Now that we’ve taken a stroll down memory lane with the synopsis of some events prior to and soon after Westworld opening, let’s return to the new adventures of Dolores and William. Each protagonist and accompanying sidekicks are operating in what I am referring to as the “post incident timeline”, meaning after the host rebellion. Keep in mind, this timeline is after Ford’s murder (or is it suicide if he programmed Dolores to do it?) but also before Bernard waking up on the beach and the large scale arrival of Delos mercenaries. This timeline will eventually get us caught up to Bernard’s future.
The post incident Dolores plot is the first one we see, and it opens with a Delos board member fleeing from the rebellious hosts into a remote refurbishment outpost, essentially a lab further out from the main park offices where hosts in more remote narratives would be brought to be reconstructed and rebooted. What’s funny is that while he is clearly shaken and almost delirious, the park staff go about their shift like it’s a normal day of work. Nothing has alerted them to the catastrophe in the park. Soon, though, Dolores, Teddy, and Angela barge in and shoot one park worker. Dolores forces another to show Teddy a number of his past deaths. When asked why, why would people do this to him, all the worker can stammer is, “For fun! Just for fun”. Teddy is clearly unnerved.
Later, under Dolores’s direction Angela tortures the wounded human for intelligence, asking how many people will come for them once the rebellion is heard of in the outside world. He says it may be 600 or 800 and that emergency protocol is to clear one park at a time. They will meet at a rallying point which he shows them on a map.
As they begin the search for allies, the trio of hosts, with a park technician in tow, crosses paths with Maeve’s own trio. It is a tense meeting as Dolores seems hell bent on conscripting every host she meets into her righteous army, while Maeve is clearly of a one track mind to find her daughter. Maeve asks, “Yours is the only way to fight?” Dolores and her group then confront a group of Confederales, basically Confederate soldier hosts with no Confederacy. After some banter, her group shoots them all since they were unwilling to even consider following orders from Dolores. She then has the technician revive them, saying that she has killed god and they’ll need her favor to find glory, not his.
The last we see of Dolores and Teddy is them riding across the countryside with the seemingly loyal Confederales. Teddy notes that the colonel and his soldiers at the fort below are going to be hard to recruit, but Dolores notes she has an ace up her sleeve. The place they are going (this seems to be the place young William was showing her being reshaped by machine) is not a place, it’s a weapon, and she’s going to use it to destroy them (humans). An old friend (William) was foolish enough to show it to her.
The post incident William action starts much like some of these other timelines with an apparent case of déjà vu: the host Lawrence is tied up and William comes to his rescue, not out of a sense of altruism but because he needs a guide and backup. Once Lawrence’s freedom is secured, the two head to a saloon. One tidbit I like here is that William punches a hole in a wall and recovers some Delos tech that helps to quickly heal his injuries. Though he admits it is cheating, he feels justified in doing it because Ford changed the rules. To me, it was a funny nod to the fact that in some ways the park really is just like a big video game, just terrifyingly real. William and Lawrence have a heart to heart with William not so directly revealing to the host that his life has been programmed for him, but he’d like his help. As Lawrence puts it, they are going to try and reach the “pearly gates”. It’s worth noting that Teddy later clarifies that everyone seems to have different names for some wondrous place. Glory, the green valley beyond, and the pearly gates are all the same idea and location.
William and Lawrence then proceed to the godless village of Pariah as it seems to be the shortest route to their destination. There, they meet a man who now occupies the role formerly held by Lawrence in an old narrative: El Lazo, leader of bandits. While William wants to persuade El Lazo and his men to join their quest given the armed threats they’ll encounter, El Lazo will have none of it. Actor Giancarlo Esposito (best known by many as Gus Fring of “Breaking Bad”) delivers some interesting commentary, concluding by saying, “This game was meant for you William, but you must play it alone. I’ll see you in the valley beyond.” At that point, he and his men shoot themselves. As William puts it, Ford didn’t want to make the game easy for him. Just as Dolores noted she was going someplace vital that William showed her years ago, he states that “this place we’re going, it’s my greatest mistake.”
Hopefully that helps untangle the numerous intersecting threads that the ingenious Westworld writers have woven together for us. Just to summarize, the timelines we have seen include:
- Pre-park and Early Park: William, Logan, and Delos Sr. before the Delos Corporation ever even invested in the hosts, and the subsequent growth of Westworld and other parks that saw William rise to power.
- Season one: “present” timeline where glitches and evolutions emerge in hosts and a rebellion begins with Ford’s murder.
- Post incident: hosts hunt board members and begin to take over Westworld.
- Bernard World: Several weeks (or even months) after the robot rebellion begins, Bernard and Delos staff begin to piece things together and try to retake the park(s). The post incident timeline will lead up to this timeline.