Jeffrey Wright Explains Westworld Season 2 Finale and What Happens to Bernard

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Jeffrey Wright Explains Westworld Season 2 Finale and What Happens to Bernard

He’s alive. Well sort of. In the final moments of Westworld Season Two, Bernard steps out of Arnold’s house and opens a door to get his first look at the world beyond the park. He’s been killed and rebuilt by Dolores in different host bodies. He’s had his memories scrambled and put back together. He’s achieved sentience for the first time.

It’s been a hell of a time for Arnold/Bernard in Season Two, and the journey was just as elaborate to act as it was to watch. Throughout Westworld, Jeffrey Wright has been through some of the biggest acting challenges of the series, whether being a robot who thinks he’s a man or a malfunctioning robot pretending to be a man.

Yet, Wright was able to pull it off even though the creators sometimes kept them in the dark about big twists and the show was filmed out of order from the shuffled order we actually saw it in.

Thankfully, Wright absolutely knows what’s going on, and he explains exactly what happened to his character in that climactic final episode.

What’s your take on where Bernard is at the end of Episode 10?

Well he’s through the door. He’s woke. [Laughs] Obviously, the question that arises now is where he’s off to, and what it is he sees on the other side of that door. Clearly it’s something that is new and something that exists outside the park.

When you first read this finale, what questions did you have for Jonathan and Lisa and how did they walk you through it?

That’s an interesting question. We actually filmed some of that early on during the season. So, the stuff with Tony in the beginning. All of that was frontloaded to shoot him out because he had to go off and do Lear. We shot episode 10 in pieces. We shot a lot of the scenes that take place in Arnold’s house—the Frank Lloyd Wright house—early on as well. So for me, I was piecing together that final beat for Bernard throughout the season. His trajectory became pretty clear to me early on. By the time we got the full script for Episode 10, I was pretty clear as to where Bernard was and the steps he was taking at the end. I think by then most of my questions were answered.

There’s a conversation in your last scene with Evan Rachel Wood where she says, “If I were a human I would have let you die. It will take both of us to survive, but not as allies, not as friends. You’ll try to stop me. Both of us will probably die. But our kind will have endured.” How do you interpret this conversation?

The entire season has set them up as existing on polar opposites of this question about the intent of this uprising or this awakening. They represent Bernard being not an exact hybrid, but mostly human—having lived his life on the borderline between the two. He’s more conflicted about his allegiances and his place inside that duality. Borne of that is a type of empathy that sets him apart from the others. As the two of them enter this new world, they’re looking at that world and themselves from those different sides. The question that it raises is just because something is said doesn’t make it so. Where this journey now takes the two of them and how they evolve over the course of that journey remains to be said.

The timeline has been shuffled in this season. Do you have any sense of when that final scene is taking place?

That scene is essentially the beat after Dolores/Hale has escaped the park. That’s now. That’s the end of our Season Two story. The events from Hale boarding the vessel to that point at which they find themselves in Arnold’s house is sequential.

When you were shooting the scenes where Hale is Dolores, did you know you were acting with Tessa Thompson as Dolores? Did you know the whole picture?

Jonathan and Lisa were a little sly about that. But because we’d filmed a few scenes in Arnold’s house very early on with the three of us—Dolores, Hale, and Bernard—it was a really abstract exercise. We were kind of looking at each other wandering around inside this space and sort of asking each other questions from that point. As certain fans antennas have been up regarding Hale and the post-Delos security deployment timeline, we were asking ourselves who exactly is who here. Fans took note of the scene where Bernard is being interrogated by Strand, et al; Hale is there and whispers into his ear, and that set off red flags and sirens because it was different behavior for a host or a human. The question was highlighted there. We slowly pieced it together, but if I’m frank we were kept in the shadows by Jonathan and Lisa for quite a while.

In your final scene with Ford, what do you think we learn in that conversation? I took it as Bernard coming to the realization that his decision to kill Charlotte Hale and save Dolores was him acting on his own free will.

Yeah, precisely. That’s the central question relative to the hosts and the humans. It’s a question of agency. This drive to determine who is in control, and who is the passenger and who is the driver. For Bernard this entire season has been about determining their own choices. Ultimately he understands—he evolves to the place where he’s free. He’s freed himself of the burdens and the restrictions of his creator and recreated himself. It works literally and metaphorically for the audience. That was a big question that Jonathan and Lisa and I talked about for Bernard: At what point is he independent and free? So that conversation with Ford is entirely about that and about the delusion for so long that Bernard lived at some point in the season that even when the shackles were removed he felt himself chained to the post. That was a big question that we considered, and one that we recognized that we needed to address.

Given that, what position does this put Bernard in going forward?

In Episode Four with Elsie, we have a glimmer into Bernard’s desire, and that is to be self-determining and to break the loop. And to create himself in his own image. What he now has the capacity to do is be both the creator and the created. The next step at the door for Bernard is about reshaping himself with his own hand and we’ll see where that goes. And I should have prefaced all of that with of course I have not read a single word from Season Three.

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