Have you recovered from the Westworld season 2 (opens in new tab) finale yet? No, neither have we, and it isn’t just the explosive final episode that has us shook – what about that Westworld season 2 post-credits scene!? Oh my! A lot of people missed it when the episode aired (let that be a lesson to you, never leave before the credits end!), but don’t worry if that’s the case for you because you can watch the Westworld season 2 post-credits scene in the video above and read on for our explainer article about what it all means. Here’s your official Westworld spoiler (opens in new tab) warning: If you haven’t seen the finale yet then please turn away now because there’s about to be full spoilers for the entire season up to and including the finale and its sting. If you have seen it and you’re wondering what the hell it was all about, you’re in the right place because we’re about to discuss exactly what happened in that Westworld season 2 post-credits scene and what it means for season 3.
As you can see in the video above, the Westworld season 2 post-credits scene sees the Man in Black travel down the elevator into the Forge and come face-to-face with… his daughter?! If you’re a little confused about why he didn’t meet Bernard instead, why the Forge looks so different, and why his daughter is there when he definitely killed her a little while ago, let me explain. I spoke to showrunner Lisa Joy (read the full interview here (opens in new tab)) and she explained that the post-credits scene is set in the far flung future where the Man in Black is now a Host version of himself and he’s trapped in his loop where he repeatedly makes the same mistake he did during Dolores’ original rebellion and accidentally kills his daughter. “At the end, when you see Katja Herbers [Emily actress] again, we’re in the far future where now she’s not his daughter anymore.” She tells me. “She’s a recreation of his daughter who’s come to examine him.”
Joy reveals that we’re supposed to be confused by the scene where Bernard is leaving the Forge and the Man in Black is coming down, but they don’t meet:
“We wanted to set up the idea that all these timelines – well, we don’t know that it’s a different timeline then – that the Man [in Black] is going to be on a collision course with Bernard. But he goes to that elevator after shooting Dolores, and the elevator’s coming down, and the doors open. The expectation should be like, ‘Oh shit, now it’s on between these two guys.’ But the elevator’s empty. It’s so strange. Where’s the Man [in Black] gone? We later see, ‘Oh, he’s being carted out of here. He’s survived in this battle.’ It’s meant to be a slight disconnect of like, ‘What happened there? Where did he go?’”
Without the Westworld season 2 post-credits scene, you’re left wondering what happened to the version of the Man in Black who was travelling down in the elevator, but the end-credits sting reveals that it’s set in a different timeline where he’s presumably a Host version of himself, and he’s been playing out the same loop over and over again, long after Dolores originally escaped the park. So, this version of the Man in Black is definitely a Host, right? Joy is cautious to confirm just exactly what he is suggesting something else is at play here: “She [Emily] says at the end, he’s not exactly like that. All you really get is that. We’ve kind of jumped out to a far-flung place. He has been brought back to relive those moments again and again and again. The exact nature of what he is, is not as…”
One thing we definitely know is that the version of Emily we see in the Westworld season 2 post-credits scene is a Host because even if the Man in Black hadn’t killed her, she definitely wouldn’t still look like that this far into the future. “Yeah. He killed her. Absolutely. She’s dead.” Joy confirms. “He was plagued by doubts. He’s slowly going insane, unable to tell what is real and what is not real. His place in this season, really mimics the Hosts in a way. He’s locked in a loop he doesn’t understand. He’s starting to question the nature of his reality.” Joy goes onto explain what we’ve been seeing in the season up until this point:
“In the base timeline that we’re seeing when the park is under siege and Dolores plots her way out and Maeve helps all the other Sublime Hosts… what happened was the Man [in Black] really did kill his daughter. He made a choice, and the choice was wrong. At the end, in that coda, what you realise is: he’s been forced to live that entire… basically, the season we’ve just seen, he’s been living it again and again and again. He always makes the same damn choice. He always kills his own daughter.”
Talk about the perfect punishment! If nothing else this Westworld season 2 post-credits scene seems to confirm that the Man in Black eventually gets his just desserts. I can’t think of anything worse than being forced to live the events that led to you killing your only child over and over again, in some sort of purgatory. Which brings us to the question of why he’s trapped in this loop. If DELOS has cracked the code on their little project and is now able to put human consciousnesses in Hosts bodies, then why is the Man in Black still wandering around a now deserted Westworld reliving his worst nightmare? We know that he’s physically in the park because Emily tells him: “This isn’t a simulation William. This is your world. Or what’s left of it.” And we can see from the state of decay of the Forge that it’s been some time since anyone else has been there, implying that the park is no longer open for business. Besides, if it was, the Man in Black Host would probably be sat in a boardroom running his company for eternity, revelling in his immortality, rather than reliving this terrible loop, which leads me to believe that the Hosts have won… and this is his punishment.
Think about it. Joy has already revealed that the Westworld season 2 post-credits scene is set in the far flung future and we can probably confidently say that the Man in Black’s loop has nothing to do with proving fidelity, despite what Emily tells him. For a start, we already know that DELOS has achieved its goal of successfully placing a human mind inside a Host body as revealed by the Logan system in the finale. Plus, why would DELOS send a Host (Emily) to determine the fidelity of another Host? Either DELOS is still trying to crack its project – for whatever reason – in which case you’d need a human to prove fidelity, or the project is a success – evidenced by the Emily Host’s existence – meaning proof of fidelity is no longer needed. No, I don’t think DELOS has anything to do with what’s happening to the Man in Black. I think the Hosts have control of the park, DELOS, possible even the world… and as punishment for his crimes against them, they’ve sentenced him to relive his worst nightmare again and again and again for all of time as an immortal Host version of himself. And what better jail keeper than a Host version of his beloved dead daughter? Seriously, you don’t want to mess with Dolores…
For more about the Westworld season 2 ending (opens in new tab), check out the 10 questions we have after watching the finale, and listen to our discussion podcast video for more theories about the post-credits scene and more.