[This article contains SPOILERS for Westworld Season 1.]
Westworld shook the TV universe last night when its ninety-minute season finale brought viewers ever closer to the center of the maze and revealed a number of shocking twists. Westworld itself has become somewhat of an enigma, with much fan participation centering on unraveling the puzzle of the show, regardless of its plot development. The show has been leaving a breadcrumb trail for followers this entire season, but last night taught fans that nothing in Westworld is as it seems--not even the foundation of the show itself.
Yesterday, Westworld essentially re-wrote its entire premise, much to the bafflement and joy of critics and viewers everywhere, when the show revealed its chief antagonist was in fact a savior. Now, as the show's android hosts slowly reach consciousness and realize the implications of their own existence, it looks as though the show has opened itself up to an even darker second season. Cast and creatives behind Westworld confirmed this in a featurette that followed last night's finale, appropriately called "The Big Moment."
The video (hat tip to IGN) centers on a number of ominous interviews from the show's producers and cast. Co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan says:
"If the first season was defined by control, the second season is defined by chaos...Ford has set in motion what he thinks is a plan. The nature of that plan is something we explore in the second season. What his intentions are: are they to let Dolores or the other Hosts escape? Are they simply to teach the human guests a lesson?"
Westworld's ever-introspective executive producer J.J. Abrams added to Nolan's sentiment:
"What happens at the dawn of consciousness? What happens when you begin to actually wake up?"
In addition, Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood shared her bleak outlook on Dolores' upcoming development:
"If Dolores is the oldest, this girl has seen three lifetimes of pain and trauma. I would think there would be only so much one can take, whether you're human or not."
Much to everyone's chagrin, Westworld will not begin to publicly answer any of these questions for at least another year. With the hit show gearing up for a 2018 return, fans will have to foster their own multitudinous theories about the show until it finally comes back to HBO. At least we know one of the series' most fascinating characters, The Man in Black, will definitely be "involved" with Westworld season 2.
If these snippets hint toward anything concrete, it's that the moral ambiguity of Westworld is far from dead. Just because Dr. Ford has changed his tune, it seems, there's no saying he did it in the best interest of the hosts. As the show's first season developed, it became clear that its many twists and reveals affected the hosts most intensely. In a way, the show's hosts have become cerebral stand-ins for the viewers, as we begin to understand their purpose - and the greater world of the show itself - right along with them. As the reality of Westworld simultaneously becomes more clear and more inscrutable, so too do the fates of its characters.
Though it's difficult to know we won't be able to return to Westworld for another year, it will definitely be fun to mine the season finale for more clues in the meantime. If you have any theories to share, let us know in the comments!
Westworld season 2 will air on HBO in either late 2017 or 2018.