'Westworld' Season 4 Ending Explained: Did Humanity Survive William's Game?

The writers of Westworld always know how to play the long game, and their latest certainly paid off in the show's Season 4 finale.

In the penultimate episode of Season 4, William (Ed Harris) killed several of the show's main characters and forced humanity to take part in a twisted game of survival of the fittest, compelling them and the remaining hosts to battle it out until only one person is left standing.

With the stakes higher than ever, the finale wrapped up several storylines at once and finally revealed Bernard Lowe's (Jeffrey Wright) endgame after spending most of the season trying to influence events after seeing the future.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the 'Westworld' Season 4 finale

'Westworld' Season 4 Ending Explained: Did Humanity Survive William's Game?

Westworld
Ed Harris as the host version of William in "Westworld" Season 4. In the finale humanity and hosts ended up in a game of survival designed by him. John Johnson/HBO

Although Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) was one of William's victims in the penultimate episode the character, as is often the case in Westworld, did not remain dead for long.

Brought back by her host helpers, Charlotte decided to go after William herself and she received the message left by Bernard in the previous episode before he was also killed by the aforementioned man in black.

His message, it turned out, related to Christina, aka Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and saw him tell Charlotte she should decide whether to let Christina be given the choice of whether or not to save the hosts that were left in The Sublime.

In order to do that, though, Charlotte had to get to the location where The Sublime was stored before William, and she'd have to kill him to ensure their kind could be given that final chance.

As Charlotte raced to the finish line against William, Frankie (Aurora Perrineau), Caleb (Aaron Paul), and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) were making their way through the hellish game William had started, with humanity all but annihilated in the cities.

Their aim was to get to the docks where Frankie's girlfriend Odina (Morningstar Angeline) was waiting, but the problem was Caleb's body was shutting down and he didn't have much time left to get Frankie to safety.

Stubbs knew this was the case but agreed to continue helping the pair so that Caleb could make good on his promise to protect Frankie. This unfortunately led to his death at the hands of Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan).

In the end, Caleb did manage to get Frankie to Odina at the docks, but that was as far as he could go and the pair had a very moving farewell. Caleb was later seen watching them leave the city and escape to where the remaining Outliers are based.

Meanwhile, Christina came to terms with how she was not in the real world and was simply helping control it, also realizing that Teddy (James Marsden) and Maya (Ariana DeBose) were companions she had created to help herself remember who she really is: Dolores Abernathy.

Charlotte fought off William where The Sublime was kept, and thanks to Bernard predicting exactly where their final stand would be she was able to defeat him for good, taking his orb and destroying it completely.

She then uploaded Christina/Dolores' orb into The Sublime, giving her the choice to do what she wanted with the world and the last remaining hosts. After doing this, Charlotte stepped outside the facility and destroyed her own orb.

Dolores decided to create one final test, a game of her own design, and she brings the hosts in The Sublime back to where it all began: Westworld.

Her remarks about putting the hosts through "one final test" indicates that the next season of Westworld, should it be renewed, will be the final one for the series.

Whether Frankie, Odina and the remaining Outliers will play a part in this next chapter, or if hosts like Maeve, Bernard, and Caleb will return is yet to be seen. But, given Dolores has free reign it feels like anything is possible.

Westworld Season 4 is available to watch in full on HBO Max.

Westworld
Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale in "Westworld" Season 4. The character played a major part in the events of the show's finale. John Johnson/HBO