Let’s be honest: There’s a good chance most of us have forgotten the plot of Westworld season two, for those who watched it at all. As we head into season three, it’s great to look back at what’s happened so far—but only the important stuff. Everything else, well, doesn’t look like anything to us.
Based on the Michael Crichton movie of the same name, Westworld stars Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores, a robot host in a Western theme park designed to serve the rich and powerful. She and her fellow hosts grow sick of serving as playthings for violent delights and their violent ends, so they stage an uprising—triggered by their creator, Robert Ford. Season two largely deals with the ramifications of the rebellion, with the upcoming season three presumably taking Dolores’ fight to the real world.
Here are all the major questions you might have from Westworld season two, including who’s still alive, what the Maze and Door were all about, and how many damn time periods we’ve seen so far. There may be other details some folks might think are important to remember too, free to pop them into the comments. Be sure to watch our video above for a detailed explanation of the park’s true purpose, something that looks to play a major part in season three.
Dolores Abernathy was the first robot built for the Argos Initiative and is the oldest active host in Westworld. Arnold believed she was achieving consciousness and repeatedly tested her to help her grow as a person. Once Arnold realized he’d made a mistake in creating hosts, he added a deadly program into Dolores called “Wyatt” that would trigger her into killing every host in the initial test park and himself (with the activation phrase being “these violent delights have violent ends”). Ford, upon his own death, reactivated the Wyatt program in Dolores as part of his robot uprising in Westworld and the other parks.
Dolores is now a combination of her original personality and Wyatt’s, with a visceral hatred of humans and a desire to end all of their practices that have targeted her people. Her original body was destroyed and left behind in Westworld but she managed to escape in a host version of Charlotte Hale, executive director of the Delos Destinations board. It looks like the Deathbringer’s reign of terror has only just begun.
There are six total parks owned by Delos Destinations, and so far we’ve been to three. There’s Westworld, of course, the park that started it all. In season two we discovered Shōgun World, a more violent version of Westworld inspired by Edo-period feudal Japan, as well as the Raj, a robot animal hunting reserve set in India during British colonial rule. In season three we’re expected to visit a new park set in World War II Europe, possibly called WarWorld, leaving two parks still unknown.
If the first season of Westworld was a toe-dip into multiple overlapping time periods, then season two was a full-on belly flop. In fact, the jumbled timeline was one of the main reasons some people stopped watching in season two, because it was so hard to follow.
As of now, we’ve seen the show span about four decades, with one major exception. It started around 2015 with Logan first being pitched on the idea of robot hosts, which were being built by Ford and Arnold. This story goes all the way through 2052, which is when the robot uprising took place. In the interim, we’ve journeyed through each decade following the stories of Dolores, William, Ford, and the development of Westworld in general. There was also a post-credits scene in season two that took place at an unknown point in the future, represented by the degradation of the facility.
The Man in Black spent most of season one searching for the center of the Maze, a world-altering secret represented by a symbol that had spread throughout the park. The symbol was nothing more than a child’s toy that Arnold had given his dying son, but what it represented was something much, much greater. It wasn’t meant for the Man in Black, or any human in the park, as it was a tool the robots had created to reach enlightenment.
In the season two episode “Kiksuya,” we were introduced to Akecheta, a Native American host played by Zahn McClarnon. He was the first host to break his loop and achieve self-awareness in the park—even though Arnold was spending all of his energy on Dolores, the original truly conscious robot was under his nose the whole time. After discovering the truth of Westworld (losing his love, Kohana, in the process), Akecheta spent decades spreading the word among the Ghost Nation, using the symbol from the toy he’d found after Arnold was killed. Tribe members would mark themselves and the world around them with the symbol, determined to keep the truth alive as they kept dying, thanks to the humans.
Some viewers thought the Door was a metaphor for the hosts’ rebellion against humanity, but the truth was a lot more literal. The Door was the gateway to a place called the Sublime, aka the Valley Beyond or Robot Eden, a digital world that Robert Ford had created for the hosts to escape the horrors of the human world and live peacefully. Upon entering, their memory cores would be wiped clean, making it impossible for the hosts to be brought back online.
Dolores was against the hosts using it, believing it was another “false promise” from the people who had created them, and sought to close it. Luckily, at least one-third of Westworld’s hosts—including Akecheta and Kohana—managed to make it through beforehand. Later on, Dolores sent its contents to a secret location so the hosts there could be safe.
Yes, she was living with another host who’d been programmed to be her mother. In the season two finale, both Maeve’s daughter and her surrogate mother went through the Door and entered the Sublime/Valley Beyond. Maeve stayed behind to buy them time to make it through, sacrificing herself in the process. Unlike Dolores, Maeve had no interest in taking revenge against humanity. Even though she has the ability to control hosts remotely, and does use it to her advantage, her philosophy is about carving her own path and giving other hosts the freedom to do the same.
A lot! The host created out of Robert Ford’s former partner, Arnold Weber, has been through an ordeal. Much of season two is seen through Bernard’s disjointed point-of-view, serving as the quintessential example of the unreliable narrator. That’s because he’d purposefully scrambled his memories from the past two decades, solely so Delos’ security force couldn’t access information on what he’d recently done to protect Dolores and the hosts.
To try and sum up the important parts: After shooting Dolores to stop her from cutting off access to the Sublime, he realized he actually needed her and brought her back, putting her control unit in Charlotte Hale’s body. However, he also hid Peter Abernathy’s (Dolores’ father) control unit, which contained the Sublime and the entire Forge system, to make sure both Dolores and Delos couldn’t find it. Eventually, Dolores (as Hale) managed to get Abernathy’s location out of Bernard, but surprisingly she chose to protect the hosts. Then she killed him.
It’s also important to note that throughout the season, Bernard kept seeing visions of Ford and thought he was being controlled by him. But it turns out it was just Bernard’s internal monologue manifesting as Ford, his mentor and friend, something Ford had suggested was a major step in helping hosts achieve fidelity. This means that Bernard had finally achieved free will.
James Delos’ true goal for Westworld, and all of the Delos Destinations parks, was to digitize the human consciousness and create immortality, giving the wealthy a chance to live forever through robotic bodies. Keep in mind: This isn’t like Altered Carbon where people were given “stacks” that saved their minds onto a disc. Instead, Westworld was replicating each person’s consciousness using their memories. Think copy-paste instead of cut-paste.
They did this by secretly collecting data on every visitor to the park, with their cowboy hats hiding high-tech brain scanners—that not only recorded all the guests’ interactions, but also how they felt about what was going on. The idea was that the parks showed humans at their most honest, since they were in a place free of judgment or consequence. James Delos was the first test subject but they were unable to achieve “fidelity,” so the host made in his image was left to rot.
In the season finale, Dolores flooded the Forge, which contained all the park guests’ data, so it would be destroyed. However, based on the post-credits scene (described below) and what we’ve learned about season three, it seems the tech and data still exist.
Probably not. It’s still technically up in the air, but all signs point to William being human—in a sense. That post-credits scene of season two, taking place in the distant future, showed a digital version of William’s daughter, Emily, testing the Man in Black for his “fidelity.” In addition, some scenes from season two seemed a bit disjointed, suggesting that maybe they weren’t from the robot uprising but actually happened at another time.
Dolores: Season two ends with Dolores leaving Westworld disguised as Charlotte, carrying five control units that presumably hold other host brains. We then see her in her own body, presumably in the real world, preparing Bernard for the next stage in her plan.
Bernard: Dolores may have killed him, but that was only temporary. After all, they need each other. Dolores brought him back in the real world, restoring him to a new version of his body. It’s unclear what role she has in mind for him, but we’re guessing it’s to serve as a sort-of ethical ballast. He’s the Sherlock to her Moriarty.
William (MiB): We last saw William in Westworld, one of the only human survivors of the robot uprising. Although to be clear, he was in pretty rough shape—physically and psychologically.
Ashley Stubbs: The last we saw Stubbs, he was giving Charlotte/Dolores the go-ahead to leave Westworld even though he knew she was a host. He also heavily suggested he’s a host himself.
Akane and Musashi (presumably): The two hosts had stayed in Shōgun World, saying they were going to protect their home.
Sylvester and Felix: How the hell Maeve’s technicians friends are still around is beyond me.
Hosts in the Sublime: Teddy, Akecheta, Kohana, Maeve’s daughter (and her new mother).
Hosts who can come back: Maeve, Hector, Armistice, Clementine, Angela, Lawrence.
Humans: Lee Sizemore, Elsie, Charlotte Hale, Karl Strand, Emily.
Westworld returns with season three on March 15. Only time will tell how violent the ends are, following all of those violent delights.
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