The second season of HBO’s Westworld has concluded, and as if the multiple timelines and realities weren’t already confusing enough for you, the show decided to throw in one final mind bender at the very end of the season finale. If you tuned out right when the credits rolled, you may have missed a very important scene that adds yet another layer to the already complex Westworld universe.
In the scene, an injured William comes out the other side of the Door he’s been looking for all season and descends into a desolate and deserted Forge facility. Inside, he comes face to face with his daughter – the same daughter he killed in the previous episode.
“I knew it,” he says. “I’m already in the thing, aren’t I?”
That thing is the Sublime, the simulated pseudo-Heaven that hosts have been crossing over into all season.
“This isn’t a simulation, William,” she replies. “This is your world … or what’s left of it.”
From here William is led into a similar room to the one that once contained the human-host hybrid, James Delos. At this point it becomes clear to William that he’s still in the park, but sometime far into the future.
“It’s been a long time, longer than we thought,” Emily tells him. “I have a few questions for you. The last steps of a baseline interview to allow us to verify.”
“Verify what?” William asks.
“Fidelity,” she says.
The scene ends with a close-up of William’s horrified eyes as he realizes he may not be who he thinks he is.
The exact nature of this new future timeline and what William has become are obviously unclear at this point. But we’ve pieced together a few key points regarding what this post-credits scene means. First, Westworld has introduced another timeline, one that takes place possibly hundreds of years into a future where — again, possibly — the world as we know it has ended. Second, the William we see in this scene is no longer the “real” William but a version of William that is being put through a loop of events as part of an experiment being run by … well, who knows who’s running the show now.
“He realizes that he’s been living this loop again and again and again,” Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy told The Hollywood Reporter. “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. You get the sense that the testing will continue. It’s teasing for us another temporal realm that one day we’re working toward, and one day will see a little bit more of, and how they get to that place, and what they’re testing for.”
The William in that final scene definitely wasn’t human anymore, but he’s probably an evolution of the James Delos immortality-bot model as opposed to the more conventional park hosts. Not that this seems to matter as much as it once did. Westworld continues to blur the line between humans and hosts, and at this point, way into the future, that line is more of a non-distinct smudge than anything else. Reality itself no longer seems as concrete as before. Was the William we watched in season two the real William or the William stuck in that testing loop? Those of you who enjoyed re-watching season one to pick up on timeline changes should have your hands full figuring that one out.