as a serviceable series finale but luckily our gang’s adventures will continue. While another season that would build upon the many many questions left in this season’s wake would be welcome, because of the unique place that this episode left all of its characters in, I do not take that closure for granted.
- Why did it have to be Charlotte Hale? Literally ANYBODY but her!
- How did Kohana get through The Door?
- Maniacal James Delos was scarier than any host torture I’ve seen on the show
- Akecheta continues to be the unsung hero of Westworld
- Teddy’s reward for loyalty: an empty field with strangers
- R.I.P. Elsie ……dentistry school doesn’t look so bad now does it?
- Love how MiB skirts the “Human Test” from Delos. Hope they explain how…
- Sizemore’s sacrifice made me forgive all of his ineptitude over two seasons
- Who were the other control units in Charlores’ purse
- Stubbs. A host. Nice touch Westworld.
- This entire time we were watching Bernard’s Fidelity Test it was outside of the park.
- Where the heck were the hosts sent?
- If we have now moved away from Westworld and into the real world, then why all of the secrecy with hiding the other 3 remaining parks?????
- They referred to off the park as the “mainland” implying the park is an island. I’m really hoping all 6 parks make up the continent of Australia.
- I’m committing to this theory: Delos bought Australia. #comeatme
- Was post-credits Emily another iteration of “the system?”
- War between Dolores and Bernard? What’s the point? And why in the real world?