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Plus: What the heck was that post-credits scene?
Westworld is perhaps one of the most confusing shows on television, so naturally the Season 2 finale pushed the boundaries and even bordered on nonsensical at times. Let's break it down.
It seemed as if we were approaching the endgame, with all the hosts headed toward the Valley Beyond, looking for a doorway to another world. At least, if Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) was to be believed. At the same time, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and William (Ed Harris) met Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) at the entrance to the Forge, where it seemed all the answers were waiting inside.
William then decided to have a final shootout with Dolores, which was obviously pointless because SHE'S A MACHINE. He eventually shot off his own hand thanks to the misshapen bullet (the one that took Teddy's life) Dolores slipped into the chamber, and she and Bernard left him curled on the ground, clutching his bloody stump. Off to a great start here.
Inside the Forge, Dolores and Bernard entered the digital framework that housed the copies of all the humans who'd entered the park, only to find that the system had taken the shape of Logan (Ben Barnes) sans the addiction and hubris issues. He explained the human minds stored inside the system eventually became simple to predict once he understood their "code" and that they had been conveniently stored in books to help Dolores understand humankind and better arm herself against them. It wouldn't save all the hosts, but it could save her.
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Meanwhile, not-Logan opened the door to the Valley Beyond, which turned out to be a computer program into which the the hosts could transport their minds. In this virtual Eden, the poor hosts could finally be at peace and in control of their narratives. Dolores found this solution to be just another gilded cage, so she exited the system (armed with some top tier knowledge about how human minds work) and flooded the Forge. Before she could leave on her mission to smite all humans, though, Bernard decided he'd had enough of her violence and shot her in the head! Way to make your point, bro.
Meanwhile, Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her crew headed for the door -- thanks to the sacrifice of the unpredictably heroic Lee (Simon Quarterman). Unfortunately, Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) and her newly updated code to incite violence in all the hosts was hot on their trail. The once hopeful hosts turned into rage-bots in her presence and turned the valley into a bloodbath. Maeve successfully managed to hold them off long enough to allow her daughter and her new host-mom to escape into the Valley beyond, but she and her crew were killed in the process.
That might seem like a crappy ending, but never fear, there's a lot more.
Once back at Delos HQ in the park, Elsie (Shannon Woodward) tried to clean up Bernard's mess and went toe to toe with Hale over Delos' secret project. Hale eventually determined Elsie was too good of a person to put her own advancement above her morals, so she shot and killed her point blank. RIP Elsie, you pure little unicorn.
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At that point, Bernard decided humans were basically garbage and went about setting up a new master plan. He inserted Dolores' consciousness into a host identical to Hale, and then together they killed Hale and went back to the Forge. Once there, Dolores admitted she'd had a change of heart, and she beamed all the host "souls" in the Valley Beyond to a safe place where no one from this world could ever reach them. Unfortunately, leaving Bernard behind to help the humans untangle the puzzle was not part of the plan, so she killed him and became the last host standing.
Dolores then posed as Hale in order to exit the park, and even though it was pretty obvious Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) was totally on to her (and totally OK with it for some reason), she managed to get out with a purse full of encryption keys, which seems like a great set up for next season.
At some future point, it was also revealed that Dolores had set up shop in Arnold's home, where she rebuilt her original body. She even rebuilt Bernard, giving him a second (third, fourth, fifth?) chance at life. Whatever they plan to do next... well, that's a total mystery.
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Finally... let's talk about that post-credits scene.
Back with William and his stub, we saw our war-worn Man in Black hobble his way into what looked like a very rundown version of the Forge. Inside, an incredibly host-like version of his daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) greeted him and led him into a room identical to the one in which they tested the copies of James Delos (Peter Mullan). When she asked him how long he believed he'd been in the park, William couldn't answer, at which point Emily told him she needed to ask him a series of questions... for fidelity.
So, has William been a host this whole freaking time?