Has Westworld as we've known it through two seasons just ended?
Westworld Season 2 Episode 10 felt like a conclusion to the park aspect of the series leaving the hosts (who would need another term for reference) to another world, one, quite frankly, I don't understand.
In fact, after several views of the finale, I'm still not sure how I feel about it, and that's not the kind of place from where I like to review.
Such that it is, time has run out on me and Westworld the park. There isn't time to ponder this forever. Maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe Westworld was trying too hard.
The finality with which the credits closed on the park didn't seem necessary after two seasons. As a fan of the movies way back before many people were born, surely there was more to learn about humanity within the park setting than setting out for a Humans-like adventure in the real world.
If that's where Dolores, Bernard, and whoever is inside Charlotte Hale have found themselves.
Westworld's deep dive philosophical questioning has been at its most profound when it involved the humans inside the park discovering who they are and to what lengths they would go to the detriment of their lives outside and to their own shock.
William's story of innocence upon arrival at Westworld only to be turned into a person he never thought he was, dark, mean-spirited, and unable to hide this other side of himself from his wife was fascinating, but not nearly as developed as it could have been throughout.
The discovery of the system level James Delos was a perfect example. That he continued to be folded back to his defining moment when he turned his back on Logan at his lowest point, his final conversation with his only son six months after which he overdosed and died, didn't seem like a terrible piece of coding to me.
Bernard: Are you saying humans don't change at all?
AI Logan: The best they can do is live according to their code.
It's not something one should easily get over, but something someone should spend a lifetime trying to understand. It should affect every other move a being makes. Maeve is the model host for me, not Dolores.
But Maeve is gone. She lost her fight ensuring the person she loved the most made it to a fantastical Eden in which she could be free, a freedom Dolores denigrated because it wasn't real in the sense that what humans have is real.
If most everything else that humans have is unworthy, why would our reality be something worth having in the first place? Why crave what we have if so much of what we crave is worthless?
You never really understood. We were designed to survive. That's why you built us, you hoped to pour your minds into our form. While your species craves death. You need it. It's the only way you can renew. The only way you ever inched forward. Your kind likes to pretend there is some poetry in it but that really is pathetic. But that's what you want, isn't it? To destroy yourself. But I won't give you that peace.William. That's right, Dolores. We're at the end. Nothing else is in the way now. Dolores
Even during "The Passenger," the quotes made about humanity and the thoughts of what transpires in our minds continued to fascinate but were pushed aside to better develop what could happen with the hosts.
And that's understandable since it's so much easier to take an unknown and flesh it out than it is to make a statement on who we are as a species, such that we are right now, especially.
For the first time, though, Dolores' thought train felt arbitrary. She was talking in circles. Humans created us. What they have is better. They're stupid and don't understand. What we have designed that they don't know about isn't good enough. I want what they have.
Poor form, Dolores.
Also for the first time, I was proud of humanity. Sizemore was beside himself at the thought Maeve might die while he was alone and without resources to save her. But while the two men who loved her, Sizemore and Rodrigo, were too late, she saved herself. It was a beautiful scene, her ascension and the running of the bulls.
But not too much later, it was down to the men again using one of the speeches Lee wrote to ward off the soldiers. Sizemore had so bought into the creatures he once thought so little of that he sent Rodrigo off with his love and said the speech himself, losing his life in the process.
That's the kind of behavior Dolores doesn't understand. She missed out on getting to know any humans well enough to believe in them and their power to change. Of course, humans can change, but not all of them, just as not all hosts can change.
The discovery that Bernard is Dolores' creation just as she was Arnold's was a surprise. I would have expected them to be a little bit closer throughout the seasons as a result. Selective filmmaking, I suppose.
As his creator, he didn't trust her any more than the others trusted their creators. Dolores didn't give up, though.
Arnold: Is this now?
Dolores: This is a test, one we've done countless times before. You're almost the man I remember. But there are flaws, a word a gesture. A tiny fracture that grows into a chasm. But I wonder. All these tiny imperfections in each copy. Mistakes. Maybe we should change you. After all, you didn't make it, did you?
Arnold: I. I don't understand.
Dolores: Freeze all motor functions. Let's try again. Trial 11,927.
That's a lot of testing and far more chances than I recall William giving James Delos.
It's still confusing as to how many of any one character was in play at any time or where we were during the scenes we've seen recreated throughout Westworld Season 2.
Logan and Dolores at the pool were just similar enough to the scene we witnessed earlier this season for me to question everything we saw then, too. Was William inside the system with James Delos trying to help him acclimate to his new lot in artificial life? We'll never know.
At least we understand how the bodies wound up in the forge, as they passed into Eden -- the host version of heaven -- and their bodies died. As Dolores closed the door and started a purge of some hosts before Bernard stopped it, are all of those lost?
Eden has been moved never to be found and the purged hosts probably cannot be recovered. Dolores took with her some other brain balls in her purse so there should be a handful of hosts returning as they build their new world.
Bernard: I always thought it was the hosts who were missing something or incomplete, but it's them. They're just an algorithm designed to survive at all costs, sophisticated enough to think they're calling the shots, to think they're in control, but they're really just...
Bernard: Is there such a thing as free will for any of us or is it just a collective delusion, a sick joke?
Ford: Something that is truly free would need to be able to question its fundamental drives, to change them.
Here you are. The last of your kind. There's only one question left to ask. Is this the end of your story or do you want your kind to survive?
Was the new world the home Arnold built in the middle of New York City, or is it a fake reality somewhere else? Dolores noted Ford set it up for them. She wouldn't stand for anything other than the real thing, so it must be the house Arnold showed her long ago.
My biggest concern is that by losing the focus on humans and what they could discover as a result of visiting the parks and mingling with the hosts is that Westworld will become Humans, and that series already airs on AMC.
And then there's the final question. Were we ever examining humanity by way of William?
William: Oh, fuck. I knew it. I'm already in the thing, aren't I?
Emily: No. The system's long gone.
William: What is this place?
Emily: This isn't a simulation, William. This is your world or what's left of it. Do you know where you are, William?
William: In my park. In my fuckin' park.
Emily: And how long have you been here?
William: I don't know. I don't know.
Emily: Tell me what you were you hoping to find? To prove?
William: That no system can tell me who I am. That I have a fucking choice.
Emily: And yet here we are. Again
William: Again and again. How many times have you tested me?
Emily: It's been a long time, William. Longer than we thought. I have a few questions for you. The last steps of a baseline interview to allow us to verify.
William: Verify what?
It's easier to understand now why William thought he was killing a host, but it doesn't help at all in understanding whether or not William is a host or human. The question is the same, but the circumstances are not.
Could William have been out in the park trying to discover if a human could survive for an extended period of time and not lose his mind? Had he already broken through the system and discovered all of the books and wondered if, unlike Delos, he could make a choice on his own?
Or had Ford told him all about it and said the only truly free species were the hosts? It is a valid scenario from one enemy to another to drive him even further into the void of insanity, and sanity was on the menu of the finale.
Will we ever have answers to these questions or will the languish in our minds forevermore? I'm not ready to move on to an entirely new and less human scenario just yet. It is through sci-fi shows some of the most human frailties can be explored, and I'd like to see that continued.
I was hoping for more worlds, not a leap into this one.
Questions were answered, questions were raised. Heroes were born and died. Fates were destroyed and destinies changed. It was a finale closing doors and opening others wide for the future.
What did you think about how the finale did all of those things? Hit the comments to talk about it.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.