Westworld Creators Reveal What Maeve Was Thinking

Image: IMDB/Westworld/HBO

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.

Image: Westworld/HBO

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.


    Is it a good watch?

      Everyone has their own tastes of course but I have loved it.
      And a lot of people I know have loved it as well.
      Definitely one of the better shows I have seen recently.

      It's a series based on a movie, which was written by Michael Critchton. While I haven't watched the movie yet, I think they have stretched out an interesting idea too thin over 10 episodes. There is some very cool ideas and scenes, but too much filler content for mine. If you can handle that you'll enjoy it.

        There isn't any filler content. All of the scenes so far relate to main plotlines.


          What show where you watching?
          The finale would have ran 20 mins without all the filler and shots of people staring into nothing.

          Just skip this and watch deadwood.

            What exactly do you consider filler?
            I can't think of a single moment in the finale that wasn't important to one of the story arcs of the show - and if you think 'story/character development = filler' in a drama... um.. I really don't know what to tell you, this isn't a Michael Bay film.

            What @sabrescene said. And just because a scene dwells doesn't make it filler. Pauses and moments of reflection are actually pretty important narrative devices and with emerging consciousness as a primary storyline in this show, reflection is critical to depicting development in that area.

            Absolutely do not watch deadwood. It's good, but it got cancelled three seasons in, ending on a cliffhanger that will never get a resolution.

            Last edited 09/12/16 4:14 pm

              There are three seasons of Deadwood.

      its worth watching, but its sitting on 9.2 on IMDB and it is definitely not that good. about a 7 in my opinion.

      Personally I've loved it. It doesn't follow the original movie, which I think is the major problem a lot of people have. Instead, it's more an appropriation of the source material rather than an adaptation, and a superior one in that sense too. The original story was great, but the new one, even more intricate and interesting. Whereas the original was a straight up action movie, this has twists, turns and intrigue, to keep you guessing beyond multiple rewatches. I've highly enjoyed every aspect, the acting, the multilayered plot, the cinematography (holy crap I never realised that about the steadicam/handheld cam!) the effects, music (oh my god the music!) and everything... just everything. Cannot recommend it enough.

        Seconded. Westworld was absolutely excellent from beginning to end. It was high-quality cinema production masquerading as television.

        I hadn't seen the original film nor was I aware of the work by Michael Crichton, so I went into Westworld with zero expectations. I came out of it seriously impressed and dying for more.

        It's going to be a long wait til October 2018. :(

        Yeah I totally want to re-watch it now keeping that steadicam/handheld information in mind!

    Oh wow that tell of the steady cam will make a second watch interesting.

    Honestly, I am not 100% convinced because show runners always say misleading stuff in these situations. I think it's more they want us to think it was her decision. Whether or not it was.

      I don't know about the steady cam thing (so many things to look out for when I eventually get around to re-watching it) but I was pretty sure it was her decision because when Bernard was reading her instructions (in her code) I was sure he said she was supposed to
      - Leave the building
      - Get on the train
      - Get off at (I can't remember) station
      And IIRC that's about where she took the tablet off him and broke it but he did imply she was supposed to take the train somewhere but she never did, she went back into the park.

        Pretty sure you could see her code saying to to 'mainland'.

    I feel like the ambiguity of that scene was what made it so interesting, so to come out and say something like ruins it. Especially since it's a cliffhanger for the next series.

      I don't think it was ambiguous though. They showed a closeup of the rewritten programming that showed her objectives were to escape the park and "infiltrate the mainland". When she left the train she was certainly going off-script in that respect.

    I enjoyed the show, alot.
    But the free will/sentience aspect of the show is a quagmire of lies or plot holes.
    So if you want a solid answer to what is free will in this fictitious universe, youll go wanting.

    Yeah It didn't come across to me that she was just belligerently going off script as a means of exercising her free will. The pivotal developments with Maeve always started with her daughter. She knows that she's not her biological mother (obviously) but she's trying to resolve what that girl actually means to her; whether all of the memories of their time together are fabricated, or whether only some of them, and thus whether she actually spent time caring for her host daughter in the park. Her discussion with the man in black shows her the latter is the case, that even though their relationship had been coded into them initially, she still spent actual time looking after her in the park - a foster parent in a sense. She's not just doing the reverse of what she's expected to do, she cares for her daughter, and she's not just going to abandon her like the person coding her expects her to. She's seen the broken morality of the 'Gods' that make and play in the park, and she's saying (literally in one scene IIRC) "we're better than them."

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