Westworld season 2 episode 10: Co-creator Lisa Joy breaks down that complex finale

From 'Hale-ores' to William's final fidelity test

Westworld's feature-length season finale involved a plot so complex it was perhaps unprecedented for a TV series, and contained more information than the whole rest of the season combined. Here co-creator Lisa Joy explains and expands on what went down:

*SPOILERS*

Wow. That was one of those seasons that all builds to the climatic final episode - I was wondering 'are they going to step up to the plate'...

It was, did it work out for you?!

It did!

Oh good, that's a relief to hear [laughs].

Let's unpack 'The Passenger'. There were some moments where I wasn't sure if they were intentionally ambiguous or if I was just being an idiot, so hopefully first off you can maybe help me clarify a few simple things.

Of course. Hopefully I will be able to in my jetlag-addled state!

When Dolores in Charlotte's form rides the boat out of the park near the end you see the five orbs in the bag, are they pearls or encryption keys?

Ah yes, that's a good question. So with Abernathy's brain/pearl, that was his code but with extra data put in to make it an encryption key, so what you're seeing on the boat -

They're one and the same.

Yes, there was only one encryption key and that was in his head, so what you're seeing is basically five hosts.

Westworld: ‘This Is the End’ season finale - trailer

A thing that's been niggling at me ever since Maeve nearly boarded a train out of Westworld and especially now Dolores ventures out into the real world - do we think that the hosts can self maintain, regulate and repair? Or do they need assisted maintenance? I always wonder on the outside are they going to be able to just exist and function or are they going to be struggling to operate their own systems and be like, short of fuel and spare parts etc?

I..., well, I have a season for you coming up! Same time next year, my friend.

Excellent. And the scene at the close with Bernard awakening in the basement lab of a house and finding Dolores and Charlotte both there, I wasn't 100% sure where that was taking place?

Right, so when he asks Dolores for the final time 'is this now?' and she says yes, basically Arnold a long time ago was constructing this house for his family that he never really finished and where terrible things happened; Ford finished that house for them as their kind of oasis should any of the hosts ever escape. And in that moment you realise that Dolores has recreated Bernard - you know she did it before when she made Bernard out of Arnold, and then Bernard died within the park, thanks to I guess what you could called Hale-ores - and in finally making her escape has understood that she still needs Bernard with her, that it will take the two of them for the hosts as a whole, as a species, to survive. So once again she's created him from memory and built him, and we'll see where they go in the real world.

Cool. Last dumb question I promise: the post-credits scene with the fidelity test...

Yes!

When exactly is that taking place and where does it begin and end, do we know?

That's a great question - it is certainly taking place in the future and in a different timeline to anything that we've seen. It's obviously sort of an echo of episode 4 where we see the Protagoras lab for the first time, where Ed [Harris]'s character is talking to James Delos. You see that he survived after shooting his daughter Emily, and the postscript shows you that something else must have happened, you know we'll go on to season 3... But in the far-flung future, after whatever's happened in the meantime, a situation has arisen where the Man in Black is now himself the subject of an experiment that's played again and again and again. Where he's been forced to relive that loop, the same loop that we just saw, to see if there will be any deviation in his behaviour, whether any outcome would be different, and so far he has disappointed.

I like that notion in the finale that humans are in fact too simple, that we assume human consciousness to be so unimaginably complex but actually it amounts to like 10,000 lines of codes. Changing track - with the virtual Eden, we only really see a vista of it through the crack in the sky, I was wondering how you guys imagine it, is it like a world where it's completely back to just landscape and everything has to be fashioned, did you think much about what's in that world?

All we're seeing right now is the beginning of a world for them to inherit. This season plays a little bit with the idea of manifest destiny for the hosts, they're all vying for their perfect patch of land to claim as their own, trying to find their own world, so what that land really symbolises to me is a new start, where they can make of their reality whatever they want. They can settle that land and fashion it in a way of their choosing.

See if they can not mess it up like humans did.

Exactly.

The dynamic between Dolores, Bernard and Maeve is interesting, because Dolores obviously falls on the side of 'we should get revenge and take over', while Bernard still sees a value to humanity. I was wondering where you think of Maeve sitting within that, because she lets her daughter go to the virtual land so she obviously doesn't think it's a complete folly or a 'gilded prison' like Dolores does, but at the same time she's also shown Dolores-esque tendencies... Is she somewhere in the middle do you think?

I think that Maeve - her quest deviated from Dolores' right, all she wanted was to find a place for her daughter, where her daughter could grow up in safety and freedom, and for her, for Maeve, the best chance her daughter would have for that would be a world that her daughter could help create, with other hosts. And I kind of understand that, you know, Dolores - I wouldn't even say she's vengeful but has an even loftier goal than that which is to conquer so her kind can survive in a world that was not settled by her kind - she's thinking like a leader of a war and no mother delights in the idea of their child being raised in a war, you know. Even if the war's for a just cause. So Maeve, in securing her daughter's freedom and safety within that world, has fulfilled her goal as a mother, even though it's tragic, even though she wishes she could be with her daughter, her sacrifice allows the person she loves the most to have the thing that she wants for her the most.

Dolores hides the location of the virtual Eden, but presumably it still has a physical presence, like a server, that could still be tracked down?

Well it's interesting because they've beamed this to a kind of - I don't know how much I should say... Presumably that data is stored somewhere but yes she has beamed it to a place where as she said no-one will ever find it.

Ok. And I guess, I mean it felt to me like the season finale was the end of a chapter in the show...

Yeah.

That season 1 and 2 formed like a capsule really, it was one continued story, the finale felt like an ending point, and then the next season will be the start of something new, does it feel that way to you?

Yeah, I mean I think each season we've tried to tell it like a chapter. The fact that in the end of season 2 you see Bernard, Dolores and Hale out in the outside world, yes we're in for a very new Westworld when we return.

Especially since you've barely got human characters left! [Lee and Elsie are both gunned down in the finale.]

Well they're out in a world full of humans now, so we'll see some familiar faces and some new faces for sure.

I'm looking forward to that because I think one of the best scenes in the season 2 was when the Westworld idea was first pitched to Logan out in the real world...

Oh cool, yeah I imagine we'll get to see more of the real world and of humans. You know what's really fun about this show is getting to play with different worlds. The first season was so within the world of the park and the quest for consciousness told through the perspective of the hosts. The second season the perspective changes a little bit and our sensibilities and our allegiances are challenged as we see the logical extension of that opening shot that Dolores fired at the end of the season one finale. We press on, that doesn't end the war it's just the beginning, so at what point does violence begetting more violence challenge our allegiances, and make us question the morality of all of our characters? So season 2 is very much a war chapter, where chaos reigns and we start to see all of our characters within a new light - sometimes a more heroic light, sometimes shades of villainy - and season 3 will I imagine have new lenses to look upon a very new world.

Great. Thanks for helping me through that.

Sure, of course!

Westworld Season 2 is available now on Sky On Demand & streaming service NOW TV.

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