In The Westworld Season 4 Finale, Whatever Will Be, Will Be

This article contains spoilers for Westworld season 4. 

"Westworld" is not an easy show to love. Every season, the series slowly unravels big mysteries and forces us to think differently about narratives, only to completely drop the ball in the finale. The season 1 finale was probably the best of the series, wrapping up the complex storylines and giving a semi-satisfying conclusion to the main character arcs. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) finally killed her maker, Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins.) Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) escaped the park and was on her way to find her host daughter. William (Ed Harris) had found the perfect game at last — one where the stakes were as high for him as they had been for everyone else. Unfortunately, every finale since has been kind of a letdown, as the mystery box storytelling sets viewers up with unrealistic expectations of their own perfect ending. 

In the season 4 finale, which could potentially be the series finale, as HBO has not renewed the series for a fifth season, "Westworld" falls victim to its own worst habits once more. After last week's incredibly frustrating episode, "Metanoia," everything this season had set up felt wasted. The journey to resurrect Maeve ended with her dying at the hands of William, while this season's big bad, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) also appeared to be dead. To make matters worse, Christina (Wood) was revealed to not exist in physical reality at all, but to be "somewhere else." What does it mean? Why does it even matter? The title of the season finale is "Que Será, Será," after the song by Doris Day and Frank De Vol. The song is about how no one can predict the future and so "whatever will be, will be," and that's the kind of attitude "Westworld" fans are going to have to embrace.

A world in chaos

The finale picks up right where last week left off, with the cities falling into chaos as humans are thrown into a rage because of Hale's parasites being triggered. One of the hosts from season 1 is running around killing the humans and trying to figure out why they turned homicidal, but he seems like he's having a pretty good time. He meets another host and starts bragging about how many "flesh bags" he's murdered when one of them axes him in the back of the head. There's a sniper up in a window taking hosts and humans out with abandon, but then William shows up and kills him, too.

There might be some commentary here on people who long for post-apocalyptic anarchy, for the doomsday preppers who watch "The Walking Dead" with a kind of hunger in their eyes, but it's quickly lost when William calls the sniper a "f***in camper," using gamer language despite being a man in his 70s. It's kind of funny but also stops any deep thoughts in their tracks, which seems counterintuitive with a show this concerned with big ideas. 

It turns out that Hale's not dead, and her creepy white robot guards resurrect her and rebuild her even stronger than before. She wants to keep her face so "they know it was me who killed them" when she hunts down the hosts and humans gone wild, but it's clear she's not as in control as before. She discovers that she's locked out of the tower's control unit and finds Bernard's last message, directed to her. "What happens next?" he asks. 

We jump over to Christina and Teddy, who are real but not real. Apparently, she's a program, and the "world" around her is a simulation she built for herself while she was writing the narratives of all of the humans in Hale's controlled world. She didn't exist alongside them but in a perfect facsimile of their world, and she figures out that she created everyone inside of her city. On the outside, Hale starts stomping on the map unit and Christina's world starts dissolving. The city shuts off and Hale opens up the floor, removing a host brain orb from inside. That's Christina, and Hale puts her in a backpack and heads out into the city where William is having his human-killing fun. 

Taking the game to expert level

In the city, Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), Caleb (Aaron Paul), and C (Aurora Perrineau) are slowly making their way down an alleyway. Caleb is starting to deteriorate, as his body was only designed to last for a short time. Stubbs recognizes what's happening and tries to convince Caleb to tell C, but he refuses because he wants to see her safely to the boat, no matter what. 

Hale walks among the carnage of the city to head to the original human William, still hanging dead inside of his Vitruvian Man machine. She starts talking to the corpse when Clementine appears, frustrated with Hale for the lack of freedom she gave the hosts even in this new world. She wants to leave, to go out into the desert and find where the outliers are hiding and take their home from them. Hale agrees to let her go, and she leaves in silence. 

William is leaving the city as well, driving a pickup truck through the woods. Hale searches for other hosts in his area and sends two hosts with assault rifles to take him out. They make some comment about him being like Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, but William has no problem killing them. Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" plays on the truck radio and he picks up some smart glasses off of one of the corpses. The glasses give him the ability to "see" a hologram of Hale and communicate with her. She shows up sitting on a log and is not happy with him in the least. 

She's furious for turning her world into a game, and he tells her that "it was already a game, I just turned it to expert level." He wants to destroy the Sublime just as he's destroyed "reality," and she tells him that she will stop him. She shuts off communications and is flying away in a hovercraft. William sees two horses in a nearby corral (one white, one black, because this show wouldn't know subtlety if it hit it in the face) and takes one to head toward the Sublime. 

A moment of humanity

Back in the city, Caleb takes C to a pharmacy to find some first aid supplies to deal with the bullet wound in her leg. He can't find any painkillers but finds a bottle of booze and gives it to her with a joke about finally getting to enjoy a drink with his daughter. He's started shaking because of his deteriorating body, and she asks what's going on. They discuss what happened to C's mother and have a really sweet moment that helps him stop shaking long enough to thread the needle for her sutures. He explains that to him, it's been only a few days since she was a little girl. 

C begins singing the titular song and he joins in. It's more than a little heartbreaking, but at least they get to have this moment. It feels earned after watching both characters suffer through so much in order to get to one another again. Though very few of the big losses have felt like they meant something, at least the series is making these more sentimental sequences have an impact. (Also, Aaron Paul portrays suffering like nobody else on television. This man plays pained to perfection.)

A random man enters the pharmacy and Stubbs manages to kill him, but then Clementine shows up and kills Stubbs. Much like Maeve and Bernard's deaths in episode 7, his death feels too quick and without much point. Why keep him around for two seasons to kill him so unceremoniously? Clementine finds C and wants to know where the outliers are fleeing. She's tracking Caleb, because he's a host and shows up on her scans, but she wants C to agree to take her out to the desert. C refuses to tell her and Clementine tries to kill her, but Caleb stops her and they have a nasty fight. Right when Clem is about to break Caleb's neck, C shoots her in the head. Another character who's been here from the beginning bites the dust, permanently.

This is the end...

Ready for things to get weird? Because it's going to get weird. There's a moment inside of Christina's brain marble that's sort of what I've always imagined it looks like inside a Pokéball when Pikachu's just chilling. She sits on a park bench and brought her roommate back to existence to chat about life. Their conversation mirrors Dolores' dialogue from season 1, as her friend tells her that there is plenty of violence and chaos in the world, but, "I see the beauty in this world." 

William rides his black horse towards the dam, where there's a crack in the fabric of reality going straight down the middle of it. It looks like there's a rip going through to the Sublime, and whether it's actually there or it's something only the hosts can see is never quite explained. Hale lands in her hovercraft nearby and approaches William. They have a bit of banter that feels sort of like rehashed versions of other conversations from earlier this season, then they do battle. It looks like she's about to lose when she remembers the end of Bernard's message to her: "Reach with your left hand." She reaches back and finds a gun that Bernard had placed there back when he and Maeve visited the facility. Hale shoots William and pulls out his orb and crushes it. Without the original to copy a new one from, he's likely also gone for good. 

Caleb and C make it to the docks and she's reunited with her girlfriend, but then father and daughter are forced to have a tearful goodbye. He's dying and can be tracked, and he has to explain to C that he's only a copy of her father. They have another heartfelt moment and he tells her "I love you, Cookie." I'm not crying, you are.

Hale stabilizes the alarms inside of the dam and uploads Christina into the Sublime, saying, "Goodbye Dolores. I made my choice. It's time for you to make yours." The rip in reality closes and we're transported into the Sublime with Christina, who has to figure out exactly what's going on. She has a romantic conversation with Teddy and realizes he's only a Teddy made of her memories because the real one is in the Sublime somewhere. Dolores in her trademark blue dress appears and has a chat with Christina, and they discuss what's coming. There's one final test. A game of her own making. Christina walks through the streets of the city, strewn with bodies, though she's wearing Dolores' dress. Through voiceover she explains that humanity is done with, that:

"...a few may escape death for a few months, maybe even years, but ultimately their kind will go extinct. They will only live as long as the last creature who remembers them. And that creature is me."

Back out in the "real world," Hale walks out into the desert and strips off her skin, leaving just her fleshy head and her robo-body. She sits down on the side of a creek and her face opens up. She pulls out her marble and crushes it, and we hear Dolores' voice-over once more:

"Sentient life on earth has ended. But some part of it might still be preserved, in another world. My world. There's time for one last game. A dangerous game, with the highest of stakes. Survival or extinction. This game ends where it began, in a world like a maze that tests who we are, that reveals who we are to become. One last loop around the bend."

The musical track "Sweetwater" from season 1 begins to play and Westworld begins to form around Christina. The train starts to come in and she's waiting at the station for Teddy. "Maybe this time, we'll set ourselves free," she says. Cut to black. Roll end credits. If that ends up being the true end of the series and we've cycled back to the beginning, maybe it should have ended with a Ramin Djawadi cover of the "Benny Hill" theme. A fifth season could wrap this all up and be truly compelling, but like the song says, "The future's not ours to see."