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The Ending Of Westworld Season 2 Explained

A uniquely mind-bending TV series, HBO's "Westworld" combines elements of sci-fi and western genres to create a labyrinthian storyline to enthrall audiences. While the show's direction shifted in the third season, Seasons 1 and 2 of the series focused on both the lives of the android hosts in the Westworld theme park and on those behind the scenes who are struggling to keep things from spiraling out of control.

As Season 1 of "Westworld" came to a close, the host uprising had begun. Maeve (Thandie Newton) made her escape with the help of a few host followers (and one sympathetic Delos worker), only to find that she could not bear to leave her daughter behind. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) discovered her true purpose, and park creator Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) revealed his true motivations before coming to an untimely end. As for Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), he was left contemplating the revelation of his origins, his future uncertain.

Season 2 picked up where Season 1 left off, as the war between the hosts and humans has ravaged the park. With so many storylines happening at once, it's tough to keep them all straight, but we are here to help you through with the 2nd season's ending.

A mother's love knows no boundaries

Once the madam of the Mariposa, Maeve awakened from the park's control in Season 1 and now embarks on a new journey with a single goal in mind — reuniting with her daughter. Season 2 has Maeve traversing the dangers of the park, including the Japanese-inspired Shogun World, where she discovers her new ability to control other hosts telepathically. When she finally finds her host daughter, Maeve discovers that she has been reprogrammed with a different host mother — yet that doesn't stop Maeve from doing whatever it takes to protect the young girl from the park's dangers.

Though she was later reprogrammed with a new story, somewhere deep in Maeve's consciousness remained the memory of her former life with her daughter and the tragedy that followed. Despite being an android host, the bond of love between mother and child was too strong to allow Maeve to let go. The result was Maeve's ruthlessness and determination, and in the end, self-sacrifice. As Maeve's daughter and other hosts make a run for the Sublime (a digital version of heaven for hosts) in Episode 10, "The Passenger," Maeve aids their escape by standing in the way of the park's security team, giving her own life to ensure her child's survival. In the end, Maeve's actions were, in a way, more human than those of many of the actual humans on "Westworld."

You can't dye a black hat white

William (Ed Harris), who was known through most of Season 1 as The Man in Black, finds himself with more than he bargained for as the stakes in Westworld park become more real than ever. In this second season, he attempts to make up for his past mistakes and find redemption.

In a series of flashbacks, the show reveals that William was once in charge of a series of tests to create a host body for his father-in-law, James Delos (Peter Mullan). Each of these tests ended in failure, resulting in William finally shutting down the project and abandoning the host Delos in an act of true cruelty. In the present day, when William is reunited with his daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers), in the park, their reunion is less than warm. Emily blames her father for her mother's suicide, and although she still holds some serious resentment, she says that she is willing to make amends. Yet William, becoming increasingly paranoid, shoots and kills Emily, believing her to be a host sent by Ford — she wasn't.

All chances for redemption go out the window with this violent act, as does William's sanity. He begins to question if he himself is a host as the cycle of violence begins to feel inevitable. In a post-credit scene of the "Westworld" Season 2 finale, we discover a host William undergoing a fidelity test run by a host version of Emily. Like the tests for Delos, William seems to be stuck in an endless loop. It seems that no matter how hard he tries, William is doomed to continue the vicious circle.

What happens when the damsel becomes the dragon?

Perhaps the biggest 180-degree reversal of all of the characters in "Westworld" came from Dolores, who ventured far from her "damsel in distress" storyline in Season 2. Awakened by her solving of The Maze in Season 1, Dolores has put her once gentle nature aside in favor of becoming a bloodthirsty warlord. She kills humans and hosts alike without mercy, and all in the name of survival. However, it seems that survival soon becomes a secondary goal for Dolores — revenge has taken its place, and everything else is simply necessary collateral.

In her goal to eject all humans from the park, Dolores resorts to manipulation and ruthlessly sacrificing others. She forcefully overwrites Teddy's (James Marsden) control unit to make him more compliant to her violent behavior, which results in Teddy ultimately dying by suicide. She rescues her father, Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum), from Delos security, yet she then heartlessly rips out his "brain" for the control key inside. It seems that she no longer cares for those she once loved, and what affection she once had has been replaced by cold calculation — an ironic turn when one considers her journey to gain true sentience.

In the Season 2 finale, Dolores escapes the park in the body of host Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) with Bernard's help. Yet in the final, chilling scene, she has a confrontation with Bernard, which establishes that while the two of them are not friends, they must work together as allies against the humans.

How Bernard's fate may shape the future of Westworld

Poor Bernard has perhaps suffered the most of the "Westworld" characters, yet as the park's creator, Ford, pointed out in Season 1, suffering is what leads to the hosts' true awakening. Bernard has been deceived, used, and manipulated in every way possible, yet it's in Season 2 that he is finally given control of his own life.

At the end of the second season, it's revealed that Bernard purposely tampered with his memory. As visions of the past and present collide, Bernard puts the pieces back together to form a clearer picture. After finding Ford's data pearl and uploading it to the Cradle (where host memory is kept), he once again finds himself under Ford's control. Yet this time, Bernard fights back and manages to free himself from Ford's influence.

Following a harrowing journey, Bernard finally makes his way to the Forge, where human data is stored and being prepared for host upload. It is there that he finds Dolores, who plans to destroy the lab and all of the human data with it. She also intends to prevent any of the other hosts from reaching the Sublime. Bernard shoots Dolores to stop her plans, yet later uploads her memory into a host body made to look like Charlotte. This act of kindness instigates a change in Dolores, who decides to allow the hosts to enter the Sublime after all.

Like Dolores' journey to self-discovery in the first season, Bernard also manages to make it to the center of the Maze — where he finds his own voice, and thus truly awakens. Unlike Dolores, however, Bernard has a more compassionate outlook, believing that both humans and hosts can change and grow. While they appear to be on opposing sides at the end of Season 2, it may take both of them — and their differing views — to move forward to the next leg of the journey.