All Images: HBO
The season finale of Westworld was ripe with twists and turns, even ones the vigilant Reddit forums didn't anticipate. As everyone sits on their thumbs waiting for season 2, the show creators have confirmed which host was the first to exercise free will... and it might not be who you think.
One of the season's most surprising twists was the moment Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) shot and killed Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), the park's co-creator and mastermind. Given how much of the season centered around Dolores as she gained self-awareness, you'd think this was the big moment of free will that the entire show had been building up to. But it turns out, it was actually Maeve. That's right, Maeve exercised the show's first act of free will when she chose to exit the train instead of continuing on her pre-programmed mission of "Mainland Infiltration."
"I've been waiting for the message boards on Reddit to tell us," Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan said during a panel at PaleyFest. "The way that we designed it and the way we shot it… that is really the first decision she's ever made. For me, it's a very emotional moment in the episode because you're seeing the first free will."
Maeve does this so she can look for her in-park daughter, who Felix tells her resides in "Park 1, Sector 15, Zone 3." There are rumours this is Samurai World, which Nolan teased could be explored next season, although it's possible there are other parks she could be in.
Given the fandom's tendency to dive into all of the show's nuances and hints, right after the season 1 finale, someone on Reddit went to the Bible for the equivalent verse, which would be Genesis 15:3. The verse reads: "And Abram said, 'You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.'" Damn, the show pretty much thinks of everything.
Nolan and co-creator Lisa Joy wouldn't confirm whether Dolores had also exercised free will when she shot Ford (which happened right after Maeve's train decision), adding "Isn't it more fun to just guess?" However, given the fact that "Reveries" by Debussy was playing when Dolores shot him, the same song that was playing when she shot Arnold, all signs point to Dolores not being fully independent just yet.
It's actually kind of amazing when you think about it. Dolores was the centre of the story, but right under our noses, another character was emerging as the true voice of robot independence. Westworld returns sometime in 2018.