TL;DR – It is the end and more than I expected they actually brought the timelines to a conclusion, whilst providing more and more questions for every answer they answered.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a Post-Credit Scene.
It started all the way back in Journey into Night (see review) with someone washing up on a beach while surrounded by death at every turn and as the season has gone on it has been more of the same. There has been slaughters, a jaunt into The Raj and Shogun World, betrayals, love, loss, and a threat of a mecha bison. Well after all this time, today we come to the end of Season Two as multiple timelines rush together and we finally make it to the Valley Beyond.
So to set the scene, let’s look at where every character that we know of is as we run into the season finale. To start with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) after assaulting the Mesa in Les Écorchés (see review) recovered the core of her father Peter (Louis Herthum) where a Key to all the guests’ data stored in the Park was hidden. She is now heading to The Valley with Teddy (James Marsden) however, back in Akane No Mai (see review) she mind raped Teddy to make sure he had strength to continue down her path, but at the end of last week’s episode the pain of what she had done left Teddy with only one option to end his days. Also in last week’s Vanishing Point (see review) the Man in Black’s (Ed Harris) delusion of what this world is and what game he is playing reached the tipping point when he killed Emily (Katja Herbers) his daughter because he thought she was a host in disguise, but she wasn’t, she was his daughter and he gunned her down, but then maybe she was not the one who was a host in disguise. After being shot and captured Maeve (Thandie Newton) has spent the last couple of episodes being cut open to find out how she has the ability to command other hosts (the ones who have not ‘woken up’) without talking. Everything felt like it was the end and Lee (Simon Quarterman) who inadvertently led to her being there is desperately wanting to help her but can’t. Well, last week Robert (Anthony Hopkins) who is now living in Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) transferred a message to her and unlocked her ability to manipulate every section of her code and those around her. Though she has been communicating remotely with Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) who has her daughter (Jasmyn Rae) safe with him. He and the other Ghost Warrior members have been keeping guests and hosts safe from the other hosts who are killing everyone as they were the first to wake up. Finally, we have Bernard who is the one jumping through timelines, last week he dropped Elsie (Shannon Woodward) off on the side of the road to protect her from Robert, and now he too is heading to the Valley to stop/help/I don’t know Dolores. Oh, and Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) weaponised Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) to self-destruct every host that crosses her path. Now from this point onwards, there will be major [SPOILERS] for the episode and the end of Season Two of Westworld.
Well, this episode starts off with a bang and a race as Bernard, Dolores, the Man in Black, Charlotte, and also Akecheta are all racing to The Forge/The Valley Beyond. So right from the start, we get this weird team up/double cross vibe that is the hallmark of the episode. Because we are not just racing to The Forge in one timeline but in two which is something I had forgotten because I thought we had all caught up but I was wrong, so very wrong. I had wondered in the past how all the timelines were going to work themselves out, and that maybe it would have to take multiple Bernards for it to work, well I was not that far off just it was not multiple Bernards, but Doloreses, or should I say the Charlottes. The revel that between the gaps in the timelines Bernard replaced Charlotte especially after she killed Elsie for not being morally flexible enough makes perfect sense as there seemed to be a disconnect between the revolution timeline Charlotte and the two weeks later Charlotte. However, that is just the first of the many big reveals in the final episode and indeed as the episode plays out we very much witness the wholesale slaughter of so many characters or do we, and that is a question we will be asking ourselves going forward.
One of the running themes this season, and indeed the title of the season, has been the notion of The Door and in the final episode, we have a lot of doors opening and closing. We have the door that the hosts went through to get to the new land Robert built for them, we have the door Bernard opens to start the war with Dolores at the end, hell we have doors opening out of rocks, elevators opening and shutting, and that is not even starting to count the metaphorical doors people cross in the episode. This is all shown by the Logan/Computer of The Forge (Ben Barnes) who breaks humans down into algorithms, which like I think feels both correct and also a little offensive, but hey like can I have the library.
I have mentioned in other reviews that the multiple timelines that the season employed were started to lead to diminishing returns, and while having seen the ending I can see where they were going with it, I’m still not sure some of the drag during the second half of the season was worth where we ended up. Though like every good ending, for every answer there were three more questions raised. For example, where did Dolores send the hidden host’s land at the end, who did Dolores smuggle out of the park, what did Bernard see when he opened the door, was Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) a host, were Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) and Felix (Leonardo Nam) able to recover any of the bodies, what the hell happened to all the hosts and guest in the rest of the park, did they only save the hosts that ran into the door, and finally what the hell was with that post-credit epilogue. Now all of this is good because now more than I expected I really want to see where the hell they take it in Season Three.
The highlight for me was, of course, the story of Maeve, which if you have read any of my reviews this should come as no surprise as this has been the one driving force getting me through the season. I’m really glad the episode opened with Maeve rescuing herself, and the shocked looks on the faces of Lee, Hector (Rodrigo Santoro), Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), Hanaryo (Tao Okamoto), Felix, and Sylvester as the stampeding buffalos ran past might be the highlight of the season. Now I had always suspected that there would not be a happy ending when it can to Maeve and her daughter, but that still does in no way change how deeply moving it was to watch her get so close only to have to (possibly?) sacrifice her life to save her daughter from death. Goodness Thandie Newton has been so good this season and frankly, she deserves the awards coming her way.
In the end, do we recommend The Passenger? Yes, yes we do. After a bit of a lacklustre second half of the season, the season finally brought closure in some ways and in other ways left so many questions open that I really want to see where they go from here, and who will be brought back next season. Oh, and did I mention what the hell was up with that epilogue because what.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Westworld
Directed by – Frederick E.O. Toye
Written by – Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
Based off – Westworld by Michael Crichton
Created by – Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
Music by – Ramin Djawadi
Starring in Season Two – Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Tessa Thompson, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quarterman, Rodrigo Santoro, Angela Sarafyan, Zahn McClarnon, Shannon Woodward, Ed Harris, Clifton Collins Jr., Talulah Riley, Louis Herthum, Katja Herbers, Gustaf Skarsgård, Fares Fares & Anthony Hopkins with Ben Barnes, Neil Jackson, Jimmi Simpson, Oliver Bell, Giancarlo Esposito, Betty Gabriel, Christopher May, Peter Mullan, Jonathan Tucker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rinko Kikuchi, Tao Okamoto, Kiki Sukezane, Jasmyn Rae, Martin Sensmeier, Irene Bedard, Booboo Stewart & Julia Jones.