The Season 2 finale episode of HBO’s Westworld was a whopper at 90 minutes long. And, for many viewers, it was a feast of information. One of the big reveals of the episode was, once again, the identity of a host posing as a human.
SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information about the Season 2 finale of HBO’s Westworld (Episode 10, titled “The Passenger”). Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.
In Season 1 of HBO’s Westworld, the revelation that Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) was actually a host and not a human employed to work at Westworld was a game-changer. However, the Season 2 finale managed to reveal yet another host masquerading as a human employee of Delos. Episode 10 of Westworld surprised viewers with Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) revealing his true identity as a host. This happened when Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), disguised as Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) — who is also a host now after being murdered in the Season 2 finale episode — tried to escape Westworld.
In a cryptic conversation, Ashley Stubbs told Dolores, disguised as Charlotte, that he had been employed a long time ago by Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) to protect the hosts within the Westworld park, indicating that he was not at all responsible for those hosts who managed to stray outside the Wild-West-themed park.
“You know the old man himself hired me, so many years ago I can barely remember it. But he was very clear about my role here. About who I was supposed to be loyal to. Guess you could call it my core drive. And this project the company started blurs the lines. I’m just not sure who you’re supposed to be loyal to in a world like that. But what do I know? Guess I just stick to the role Ford gave me. I’m responsible for every host inside the park.”
While Stubbs did not directly reveal he was a host, it has since been confirmed via the episode’s director, Fred Toye, to Vanity Fair via their Still Watching: Westworld podcast that Ashley is definitely a host masquerading as a human.
The plan to have the big reveal of Stubbs being a secret host was never fully intentional until the night before shooting the scene when one of the show’s creators, Jonathan Nolan, had a “light-bulb” moment and re-wrote the scene accordingly. At this point, it is still unclear whether it was always the plan to have Ashley be a secret host or not. However, as Vanity Fair points out, a re-watch of Westworld with this new information does put Stubbs in a protective light towards Bernard Lowe which could be an indicator that this newly revealed secret host was likely tasked by Dr. Ford to look after Bernard in the wake of his death in the Season 1 finale of Westworld.
The Insider points out, there was a clue that could have indicated earlier that Stubbs was a secret host. According to them, when Ashley closed the eyes of a dead security guard just like Maeve (Thandie Newton) did to another host, it could have been a giveaway to the audience that Ashley was a host.
It is also unclear just how long Stubbs has known he wasn’t human. Was it before or after the host uprising? The Insider suggests that maybe Ashley realized his own true identity when it was revealed that Bernard was a host. The shocking revelation could have been a turning point to him becoming self-aware.
While it is unclear how this reveal will affect things moving forward into Season 3 of Westworld, it is a great way to explain away just how Ashley Stubbs escaped the Ghost Nation when he was captured by them.