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How Many Timelines Are in WESTWORLD’s Season 2 Finale?

Warning: Spoilers follow for season two of Westworld. Take a walk elsewhere in the park if you’re not caught up.

Time is fluid in Westworld. The HBO series flows from the past, to the present, to the future without explanation. Fans guessed about the presence of multiple timelines in season one until it was confirmed in the final episodes, so with season two, we’re more tuned into the cues that tell us when the story is happening. Because it still can be confusing, we’re breaking down the number of timelines in season two by episode. We’ll be updating this after new episodes air each week.

Episode 1, “Journey Into Night” – Three Timelines

Season two opened with three different timelines:

  • The past, with Arnold and Dolores talking as we saw them do in season one.
  • The present, the time immediately following the uprising. This timeline features Dolores and Teddy, Bernard and Charlotte, Maeve and Sizemore, and the Man in Black right after the events of the gala on concurrent timelines.
  • The future, 11 days after the uprising. Bernard is with Delos personnel in this timeline, and they’re searching the park for answers when they find dozens of dead hosts, including Teddy.

Episode 2, “Reunion” – Five Timelines

Of course the second episode makes things more complicated by showing us five different timelines, one established timeline and four (!) new ones.

  • The present. This thread continues from the premiere with Dolores and Teddy, Maeve and Sizemore, and The Man in Black and Lawrence.
  • The distant past, when we see Robert and Arnold trying to attract investors. This timeline takes place outside of Westworld on the mainland and primarily features Dolores (in the black dress), Angela, Arnold, and Logan—who has the last name Delos, by the way.
  • The past, after William and Logan’s visit to Westworld when William is convincing James Delos to invest more money in the park. William saw the potential of the park after his misadventures, so he brings Logan’s dad, James, to show him the possibilities.
  • The past, after Delos has gone all in with Westworld and James is retiring. This timeline takes place outside of the park during James Delos’ retirement party; William, James, Logan, and Dolores are present. William’s wife and daughter are there too, and his kid looks to be around six or seven years old, so I’m guessing it’s been about that amount of time since Delos bought Westworld.
  • The past, after the retirement party when William visits Dolores inside Delos Parks’ headquarters. William looks older than he did at the retirement party, but I’m not sure how much older. This is presumably when he shows Dolores the weapon; what she calls the Valley Beyond.

Episode 3, “Virtù e Fortuna” – Two Timelines

The third episode explores two different timelines (maybe it’s three), both established.

  • The present, following the uprising. This thread continues with Dolores and Teddy encountering Bernard and Abernathy and Maeve, Hector, and Sizemore running right into at least one samurai. I also believe the guest crossing over from an Indian-inspired world into Westworld with the tiger is close to the present time. However, I’m not sure what state of decomposition the tiger was in when we saw it before, so her storyline could be somewhere in between the present and future.
  • The future, about two weeks after the uprising. Bernard, Delos, and Charlotte have lost track of Abernathy.

Episode 4, “The Riddle of the Sphinx” – Four(ish) Timelines

The fourth episode goes crazy with timelines. One is established, and the others are new (mostly). To simplify things, I’m going to group most of the William and James Delos visits into a single timeline even though the visits happen at different points.

  • The present, following the uprising. This thread continues with the Man in Black and Lawrence, Bernard and Elsie (she’s alive!), and Grace (the Man in Black’s daughter as it turns out) and Stubbs.
  • The past, seven years after James Delos’ death. Delos died from a disease his company once did cure research for before he cut funding for it. They attempted to transfer his consciousness into a host, and they’ve been experimenting with combining human and robot in the decades since. William visits the Delos-bots at various points in time, and since those visits aren’t defined in relation to anything else, I’m lumping them all together.
  • The more recent past with an aged William looking like the Man in Black. This is when he makes the decision to let version 149 of the Delos-bot continue to persist, even though he’s not functioning properly. This visit seems close to the Man in Black’s season one timeline.
  • The recent past with Bernard going to the secret outpost and getting one of the red pearls of human consciousness and taking out the drone hosts. It seems like this happened during season one.

Episode 5, “Akane no Mai” – Two Timelines

The fifth episode spends most of its time in Shogun World, as Maeve, Hector, Armistice meet the Shogun World versions of themselves. It stays within two established timelines, with the present being explored by different parties.

  • The present, following the uprising. This point in the story continues with Maeve and company in Shogun World and with Dolores and Teddy going back to Sweetwater to take over the locomotive.
  • The future, with Karl Strand and Delos security trying to regain ownership of the control center.

Episode 6, “Phase Space” – Two Timelines

“Phase Space” mostly stays in a single known timeline with only one aberration that we don’t have an exact year for.

  • The present, where almost everyone’s stories converge somewhat in the Delos HQ. Maeve’s group leaves Shogun World and goes to Maeve’s former homestead in Westworld. While she’s doing that, William and his daughter Emily have a heart to heart, Dolores and her followers storm the Mesa, and Bernard and Elsie go into the Cradle.
  • The past, where Dolores is testing Bernard for fidelity. Presumably, she’s testing him because Arnold’s consciousness was downloaded into Bernard–this is further supported by the fact that we saw Bernard’s pearl in the Cradle and it was red rather than white.

Episode 7, “Les Écorchés” – Two Timelines

Episode seven follows the course without piling on more timelines; it adds another virtual space within the Cradle and the mindbending return of Robert Ford.

  • The present, with Bernard reconnecting with Ford inside the Cradle and Dolores then sending Angela to destroy the Cradle. Dolores and Maeve run into each other for the last time.
  • The future, the timeline that started two weeks after the uprising. Charlotte and Strand discover Bernard is a host and interrogate him about the location of Peter Abernathy’s control unit.

Episode 8, “Kiksuya” – Four(ish) Timelines

“Kiksuya” takes place from the perspective of Akecheta of the Ghost Nation. His tale jumps between roughly three timelines.

  • The present, after the robot uprising with Akecheta relaying his story to Maeve through Maeve’s once daughter. Maeve is trapped inside the control center but can still reach out to communicate with other hosts, so she hears Akecheta’s story and his promise to protect Maeve’s daughter.
  • The past, with Akecheta’s early days in Westworld after Arnold encouraged Wyatt/Dolores to kill the other hosts. This is when Akecheta finds the maze symbol and is reprogrammed but starts his path to sentience.
  • The not as distant past, with Akecheta finding naked, sun-crazed Logan Delos and discovering a world outside the park.
  • The even more recent past, where Akecheta tries to find Kohana. He eventually gets into Delos HQ and discovers her in cold storage and then goes back to the park to spread his message and to continue to search for the Valley Beyond for a door to another world.

Episode 9, “Vanishing Point” – Two Timelines

Whereas episode eight turned the spotlight onto a host, the penultimate episode of season two focused on the Man in Black. Ford’s really getting under his skin with his games. “Vanishing Point” unfolds across two timelines.

  • The past, when Juliet commits suicide. She discovers her long suspected truth about her husband’s darkness is true when she sees William’s activities in the park on the data card.
  • The present, continuing the primary story thread where William and Emily have a frank talk about their relationship and Juliet before William loses it and kills his daughter because he believes her to be a host. At the same time, Charlotte and the Delos employees are turning Clementine into a weapon, Bernard heads to the Forge in the Valley Beyond, and Teddy kills himself.

Episode 10, “The Passenger” – Four Timelines

The season two finale brings together the past and present timelines while visiting the past and the future.

  • The present and the future collide, with the events immediately following the uprising and the events happening two weeks from the uprising starting to catch up with one other. Everyone converges on the Forge, the flooding we see in the first episode being triggered by Dolores’ actions in the Forge. While Bernard and Dolores are in the Forge, Bernard opens a door to a world for hosts to escape to, a world where they can make their own choices and kills Dolores…but then Bernard prints a back-up of Dolores in the form of Charlotte Hale.
  • The past, where Dolores was shaping Bernard, testing him to see how much he was like Arnold.
  • The near future, with Charlotte-Dolores transmitting the hosts that went through the door to a location only she knows and then evacuating. She goes to the home Arnold was building on the mainland, which has the equipment to make more host bodies.
  • The far future, where William arrives at the Forge years later. It’s empty, a lot of time has passed, and he’s greeted by his daughter Emily. She’s performing a fidelity test on him. Presumably, a host-human hybrid version of William is trying to escape a loop leading to the moment where he kills his daughter (like James Delos’ moment with Logan).

Images: HBO

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist. Maybe she’s a host. Follow her on Twitter.

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