The Bicameral Mind Is A Head Shaking All Bets Are Off Westworld Finale.
This is my Westworld recap of season 1, episode 10 entitled “The Bicameral Mind.” In this 90 minute finale, Dolores realizes who she was ultimately meant to become and takes action to liberate the hosts. The Man in Black is thrilled when the hosts can finally hurt him. Maeve, Hector and Armistice wreck the backstage as they head for the surface. Jonathan Nolan directs his best Westworld episode yet as the Bicameral Mind is full of revelations in a very emotional finale.
All season long, many have suggested that William and the Man in Black were one in the same. The Bicameral Mind cements that thought as the gunslinger admits to Dolores that he’s William. Ever since Dolores took off with William and Logan in the Adversary, she has been reliving a previous experience while seeking the maze in present day. Simply put, she’s been reliving her past with William and Logan and her present with the Man in Black. Ultimately by the end of the Bicameral Mind, Dolores finally realizes the voice she’s been hearing in her head was not that of Arnold, but of herself.
We open to find William with his new found thirst for blood dragging Logan across the countryside in search of Dolores. But in the past, which is what we’re seeing, Dolores has already returned to Sweetwater, and resumed her role as the farmer’s daughter. It’s interesting, because prior to returning to Sweetwater, we see William send Logan off into the park, naked, on horseback, presumably never to be heard from again. For 35 years, William has been a fixture in the park, presumably trying every adventure, every outlet, humping anything that moves. Never satisfied with the park, because he knew the hosts could never really hurt him. Supposedly he gave up potential for any life in the real world, but he hasn’t given up on a life within Westworld. It’s sad, because this life in Westworld isn’t meant for him. It never has been. The Man in Black finally gets what he wants when he sees the revived hosts from cold storage coming out of the woods. Clementine, one of the revived hosts, wounds the Man in Black with a gunshot, which makes him smile. We already know the Man in Black will be back for season two.
In the backstage, Charlotte visits Ford in his office and informs him that he is being pushed out and must resign right after he announces his new narrative. Ford does not argue, however, I believe he has other plans that will soon take him from Westworld anyway. A few episodes back, I began to suspect Ford’s new narrative was already in motion, and this would be his chance to get rid of the Delos board. It was quite satisfying to learn Dolores killed her creators. First, 35 years ago when Arnold told her to shoot all the hosts then kill him. Then, during the ending gala where Ford celebrates his new narrative, Dolores once again fires on a crowd. This time, Ford takes one for the team, but I was not happy to see him die. Granted, he’s been a key master to Dolores and all the hosts, but there’s other mitigating details we may never learn about. For instance, Dolores always chose to see the beauty in the world, even when that beauty was a trap. One day, I hope she learns these things are separate.
The best awakening of the series was that of Maeve, the character who has consistently been on point throughout the season. When Bernard reveals to Maeve that her escape has been programmed, she rejects the idea, but it’s hard to dispute. Bernard tells her exactly what she will do and he shows her the programming. Once on the train out of Westworld, Maeve makes a different choice other than violence. She chooses love, turns and heads back into Westworld. This may mean that she ultimately will land back in the hands of Delos, but for now, her mind is free. I suspect the next season will be about who the hosts will choose to be. Some will certainly be violent, but many, I suspect, will choose something else.
It makes perfect sense that one of the biggest surprises of the premiere season of Westworld was a hat-tip to the Crichton movie. As Maeve, Felix, Hector and Armistice make their way through the basement toward the end of the second act of the Bicameral Mind, they pass a new logo reminiscent of the one in the Westworld theme park around which the show is based, but built of the letters S and W. As they move deeper into this previously unseen area, they begin to see hosts dressed not as cowboys, but as samurai and engaged in combat. “What is this place?” Maeve asks Felix. “It’s complicated,” Felix says. Meanwhile, out in sector 20, Stubbs is sitting around a campfire with some Ghost Nation natives. The natives are deciding on what part of Stubbs they want to cannibalize first. No, seriously, where’s Stubbs? The backstage is under siege and their best security officer is still missing in action.
In the backstage, the control room figures out that hell is breaking loose. The sirens go off and doors begin closing. An armed response team with automatic weapons begins searching for the conscious uncontrollable hosts. Armistice discovers the glory of terrorizing a theme park full of trapped bad guys with an automatic weapon. “The gods are pussies,” she declares. Seriously, where has this character been all season? Maeve says goodbye to Hector and he goes out in a blaze of bullets. Armistice gets her arm trapped by a door and is seemingly doomed (happily, there’s a credits scene showing she escapes).
Overall, this episode was very satisfying. We have a new host rebellion underway, three mysteries were answered, and some serious twists have been added to next season. I was most surprised by Ford’s new narrative, which closed some gaping holes in previous episodes. That revelation that Maeve’s movements were being scripted helps sell some of her scenes in the previous episodes that many viewers really struggled with. Mainly: How could she get away with all those rebellious hijinks backstage, while keeping Ford in the dark? Moreover, how could she become such a master coder, and learn how to manipulate all the hosts so quickly? It still doesn’t explain why Felix and Sylvester were so dim-witted and complacent, but presumably Ford arranged it so that Maeve was paired with body techs she could manipulate.
I thoroughly ignored a couple of storylines in this recap. First was the Dolores transformation into Wyatt when she becomes fully conscious. Also, Ford’s shift from power-mad enslaver of hosts to their savior leading them to freedom was way too abrupt for me to accept. The maze also felt like something that might have evolved into the show’s planning along the way this season. There were so many references to that cryptic pattern in so many places, then in the end Dolores discovers a toy that resembles a maze in the church graveyard.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about the Westworld finale is that two characters who played significant roles through most of the season were missing. First was Elsie, who I’m convinced is still alive and next was Stubbs. Neither was in the 90 minutes of the Bicameral Mind. Missing for several episodes now, Elsie’s absence bothers me while Stubbs could have led the response team to fight Hector and Armistice instead of letting the outlaws use security as target practice. The finale was especially emotional when Teddy is holding Dolores on the beach as she dies again. The finale was well written, quickly clearing up most loose ends. In the end, Westworld comes tightly together, which is quite remarkable considering how unnecessarily complicated the season has been.
Check out all the official Westworld The Bicameral Mind photos in the gallery.