Major spoilers below for the Westworld Season 2 finale, so be sure to watch before reading. Unless you were programmed to do otherwise, that is.
Westworld closed out Season 2 with an extended finale that knotted up a lot of the complexly laid-out narrative threads that co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy dangled before viewers this go-around. And it went a little longer than some fans might have expected, with a zany post-credits scene featuring a bloodied "William" coming face-to-face with a host version of his daughter Emily, who proceeded to treat William as if he's inside of a James Delos-esque test scenario. What the James Hell-os was going on there? Here, Joy ties William's mental troubles into that mysterious final scene, shedding some distorted light on things.
If you immerse yourself in the game for too long, do you lose the sense of what is real and not real? He struggles with this and it leads to the moment where he kills his daughter Emily thinking she might be a host. He was in fact mistaken, and he's digging into his own skin for answers and doesn't find any wires by the time Dolores arrives. By the end of this time line, he's being shipped out into the real world. He did kill his own daughter, he's in the prison of his own skin, locked in his own confusion and guilt.
The chapter that occurs after the credits is a little piece of what to come in the future. It gives full closure of the timelines by validating what happened in the park as the Man in Black leaves.
In providing her answer, Lisa Joy didn't directly reveal any big answers. Hey, it's Westworld! But she does seem to confirm confirm a couple of key details that fans can use as stepping stones to surmising the "truth." So let's go over them before discussing the questions we still have about those final moments.
Human Emily is definitely dead. After the Man in Black killed Emily, presuming her to be a Ford-influenced host, it still wasn't 100% clear if she was natural or synthetic. It also wasn't clear when Dolores brought up seeing her body in the finale, or when her body was visibly seen on the beach. Or even when she showed up dressed in white to give William her post-credits spiel, technically. But Lisa Joy appeared to confirm to Deadline that William did indeed kill the genuine-article Emily, which makes the post-credits version either a host or a human-host hybrid.
All the destruction in Season 2 really happened. While not quite showing her hand on what William's current situation is, or how many versions of William there are, Lisa Joy does put to rest the out-there theory that everything happening in Westworld has been a simulation of some kind. We don't exactly know when in the future William came shambling into one of Delos' destruction-laden settings, though it's apparently connected to an apartment facade like the one James Delos' human-hybrid was stationed in. But we do know that things are still happening within the park after Dolores' big escape, even if we don't know the circumstances surrounding them. Or why authorities wouldn't have immediately burned it all down.
Is Post-Credits William a human-hybrid for real, though? So many parts of my brain want to blindly believe that the Man in Black not only survived the episode, but also somehow avoided being taken back into the real world, so that his original human version would be meeting up with Emily in the end. Mostly because it would be such a Robert Ford move to have an Emily bot show up as a way to further convince William that he's really a host when he isn't, by using everything that William already knows about Faux Delos' experiments.
Unfortunately, none of that likely happened, since William apparently did make it back to the real world, with guilt and confusion on his brain. Which assumedly means the William that woke up outside the Forge -- with all of his fingers missing, instead of just the few that were "originally" blown off by his sabotaged gun -- is whatever this non-human William is, though it's obviously unclear why or how he ended up in that same scenario. Beyond getting his fidelity tested, that is. Does it have something to do with Delos and Logan' scene that ended all of the Faux Delos' pathways? Is William in a situation where he can't stop returning to the mentally unstable murderer that he is/was in real life? And are these tests something that will help Host Emily and the others' goals, or will it hurt them?
But are we totally sure that William has been human all this time? Beyond all the reasons why fans already thought that the Man in Black was a host or hybrid form, Lisa Joy is most intriguing in saying William "doesn't find any wires by the time Dolores arrives." Her wording could have been incidental, but that leaves it open for William to possibly still have wires lurking in his arm somewhere. Human-hybrids obviously have upgraded elements, allowing some to make it through the scanning process to distinguish between people and machines. So perhaps he was built without the traditional mid-arm hook-ups that the others have. All theories are good theories until proven wrong, right?
That's all for Westworld for the rest of 2018, and probably 2019 as well. Unless this is all an HBO facsimile and we'll be able to automatically zip ahead another year and a half. But until we find out if that's a thing or not, head to our summer premiere schedule for all the new and returning shows hitting primetime soon.