(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Sunday’s “Westworld.”)
After almost three seasons of being the Man in Black in a world full of gray, William (Ed Harris) realized his “purpose” on Sunday’s episode of “Westworld” — and that’s to be “the good guy” now.
This revelation came after a very intense AR therapy session in which William literally had to take a closer look at himself — five versions of himself, actually — to get to the bottom of why he is the way he is and who he wants to be going forward.
Led by his hard-ass, late father-in-law, James Delos (Peter Mullan), this multi-William group chat included the real William, who is stuck in a mental facility thanks to Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), along with virtual versions of his Man in Black persona, the “good guy” philanthropist/Delos exec he presents himself as to the world, Young William (played by Jimmi Simpson), and a much younger, pre-teen William (Zayd Kiszonak), who we have never seen before.
By the end of his very long conversation with “himselves,” the real William has killed all of the other Williams and tells James this: “Doesn’t matter what I’ve been, good or bad. Everything we’ve done has led to this. And I finally understand my purpose. I’m the good guy.”
Harris tells TheWrap he thinks that William truly means those words.
“Well, first of all, he’s not really aware of what’s going on outside of this facility that he’s in,” the “Westworld” star told us. “But he is aware that all hell has broken loose and that the park is no longer and that the hosts have left the park — I think he’s aware of that. And I think, first of all, he gets rid of all these different aspects of himself. I think he feels whole unto himself when he kills them all. And he also, I think by saying, ‘I’m the good guy now,’ his purpose now is to rectify whatever is going on out there. In other words, he feels personally responsible for the fact that all this has taken place. I mean, he helped create the damn park. And so I think his goal is to be the good guy and to try to make amends, however he thinks he can do that.”
Does that mean that William is truly in control of his actions at this point, as that’s something he’s struggled to figure out recently and something we now know Incite has been tampering with for humans all over the world for years.
“Well, that’s one of the major themes that [creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy] are exploring, how much free will do we really have in our lives?” Harris said. “I think that William has always felt that he does have control over his life, although he’s been proven wrong a couple times. And I think he’s determined to be a person of his own free will at this point. And we’ll see what happens.”
William is finally freed from this AR therapy by Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who find him in the facility and pull off his goggles after the doctors seemingly forgot about him when Dolores released everyone’s Incite profiles, giving them much to be distracted by. Now that it looks like he’s going to be teaming up with these two, who are trying to take down Dolores, we asked Harris if he thinks William is capable of killing the Host he was once so madly in love with.
“I think if he had his way, and he was able to, he would destroy her, for sure, at this point,” he said.
We had two more questions for Harris regarding moments not from tonight’s installment, titled “Decoherence,” but from the fourth episode of the currently airing third season.
The first, was the Emily (Katja Herbers) we saw in William’s house a Host version of his dead daughter or just him imagining things?
“I think that, at least in this season and that episode early on, yeah, she’s just in his head,” Harris said. “It was because he knows that he’s killed her and that’s haunting him, big time.”
Second, what did the Dolores who appeared to William when he was admitted to the facility mean when she said to him, “welcome to the end of the game”?
“I have no idea,” he told us. “Seriously, when we were doing that scene and she said that to me, ‘the end of the game’ — I still don’t know what she meant.”
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.