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Westworld Season 1 Episode 10 Explained in Detail
Just yesterday I attempted to do a full walk through of episode 10 in detail. But after almost 3 thousand words I only got through the most very basic of details from beginning to end of the episode. I didn’t discuss the crazy twists. I didn’t conjecture on theories about the why’s. I didn’t theorize about where season 2 will be going. So I decided, instead of throwing 8 thousand words at you without break, I’d instead come back the next day with those details as another pass. So here we are. Let’s dive in. But before we do – this post is nothing but spoilers from top to bottom. Watch season 1 – all of it – and then come back to join in on the discussion. Ok?
Let’s Start With The Man In Black
Because I can start anywhere I want, I want to start with an I told you so. I’ve been saying for a while now, that the Man in Black is William. Which, if you did not see this right hook coming?!? Oh holy cow that must have been intense! I saw it coming and I was still blown away by the reveal. It was so gorgeously well played by Nolan and Joy. (As an aside, I will buy anyone that gets me an interview with Lisa or Jonathan a coffee. A Starbucks coffee even. (Those are the expensive ones if you didn’t know.)) To reveal that large swaths of a single season of television, even though they run concurrently, were separated by 30 years is one of the best coups ever played on a television show. It’s so well played that I will watch season one again just to see the coup play out all over again completely aware of what was happening from the beginning. So good.
But most importantly, it would appear that we watched as Westworld received a significant portion of seed money to help it continue operating. Per a comment from Logan, Logan’s family was considering buying into Delos as an emersive entertainment company with a very unique product. And eventually William kills Logan (kills seems like a strong word. I bet you 1 dollar right now that we haven’t seen the last of Logan… and that he’ll come back as an older crazy fellow who wanders back in from the wild expanse) by sending him “over the rainbow” and then heads back to the real world to work with Logan’s family to buy into Delos. William then marries Logan’s sister. And eventually becomes the president of the Logan family business. We know that William’s wife dies a few years before and then William heads back into Westworld and starts his search for the truly immersive story… and his hunt for the maze begins.
If we look back to when the show kicks off we now understand a lot more about what we were seeing. Right? The Man in Black is a terror and a force to be reckoned with. We assumed he raped Dolores, but I still do not think he did. I think he was beyond that, he wanted information that he knew she had about getting to the center of the maze where the game provided a truly authentic experience as opposed to a fake one. Which, in a manner of speaking it did… right? But I’ll get to that in a bit.
Arnold and Ford and Their Deaths
We knew from Dr. Ford that Dolores killed Arnold – but Dr. Ford hasn’t always been the most authentic of information sources. But we now know that Arnold’s death was just a foreshadowing of things to come for Dr. Ford. Which, since it happens twice in one show, I’ve started calling it Dolorecide. See what I did there? I know, clever, right?! hahah. So I digress, we now know that Arnold built in the reveries into the Wyatt story line and calling this his pièce de résistance he programmed Dolores to kill him. And having uploaded his knowledge into the Delos cloud (which Ford later used to build a version of Arnold named Bernard) Bernard continued on Arnold’s work on the inventor’s behalf.
Which means that it is almost a guarantee that we will see Dr. Ford next season. Guaranteed. He’ll come back in his android form and may or may not work inside Delos (which has been decimated by Dolores and her fullon gunslinging at the end of season 1) but we will talk about that when we chat about Season 2.
What Is The Maze?
If you are confused about what the maze is or why it’s important to the show – never fear, even the Man in Black was completely ADRIFT as to what the point of the maze was. Right? William (the Man in Black), after the death of his wife (Logan’s sister), began looking for a deeper engagement in Westworld, a better more emmersive experience. And there were hints throughout Westworld that there was a rabbit hole somewhere that would give access to an extraordinarily deep and completely realistic experience.
But it actually was a test that evaluated whether or not a host was achieving self consciousness. As Dolores was utlizing her memory, and improvisation she began traveling inward and dialogueing about the larger meaning and the importance of this world and her experiences. We learned in episode 10 that though we had thought she was talking with Arnold (visavis Bernard) throughout the season she was actually talking to herself as she became more and more self aware. That as she headed towards the center of the maze and figured out this thing called awareness she was actually inner-dialoguing as she went. Does that make sense?
But, as I mentioned before, this was exactly what William was looking for. He wanted to play a game that was high stakes poker as opposed to this low stakes safe game he had been playing. And did you notice, that when Dolores broke his arm, and when Teddy rode up on his horse shooting as he arrived that William was like… NOW WE ARE PLAYING A REAL GAME! And even though the Maze wasn’t a formal story, it was a new perspective on the game which is what he was really looking for. So while the maze wasn’t for William… it was totally for William. If that makes sense.
Is It Arnold Versus Ford?
When the show kicked off I immediately knew that Dr. Ford was the evil Machiavellian behind the screen pulling all the strings and making everything happen good and bad. It was obvious to me right away that evil had a name in Westworld, and his name was Ford. Like Lost’s Jacob and Man in Black duo – Westworld had its power couple in Arnold and Ford. Right? Arnold, though dead, was living through his creations and his code that he had empowered to fight onwards towards awareness and the completion of the destruction of Delos. And Ford seemed to humor Arnold some, but ultimately was in control.
But as the season wound down I don’t know how right I was. And then with episode 10? I don’t know how right I was at all. Let’s look at it objectively. Arnold believed that the truely interesting interprise was developing machines that thought on their own and had freewill to do what they wanted to do. And it seemed like Ford was quelching that idea. But now, looking back, I actually believe that Ford agreed with Arnold – but believed that it would take inordinate amounts of time and iterations of the software to completely achieve. Thus the story revisions and the code revisions that included the reveries.
So when you couple that perspective with the way that Dr. Ford Dolorecided and the way in which Ford put his reputation, work, and code in the hands of the hosts I wonder if maybe Dr. Ford and Arnold weren’t totally on the same page but with slightly different perspectives on how to accomplish their goals?
If there is no true evil in Westworld (like the Man in Black in Lost – with their being Men in Black in both shows I wonder if one day Abrams will tell us Westworld and Lost were actually the same show?!?) via Ford, I wonder where the driver for the show will come from in the future? Obviously the board is one layer of evil. Charlotte specifically. But she just wanted to make money for the company and to simplify the administration of the park. I can’t fault her specifically for that. Except that she was trying to downgrade the hosts as a result. To keep them in chains and to limit their intellectual capabilities. So it could be generically said that Delos is fairly evil in that regard.
Journey Into The Night
First question to you all – what was with all of Dr. Ford’s earth moving and chaos in the middle of the season? Was he just unburying that town for Dolores to get to again? That seems like such a small thing for all the massive earth moving they were doing. Or was it just that we have only seen the very beginning kick off of the Journey into the Night storyline and haven’t actually seen the park since it’s start? I’m assuming that is the reason – and next season will bring us entirely different towns or even worlds to the show. No?
In my opinion… the Journey into the Night story began with Dolores Killing Dr. Ford, and then killing the board members and the Delos employees visiting that event. Is that how you read it too? And obviously the Wyatt story is over and the reveries have given way to full blown consciousness. Which now segueways into conjecture about season 2…
Westworld Season 2 Theories
In the post interview with Jonathan and J.J. they made it clear that while season 1 was orderly and concise, episode two will be chaotic and disorderly. Which, if you remember in my episode 1 discussion I said we would eventually get to. And that was just based on a viewing of the original movie that the show was based on. That movie devolved into the hosts taking over the park and killing anyone and everyone. Think Jurassic Park with robots. Right? And so it was pretty clear we were all headed here eventually. I just didn’t know it would be the VERY END of the season that this would happen.
Which brings us to the season 2 guesses and conjecture. It could be that Delos was gutted by Dolores and the hosts that were ordered by Ford to begin killing anyone and everyone at the end of the show. Which could lead to more of an adventure sport excursion experience. People willingly head into Westworld, but its like people who want to visit the apocalypse. Dude, I totally sky dove the Himalayas… what do I do next? I know, let’s visit Westworld!! No way man, you are completely insane. Totally mental! I know let’s go! Suit up. Shotguns? Check. Rocket Launchers? Check. You get the idea.
Or better yet, maybe no one comes in at all – and the show is only about the hosts for a season… save for the occasional incursion by Delos security trying to regain control. But that would mean that the constant deaths and rebuilds we be ending. As would all of the storylines about self awareness and the revelations of how that would work.
My fear is that Nolan is about to screw up in a way that True Detective screwed up. Season one of True Detective was the very best television season I had ever seen. It was literally Se7en squared. But then they just went and screwed up the formula for season 2 and released a really inferior show. Could it be that when Joy, Nolan and Abrams say that season two will be more chaotic it means it will be less planned out in advance? Because I have never seen a better reveal than the William/Man in Black reveal. Thoroughly architected and planned television shows are some of the best entertainment in the world. But to go to a more “chaotic” experience I hope isn’t code for off the cuff and smaller scale. Because then I think we are headed towards another season two of True Detective experience.
“If the first season was defined by control, the second season is defined by chaos,” Nolan said during the episode’s Big Moment. “That’s part of what we come to understand Ford has been planning all along.”
Dolores actress Evan Rachel Wood teased that her character has reached a tipping point.
“If Dolores is the oldest, this girl has seen three lifetimes of pain and trauma,” she said. “I would think there would be only so much one can take, whether you’re human or not.”
Please Mr. Nolan and Mrs. Joy – please please… continue to plan the entire season out in advance. Sure, do smaller scale stories and smaller experiences. But drive us towards a larger picture and experience with reveals and insights that are driven from a much much larger story sheet. And thanks for giving us the single best season of Television history. It was phenomenal.