Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Westworld season 2, episode 7
This week's episode of Westworld, “Les Éscorchés”," revealed the location of the mysterious Valley Beyond, and maybe its purpose as well. This reveal comes just after the big twist from last week that Ford's consciousness was uploaded into The Cradle by Bernard. Now every host and human alive in Westworld are racing to get there first.
It all started with Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) interrogating Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) about the location of Peter Abernathy's control unit. The whole episode revolved around Bernard's memory of his time inside The Cradle with Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and all they mayhem that occurred inside the Mesa. While talking to Ford in The Cradle, Bernard starts putting the pieces together from another one of Ford's cryptic conversations: Delos wasn't interested in coding hosts - they wanted to code the guests' interactions and decisions while playing out the park's narratives, and use that information to create human minds. Eventually, Hale gets the information she needs. Bernard tells her the control unit can be found in Sector 16, Zone 4. It's at this moment Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgård) tells Bernard that they now need to return to the Valley Beyond.
Where exactly is the Valley Beyond? It's not the Mesa Hub, as we've previously guessed. While it's not said explicitly in the episode, Vanity Fair pointed out that we've actually already seen Sector 16, Zone 4. Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy placed this elusive destination right in the first episode of season 2: It's where all the hosts bodies are found floating in the water. This whole time, the story was leading back to beginning of the season.
What's so important about the Valley Beyond that everyone wants it? It's all about the data (or souls, as Dolores explained) collected from the guests over the years. Beneath all that water might be another data center where Delos is storing the coded consciousnesses of all the guests, and Abernathy's control unit is the key to unlocking whatever is residing at the Valley Beyond.
If Abernathy is the key, does this mean we are closer to solving the riddle of The Door? It would appear that The Door (as this entire season is titled) represents the guests' data. Now that Dolores destroyed The Cradle, the hosts are free of their backups - making them mortal. Dolores wants what's in her father's head to set her plan in motion. Although Hale tells Dolores she wouldn't know what to do with they key, Dolores replied that she knows exactly what she plans on doing with it. How does Dolores plan on using all that data to escape? That's another question that will be (hopefully) be answered in upcoming episodes.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO