Major Spoilers for the conclusion of Westworld Season 2.
For one of the major players throughout season 2, William (Ed Harris) had a fairly limited but incredibly engaging role in the thrilling finale and was the basis for one of the biggest twists of the episode. Westworld is no stranger to utilising clever editing to misdirect viewers into thinking one thing is true when in actuality it’s the opposite. This was the case throughout all of season 1 and that’s what they’ve done here with the conclusion of William’s journey in season 2. It’s a bit of a mind-bender initially so I’m going to break it down here in terms of exactly what it means for William.
Human William – Events of Season 2
Firstly, within the body of the episode the second-to-last time we see the human William is when he inadvertently shoots his fingers off and is left on the ground outside The Forge by Dolores and Bernard. Now contrary to what the episode depicts and what the writers want you to think, the next time we see this human version of William is at the end of the episode when Dolorette (Dolores as Hale) is leaving the island. We see a William who is not in great shape still suffering from his many injuries on a bed at the extraction camp. So what has happened here is that after Dolores and Bernard left him he was at some point in the next day or so found by Delos soldiers and bought to the extraction camp.
We know that neither the scene of William getting up off the ground and stumbling into the elevator nor the scenes of him progressing down the elevator are depicting this version of William because it doesn’t line up with the other concurrent events. If he was in the elevator at the time of the other events of season 2 not only would he have come across Bernard at the bottom but The Forge would have been flooded once he got down there. So these scenes are linked to another version of William… but when.. and/or where?
Host William – Far Into The Future
The first we see of this host version of William is when we see him wake up after being blowing his fingers off outside The Forge. He gets up, enters the elevator, and on his way down begins to load his weapon anticipating Dolores to be down there. Then the next time we see this William is in the post-credit sequence in which we see him exit the elevator where he finds himself looking at The Forge which is run-down and has severely deteriorated, indicating a lot of time has passed. He then is confronted by what is clearly a host version of his daughter Emily who informs him that ‘the system is long gone’ and this is what is left of the world he has created.
Emily guides him through the rundown halls of Westworld to a testing chamber identical to the one in which a James Delos clone was being tested in earlier this season. Emily sits down and begins asking William questions. He doesn’t seem to know how long he’s been in Westworld and Emily talks about how this has been going on for much longer than “we” thought it would. This whole sequence emulates the James Delos testing scenes right down to the realisation that Emily is testing William for ‘fidelity’, and that right there is all the confirmation you need that the William here is a host… also due to the fact that he hasn’t aged despite this being set well into the future.
This sequence here raises so many questions about when exactly this. We can deduce that this is taking place in a future version of Westworld which may be abandoned as it clearly doesn’t look like it is maintained. But when exactly? We know it’s well into the future but no specific date has been given and won’t be given until next season. Now what I believe is happening here with host William and why he is seemingly following the same path human William took all those years ago is similar to what we’ve seen this season, even within this episode. When Bernard and Dolores are inside The Forge, the system in the form of Logan talks about how it built James Delos 1 million different pathways in life but each one led to him shutting out Logan. This is indicating that no matter how many variables are changed in the life of a human they are predictable and will always come to the same conclusion in a key moment when prompted.
So in the case of this William host it seems that the Emily host and whoever else is in charge at this time are having William relive the same path over and over again and it seems that each time leads to him killing Emily and ending up in The Forge coming across the Emily host. Why exactly they are having him follow this same path I guess we won’t find out until season 3 but it the time period has me looking forward to season 3 even more-so now. We have Dolores and Bernard’s story to continue which seems to be left off shortly after the events of Season 2 and now we have William’s story which is left off both after the events of season 2 and well into the future.
Check out my recap and review of the season 2 finale by clicking HERE.