We made it. We dragged our boots through the dusty wilderness of Westworld to the finale. Over the course of the feature-length episode theories were confirmed, quests proved futile and origins were untangled. Depending on what you hoped to find in Westworld, you may have reached the end of your pilgrimage only to find yourself staring down the barrel of an unsatisfyingly philosophical Smith & Wesson. The more committed may have seen an exciting glimmer on the shimmering horizon.
While some have found piecing together the chronology the biggest draw, others have enjoyed the rampant, abstract themes that are presented in every episode. The parallels Westworld has presented have been demanding. Abuse, Slavery, Sins of the Father and the creation of things that destroy us are just the tip of the meta-canyon Westworld has filled questions with. Even the piano in Sweetwater’s saloon began plinking its way through familiar renditions that, upon examination, were terrible foreshadowing – then the score music began to do the same. Any creator should be careful not to indulge the metaphysical too much or your story becomes a snake narratively swallowing its tail. In terms of story-telling, Westworld did deliver a slight-of-hand that would have some viewers shooting the skies and others hanging up their spurs. It’s clearly becoming a different show in Season 2, but one it’s pointed toward all along.
Like most season finales, you’d be forgiven for not feeling completely satisfied. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling, being rewarded for your immediate investment and having other answers held back for the next season. By front-loading the episode with the confirmation of the biggest fan theory out there, Westworld was free to roll up to the destinations it felt important. Maeve’s Android Jail-Break was fun, if not perversely satisfying. Seeing the hosts exact some revenge for years of mistreatment was oddly cathartic. Ford’s relinquishing of control in the park not only came with a felicitous conclusion, but a mixture of both machination and adaptation.
Ford’s final narrative feels inevitable and curious. Yet in true Westworld fashion, the last pop rendering from the saloon’s piano is startlingly poignant.
“Wake/From your sleep/The drying of/Your tears/Today/We escape/We escape”
4* – P for Processor