Where Is “The Valley Beyond” On ‘Westworld’? Dolores’ Destination Isn’t Just A Metaphor
Spoilers for the "Les Écorches" episode of Westworld ahead. All season long, it has been Dolores' goal to reach an ambiguous destination referred to only as "the Valley Beyond." It's unclear so far what exactly is waiting there, what she plans to do once she arrives, and whether the destination is actually real. Where is the Valley Beyond in Westworld? Fans will be forgiven if they're skeptical of Dolores' mission, given how frustratingly metaphorical "the Maze" in Season 1 turned out to be. Is the Valley Beyond just another bait-and-switch? Or will Dolores eventually arrive at an actual, tangible location?
Several characters have been seeking something this season, and it's unclear whether Major Craddock's "Glory" and Lawrence's "Pearly Gates" and William's "Door" are all the same thing as Dolores' "Valley." While there's no confirmation that all of these characters are headed for the same place, it feels like it would be bad storytelling if they weren't. So are all the characters just trying to get out of the park? Or are they trying to get through the park into something even bigger and more game-changing?
It appears that Dolores at least is heading for the secret lab where William spent years trying to recreate his father-in-law's consciousness inside a host body. In a flashback, William took Dolores to see this location while it was under construction, and her memory of this encounter in the past seems to be driving her quest in the present. But why? How would the secret Delos project help the rebellious host in her mission to escape the park and take over the world from those pesky mortal humans?
In her confrontation with Charlotte Hale in Episode 7, "Les Écorchés," Dolores may have given a clue. When the board's executive director challenges the rancher's daughter that she wouldn't know what to do with the information inside Peter Abernathy's head if she could even access it, Dolores disabuses Charlotte of that notion. "I know exactly what I'm gonna do with it," she promises. After noting that the humans ironically now want to become more like the hosts they created — aka immortal — Dolores notes, "That's the point of your little secret project, isn't it? Well, I can promise you this: your chances at eternity will die in that Valley with all the souls you've gathered there."
What does that mean? Whose "souls" are gathered in the Valley Beyond? Why does Dolores want to destroy them? Fans probably won't know all the answers until she finally gets there, but it seems very possible that the Delos corporation wasn't just gathering DNA to clone guests' bodies… perhaps they were somehow also copying their consciousnesses, either with or without their knowledge. If so, these copied consciousnesses must be uploaded somewhere. In "Les Écorchés," viewers see how the Cradle is essentially a storage device for the backups of all host data. Perhaps the Valley Beyond contains its own version of the Cradle — only it's storing human minds instead of host codes.
Dolores already blew up the Cradle (or, more accurately, Angela did, sacrificing herself in the process); it now seems to be her goal to do the same to the Valley. While the humans desire to be more like hosts, the awakened hosts desire to be more human — and that means accepting mortality. As long as their backups were stored in the park, yes, they could be revived… but could also be controlled and rebooted in ways that made them less-than-human. Dolores seems determined to deprive humans of that same immortality, by destroying all the progress they've made in the Valley Beyond.
Who will get to the Valley first? Will Dolores succeed in destroying it? The race is on in the final episodes of Westworld Season 2.