In “Westworld’s” premiere season filled with numerous twists and turns, the show’s co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy saved the biggest twist of all for the season one finale.
After 10 episodes with plenty of fan theories and speculation on how the creators would tie up the season’s loose ends, Nolan and Joy did everything almost perfectly. The inevitable reveal that the William was in fact the Man in Black 30 years in the past melded very well with Dolores’ story of finding the center of the maze. The “present-day” conflict between the Man in Black and his former lover Dolores put together a lot of missing pieces in the show’s story, such as how Arnold died and why he wanted the hosts to be conscious.
One of the other major plots in the show was that a host named Maeve had become conscious of her robot status and made a plan to escape the theme park. She even gathered a small army of hosts and blackmailed employees of the park to help her get out. However, in the season finale viewers discovered that perhaps Maeve hadn’t in fact been in control of her decisions to escape the park, and that a higher authority had coded her storyline to escape the park, and that it was likely Dr. Ford the creator of Westworld.
Maeve continued with her plan despite discovering that she had been coded to escape after all, but when it was all said and done and she was about to leave on the train out of the park, she turned around and stayed in the park. Tons of theories have emerged on whether Maeve was in fact programmed to stay in the park after the whole plan or if she fought the programming and stayed in the park by her own decision.
The biggest twist of all this season came with the board meeting and gala that was set to happen in the finale. The board’s executive Charlotte, portrayed by Tessa Thompson, had planned to have Ford pushed out of the park’s helm with a unanimous vote that would cause Ford to “retire.” In the meantime, it seemed Ford had much bigger plans than retirement. In a conversation with Bernard, Ford showed that he had come to appreciate Arnold’s plan for hosts gaining consciousness and would set that plan in motion at the board’s gala.
There, Ford revealed his latest park storyline, which reunited Dolores with Teddy in a small presentation, and followed it with a nice speech for his retirement. However, something that Ford said to Dolores in a conversation, done intentionally of course, prompted her to shoot him in the back of the head. At the very same moment, a hoard of hosts entered the gala with weapons and opened fire on board members.
Although we don’t know who survived the gunfire among the board members, we do know that Ford died. Or at least, someone that looked like Ford. Many people speculate that Ford may have created a robot version of himself to have killed in front of everyone else so that he could enact his master plan for Westworld. Others say he had himself killed but made a robot to take his place in a world controlled by robots instead of humans.
Regardless of what the truth may be, all I know is this season and especially this season finale captured my imagination and got me thinking a lot about the nature of creation and a future filled with smarter and smarter technology. I give “Westworld’s” first season a 9.5 out of 10 for its fantastic character development and for an incredible cliffhanger that leaves me begging for more of the show, even though it won’t be back until at least 2018. Until then, “Westworld” fans will only have theories and speculation to keep them going.