Westworld Post Mortem of “Vanishing Point”

William Westworld

Another Westworld Sunday down, and we are now headed into the end game – can you believe it? This was a particularly gut-wrenching episode full of pain and heartbreak, while also setting up our characters for a showdown in the Valley Beyond. While we anxiously wait to see how it all goes down in the season finale, let’s dive into interviews and videos for “Vanishing Point”!

First up, Ed Harris chats with the Huffington Post about playing William’s and where Westworld is headed – which even Harris doesn’t know for sure. “I got to tell you, the way this season ends, I have no idea what’s going to be going on,” he explains. At least we aren’t the only ones confused! Being involved with such a complex show has been a challenge, Harris admits. “I got to the point last year when I would just focus on what was going on with the Man in Black because there’s so much going on [in the show]. Even when I watch it, and as much as I am a part of it, there’s a lot of it that I don’t always understand.”

Immersing himself in his character certainly helps, however. “You just try to… find the truth of the moment. Once you’re out of the Man in Black outfit and you got a suit on, you feel different, you know? And you’re working under different circumstances and you’re working with different people ― your wife and daughter, in a domestic situation that’s difficult ― so, as an actor, it’s just kind of organic.”

William killing his daughter Emily was shocking for viewers, but not so much for Harris. “Yeah, it was a little surprising, I suppose, but the years that he’s been in this park, especially now that he says he’s not going to leave, I mean, his mind is in another place. He’s paranoid and knows that Ford is full of tricks and who knows what’s real and what isn’t? In that moment he just says, sorry, but you’re not even my daughter, so, goodbye. And then he goes, wait a minute, was she? Should I end my life? What should I do? He doesn’t know what to do.”

Harris may be confused about where his character is going and the trajectory of the show in season three, but he does seem to know when production will start. “I have no idea where it’s heading. We’re not supposed to start shooting season three until next June, so I don’t even know if I’m in it or not. I figure I am? But I don’t know in what capacity, and I don’t know what the what will be happening. We’ll find out.” With filming a year away, we may unfortunately be in for a long wait for season three.

Read the rest here.

William in Black Hat on Westworld

We only saw glimpses of young William (played by Jimmi Simpson) in this episode, but he still has some insight into his character to offer. Speaking with Elle, Simpson gives his interpretation of William’s evolution into the Man in Black persona. “It’s not like ‘perfect man turned monster,'” he explains. “He is an archetypal man, in that he was trained in one element of expectation and when that doesn’t happen…’Fuck it, I’m gonna blow shit up.’ I think the commentary is that many men have that potential to jump out of their skin when they’re told ‘No.'”

Even knowing who William becomes, Simpson was still surprised by his character’s arc. “Season one was about, ‘OMG, they’re the same man.’ But season two is, ‘Oh, God, they really are the same man…I really had not speculated how dark William was – I was kind of stunned by the reveal of how complicated and truly broken William is this season.”

Does Simpson think William can be redeemed? “Of course there’s potential. The problem is when the weight of all of your actions cumulatively make it impossible for anyone to ever accept you again. Goddammit, he’s very, very flawed.” Being responsible for the destruction of the Delos family and killing your own daughter would be pretty difficult to come back from, but maybe there is a tiny shred of decency left?

For more on Simpson’s upcoming projects and views on the #MeToo movement, check out the full interview at Elle.

Juliet Westworld

We finally witnessed William’s relationship with his wife Juliet and what drove her to kill herself this week, and Sela Ward was the perfect choice to play that role. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ward shares her take on William and Juliet’s marriage, her relationship with her daughter, and whether we may see Juliet again.

When asked how much background information the showrunners gave her about her character, Ward replies, “I talked to [executive producer] Lisa Joy and she gave me their vision of Juliet, her relationship and that sort of thing. Because all of my scenes were not in the park, she didn’t delve deep into the whole underbelly of it all. It really all had to do with her relationship [with William] because that’s really what… all of my stuff was really the portrait of a marriage. A woman who had turned to alcohol. She was living with great loneliness and despair, which is very debilitating. A husband who’s not there. He takes these long sojourns every year to the park. He’s really vacuous for her.”

Ward believes that estrangement plus the discovery of William’s true nature was a huge blow to Juliet. “I think she saw, through that data card, what a real monster that he had become…he was really beyond redemption, all of the horrors that you could ever imagine a human being committing. Killing and torture. Looking at the reality of she doesn’t even know who she is married to. It’s real life, profoundly shocking.” It was the final straw for a lonely, broken woman. “I think she felt very betrayed by her daughter, betrayed by life in a way, between her husband…and her daughter wants to send her back to rehab because she considers it equivalent to an institution.” She adds, “I can’t even imagine the loneliness of that. Despair is such an interesting state of being for a human being. It’s so incredibly debilitating to think that’s what you’re seeing a portrait of and why she just feels there’s no way out.”

Have we seen the last of Juliet? Ward doesn’t know, but admits there is a chance she will be back. “We absolutely talked about the possibility. I don’t know that they have made that decision. I think they keep all of that very close to the vest, and we’ll see. I have no idea.”

Head over to EW for more.

Emily Westworld

Another tragic death was the loss of William’s daughter Emily. Katja Herbers discusses her feelings about it with Insider, admitting, “I was simultaneously pretty heartbroken but also very excited that this happened for the Man in Black’s storyline. There’s nothing worse he could’ve done than to kill his own child, so I think it’s an amazing turn for the show. I’m more excited than I’m heartbroken because I think it’s just the worst thing he could’ve done.”

When asked if we will see Emily again, Herbers replies, “It would be great, and I would love that, but I don’t know. I guess I’ve been to the park since I was a little girl, so I’m sure there is a copy of me somewhere that they could put into a body. They could also put [Emily] into a different body, if they don’t like me as an actor. Anything’s possible on this show.”

Herbers also weighs in on the theory that William is a host. “For my understanding [Emily and William] are both real humans. Until somebody else tells me that’s not true, you know? I don’t know. They don’t tell me.” Herbers feels the impact of Emily’s death is much greater if they are both human. “In episode nine [William] feels around for a portal in his arm all the time, so I think he’s really losing his mind. I don’t think he is a host. The moment of him as a human, shooting his human daughter is more powerful for both people.” I completely agree.

Check out the rest of Herbers’ interview at Insider

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

Finally, Westworld executive producer and writer Roberto Patino shares his thoughts on “Vanishing Point” with HBO, starting with the episode title. “The title comes from the art term in perspective drawings where the lines in the image converge on one point along the horizon. It’s fitting as all of our characters’ journeys are finally converging as we enter the final act of the season – everyone is headed to the Valley Beyond. That’s perhaps the broadest application of the title, but it can certainly be taken to mean a number of things, especially as it is applied to each character. A version of who our characters all are, who we as the audience know them to be — whether that is emotionally, psychologically and existentially, or if you are Ford, quite literally — vanishes by the end of the episode.”

Patino also explains how this applies specifically to William. “His two worlds – Westworld and the outside world – have been bleeding into one another, and he’s arrived at a point where he is unable to tell which one is real. He questions the nature of his reality, and really starts to lose his grip on things. We can understand the events that play out as the Man in Black reaches a new low from where there is no return. Then again, we might consider the possibility that the Man in Black may have been undergoing a steady process of vanishing in an emotional capacity ever since he stepped foot in the park, and this is just the culmination of that.”

William complexities as a person are on full display in this episode, and Patino discusses his control over his dark side. “We can see his roiling rage beneath his calm and patience at the gala and at home when Juliet is yelling at him. He treats Juliet with care and respect, offering her the benefit of the doubt. But little things, like inviting Emily back home for a nightcap, are examples of his masterful machinations. Does he want to enjoy a private moment of celebration with his daughter? Or, as Juliet puts it, does he just want Emily to see her mother in her drunken, unhinged state further painting Juliet as the damaged one and swaying Emily’s sympathies away from her? The answer to both is probably yes…He is a master puppeteer, someone who gaslights everyone he loves without ever actively doing anything objectively bad.”

“Now what would the most uncomfortable circumstance for a guy like this be? Discussing all of this with and being called out on it by the one person he gaslighted most, Emily. Cut to Westworld, where he is doing just that, and the only thing he can do to rationalize this extreme discomfort is to conclude that Emily is one of Ford’s vessels, like Young Ford and New El Lazo and Lawrence’s Daughter. The Man is unable to contend with what seems like a conversation where he is being held accountable for his wife’s suicide. Couple this utter discomfort with the Man in Black’s increasingly unmoored sense of self, and he can’t not conclude that Emily is full of Ford’s shit. So, he shoots her.”

Pation also weighs in on the Ford/Maeve connection and Teddy’s suicide, so go to HBO for the rest.


In this week’s “Behind the Scenes” video, the cast and crew delve into the special effects used to show a wounded and vulnerable Maeve (Thandie Newton), as well as her final message from Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins).

In case you missed it, check out the teaser for the season finale below.

2 responses to “Westworld Post Mortem of “Vanishing Point””

  1. They won’t start shooting until June of 2019? Ugh! I understand why it is necessary but, as a fan, I hate these 15+ month waits between seasons.

      Quote  Reply

  2. mariamb,

    Nolan and Joy mentioned in an interview a while back that they were going to take a break between seasons. I imagine they will start writing next January at the latest if they start filming in June. It’s going to be a tough wait for sure.

      Quote  Reply

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