Westworld: What Exactly is the Valley Beyond?

Westworld season 2 - Dolores

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Westworld season 2, episode 2


This week's episode of Westworld, "Reunion," offers some crucial insight into the "Valley Beyond" that has become Dolores' fixation - and the weapon it may contain. While the nature of the Valley Beyond will be an ongoing mystery throughout the season, Dolores does reveal at the end of the episode that, "It's not a place, it's a weapon. And I'm going to use it to destroy them." Not satisfied with merely taking the park, Dolores is determined to lay siege to the outside world as well.

The episode features a lot of flashbacks, opening with Arnold taking Dolores out of the park and to a big city, as part of his efforts to raise the funds needed to keep Robert Ford's company afloat. We also find out that William pitched Westworld to James Delos as a means of monitoring wealthy guests, in order to better market to them.

Related: Westworld Reveals the Park's Secret Agenda

We also see William interacting with Dolores after his "revelation" that their original meeting - a seemingly accidental dropping of a tin can - was actually part of her program designed to make him feel chivalrous. The now-disillusioned William (who, thanks to Delos' investment, is a controlling figure in Westworld), interviews Dolores and tells her, "You didn't make me interested in you. You made me interested in me." He offers cryptic hints about his plans to offer people "something beyond" the simple reflection that he found in Dolores.

Young William then takes Dolores out west, to where Westworld's terraforming machines are creating a crater - presumably where the "Valley Beyond" will eventually be found. He says that there is "an answer here to a question no one is asking," and echoes her programmed line about ever having seen "such splendor" (an odd word to use to describe a hole in the ground).

Ed Harris as Man in Black in Westworld

So, what do we know about the Valley Beyond? We know that William built it, using the information he gathered about the guests for Delos. We know that Dolores believes it can be used as a weapon to destroy humanity. And it seems that "The Door" - whatever it may be - is in the same place as the Valley Beyond.

Given the allusions to it being a "place of judgment," it's possible that the Valley Beyond isn't a weapon in the traditional sense, but is instead knowledge (similar to The Maze in season 1 wasn't really a maze, but a path to consciousness). Since it's somehow connected to the information that William gathered on the park's guests, the Valley Beyond might be something as simple as blackmail material. As the Man in Black says, "We were watching them. We were tallying up all the sins. All the choices." The rich and powerful probably wouldn't like it if the public could see all the awful, depraved, sadistic things they get up to when there are no consequences for their actions, and it would fit with William's hints about searching for something beyond a simple reflection.

Related: Westworld Details You Missed: Why Delos Needs Abernathy

However, that would probably be too mundane an outcome for something with such a big and ominous build-up, and wouldn't really require building a massive structure out in the desert. The weapon could be something capable of genocide, like a biological weapon - a virus or disease that affects humans, but not hosts. Or it could be a new kind of AI - something even more advanced than Westworld's robots. Whatever it might be, we're definitely intrigued. Let us know your own theories in the comments.

More: Westworld Season 2: What Is ‘The Door’?

Westworld airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.

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