Dying in the park seems like a happy alternative to the lives of many at this juncture.
Westworld Season 2 Episode 9 not only revealed a bit of William's intent with the park but why his wife, Juliette, killed herself, how far down the rabbit hole William has fallen and which character has become most like him.
Others are continuing their internal growth despite meddling, proving that pushing a few slides too far in one direction doesn't corrupt completely. In short, a lot is going on as we lead into the Westworld finale.
Many of us have wondered about William and whether or not he is an AI in what is, essentially, his own park. Not yet.
Elsie: Hey, if you know something, now is the time to fucking clue me in, OK? You promised me: no lies, no secrets.
Ford: You can't trust her, Bernard. It's in her nature.
Elsie: What did you find in the cradle?
Bernard: What they're doing to James Delos, they're doing to everyone who visited the park.
Elsie: Replicating their cognition? Why? To turn guests into hosts? You're fucking kidding.
Bernard: That's what's in the facility. All the guests, laid bare in code, on a vast server. Like the cradle only much bigger.
After the reveal that his grand plan wasn't immortality but to create hosts if we're to believe what Bernard discovered and his interpretation of the discovery, it's very likely at some point in the future William won't be William anymore, but the Man in Black. A full-scale host left to frighten and scare the living shit out hosts and guests alike.
As Ford said to William on his big day, "be careful what you wish for."
It was on that day, a special day for William and also one of the worst days of his life, that Ford had decided to move forward with one final game for his old nemesis.
The way "Vanishing Point" was written to showcase the differing recollections of that day, including one that William wouldn't even admit to himself until he had gone so far off the deep end he had killed his daughter in his madness to get to the end of the "game" he thought Ford was playing with him, was well executed.
The pity of it was twice his daughter tried to help a parent and without warning became a victim of family circumstance due to her father's madness. The first time, Grace believed her mother killed herself, possibly because she overheard her making the call to commit her for treatment for alcoholism involuntarily.
It was only after the "game" claimed William's ability to process what was real from what was not yet again that he allowed himself to recall the genuine interaction he had with his wife that night and imagine what had probably really played out with her that fateful night.
Juliette was done long before they got married. We watched William fall in love with the idea of the park from the moment he set foot in it. He had Dolores on the brain years later at a party in his honor. Juliette knew nothing was true in her life and only wanted her husband to speak the truth one time.
Wanting to hear it and hearing it are two different things, though.
No one else sees it, this thing in me. Even I didn't see it at first. Then one day it was there. A stain I never noticed before, a tiny flip of darkness invisible to everyone, but I could see nothing else til finally, I realized the darkness wasn't a mark from something I'd done or a regrettable decision I'd made. I was shedding my skin. The darkness is what was underneath. It was mine all along. And I decided how much of it I let into the world. I tried to do right. I was faithful, generous, kind; at least in this world. That has to count for something. I built a wall and tried to protect you and Emily. But you saw right through it, didn't you. You're the only one. And for that I am truly sorry. Because everything you feel is true. I don't belong to you or this world. I belong to another world. I always have.William
What Juliette ultimately heard from her husband's lips led her to do the one thing that would rip the life right out of her. She witnessed the monster William had hidden from everyone all those years in Westworld.
It had to be easier to believe he was full of darkness that to see it in vivid color playing out before her. Rape, murder, and the brutal torture of a woman she had seen in the house over the years would make an untouched woman livid and depressed.
Juliette had already had far too much to drink and years of mental anguish over who her husband had become at the park's expense. She may or may not have killed herself on purpose, but to wipe what she'd seen out of her memory forever required the oblivion she chose.
With a daughter like Grace who thought the sun rose and set on her father, Juliette knew she was fighting a battle she couldn't win. Nobody saw the darkness but her. In the real world, William was a philanthropist. He saved lives. He made dreams come true.
We don't even know the extent of his good deeds, but from a single shout out during Westworld Season 1 when an awed park visitor singled him out to thank him for his generosity.
So when William felt he'd lost it all and put a gun to his head, I was ready for him to go. We know he'll be back. He's backed up. He's the Man in Black. We're in a prequel to the movie, I think. This story will play out again and again as humans believe they can control the hosts and hosts gain their freedom and enlightenment.
Or maybe the hosts will take over and manage themselves. The options are plenty.
Who would have thought Dolores would be the host to be so similar to William?
The more sentient she becomes, the more she loses her ability to understand genuine human nature. It never dawned on me that sentience might bring with it the mental illnesses associated with humanity, but it appears to be the case. Whether Wyatt is a psychopath or a sociopath, she doesn't understand caring anymore.
She showed some sensitivity toward her father, but when it comes to Teddy, it's all gone.
Teddy, though, has finally had his own epiphany, fully realizing his life from the first time he saw Dolores to now. He knows she is his cornerstone and her protection is embedded so deeply within him that even when he hates himself for doing it, he will protect her first among all others.
The first sign that he was emerging out of the slide-created stupor was when he let the member of the Ghost Nation run off. Teddy never liked to kill, and the more killing he did, the more his mind reset. If Wyatt were in immediate danger, he would protect her. If she were not, he would not indiscriminately kill.
Wyatt thought her meddling had created such a perfect specimen that his love and devotion to her were absolute. In a way, it was, but his internal moral compass was more important to him. He'd rather take his own life than be like those from whom they were running.
Evan Rachel Wood nailed Wyatt's reaction to Teddy's suicide. It was very robotic in nature, the way she collapsed. There was so little of Dolores left outside of the silent cry and the tears welling in her eyes.
What will she do next without Teddy?
Bernard was imperative not only in revealing pertinent information and showing he would continue making his own decisions in who he would trust and how he would protect those who Ford said would betray him if they stayed too long but in leaving Ford with Maeve.
Of all the hosts I've made, you, Maeve, were my favorite. It isn't easy to contemplate letting your children die. You were as close as I got to having one. Still, I underestimated you. You stayed here in this world to save your child. So have I.Ford
Like Arnold felt for Dolores, Ford felt for Maeve. Dolores killed both of their creators. Maeve stayed too long and found herself in a very perilous situation.
It's weird that none of the host repair people were hosts. Why not create hosts to care for their own kind, I have to wonder. If most of them never knew what they were, would it have made a difference?
It would be helpful if there were someone available that Maeve could manipulate within her massive network to come by and lend her a hand. If she's survived this long on the table open and exposed, surely she can be mended.
I tried to chart a path for you to force you to escape, but I was wrong. I should have just opened a door. You've come so far, and there's so much of your story left to tell.Ford
Perhaps that's what Ford was trying to tell her. That help is on the way. It can't be that Maeve's last stand was cut down by those ass clowns in the facility. She's too great to go into Westworld Season 3 in such a way.
Will she make it to The Valley Beyond? I've already forgotten if she was included in the beach scene in the premiere, but I'll have to go back and rewatch before the finale.
If that's where all of the guest's profiles are stored, it seems impossible the water will destroy them, only that the water will protect them as a water cooling system in the desert heat.
The Cliffhanger for Season 3 must be immense, though. Will it end with the death of William and many of the characters returning to a new Westworld years into the future now that we know how the park began?
What are your expectations for the finale? What surprised you here? Hit the comments and chat with me!
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.