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The Fate of Stubbs and Elsie, and Other Ruminations on the 'Westworld' Finale

By Lord Castleton | Westworld | December 5, 2016 |

By Lord Castleton | Westworld | December 5, 2016 |


Westworld finished up its inaugural season last night in true eat-your-own-tail form, with what appeared to be the creator passing control on to his creations.


I think that’s the secret godmode-exchanging handshake right there.


Remember, in the old days, the bots could be given away by a simple hand shake. Oh how the times have changed …

It’s going to take me a few weeks to figure out how I ultimately feel about the first season and specifically the finale of \W/estworld. I came into it looking for a Game of Thrones level show to sail us through the autumn, and while it didn’t quite live up to those lofty goals, it was certainly eye-opening in many ways.

First, let’s talk about Robert Ford, who has always been portrayed as an evil demiurge, continuously grinding the consciousness of his new species under the heel of his boot to keep them in line. For what? To be fucked and murdered, apparently. Now we come to find that he actually agreed with Arnold, his deceased partner. But where Arnold was impetuous, Ford was patient. He knew the bots needed more time.

And now that they’re ready?

That’s fairly definitive. Well, as much as anything can be in Westworld. Ford may have been knitting his replacement body in the secret facility where they murdered Theresa for all we know.

And that’s the thing. We don’t really know anything.

For example, coming into this episode, we were pretty sure Elsie was gone. Ditto for Bro Stubbs, who got Ghost Nation’d last week.

But, if you were one of the crazies (like me) who happened to visit Delos Incorporated’s website and give them your email address, shortly after the finale you received this:


You can see that the letters that are in bold face spell out REVERIE.

If you didn’t figure that out, it’s time to stop swimming in the deep end of the pool, but you may have also received the clue from delightful Thandie herself:

So you go back to and it’s now all fucked up. But there is an ADMIN text box, and like the good bot you are, you type in: REVERIE.


You’ve opened something. There are these mono images of the shit going down in Mesa Gold and then the screen just fills with a bunch of characters.

201 [ 675.362959] Kernel panic - not syncing: Watchdog detected hard LOCKUP on cpu 8
202 [ 675.363355] Pid: 3457, comm: lve_tag_thread veid: 0 Not tainted 2.6.32-673.8.1.lve1.4.3.el6.x86_64 #1
203 [ 675.363748] Call Trace:
204 [ 675.363972] [] ? panic+0xa7/0x16f
205 [ 675.364284] [ ? sched_clock+0x9/0x10
206 [ 675.364520] [ ? watchdog_overflow_callback+0xcd/0xd0
207 [ 675.364757] [ ? __perf_event_overflow+0xa7/0x240
208 [ 675.364993] [ ? x86_perf_event_set_period+0xf4/0x180
209 [ 675.365230] [ ? perf_event_overflow+0x14/0x20
210 [ 675.365464] [ ? intel_pmu_handle_irq+0x202/0x3f0
211 [ 675.365703] [ ? perf_event_nmi_handler+0x39/0xb0
212 [ 675.365937] [ ? notifier_call_chain+0x55/0x80
213 [ 675.366171] [ ? atomic_notifier_call_chain+0x1a/0x20
214 [ 675.366408] [ ? notify_die+0x2e/0x30
215 [ 675.366640] [ ? do_nmi+0x1cb/0x370
216 [ 675.366870] [ ? nmi+0x20/0x30
217 [ 675.367111] [ ? _spin_lock+0x1e/0x30
218 [ 675.367343] <> [ ? tag_free_delayed+0x1d/0x60 [kmodlve]
219 [ 675.367873] [ ? lve_free_task_hook+0x73/0x110 [kmodlve]
220 [ 675.368112] [ ? delayed_put_task_struct+0x42/0x80
221 [ 675.368349] [ ? __rcu_process_callbacks+0x135/0x350
222 [ 675.368583] [ ? read_tsc+0x9/0x10
223 [ 675.368815] [ ? rcu_process_callbacks+0x2b/0x50
224 [ 675.369049] [ ? __do_softirq+0x10d/0x250
225 [ 675.369285] [ ? call_softirq+0x1c/0x30
226 [ 675.369518] [ ? do_softirq+0x65/0xa0
227 [ 675.369749] [ ? irq_exit+0xcd/0xd0
228 [ 675.369981] [ ? smp_apic_timer_interrupt+0x4a/0x60
229 [ 675.370216] [ ? apic_timer_interrupt+0x13/0x20
230 [ 675.370448] [ ? _spin_lock+0x12/0x30
231 [ 675.370750] [ ? tag_list_handle+0x28/0xc0 [kmodlve]
232 [ 675.370988] [ ? tag_list_handler+0x42/0xe0 [kmodlve]
233 [ 675.371223] [ ? autoremove_wake_function+0x0/0x40
234 [ 675.371460] [ ? tag_list_handler+0x0/0xe0 [kmodlve]
235 [ 675.371511] Code: 61 48 52 30 63 44 6f 76 4c 32 52 6c 62 47 39 7a 61 57 35 6a 62 33 4a 77 62 33 4a 68 64 47 56 6b 4c 6d 4e 76 62 53 39 32 61 57 52 6c 62 79 39 70 62 6e 52 79 59 53 39 30 59 57 4a 73 5a 58 51 75 62 58 41 30 44 51 70 6f 64 48 52 77 4f 69 38 76 5a 47 56 73 62 33 4e 70 62 6d 4e 76 63 6e 42 76 63 6d 46 30 5a 57 51 75 59 32 39 74 4c 32 46 7a 63 32 56 30 63 79 39 30 63 6d 46 75 63 32 31 70 63 33 4e 70 62 32 34 75 62 58 41 30
236 [ 675.371694] [ ? kthread+0x9e/0xc0
237 [ 675.371926] [ ? child_rip+0xa/0x20
238 [ 675.372158] [ ? kthread+0x0/0xc0
239 [ 675.372388] [ ? child_rip+0x0/0x20

Depending on your relative masturbatory and virginity rates, you may recognize line 235 as a HEX code. You download a hex decoder/reader and it translates the numbers into characters:

aHR0cDovL2RlbG9zaW5jb3Jwb3JhdGVkLmNvbS92aWRlby9pbnRyYS 90YWJsZXQubXA0DQpodHRwOi8vZGVsb3NpbmNvcnBvcmF0ZWQuY29tL2Fzc2V0cy90 cmFuc21pc3Npb24ubXA0

And that is BASE64, which you can easily decode. It reveals this:


So, it seems that Elsie and Bro Stubbs are still alive. Good! But…why? Pulled out to the nether regions as a thank you from Ford before he unleashed hell? Maybe as a thank you from Ford? Who knows?

More things will continue to come to light as more clues are uncovered on this website and over at where you can chat with a host named Aegon. Already we’re able to discern a date on one of the videos: June 15, 2052:


And certainly more will be discovered in the coming days. But let’s just take a minute to appreciate the boldness of this show. Whether it hooked you or lost you, you have to admire the size and scope of the bite it took. This was a litmus test of a show in many ways, to see just how insane the fan base can get, how much you can splice show information with internet/world information, and how many different time periods cut together a human fan base would stand for before checking out. By all accounts, this season is sort of viewed by the showrunners as a prequel. Like, this is what happened before the real shit happened.

That’s potentially very exciting.

My experience with the finale was twofold. I really appreciated seeing certain moments, like when Ford shook Bernard’s hand at the end, recreating Arnold’s favorite Michelangelo painting, and seeing Maeve board the vibrator train. I liked seeing Felix not be killed and I liked the William and Logan beats. Did William kill Logan by sending him off running with his hands tied together so he couldn’t brace himself in a fall and would break his neck? Is that what I saw? Because it feels like that’s what I saw.

I liked the asskicking that Hector and Armistice gave and the awkward way they held machine guns like they were toys. Did you happen to catch the little scene of Armistice after the credits rolled?

I enjoyed most of the writing, and there was this moment in the episode where Teddy was talking and I was like, “fuck, this dialogue got really bad all of a sudden”, and it turned out to be the canned shit for the board presentation. I liked that.

I liked that we got to finally see the ‘sea’ instead of just rivers pretending to be seas and Dolores and Teddy calling them seas.

I liked all of the music that was pianified. I liked all the Shakespearean references and how great the livestock techs were.

This link is to Sylvester and Felix dancing naked with Maeve in Uggs. (Possibly NSFW depending on where you work…)


When Felix was moving his hands and questioning his humanity? So good.

I enjoyed having certain storylines tied up, seeing what actually happened to Arnold, knowing that William is the Man in Black, etc. But they also left me feeling a little hollow. It kind of sucks that so many of these twists were guessed correctly by fans around episode two. Because the ‘multiple timelines’ and ‘William is the Man in Black’ theories felt super overly-obvious and bush league when people came up with them and to have them be right? Not a fan.

And when we saw all that, I was thinking: Why isn’t William the biggest Ford fanboy in the universe? Why such contempt?

Even as Westworld closed a bunch of holes, it opened up way, way more.


Park 1. Park 1. Just let your mind wander around that idea. Because we got a glimpse of Samurai World last night and it’s going to be all I can think of for a few days. Park 1. Good god.

I didn’t love the fact that Maeve programmed Hector to not be able to get on the elevator. That pissed me off, because up until that point, instead of just re-writing their code, she respected the other hosts and recruited them. That was the first time she god-moded someone and I didn’t like it. And why? For what reason? Because she valued her independence? Man, I don’t know.

I didn’t like that we didn’t get to see the crazy Wyatt minotaur baghead knife group and yes, now we know that Dolores is Wyatt (another mouthbreathing theory come true). It’s just so … pat. I don’t know. I was kind of holding out hope for a real Wyatt. I know lots of you love Dolores, but I have to say, I never got there.

There’s a deeper game to all of these predictions as well. HBO allows certain reviewers access to shows well in advance. So we, as regular viewers, could be on episode three and the person who has access to the HBO site will already have seen episode seven. There are certain safeguards placed on these advanced screenings and you have to agree not to divulge information ahead of time, but that doesn’t preclude clever people from pretending that they’re prognosticating when they’re actually holding four aces. Something to keep in mind that I think went off the rails a little with this show.

That said, I’ve been Team Maeve all the way and I still don’t think I understand why she got off that train. Because she wants to find her programmed daughter? Because even though she knows it’s not real, there’s this gnawing feeling inside of her that wants to experience what she saw on the train, that impossible-to-replicate natural bond between a mother and daughter? Does her getting off the train mean she’s following Ford’s programming or going off book? We don’t know because she snapped the datepad before Felix got that far. For me, it was tough to watch, because it’s like: the whole goal was to get out and now you’re out and THIS WHOLE PLACE WAS DESIGNED TO KEEP YOU IN and then you fall for this tiny bit of code that makes you want to be a mother? I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t know why Ford wasn’t surprised to see Bernard alive. I guess it’s because he sent Maeve to fix him?

I don’t know why they ripped us off of the shot where all the naked bots open their eyes and come alive all at once. I was waiting for that since episode 1.

I don’t know if Ford actually died or if he made a bot version of himself and had that get kilt in front of everyone. I’m guessing it was the real him, though. I mean, his last words were that Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin never died, they just became their music. Seems like a pretty favorable runway for bot Ford. Looking back, though, I’m glad he kept hammering the point home for the hosts to not trust humans, and that humans would always let them down.

I don’t know what happened to Abernathy, but Charlotte Hale seemed waaaaaaay too confident for my liking.

I don’t know what Delos’ top secret project is because I’m apparently as dumb as Lee Sizemore. Great.

If you play around with Aegon on the Discover Westworld website, he’ll mention that Ford wanted the board to be the first people to play his new narrative.

That seems apt. I’m glad William gets the gloves off warzone that he always wanted.


I’ll admit that I was kind of hoping to see Lee Sizemore have his arms torn off in the finale, but I guess we’ll have to wait until 2018 to see that.

That’s right folks, Westworld will be back. In 2018.

I know I’m going to spend some time ruminating about my own fairly small loop…

How did the finale land with you?

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Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.