What Was Robert Ford's Endgame?
The idea of Dolores simply following the script of a new narrative is somewhat complicated by the fact that Ford emphasized the importance of choice in his final speech:
"I realized someone was paying attention. Someone who could change. So I began to compose a new story, for them. It begins with the birth of a new people, and the choices they will have to make, and they people they will decide to become. And it will have all those things you have always enjoyed. Surprises, and violence. It becomes in a time of war with a villain named Wyatt. And a killing, this time by choice."
Ford is a distinctly enigmatic character in Westworld season 1. For much of the season, he is positioned as being at odds with Arnold's belief that the hosts are - or have the potential to be - conscious beings. In one scene he scolds a technician for covering a host's body while it's being worked on, pointing out that the hosts are incapable of feeling shame or pain, and punctuating his point by slicing the host's face with a scalpel. In flashbacks, we see him dismiss Arnold's pleas to cancel the opening of the park on account of the hosts' potential to become real people (which would make tormenting and killing them over and over morally repugnant).
However, it seems that after decades of watching people inflict their worst impulses on the hosts of Westworld, Ford had a change of heart. It's likely that Ford is behind Maeve's reprogramming, and he was also responsible for creating the new narrative that resulted in the park's guests being massacred and its hosts running wild. His speech certainly suggests that he wanted to give his creations a shot at becoming the apex predators of the world, and perhaps even making better choices than humans did. What's unclear, though, is how much of their liberty is scripted.
It was established in Westworld season 1 that each of the hosts has what's called a "cornerstone" - a basic drive or motivation upon which the rest of their personality is built. For example, Teddy's cornerstone was a terrible guilt that he was always striving to atone for. It could then be argued that Dolores' new mantra, "This world doesn't belong to them. It belongs to us," is actually her cornerstone, given to her when Ford merged her personality with that of a villain character he'd been working on, Wyatt. It might be argued that it's actually impossible for Ford or Arnold to give any of the hosts true free will, since their identities and personalities were written for them.
What is clear is that Ford knew Dolores/Wyatt would kill him, and that he deliberately wrote the search for the Valley Beyond/Glory into his new narrative - as well as making it the goal of a game that he wrote for the Man in Black, called "The Door." It also seems as though Ford planned for his final great work to be the destruction or domination of humanity by the very beings that he helped to create. With that in mind, Dolores' pursuit of the same goal makes her seem more like a weapon being used by Ford than a conscious being with designs of her own.
If that is the case, we could see Dolores breaking out of the new narrative that's been written for her, or choosing to follow it to its conclusion, or never even realizing that she's following a scripted story at all. It certainly makes the idea of Westworld season 2 as a story of liberation a little more complicated.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.