Last year everyone on Westworld was obsessed with The Maze, and this year? This year, our fleet of robot friends won’t stop talking about the Valley Beyond, a mysterious place that everyone on this show literally cannot shut up about. So, what is the Valley Beyond and why is everyone so desperate to get there? Let’s take a closer look before we head into next week’s season finale.
The Valley Beyond Was William’s Idea
We find this out in Season 2 Episode 2, in a flashback to 30-ish years ago when William tells Dolores that the park holds the answer to a question no one’s ever “dreamed of asking.” We then see Wills and Dolly (don’t mind me, just experimenting with nicknames!) walk through the park and come across an abandoned bridge over a gorge, at which point William utters the line “have you ever seen anything so full of splendor?”
I do want to point out that this is a musing Dolores says not once, but twice during the episode, and I find it pretty strange that William, a human, would be reciting the same lines that have been programmed into Dolores, a host. Take note, “William is a robot!” truthers.
The Valley Beyond = The Forge
When Akecheta found the Valley Beyond in Episode 8, he seemed convinced that was a physical portal (or door!) to the real world. But we already know the train at the Mesa takes everyone out of Westworld, so that does’t seem too likely. What does seem likely is the Valley Beyond is some sort of super computer or power plant:
Bernard confirms this during the season’s penultimate episode, when he tells Elsie that the Valley Beyond is basically a Cradle-esque server holding all the guest’s cognitive data. “What they’re doing to James Delos they’re doing to everyone whose ever visited the park,” he says. “That’s what’s in the facility. All the guests laid bare in code on a vast server, like the Cradle, only much bigger. It’s called The Forge.”
Note that one key difference between the Cradle and the Forge is that the former has backups of hosts (and has been destroyed). The latter has backups of humans. Peter Abernathy’s head unit, meanwhile, likely holds a condensed version of the same information in the Forge, which is why Delos is so obsessed with finding it post-flood.
How Does Dolores Want to Use the Valley Beyond?
Dolores seems convinced that the Valley Beyond is a “tool to ensure [human] immorality” and she’s going to “use it against them.” She also tells Ghost Nation that the key to robot “survival” in the real world lies in the Valley. It’s unclear how Dolores will use the information she finds, but based on the flood that’s about to take place (more on that in a moment), I think her intention is to destroy it so humans have no chance of becoming immortal.
The Valley Beyond Gets Flooded
Thanks to a geologist on Reddit named earth2christine, we know that scenes taking place in the Valley Beyond were filmed at The Trona Pinnacles/Tufa Towers, located in southeast California.
Here’s an illustrated picture by earth2christine that depicts The Valley Beyond when William shows it to Dolores at the end of Episode 2:
Thanks to earth2christine’s find, it’s clear that The Valley Beyond is the lake with dead hosts that Bernard saw during the first episode of this season:
But if you need even more convincing that they’re the same place, there’s this:
Anyone who’s ever dropped an iPhone into a toilet bowl before knows that water is the fastest way to destroy a server, so the flood makes sense if Dolores’ intent is total destruction. But where does the water come from? And why are there dead host bodies floating in it? Guess we’ll find out next week!
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