If you’ve somehow managed to unscramble your brain after season 2’s finale of Westworld then you’ll have been left scratching your head at the show’s post-credit scene.
Warning: Westworld season 2 finale spoilers to follow.
Those patient enough will have seen waited around for the Marvel-like teaser to see a scene that plays out after the grand finale, as we witness Delores escaping the park in the cloned body of Charlotte Hale, along with a handful of spheres presumably crammed with vital data. Some time later, we see that she’s recreated Bernard – whom she’s has been talking to from this future timeline perspective all along – as well as Charlotte.
However, after this there’s a dream-like sequence involving the Man In Black, aka William, and his daughter Emily.
Once the madness of the uprising and a season of bloodshed has seemingly come to a close, we see an injured MIB emerge from a lift and hobble into an underground facility. Bear in mind he’s had his right hand blown off, been shot multiple times, and has just been rescued by the security team; it’s a surprise he’s even still alive.
In walks diseased daughter Emily and the once dominant villain appears a shell of his former self.
He looks around, dazed and confused, bruised and bloodied, unsure what this version of Emily is – whether he’s imagining her or if she’s a host – having killed her in the previous episode.
She leads him from the rundown interior of The Forge and into a testing facility: a small living quarters, identical to the one we saw James Delos inhabit earlier on in the season. The room, unlike the facility outside of it, is clean and just as we experienced it when a younger MIB visited the part host version of Delos to do the ‘fidelity’ test.
‘How many times have you tested me?’ the MIB utters, as he slumps down, as if resigned to eternal defeat of living the same test over and over.
‘It’s been a long time. Longer than we thought. I have a few questions for you. The last step is a baseline interview that allows us to verify,’ Emily explains.
And with the camera zoomed in on the MIB’s weather-beaten, unshaven face, says, ‘Fidelity,’ and we cut to black after a few gruelling seconds fixated on his dumbfounded reaction.
Despite the MIB originally seeming in total control in his quest to, firstly, find the park’s maze, and then, secondly, to bring it all down and, later on, locate ‘The Door’, he now appears more lost than ever.
There are much bigger things at play than him, with Delores having escaped to the mainland (in the body of a host version of Charlotte) and having recreated Bernard, William now appears small-time in the grand scheme of things.
Indeed, William’s state in this moment is reflective of show’s hypothesis that people are predictable and don’t change. The idea that humans can be easily figured out and manipulated seem to reveal plenty about the MIB.
He may have be half-human, half-host the entire time. The truth is we simply don’t know who is human and who is a host, especially when we’re explicitly told ‘everything here is code,’ as a child host version of Robert Ford once told him.
With co-creator Lisa Joy confirming Emily is a host during this scene, there’s no clarity on the MIB. It’s likely he is the hybrid clone with the real man’s coding inside and not, as we learn of the park’s true intention and complexities, merely a host.
The MIB now appears a broken man who can barely string a coherent sentence together, as he suffers from his own paranoia and confusion as to when and where exactly he is.
And, to be fair, we’re not sure either. This moment could be some time in the future, as we see the fertility test for what could be the tenth or ten thousandth time: we’ve no context other than what we can base an assumption on having seen the MIB do the exact same thing to Delos.
In truth, our perception on this reality could be distorted too. The moment we realise that Bernard is in the future and being controlled by Delores alters things significantly – from her familiar blue attire and his tweed suit, to a sleek and modern cocktail dress and Bernard sitting there in the buff, if we;re seeing it from the MIB’s perspective then it may differ significantly.
So the same could happen when we next see Emily and William interact: she may very well look the same but he could be out of his cowboy gear and looking very different and with his injured limb bandaged or even having healed by this point.
This leads some to speculate whether this is a different timeline altogether – one where a human-host version of William is existing in a test loop and is the subject for experimentation as opposed to Delos. It may be some time in the future – tens or hundreds of years – with the scene designed as a snippet of indecipherable storyline for the third season.
Whatever its intention, it certainly serves a vital purpose: to titillate its audience and to evoke a sense of curiosity as to where season three will take us and whether Emily will become a central character in a huge dynamic shift duo with the MIB, much in the way we’ve seen Delores and Bernard swap places, evolve, and switch power roles altogether.
Of all the mysteries and ambiguity Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Joy offer us over two seasons, this post-credit tease is perhaps the most frustrating and speculative of them all.
Cath Westworld on Sky Catch Up and on Sky Box Sets now.