Going into tonight’s supersized Westworld finale, perhaps the biggest buzz is over whether we’ll get confirmation that Jimmi Simpson’s William eventually became Ed Harris’ Man in Black. As I am, perhaps, the most stubborn non-believer — even if William’s behavior certainly seems to be leading us toward that conclusion — there are still two nagging details I can’t let go. The first issue I have also relates to the Man in Black’s supposed status as a human, something I’ve been unable to accept since the first Westworld episode. People who’ve seen Michael Crighton’s 1973 film know that that the one problem technicians had in perfecting androids was with their hands; it was a way to tell them from humans. And in every episode he’s appeared in, the Man in Black wears gloves. There’s no way that’s just a random costuming detail. I maintain he’s a Host.
The other intertwined theory, that William turns into the Man in Black, looked more likely than ever after last week’s episode, when William seemed to change before our eyes. Spurred by Logan’s treatment of Dolores, William (apparently) shot up a whole camp and threatened Logan with a very Man in Black-ish knife. Despite everything seemingly leading in the direction of this theory, yesterday, Jimmi Simpson told the Vancouver Sun he hasn’t seen anyone with a wholly correct theory.
I don’t spend all that much time online but I feel like I’ve been forwarded quite a few things and I haven’t seen anyone nail this. There are a lot of people coming close to some elements, but as far as the actual machine that’s happening at the end, I think people will be refreshingly surprised and pleased.”
Specifically asked about people comparing him with Ed Harris to further the William is MiB theory, he says:
It’s very strange to see my face split-screened with literally an icon of mine. Mr. Harris has just levelled me creatively with everything he’s done and so it’s very surreal. But I also am aware that everything is temporary. I think in a few months we’ll all be doing different things and everybody will be focused on hopefully other things.”
Personally, I’m hung up on Simpson’s very prominent mole; it’s the second detail (aside from believing the Man in Black is a Host) that gives me pause.
Unless there’s an unseen moment where, in the heat of passion, Dolores chews off that mole, I’ll have a hard time accepting William’s transformation.
Finally, Simpson seems to be impressed with the way the finale ties up the season, which he’s said will answer questions, rather than leave the audience hanging.
So I think at the end of this season, it’s the end of a chapter and they’re prepared for it and I think they really kill it and they satisfy, I would say, at least most of all the things you’re wondering. And then they do this wonderful thing and they just flick on this light and now you’re seeing a future as well, but they’re not making you wait for the questions you’ve already been asking.”
“The Bicameral Mind” air tonight on HBO (90 minutes).