Ford (Anthony Hopkins) muses when addressing Maeve that “mankind is poised midway between the gods and the beasts” in this penultimate episode of the season. The embodiment of that statement is William (Ed Harris) who gets the bulk of the screen time in this episode that, ironically on father’s day, spent time showing how bad a father William was to Emily.
We finally get a better look at his world outside the park that helped to make his character so interesting. We see his wife, Juliet (Sela Ward) and daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) when they were still a family but were beginning to unravel. We also get hints and revelations about what has really been going on in the park.
As per usual, SPOILERS!!!!
Williams voice starts the episode,
“No one else sees it. This thing in me. Even I didn’t see it at first. Then one day, it was there. This stain, invisible to everyone…except you.”
It is slowly revealed that he is at a party sometime in the past. William corrects a guest who mangles a Plutarch quote. “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were no more worlds left to conquer,” says the guest. But William is a person that reads, while elites, like his guest, eschew books for power. He corrects the quotation, “When Alexander was told there was an infinity of worlds, he wept, for he had yet to become the lord of even one.” His wife, Juliet, comes and saves him from the boring conversation.
When she leaves him alone after being both loving and insulting toward him, he imagines a server is Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and clutches at his right forearm as he sees she is really someone else.
Things shift suddenly to him laying on the ground, wounded in the park. He is propped up against a tree and his daughter, Emily, tells him she has sent up a flare to get a rescue team to their position.
They talk about her mother’s death and she tells the story of a music box she got as a birthday gift from her mother when she was a child. When the box was opened a ballerina would twirl in the center while music played. She threw that box away, telling her mother that if she hadn’t been so drunk all the time she would have known that she stopped dancing long ago.
Later when her guilt came, she went to retrieve the box and found the trash had already been emptied.
The scene shifts to find Dolores and Teddy (James Marsden) leading what is left of their group of hosts toward the fabled valley. The remains of the Ghost Nation, but not their leader who was so prominently a part of the previous episode, block her path.
They tell her she will not be allowed to go further, she flatly states that no one will stand in her way. As the indians move to attack she simply says Teddy’s name and he springs into action. The other hosts with Dolores and Teddy are wiped out, as are all the Ghost Nation warriors other than the one who spoke earlier. Teddy raises his gun to shoot him and the warrior gives a weird look that is very similar to that of Maeve (Thandie Newton) when she controls others hosts. Teddy lets him run off. Dolores doesn’t see that happen.
As he watches, Clementine uses that power to get a room full of hosts to have a cage match style fight. It is one of the more gruesome bits of the season as there are no holds, or bites, barred. After seeing Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) tell the tech running Clementine that with the code now in her they do not need Maeve anymore, Ford tells Bernard he has one more task to perform before they can leave the Mesa.
The action shifts back to Emily still tending her father’s wounds.
He still doesn’t believe that she is his daughter. He thinks that she is a host made by Ford to dissuade him from his quest. He brings up how in the huge park she still managed to track him down in the previous episode. He thinks that proves she is a host. She comments on how much control matters to him and that begins a flashback to the same party at the start of the episode.
At this point, they appear to be fully on the same side. Like William, she has had more than enough of the ass kissing at the party and offers to take her alcoholic mother to give him a night off. He declines the offer and asks her to stop by the house for a drink later.
He decides before trying to get Juliet to leave that he needs a drink. Ford is already at the bar and they share some words and reveal how Delos agreed to stay out of the narratives as long as Ford and the people at the park would stay out of the Valley. Ford speaks of the mysterious project that William and his father-in-law created to try and give them immortality. William says he has no time for Ford’s games anymore. The back and forth between these two power house actors is a highlight of the episode.
After Ford slides him a data card with what is supposedly William’s profile built from the park’s data, William grabs Juliet who has managed to spill some drinks and heads home. Ford makes an enigmatic comment that there is one more game to play.
Back in the Mesa, Bernard walks through the disheveled lab until he comes to the cubical that holds Maeve. Ford’s voice stops Bernard from gaining access to the cubical and says that he is close enough for her to read the data in his mind. Ford has left a message for her in Bernard.
Once that is done Bernard heads to the garage that gives the rescue teams access to the park. Elsie (Shannon Woodward) is hiding there and after she confronts him about how he seems to be lying to her, he tells her some of the truth. The valley is the home of a project to duplicate all the guests cognitive functions without their knowledge. It is called the Forge. He tells her they have to get to it before anyone else and they take off in one of the vehicles that looks like the Batmobile from the Christopher Nolan films.
William and Emily seem to pick up the discussion of the project from where Bernard left off. Then it is revealed by William that to get all the data on the guests the hats that all guests were given to wear were actually recording everything about them. William believes that Emily wants to restore her own mother via the process that recreates a human mind in a host body. She reveals that she doesn’t want her mother back, she wants the truth about her death.
After the party that started the episode William took Juliet home. She calls him, “Billy” knowing that irritates him, but he shrugs it off. She reveals that she always thought with all the sycophants around her in her youth that William was the one true and honest person. She says that she realized now, he is just the best at pretending to be that way.
Emily arrives for that drink her father offered and witnesses the end of their fight. She confronts her mom and says that she will have to go to rehab. William seems unusually passive during this part of the discussion. He does escort Juliet up to bed and tucks her in before heading downstairs where Emily joins him to discuss her mom’s care. Water begins to drip from the ceiling.
William runs upstairs and finds Juliet dead from an overdose in her bathtub.
Back at their camp, right before their argument is about to come to violence, a Delos rescue team arrives. Still believing Emily to be Ford, William kills the rescue team and when she says she will show him proof she is his real daughter and reaches into her vest he shoots her. He finds the card Ford gave him long ago in Emily’s hand and realizes he just killed his own daughter.
In the Mesa, Maeve hears her message from Ford while a tech comes in to shut her down. He tells her that she was always his favorite host and that he considers her to be the child he never had in real life. He speaks of opening a door, the phrase that has haunted this whole season. The tech is working around her as Ford kisses her forehead and the camera shows the control pad showing some change being made to her programming.
Elsie convinces Bernard to stop and get ammo at the site of a battle. When she wanders across the battlefield, Ford tells Bernard she will betray him. Bernard realizes he is already holding a gun. He says that he will not harm her again and lashes himself to the wheel of the vehicle while he cuts open his arm and connects a control unit. He continues to deny Ford and manages to delete the code he finds that he believes connects him to Ford.
When she returns and sees his state she is immediately on guard but he leaves her behind and takes the vehicle.
William is now riding a horse across a field and stops. When he climbs down, he clutches his forearm again. After seeing Bernard cut into that area the implication becomes strong that William himself may be a host. He puts his gun to his head and wonders if he even has a choice. This leads to another flashback to the night Juliet died. After tucking her into bed and she says, “Tell me one true thing,” he puts the card in a book and gives Juliet the speech that started the episode. He kisses her forehead and leaves.
Juliet was playing possum apparently and sits up as soon as he leaves. She searches the books and gets the card he hid. She views its contents which show just a few of his depredations in the park. He can be seen dragging Dolores into the barn (from season one) and several other violent and sexual activities. She opens a draw and puts the card in the box from Emily’s childhood. She then takes the pills and gets in the tub.
Back in the field, William doesn’t shoot himself but he does pull out his knife and begins cutting into his arm in the same place Bernard did.
Dolores and Teddy reach a burned out building. He tells her that he remembers the first time he saw her. The scene shifts to Arnold waking him for the first time and he sees Dolores. He speaks of loving her at first sight and being worried she was cold in the sterile lab with no clothes on.
Teddy seems like he is going to shoot her for what they have become, but she reminds him he can’t hurt her. He loves her.
He says that is true that he would protect her till his own death. He tells her that he is sorry that he can’t protect her any longer. Then he shoots himself.
The episode ends with Dolores slowly unraveling as she realizes he is dead. She screams and suddenly there seems to be a glitch before the screen goes black.
This episode (like the last one) is another focused one. Where the previous one was all about the Ghost Nation and how its leader was telling Maeve that he would always protect her daughter, this one is all about William and the unraveling of his life.
The viewer is not left with a clear idea of whether he is a host or not. He could be cutting his arm to check and see if he is a host, or he could be about to reprogram himself like Bernard did.
He could simply have lost his mind. After all, the reveals of this episode show that he is responsible in some measure for his wife’s death. Coupling that with the apparent killing of his own daughter because he couldn’t tell if she was real, would certainly support the idea that his mind has cracked.
There is also the last second glitch of Dolores and that fact that the preview for next week shows her back in Sweetwater watching herself walk by while Bernard/Arnold looks on. Perhaps the backups in the Cradle were not the only copy. Perhaps the Forge holds copies of the hosts as well as the guests of the park.
Based on the end of the first season it is doubtful viewers will get all their questions answered in next week’s season finale.