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As Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's Westworld turns out to be a giant wooden game of "get the ball to the middle of the maze," we are still left reeling from the bullet-riddled finale. Episode 10, "The Bicameral Mind" saw Dr. Ford's new narrative spell a possible end to the park's serene life of donkey walks and piano ditties. The first season wrapped with #Westworld's signature keep 'em wanting more style, meaning that the wait until Season 2 in 2018 is likely to be an agonizing one (robots feel pain too). While we practice our lasso skills, let's rank the winners and losers of #HBO's wild, wild western.
You had it all, a powerful pant suit, a dream job, and a casual lover. Sidse Babett Knudsen's Theresa was a powerhouse of a character, only to be snuffed out in Episode 7. As the terse op director, Theresa chain-smoked her way to the top to foolishly think she could outsmart Dr. Ford while on the way to a big promotion. Theresa didn't see the big twist (or that brick wall) coming, and neither did we. Even if we waved goodbye to Sidse Babett Knudsen, Episode 7 was undoubtedly a highlight of the season, and Theresa was this season's ultimate loser. The only person who had a worse time was Ford's equally smashed up robotic dog or that doomed woodcutter!
All she wanted was to be a happy lil' hooker, but it wasn't meant to be for Clementine. After being raped, pillaged, shot, then used as a corporate dummy, it was the slaughterhouse for her. A lobotomized Clem was destined to spend her days lurking in Cold Storage, or was she one of the lucky bots who escaped? Given that she looked in pretty bad shape when we last saw her, it doesn't look good for Clementine in Season 2, even Maeve kisses her goodbye. It quite literally sucks to be a whore in Westworld.
You would think that being a criminal overlord would be a pretty sweet deal, hmmmm, not when a Man in Black is destined to slit you like a pig. Lawrence had a great time in the past, running his little empire as El Lazo, but it didn't last to the present day. From the moment we met Lawrence hanging from the gallows it is a safe bet that he wished he had been left there. Dragged via horse out into the desert, Lawrence gets to see his nearest and dearest meet their maker. For a brief period it looked like MIB and Lawrence were finally starting to bond, then the latter was strung from a tree and bled out to feed Teddy Flood — you didn't see that coming.
"Hey, James Marsden, we loved you in X-Men, so sorry your character died. Would you like to come to our new show and die EVERY week?" Poor Teddy, from human punching bag to lovesick puppy, he didn't have a very good year. He was effectively the park bitch. You finally think that Teddy and Dolores get to be together in a romantic seaside goodbye, but nope. Surprise surprise, Teddy is just part of Ford's new narrative. Hopefully with the former director (seemingly) dead, Teddy might get his time to shine in Season 2 without leaving an episode looking like a sieve.
Being Arnold is sh*t, let's be honest. You were killed 30 years ago, then a young Hannibal Lecter goes and takes all your glory. Whereas life as Bernard is just as bad. Your new squeeze has her head rammed into a brick wall and you constantly relive the death of your child who never existed. To make matters worse, your best friend for the past three decades then gets you to turn a gun on yourself and you are resurrected only to watch a massacre. I think I would rather be Arnold to be honest, anything is better than the horrors of finding out you are actually just metal and circuits. At least Bernard is alive and kicking, so who knows, maybe his luck could turn in Season 2 — doubtful, but hopeful. I don't think viewers can cope with anymore of Jeffrey Wright looking like a sad mole.
3. Felix & Sylvester
Felix and Sylvester were one of the biggest gripes for fans of the show, offering up numerous plot-holes, while we all wished they were dead. It was strange to have the shoe on the other foot, with feisty Maeve pretty much controlling the scared lab assistants. Felix in particular seemed to want to attain something that he couldn't get, possibly Maeve's approval — or something more. However, it turns out that everything Maeve did was for the purpose of Ford's new narrative, so both men (despite not being robots) found themselves as just mere pawns. Living men being controlled by a robot, being controlled by a man — kind of makes you question your life, doesn't it?
That bros before hos vacation he planned turned out more like a wild bachelor party. Naked and tied to a horse is a new one, even by Magaluf standards. As Logan rode off into the sunset he was trotting away from his legacy of owning Delos. Whether or not he survives is surely a question over the finale, or quite how William pulls the inheritance rug from underneath Logan. A real prick, Logan got the end he deserved either way, and every punch that he got felt great for the audience.
The finale was a gruesome outing for Hector: He got a tug in the lab, then soon exacted his revenge with a machete. The scarred bandit slipped from the role of robo-slayer to human-killer in a matter of seconds and made it through Westworld's back corridors. At one point it looked like Hector would be the new Mr. Maeve, but sadly she is a one-woman band. Logan was left behind at the last moment in a cruel twist of fate — presumably the security team eventually found him and he would be permanently put out of his misery. It looks like Maeve really did dial her empathy levels down to zero.
Poor Armistice, her friends and family slaughtered, she burns a rad snake tattoo on her body, then she gets stuck in a door. It was clear her "I'll keep them busy" line signaled the end of the blonde bombshell — or did it? A post-credits scene looks like Season 2 will see a one-armed bandit taking a tour around Samurai World. I would rather be in Armistice's shoes than most of the other bots. She may only have one arm, but she is free from the dusty deserts of Westworld to explore a whole new world, just like Ariel.
From out-to-pasture brothel madam to badass corporate exec escaping her robotic shackles. Thandie Newton managed to turn the part of Maeve around to be one of the strongest characters this season. Admittedly, she spent most of her season lying on her back in a brothel or on the slab, but Maeve got some serious plus points when fiddling with her own code. Sadly, even Maeve's daring escape was just déjà vu, and we learn she had been there before. Choosing last minute family time over her freedom, Westworld Season 2: The Search for Maeve Jr. is sure to be a talking point. The more screen-time for Thandie, the better!
5. Charlotte Hale
Somewhere middle of the pack was Delos's (not so secret) secret board exec. Apart from bonk her way through the robotic staff and rock a beige pant suit, what did Charlotte really do? Scampering away from the finale shootout, it is fair to assume Charlotte will be back in action next season. She looks like a tough cookie and I wouldn't mind having her around in times of robotic uprising, however, she couldn't see Ford outsmarting her TWICE. Things could be a lot worse for Charlotte, and chances are they are about to head that way.
4. William/The Man In Black
William in Black, as he shall henceforth be known, pretty much got everything he wanted. Admittedly he was just another of Dr. Ford's pawns, and the maze turned out to be a child's toy, but that smile on his face as he was shot says it all. After 30 years of visiting Westworld, all William in Black wanted was someone to fight back, so it looks like Christmas has come early this year. With Harris's return in Season 2, clearly William hasn't perished in "The Bicameral Mind." However, promising that "this time" he isn't going back, MIB is likely to become a permanent fixture of the park at some point. As for the young MIB, we saw William fall in love, fall out of love, then banish his nemesis Logan to become owner of Westworld. I would say that is a pretty successful season for anyone.
3. Lee Sizemore
Annoyingly, Lee Sizemore makes it pretty high on the winners of Westworld list *boo hiss*. The pantomime villain finds himself in a win-win situation of being tipped as new Creative Director of the park and being absent from the gala massacre. All this from a man who drunkenly urinated on a very expensive CGI map, came on to his new boss, then showed her his wang. A round of applause for the asshole of the season. Hopefully Sizemore will take a hatchet to the skull in Season 2.
One person who unusually came out on top was our hard-working heroine. Dolores really went down the rabbit hole this season, and after remembering the past 35 years of her own misery, she finally reached the center of that invisible maze. The Dolores arc was worth every glass of spilt milk, bullet riddled Teddy and Man in Black slap. A fully conscious Dolores means big things moving forward to Season 2, while the gun-toting Alice lookalike will surely lead the robotic rebellion. Dolores seemed pretty content in her happy little farm loop, but given the bloodthirsty events of the finale, expect nothing to be the same again. It is goodbye milking cows and hello shooting humans.
1. Dr. Robert Ford
Well played, sir, well played. The enigmatic Creative Director of Westworld is the kind of man you want on your chess team and one of the ultimate winners of Season 1. Just when you thought Dr. Ford was down for the count, he was revealed as the ultimate Wizard of Oz, with the entire first season being part of Ford's new narrative. From Maeve's escape to Teddy and Dolores's beachside goodbye, it was Ford continuing the work of Arnold while leaving his own legacy.
Having a gang of sentient robots shoot up your retirement party and then attack the board directors, now that is a surefire way to get people talking at the Christmas party. Whether or not Ford could return (it raises a lot of questions), there is no doubt that his long game of 30+ years was all for the good of his humanoid creations; sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Quite how a dead man can be the ultimate winner of the show is a puzzling one, but think about it, it works!
Well, it is goodbye for now as we gather up the bodybags and light up the furnace. With a spiraling death toll and more than a few vacancies on the Delos board, things look pretty grim down in Westworld. While it could be 2018 until we saddle back up for Westworld Season 2, it will surely be worth the wait. Maybe Teddy might have learned how to stop dying by then!