Just like a host at the end of their narrative loop, it’s time for this story to come to an end. HBO’s Westworld was picked up for a second season, which gives a propulsive energy to the finale of the first season. There’s a lot that needs to be explained in the 90-minute finale, with so many outstanding questions and plot intrigues still pending. And the character who most needs to make a big move is Dr. Robert Ford, the mysterious co-founder and chief architect of the park.
Ford’s actions and subversive machinations have all been in service of his still-shadowy new narrative. We’ll hopefully find out what exactly that is, but here are a few other predictions for Ford’s maniacal endgame.
Dolores Is Reliving Previous Loops Because Ford Wants Her To
Audiences have been giving Dolores way too much credit for breaking through her own narrative loop. Consider the fact that she constantly keeps hearing Arnold’s voice in her head telling her to “remember,” not to mention that Ford created his own mechanical version of Arnold that may have planted these consciousness-based ideas in Dolores’s “mind,” and this all may be according to Ford’s plan.
Even though Ford has had minimal interaction with Maeve throughout the first season, she’s become self-aware and is currently recruiting a bunch of hosts for her own kind of robot revolution. But who is to say that isn’t something Ford wanted to set into motion himself as an alternative distraction to disrupt the board’s grip on power in the park?
Setting hosts like Dolores and Maeve off may all be part of his grand meta-storyline tied to the chaos of Westworld itself with Ford in complete control.
Robert Ford Thinks He Defeated Arnold, But Hasn’t
There’s a quote from another Michael Crichton adaptation with a much-too-tidy explanation of chaos that encapsulates the problems in the pre-determined loops of Westworld’s hosts. When trying to make sense of the science that has made once-extinct dinosaurs possible again in Jurassic Park, mathematician Ian Malcolm says, “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.”
That kind of disorder within a larger order partly explains the big twist involving Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), the loyal head of Westworld’s programming department who we found out at the end of “Trompe L’Oeil” and “The Well-Tempered Clavier” was a host. And not just any host, either; he was modeled after co-founder Arnold and controlled by the park’s sinister founder Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). But this self-proclaimed god might be killed by his own creation.
The sole character who has successfully frazzled Dr. Ford in the show is Arnold, even if it happened off-screen, 30 years ago. He may have ordered Bernard to kill himself in the ninth episode, but Arnold’s manipulations have burdened Ford from beyond the grave before, and Ford might have to face them with deadly consequences.
Ford Goes After the Man in Black, Directly or Indirectly
If anything could be evinced from the little tte-à-tête between Ford and the still mysterious Man in Black at the end of “Contrapasso” it’s that this show is mostly about two diametrically opposed men vying for power both inside and outside the park. Considering the Man in Black waltzed into the Church at the end of “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” the one that is key to Ford’s new narrative, there’s bound to be a big showdown of some sort.
Despite being a loner, the Man in Black is obviously an important member of the park’s board of directors. Why else would Charlotte Hale step into the park to ask him for help? He specifically represents the ideals of the board who was scheming to undermine Ford’s dominance over the park’s IP. If we know anything, it’s that Ford doesn’t like not being in complete control, and though he told the Man in Black in “Contrapasso” that he wasn’t there to stop him, he probably just meant at that particular point in time.
Ford Tries to Topple Delos
Even if the Man in Black wins, that doesn’t necessarily mean Delos, the company that owns Westworld, will also win. In fact, we don’t even know if the Man in Black actually works for Delos. But thinking about the future of the show means that somebody has to go. Ford wants Delos gone, but if Ford loses in whatever conflict he finds himself in, Delos, which remains a kind of shady corporate overlord, will inevitably emerge as the main antagonistic force in Season 2.
Photos via HBO