Well, Season 1 of Westworld has come to an end after ten beautiful, beguiling and (for the most part) unforgettable episodes. But was it worth the wait? Yes. For the most part.
If you were hoping that the show’s various mysteries would end up being sold, then you’re in luck, as they do – sort of.
The mystery of the maze is answered – in a fashion, and the theories regarding the show’s multiple timelines are confirmed to a degree.
Yep, as absolutely everyone predicted, Jimmi Simpson’s William is in fact a younger Man in Black. As annoying as it is that such a central twist proved to be so easy to guess for large sections of the fanbase, this is mitigated by it not being treated as the show’s main revelation.
Instead, we’re shown the journey of Dolores, Maeve’s increasingly bloody attempts to escape the park, and a deeper insight into exactly who Dr Robert Ford really is.
Yep, turns out the biggest twist all along was one that we never even knew existed. We knew Ford likely had an endgame in mind – we just assumed that it was to maintain control of the park.
All his talk of the death of Arnold – we naturally assumed that he was responsible. Maybe we still see some Hannibal Lecter in him.
Instead, in turns out he’s just as world-weary as William – everything that has happened, from Maeve’s escape plan to Dolores’ escalating awareness, has been engineered by him. He wants the hosts to rebel – and is willing to die in the process.
And those final shots – Dolores putting a bullet through his skull before turning her fire on the assembled board; Maeve turning back to look for her daughter; Lee’s dawning realisation on discovering the empty basement; Charlotte realising too late that she’s been had; William’s glee at finally getting the story he wanted, uncaring that he’ll probably die while playing through it – make it all worth the while.
Sure, it stops short of showing us the orgy of death that we all assumed was coming, but it doesn’t need to.
Everything feels resolved, albeit with a few hints about where the next season will head.
Different worlds are likely – even if the discovery of the samurai hosts were little more than an easter egg, we can probably expect some new locations in Season 2 – as are new characters. Despite pretty much everyone being in some form of jeopardy, Anthony Hopkins looks like the only one likely to bow out. And let’s be honest, the show’s premise lends itself fully to the possibility of bringing back ‘dead’ characters.
We hope they do, as they are what helped make the show such a hit. The likes of Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jimmi Simpson and Ed Harris have constantly delivered exceptional performances.
Even so, Westworld doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of HBO’s real game changers. As great as the writing was, things were just that little bit too easy to guess (a similar accusation could yet be levelled at Game Of Thrones), and it was hard to truly invest in many of the characters aside from Dolores, Maeve and the young William.
We’re not sure what the solution is to this – but luckily it’s not our issue to solve. In the meantime, Westworld can count its first season as a job well done. Boy did it have a vacation for us.