The Westworld Season 2 finale finally gave fans some answers... and then that absurd post-credits scene happened. In a shocking twist, the post-credits scene revealed that William is some kind of host, and he's been playing out the same "fidelity" test that he forced upon his father-in-law. The scene was confusing for a number of reasons (more on that in a sec), but mainly because it left fans with one major question: Is Emily alive? The formerly-dead Emily popped up in the post-credits scene, and I'm going to need her to continue explaining what the heck is going on here. Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 2 finale follow.
In Episode 9, William's entire life changed when he killed his daughter Emily. At the time, he was convinced that Emily was a host sent by Ford to torment him, and after she repeatedly insisted otherwise, he shot her on the spot. No hesitation, no empathy, no nothing. After the murder, William realized that Emily isn't a host, and the situation scared him so much that he began to question his own humanity. Sorry, dude, you're not a host — you're just a bad guy who killed his only daughter.
In the season finale, "The Passenger," a wounded William waits in an elevator, and we're meant to think that he's following Bernard and Dolores into the Forge. But we don't see him arrive at his destination, and the next thing we know, he's lying (alive but weak) on the beach under the Delos survivor tent.
If you turned off the episode during the credits, you'd probably think that William's story ends there. But this is Westworld, so of course it doesn't.
After the credits rolled, fans saw where William was really headed in that elevator: Into the Forge, yes, but there's no Dolores or Bernard. Instead, Emily is waiting for him, and she tells him that this is "not a simulation," as he initially thinks. "This is your world, or what's left of it," says Emily.
Emily reveals that they have been testing William for "fidelity," indicating that he's been turned into a host-human hybrid like his father-in-law, James Delos. She says that they've been testing him for a long time, but it's unclear exactly how long it's been. Clearly, the post-credits scene takes place sometime in after the events of the rest of the finale, but are we talking months? Years? Decades?
Even more importantly, how is Emily in the Forge?! Isn't she dead?
The most likely answer is that Emily is still dead, and the Emily fans are seeing in the post-credits scene is her uploaded consciousness. As we learned earlier in the episode, it's possible for someone's consciousness to be uploaded into the Forge — that's how Logan, James Delos' son and William's brother-in-law, got there. During the finale, Logan revealed that he was the "system" checking the human data in the Forge for fidelity, and now, it seems that Emily is doing the same for her father.
After the finale aired, Katja Herbers, who plays Emily, explained Emily's shocking reappearance to ET. According to Herbers, Emily is very much not a human in the post-credit scene:
From my understanding, I think she's a host in that scene. I don't think it changes that she was human before, when he shot his own daughter. From my understanding, that was 100 percent real.
Herbers also said that she adjusted her performance to make Emily less human and more host-like:
I came on set and I was confused. I had a few questions about, "Am I now a robot, what does that mean? How do I act as a robot? Am I different?" So I tried to make her a bit different from who she was, but still recognizable. I just let myself be directed by them and be this sort of friendlier version of Emily.
Herbers doesn't know if she'll be appearing in Westworld Season 3, but after a cliffhanger like that, it's impossible for her not to be in the show. But then again, this is Westworld, so I wouldn't be surprised if they don't address the "Is William a host" question until Season 3, Episode 6.