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Why Westworld Fans Are Divided Over The Season 4 Finale

The following article contains spoilers for "Westworld" Season 4, Episode 8.

The Season 4 finale of HBO's critically-acclaimed dystopian sci-fi series "Westworld" is finally here, providing fans with an ending that was so utterly devastating that some are wondering whether or not it was actually the series finale (via Forbes). The episode opens with humanity in the midst of a mass extinction, as humans murder each other with impunity in the wake of host William's (Ed Harris) destructive actions from Episode 7.

Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) is swiftly killed off by Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) during this abrupt chaos, and by the end of the episode, it appears that Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) have also perished. Adding these losses to the deaths of Maeve Millay (Thandiwe Newton) and Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) from Episode 7 means that the series as a whole is almost completely out of main characters, making this one of the most gut-wrenching episodes in the show's history.

Indeed, although the ending of "Westworld" Season 4 hints at a potential rebirth for these characters, fans online are divided about the series' total annihilation of its main cast.

Some fans hate the episode's convoluted ending and large amount of character deaths

The end of the episode shows Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) entering The Sublime (a world created exclusively for hosts to live away from humans) and recreating the entirety of the original Westworld theme park, where she plans to give humanity a second chance at survival. Although this scene hints at the possible resurrection of every character we've seen killed off (each one being recreated as a host within The Sublime), the bleak and somewhat convoluted nature of this ending seems to have polarized many fans online.

Gizmodo summed it up well in its review, writing, "It's bleak, brutal, and maybe even a little perverse." And fans haven't been shy of elaborating on those points. "So everyone is dead and no one is dead!" wrote u/toastt_ghost on Reddit. "Sounds like Westworld!" "Nobody is really dead in Westworld if the show doesn't want them to be," echoed u/formicatile. More users chimed in to agree that this convoluted ending took away the impact of all those important character deaths from prior episodes, while others criticized the entire concept of resurrection as a whole — mainly due to the fact that we have to rely entirely on Dolores' memory of these characters in order to see them return.

"If she cannot accurately recreate people from memory then all she's really doing is making a VR game with NPC's for herself to play with," said u/CodeMonkeyX. "I feel the same way and am feeling a bit cheated as a result," agreed u/slo707. "It's not as though she's really saving anyone, and it does feel like she's just imagining a world for herself at this point." 

Others were more receptive to the finale's bleak ending and the potential end of Westworld

While some viewers clearly were not fans of the confusing ending to Westworld Season 4, others were wholeheartedly supportive of this utterly bleak finale and of the implications it leaves for the series as a whole. "That was dark as f***. Is basically the end of humanity" said u/Sleepy_Azathoth. "I do love the Asimov spin of leaving something (or someone) to pass knowledge to the next species."

One of the most important implications from this finale is the possibility that everything we've seen up to this point is in fact part of one big loop — that this has all happened before, and Dolores (or another host) has simulated these events over and over again in order to give humanity a chance at survival. Indeed, Dolores' last line of the episode is "Maybe this time we'll set ourselves free," which could imply that there have been other simulations in the past. Some fans were extremely receptive to this potential twist and theorized that this could be a series finale that simply sets up the start of Season 1.

"We are all just pawns in the mind & world of #Dolores Abernathy," wrote @digital__junkie on Twitter. "What a fantastic [season] this was ... Honestly if HBO said tomorrow that was the final season I'd be ok with how they left it." Suffice to say, there's a whole lot going on in the ending of "Westworld” Season 4, and if the series is not renewed for Season 5 this episode will undoubtedly go down as one of the most polarizing series finales in recent memory.