All season long viewers continued to be teased about the “door” and the “valley beyond.” The final episode of season two finally revealed what they really were. But those story points are overshadowed by a few other reveals.
This week sees the answer about who won the race to the Forge, gave us a truth about who really was running things behind the scenes, and in a post credits scene answered the question about whether William (Ed Harris) was a host.
The title of this episode is ‘The Passenger’ and that is explained as well, but a better name might have been ‘All Hail Dolores!!!’ (that will make sense later).
This recap will be a bit disjointed (like the episode it describes). The thing that often seems overdone on previous episodes is the jumping around of the point of view. Even with this episode being an extra half hour in length that not only didn’t slow down the jumps it gave more space for extra jumps. But this one time they all built toward something.
The episode starts with Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) being tested by Dolores (Rachel Evan Wood) again in their old hideout. It follows the same pattern we’ve seen before until Dolores says it looks like with all the failures in the past it is time to try something new.
There is a jump to Bernard as we left him in the last episode. He had left Elsie (Shannon Woodward) behind and taken off in their stolen buggy from the Mesa. His ride eventually runs out of gas and he is left to hoof it the rest of the way to the Forge.
The viewer is then taken back to the scene where Teddy (James Marsden) had shot himself in the previous episode. Dolores is laying down with his body as the big spoon. She pulls out his control unit and finds that the bullet did not break through the shell. She takes the flattened bullet (this will be important later) and the unit and rides off.
She rides through a desert and then into a field that should also look familiar. In that field, she walks up on William still carving his arm. She didn’t hear him pick up his gun and walk up on him, cocking the gun.
They talk a bit about how she is relentless and he is a monster. They then agree to work together since their interests have aligned.
They ride off as the point of view shifts to a quick shot of the Ghost Nation and the remaining hosts all heading toward the valley. There is then a view of Hale (Tessa Thompson) and a Delos QA team in a buggy behind Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) on a horse. Everyone is heading to the same place and what looks like a major confrontation.
The action shifts to Maeve (Thandie Newton) still on the chopping block in the Mesa. The tech that helped put her code into Clementine is about to completely disassemble her and shows his true colors by turning up her pain receptors before he is about to take a saw to her body.
Unfortunately for him, Ford (Anthony Hopkins) updated her system in the last episode. She gets all the other host’s bodies to rise up and kill her tormentor. Once he is done away with, they begin repairing her.
Still in the Mesa the focus shifts to Armistice (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) with the rest of Maeve’s gang, searching for their captured leader. They find Lee (Simon Quaterman) and just as they are about to have a major confrontation with Delos forces a stampede of bulls crashed through a set of glass doors and basically skewers or tramples the whole QA team. As the team looks up they see their leader, Maeve, good as new.
There is a quick cut to the Ghost Nation and other hosts walking that pans over and shows that Dolores and William are riding parallel to them. William tries to get information out of Dolores but she uses the patented double talk we’ve seen all season to keep him in the dark.
Next, the viewer finds Bernard standing outside the Forge and as he comes closer it suddenly opens up as if expecting him.
However, a QA team shows up and threatens him. As he tries to tell them he has to be there, they seem like they are about to shoot him. However, in that moment Dolores rides up and with William’s help takes down the team.
Dolores dismounts and goes to Bernard and the first big reveal of the night is given. She was testing Bernard, not because Ford programmed her to, but because she designed and built Bernard herself. Using her memories of Arnold, she worked to create a true copy of her former creator.
William picks this time to turn on Dolores. As she inexorably walks closer and closer to him he keeps shooting her. When she is arm’s length from him, he raises his gun to her forehead and pulls the trigger.
Earlier when she had picked up his gun, diligent viewers would have noticed that she loaded the bullet from Teddy’s suicide into a chamber.
The gun explodes in William’s hand and he goes down, heavily wounded.
Dolores and Bernard enter the elevator for the Forge and suddenly there is a time shift for Bernard as he is standing on a beach with Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Hale. They get in boats and travel into the flooded valley. Bodies of hosts (mostly Ghost Nation) litter the beach they land on.
Another shift occurs and the viewer is back in the Forge where Dolores is setting her plan in motion. Almost as soon as they reach the command center for the Forge, the time jump happens again. Hale, Strand, Bernard, and a QA team are now inside and find Dolores’ body. She appears to have been killed by a gunshot.
Suddenly, she is still alive and with Bernard as she pulls out her father’s control unit and activates the systems. They go into the system much like Bernard did when he visited the Cradle earlier in the season. They find themselves in Sweetwater, but this time they find James Delos (Peter Mullan) in the system’s recording of his time in the park. They see him flirting with Clementine and later holding the whole town hostage. He seems to enjoy shooting random hosts.
They move on and suddenly find themselves at the retirement party where they find that the system has taken the form of Logan (Ben Barnes).
He shows them points in James’ life and a final confrontation with Logan that took place six months before Logan OD’d and died.
They then find themselves in the data storage area. It looks like a library and each book has the name of a guest of the park. Dolores reads the books to gain insights into the real world.
Back with Maeve’s group, they find they are being chased by a QA team. Hector offers to hold them off so Maeve can escape but Lee sacrifices himself so that Hector can protect her later.
Next, Dolores exits the system and starts the “Large Field Data Array” that is housed in the Forge. This reveals that the “door” is actually the crossover point for the hosts to leave their bodies and enter a world Bernard created for them that is separate and unsullied by humanity.
Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) is the first host to see the door and shepherds the rest toward it.
Maeve’s group is close on their heels and it is revealed that what appears as a door into a new world for the hosts isn’t visible to humans. It is also revealed that as they pass through the door that the cliff it is set on allows their no longer needed bodies to fall into the valley that they have all been searching for. Their “spirit” lives on while the body dies.
Next, Dolores is shown to be the one that flooded the valley and caused all those bodies to wash down to be found by the QA teams in the first episode.
As Maeve searches for her daughter, her people spot Clementine’s arrival. Now that she has been set up as a weapon, all the hosts she passes start slaughtering each other. Armistice shoots her and manages to kill her, but the madness she started continues to spread.
Back in the forge, Bernard exits the system and realizes that Dolores won’t stop till every human is dead, so he shoots her.
Meanwhile, Maeve finds her daughter and her new “mother.” She sees the chaos that Clementine has caused and entrusts them to Akecheta as she uses her powers to fully stop all the hosts in their tracks so that they might escape. They do manage to make it through before QA shoots Maeve killing her and unleashing the crazed hosts. Akecheta runs through after them and is shot in the back but his spirit made it in time. He is reunited with Kohana (Julie Jones) from his original narrative.
While all this is going on Bernard takes back the control unit to Dolores’ father and moves to exit the Forge. William is shown coming down in the elevator but when the doors open for Bernard he is not there. Bernard exits the forge and finds bodies everywhere.
Bernard reunites with Elsie and they follow Hale back to the Mesa before the flooding washes them all away. In the Mesa, Elsie stops Bernard’s motor functions to go talk with Hale.
As Bernard watches Hale shoots and kills Elsie after admitting that she knows she is too honest to be of use to her.
The point of view again shifts to Bernard in the Forge with Hale and Strand. Hale figures out that Bernard hid the key in Dolores’ body and the tech uses it to activate the system.
Bernard mumbles about making a choice and pisses off Strand. When Strand asks what choice, Hale says. “Me.” She then kills Strand and the team that are with them. It is revealed that Bernard took Dolores’ control unit and made a copy of Hale to put her in with Ford’s instruction. Ford referred to how one host could be a passenger. In this case, Dolores could be a passenger in Hale’s body. It seems that he was not truly purged from Bernard’s systems. Once Dolores awoke in the new body she killed the real Hale and took her place.
Dolores realigns the coordinates the data is being sent to and the perfect world for the hosts is now beyond the reach of man. She then shoots Bernard.
Things flash back to the day in the first episode of the season when QA found Bernard on the beach and he is talking to Ford. He realizes that Ford isn’t really there…it is just his imagination. All the help he thought he got from Ford was really from himself.
He knows he has to scramble his memory so the humans will never find out the truth.
Next, we see the long awaited rescue operation has begun. Hale/Dolores is trying to get to the escape boat and runs into Stubbs. He intimates that he knows who she really is and that he is still loyal to Ford. There is a flash to Hale/Dolores putting a control unit into the system and Teddy is shown in the same field as the hosts that went through the door.
She is then shown on the boat leaving and closing her bag that is full of control units.
The next thing shown is Bernard waking up in what looks like the old hideout. It is revealed that it is really Arnold’s house which Ford outfitted for Dolores and Bernard’s use. She has built Bernard again and also recreated her own body. Hale’s host body is there but it is not revealed who is controlling it. She tells Bernard her plans haven’t changed and that she knows he will fight her. Then she leaves him.
The creators of the show had one final surprise. After the credits, William is shown entering the Forge. But it is a decimated place and looks to have been stripped bare long ago. His daughter Emily greets him and takes him into a room and speaks almost the exact same words he spoke to James Delos’ host body that never was successfully integrated with the imprint of his mind. He realizes he is a host and that a lot of time has passed.
This episode did what a season finale is supposed to do. It answered the questions that started the season and asked some new ones.
The deaths were all well earned and exciting to watch. They all seem permanent.
People had long speculated that William was a host so having that revealed will make them happy, but finding out that Dolores built Bernard and that all his decisions were really his own (since Ford wasn’t in his brain at the important moments) were fairly stunning. Even when he is not real Hopkin’s Ford is still a major influence on Bernard.
The fact that at some point Hale was Dolores was also an unexpected twist. Knowing that, re-watching the season should be an interesting exercise to figure out when she was replaced in the timelines.
There is also the control units in Dolores’ purse. Who else did Dolores escape the park with? Did she go back and get Hector and Maeve’s brains before leaving? Hopefully, when the third season happens the quality and twists will continue and a few familiar faces will return.
This season jumped around too much so hopefully any future seasons will change up and show a more linear narrative just for a change of pace. A lot of this season’s jumps seemed a bit forced and for a casual viewer the show won’t make enough sense to bring them back. After the time jump tricks of season one were revealed they had to do something else. This attempt was successful sometimes but mostly left the viewer too busy trying to keep up with multiple timelines to really fully enjoy things the way they did the first season.
The highlights of the season were the Shogun World, Maeve’s growth, and the tour de force performances of Hopkins, Harris, Wood and Wright. If some of them don’t get Emmy’s the whole thing is rigged.