Lee Sizemore, Delos' former head of Narrative, finally got to write the ending of his own story in Sunday's Season 2 finale of Westworld — one in which he was the brave and selfless hero, who sacrificed himself for the love of his own "children," the hosts. It's a complete 180 from when we first met Lee in Season 1, when he's an arrogant and petulant jerk who yelled at underlings, wanted to introduce cannibalism into the host narratives, and urinated on his colleague's work when he didn't get what he wanted. But after taking up with Maeve and her crew this season, Lee began to develop into an actual human being, ignoring his core drive for survival at all costs.
Lee actor Simon Quarterman chatted with SYFY WIRE in the wake of the Westworld Season 2 finale about commiserating in his character's death with castmate Shannon Woodward, receiving compliments from Katy Perry, and applauding Lee Sizemore's final moments.
How did you watch the finale Sunday night? Did the cast chat about it together via group text, like you did last season?
Actually, I went over to Shannon Woodward's place, and a bunch of us watched it together, which was a lot of fun. We both met our demise, and we both had a giggle about it. What else can we do? We had a very brief funeral for each other, a quick funeral. We were just celebrating each other's deaths, and we were both very grateful for having been in the show.
Do you think Lee Sizemore was being heroic when he gave up his life for the hosts, or do you think it was a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, since he had been held hostage for so long?
I think he really had genuine feelings for Maeve and the hosts. He went through a whole period of switching allegiances, so to speak, this whole season, and along with it, he was discovering new things about himself, parts of himself that he didn't know anything about. A more compassionate and loving side of himself. A more selfless side of him. So I think this was a selfless act, him putting himself in harm's way, in order to allow them to escape.
In a way, these hosts, they're a part of him. He's been writing them for a long time, and before, they were just props to him. Props to tell his stories and say his dialogue. But he sees them as something deeper than that now, how they're a part of each other. And in a strange way, they're like children to him. So he was protecting them. And he knew he was going to die.
For a human to sacrifice themselves for a host, especially this human, that's a huge reversal.
Yes! That's a big shift. Interestingly, he's the only human we see that type of reversal. Actually, I always saw Lee as being that one glimmer of hope for humanity. This show has a grim outlook, but there is a little glimpse of light. Humans are capable of change, and there is great love to be found in humans.
It also helps disprove what the System says about humans, that we can't change.
It does a little, yes. I think it's to do with Lee discovering his heart, to be honest. That's been his journey this season, finding a voice of his own, and that's what we were kind of going for. And in terms of humans changing their code, I think this is code that's covered, and then uncovered. It was in there, somewhere, and it just needs to be released. It's also not about someone changing, although that's how it appears. It's more about going beneath the surface of what we think someone might be. So we're going underneath that, but it's always existed. It's never not existed. Do you see what I mean?
When Lee dies, he's giving a speech that he actually wrote for Hector in the pilot, and that Hector never got to give.
And Hector got interrupted again! [Laughs] Poor devil never actually got to deliver that speech. As we learn in episode three of this season, Hector was created by Lee as an alternate version of himself. Lee had a partner who left him, who obviously crushed him, and his only way of actually being able to deal with that was to create a character who longs after this character, Isabella, who has died. And that trauma, I suppose, created this man who just rampages through the park, killing everything in his wake. But this speech took on a new meaning for him at this moment. It wasn't so much a warning to everyone as Lee finally being able to play the hero of his own story, of his narrative. He was no longer the villain. So it was a big turnaround for him.
In Shogun World, Maeve, Hector, and Armistice realize that there are basically doubles of themselves, both as characters and their narratives. Maeve accuses Lee of plagiarism. But is it really plagiarism, if you're plagiarizing yourself?
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he's incredibly overworked and hasn't got a lot of time. As he says, you try writing 300 stories in three weeks! It's not a lot of time to write a lot of material. And it's supply and demand. This worked really well in Westworld, so let's just take that, and put that here. Up to that point, Lee had only been about trying to survive, you know? And to survive in his job, he had to make some shortcuts. We've seen that same type of survival instinct this last season, to just survive as best he can. I suppose that's all he's ever been able to do, to do the best he could do, with the best he had. And if that's plagiarizing, he plagiarizes a little bit. He's just trying to get by.
If only Delos had clued him into the larger picture, it would have saved him a lot of grief. But neither Theresa nor Charlotte read him in, so he didn't know.
Right. Yeah. He has no clue about any of that. He had a pretty low to medium security clearance in Westworld, I'd say.
Speaking of security issues, did you snag anything from the set?
I would have loved to have taken that hat, but I didn't. [Laughs] The shirt and suspenders, though, I was quite happy to let them go at the end of this season.
And at the beginning of this season, too!
Ah, yes! Touché. Indeed. Flying the flag for male nudity, yes. When I got asked to do it, I didn't really have a second thought about it. I just agreed to it immediately, even though I didn't even know what it was all about. I just got asked by Jonah [Nolan] and Lisa [Joy] whether I was okay with being naked, and I immediately said yes. However, I'd had a couple of drinks before that, because it was at the Christmas party.
I don't know if that had anything to do with it. It would have been the same answer. It's something I have no regrets about, and actually, as Thandie [Newton] said last season, it's a very empowering thing to do, actually. Once you've done it, you've done it, and it's over. Tick that box.
I heard you got a nice compliment about that particular scene from Katy Perry at the premiere party…
[Laughs] Who told you?! I think she might have mentioned something, yes.
So you got the Katy Perry seal of approval!
I guess so. I guess so. I'll take it.