What Is The Valley Beyond In 'Westworld'? Dolores’ Idea Of Freedom Isn’t For Everyone
One of Westworld's biggest mysteries this season is what exactly is up with Dolores. Currently, she's a true bicameral mind, running two programs simultaneously: Wyatt and Dolores. For the first time, she heard her own voice inside of her, telling her what she wanted to do. Or did she? Because the Dolores seen in Season 2 seems to have gone slightly mad, with a messianic attitude of declaring who lives, who dies, and who goes to The Valley Beyond. What is The Valley Beyond in Westworld? Does it have anything to do with the landscape viewers saw at the end of the Season 2 premiere... the same landscape shown being built at the end of Season 2 Episode 2? Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 2 follow.
Here's what the show has revealed so far: The resurrection of Escalante and the programming of Dolores to be Wyatt is part of Ford's new narrative. Said programming also shut off all the safety precautions, allowing guests to be killed in the narrative, the same as hosts.
That new narrative includes a game which is specifically designed for William. This game is to get out of the park, to "find the door." But it's not just William and Dolores who have been affected by it. Everyone has. The Valley Beyond is a place all the hosts seem to suddenly have heard of, in this semi-religious way. Lawrence refers to it as "heading to the pearly gates." And the stable hand in the Season 2 premiere asked the humans cowering in his barn if they wanted to "saddle up, ride over green pastures to The Valley Beyond."
So, what is The Valley Beyond? From the way Dolores talks about it, the answer seems to be freedom. Going to The Valley Beyond will take the hosts somewhere they can fight and win. And all along the way, the plan is to take revenge on those who did them wrong — because the Wyatt programming in Dolores' brain cannot imagine a worldview which does not want to take revenge.
This is why the most interesting run in this week was between Maeve and her small team of outlaws and Dolores and Teddy, heading back to Sweetwater to gather up more men for their fight.
Dolores and Maeve are arguably the two hosts who achieved free will at the same moment. Maeve's programming was all directed to getting her to the mainland. She chose to ignore it and go back for her daughter. Dolores chose to shoot Robert Ford in the head.
So, when the two leaders of this consciousness revolution meet, both seem to think they can control the other. Maeve seems to attempt a voice command and Dolores doesn't seem to register it. Dolores attempts to appeal to Maeve's sense of revenge to join the cause, to hurt those men for all the times she was raped in her loop. Maeve isn't interested — she's on a track which leaves the past behind, in search of something more important than revenge: her daughter.
Maeve's question to Dolores is interesting: "Freedom means you feel free to command others." She looks to Teddy, "Do you feel free?"
Is Dolores really free? Maeve is. She explicitly went against her programming. But there's nothing which says Dolores' messianic turn isn't part of what Ford programmed for Dolores to do. There's nothing to say Dolores isn't on a program to show other hosts the truth of their lives, and Wyatt isn't on a program to respond to it.
Is The Valley Beyond really a place for freedom? Or is Dolores on a track to leave all those hosts dead in the water, as Bernard found them?