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What Exactly Happened in the Post-Credits Scene of the Westworld Finale?
Tonight'sWestworldSeason 2 finale answered many of the season's most pressing questions with a series of mind-boggling twists and turns, setting up the show for a completely new Season 3 experience that will take the hosts out into the real world—and beyond.
But the future for the hosts' human counterparts doesn't look quite as rosy. The end of the finale showed The Man in Black lying defeated but alive on the beach after sustaining that hand-shattering injury from Dolores. It's safe to assume he didn't quite achieve his goal of making it to the Valley Beyond (and thus, unraveling Ford's final puzzle) this season.
But that's not the last we see of TMIB. An unexpected post-credits sequence shows him entering the ruins of The Forge with his hand injury and encountering his daughter, Emily—a surprising turn of events, since he killed her in last week's episode after deluding himself into thinking she was a host. It turns out TMIB is undergoing a "fidelity test"—much like the ones he gave James Delos earlier this season.
Here's the exact transcript of TMIB's conversation with Emily:The Man In Black: "Oh fuck, I knew it. I'm already in the thing, aren't I?"
Emily "No, the system's long gone."
TMIB: "What is this place?"
E: "This isn't a simulation, William. This is your world. Or what's left of it. Do you know where you are, William?"
TMIB: "I'm in the park. In my fucking park."
E: "And how long have you been here?"
TMIB: "I don't know."
E: "Tell me, what were you hoping to find? To prove?"
TMIB: "That no system can tell me who I am. That I have a fucking choice."
E: "And yet here we are, again."
TMIB: "Again... How many times have you tested me?"
E: "It's been a long time, William. Longer than we thought. I have a few questions for you. The last step's a baseline interview to allow us to verify."
TMIB: "Verify what?"
Since TMIB still has his hand injury, it's easy to assume this scene takes place right after the events of Season 2. Does that mean everything we just watched was a simulation for the benefit of TMIB's cloned self? Not exactly, according toWestworldco-creator and -showrunner Lisa Joy. She that this scene takes place in the "far, far future"—so even though TMIB and Emily'sbodiesdon't survive that long, there are other versions of them who make it. According to Joy, everything that happened to TMIB this season really did happen, but after those events, someone (Delos? A successor company?) started testing him on that loop over and over. "The primal loop that we've seen this season, they've been repeating, testing every time for what they call 'fidelity,' or perhaps a deviation."
Given the events we saw with James Delos and his son earlier in this episode, it sounds like The Man in Black spent the rest of his life—and beyond—trying to determine if he would make the same choices again and again. (After all, he was trying to prove "That no system can tell me who I am. That I have a fucking choice.") My guess is TMIB is interrogating his decision to kill Emily, trying to determine whether it was even a decision to begin with. As Joy tellsDeadline, by the end of the present-day timeline, when TMIB is on the beach, "he's in the prison of his own skin, locked in his own confusion and guilt." Just like all roads led James Delos to denying his son, TMIB would always ultimately kill his daughter. He's more like his reviled father-in-law than he thought.
Joy also points out toTHRthat in this future timeline, "the world is dramatically different. Quite destroyed, as it were." Does this mean Dolores is successful in taking over the human world for the hosts? We'll find out in seasons to come, though not necessarily Season 3; Joy toldTHRthat the show will eventually get to this "future" timeline, but the events of next season will focus more on Bernard and Dolores in the real world.
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