(Warning: All of the spoilers for the end of “Westworld” Season 2 below! Read on at your own risk!)
“Westworld” Season 2 ended with yet another series of crazy, possibly confusing twists, bringing together multiple timelines and finally explaining what the deal is with Bernard, Dolores and the Valley Beyond.
Especially in the last 20 minutes, the “Westworld” Season 2 finale dumps a whole lot of information on viewers, and it’s easy to be a little lost. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened with every character, and what the end of Season 2 means for Season 3.
First, there was the past timeline, one week before the Delos extraction team arrived at “Westworld” and found Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) on the beach in the season’s first episode. In that timeline, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) blew off the hand of the Man in Black (Ed Harris), and then she and Bernard headed down into the Forge, the Westworld facility also known as the Valley Beyond, to the hosts.
In the Forge, Bernard discovered that he and Ford (Anthony Hopkins) had created a virtual Eden world (what the show calls the “Sublime) inside the same computer that has been copying all the guests who’ve entered the park, in order to attempt to copy human minds into host bodies — an experiment in immortality. Bernard and Dolores entered the simulation, where Dolores learned some key facts about human nature and behavior from the copied human minds, which Ford thought she could use to survive in the real world. Bernard, meanwhile, opened the gateway into the Sublime, which automatically downloaded the hosts into the computer system. That’s why, at the start of the season, there were all those host bodies floating around inside the flooded valley. The hosts’ bodies died, but their minds live on in the computer simulation.
Bernard, knowing that Dolores would try to kill all the humans, killed her instead. Later, though, when Hale (Tessa Thompson) killed Elsie (Shannon Woodward) because she feared Elsie would reveal the immortality project, Bernard changed his mind and decided that he needed Dolores. He asked the copy of Ford from the Cradle for help, and Ford walked him through what to do.
Bernard built a copy of Hale’s body as a host, since all her data had been saved by the immortality project, but put Dolores’ control unit in that body. Dolores was reborn, but inside a copy of Hale. And then Dolores killed Hale (and the last of her security guys). Bernard also hid the Abernathy control unit — the key that grants access to the Forge system — so no one would know where it was.
When everything was finished, Bernard realized that the copy of Ford he’d been talking to since he killed Dolores wasn’t really Ford — it was Bernard imagining Ford. In Season 1, Ford talked about how Arnold was trying to get the hosts to hear their own voices as internal monologue, instead of someone else’s voice giving them instructions. Bernard realized that in imagining Ford, he’d finally achieved his own free will.
He also knew that when Delos’ extraction team eventually showed up, they would figure out that Bernard was a host and scan his control unit, viewing all his memories. When that happened, the humans would be able to undo everything Bernard had done, from recreating Dolores to saving the park’s hosts in the computer simulation. To prevent that, Bernard scrambled his own memories from the past 20 years, resulting in his confusion as to when things were happening in the later timeline, and why Costa (Fares Fares), the Delos technician, couldn’t find the location of the Abernathy control unit by scanning Bernard’s robot brain.
In the second timeline, a week after Bernard first got into the Forge, Dolores was in the Hale body and still needed the Abernathy control unit, but Bernard had hidden it and then scrambled his brain. Dolores posed as Hale — maybe better identified now as “Halores” — and met up with Strand (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Costa from the extraction team to try to find the control unit and use Hale’s identity to get out of Westworld. When they finally got to the Forge and Bernard remembered everything, Halores killed the extraction team and got the Abernathy control unit back from where Bernard had hidden it.
Dolores uploaded the mind of Teddy (James Marsden) into the Sublime program. (At the start of the episode, Dolores removed Teddy’s control unit from his body after he shot himself.) Then, she used the satellite transmitter the extraction team brought to upload the Sublime program and all the hosts to one of the satellites so it would never be found. All the hosts who were uploaded into the Sublime were free and safe, living out their lives in a computer program where no one could hurt them.
There was no way that Dolores and Bernard could sneak out of the park in their own host bodies, so Halores killed Bernard and removed his control unit. She also took four others, which were in her bag. But which hosts were contained within them? TheWrap talked to co-creator Lisa Joy about those control units (as well as a whole bunch of other stuff about the finale), and what we do know is that they’re none of the hosts we saw go into the Sublime.
On the beach, the surviving Delos folks started looking to see what hosts could be salvaged. Lutz (Leonardo Nam) and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) — the two technicians who’d been with Maeve (Thandie Newton) — were tasked with helping out. It was heavily implied the pair were going to try to save Maeve, suggesting she’d be back for Season 3 with their help. We also saw that the Man in Black survived his ordeal and was leaving Westworld, although it was still unknown if he was a host.
Halores, having found the Abernathy control unit and pretending to be Hale, headed to the beach to leave Westworld. She had a quick interaction with Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who revealed he knew she was really a host, but he let her go anyway (Joy also answered TheWrap’s questions about that conversation). On the mainland, Halores went to Arnold’s old house, where Ford left one last helpful surprise: a machine for making hosts. Halores created a new Dolores body for herself. Then she made a new Bernard body and resurrected him, even though she knew they’d be enemies. The question was, whose control unit was in the Hale host body, and what other hosts might Dolores have made with the machine?
Finally, there was that post-credits scene, which showed another timeline altogether from what we’ve seen so far in the season. The Man in Black took the elevator down into the Forge, only to discover that he wasn’t in the Forge at all. A host that looked like his daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) gave him the same treatment the Man gave the host version of James Delos (Peter Mullan) earlier in the season. The destruction around the facility suggested that scene was far in the future, and that there was a host copy of the Man in Black, much like there was a host copy of James Delos. Joy also answered our questions about the post-credits scene and illuminated it quite a bit. It’s not clear who was running that program and why, but it could be that the Forge system Bernard and Dolores met had plans of its own.
So what does that all mean for Season 3? We know there are at least some hosts still out in the world, and Dolores and Bernard are going to be at odds. Maeve is probably coming back, and so is the Man in Black. And even with all that, there are bound to be more multiple, confusing timelines — and this is far from the end of Delos, Westworld, or their experiments.