It's the biggest decision Maeve has to make in the final episode. But some important specifics were left out in the episode, specifics that the show's creators have just cleared up.
As you'd expect, there's no way to avoid spoilers on this one. So if you haven't seen the final episode of Westworld, turn away now. Discussing this means ruining one of the key arcs in the second half of the show, so come back when you've seen all ten episodes.
After coming to the conclusion to escape from the park, Bernard reveals to Maeve in the final episode that her desire to do so is all part of her programming. Felix helps her escape nonetheless, and provides her with a piece of paper revealing the location of her daughter - the one she'd been having flashbacks to, and the same one showed to guests in ads when they first arrive at the Westworld complex.
Maeve boarded the train and stared at the piece of paper, before finally getting off at the last second. And the crux of it all was whether or not Maeve did so of her own accord, or whether her decision to head back into Westworld was simply (and ingeniously) a part of her programming and Ford's grander narrative about an uprising.
According to director Jonathan Nolan and writer Lisa Joy on the Vulture TV Podcast this week, Maeve's decision was all her own - and the first decision she made that went off-script.
"What we understand in the moment is it’s the first real decision [Maeve's] made all season. Which is, she's not going to fulfill the script she's been given, which is to take this train wherever it's going, and do whatever else she's programmed to do."
What's neat about the way that was revealed was through the use of the camera. According to Nolan, Westworld deliberately uses the Steadicam when actors are playing to the script, and changes to handheld cameras when the hosts are exercising their free will.
"If you dial it in at just the right moment, that suggests she's literally like a train coming off the tracks. We're no longer in programmatic or prescribed behaviours. She's improvising, and we're right there with her," Nolan explained.
You can listen to the rest of the podcast or read an edited transcript over at Vulture. Westworld, which cost a staggering US$10 million per episode to film, will air again in 2018.