We’re officially halfway through Westworld‘s debut season. Through the first five episodes, we’ve seen a host of mysteries posed by the show’s complex narrative, and only brief teases at answers to just a handful of those questions. The last two episodes though have finally begun to pull back the curtain. Slowly but surely, we’re seeing the bigger picture at play in Westworld, revealing a twisted web of intrigue that carries us through multiple timelines, competing interests, and a Game of Thrones-esque amount of character stories. So what exactly was unveiled at the show’s halfway mark? Here’s what we were able to gather ourselves.
1. Dolores is part of Arnold’s 30-year long game to destroy the park
The stage for this reveal was set a few episodes ago, when Dr. Ford revealed the existence of Westworld‘s co-creator, Arnold, who became so obsessed with his android creations that he went crazy and died inside the park he himself helped build. In that conversation, Ford also went into detail about a programming experiment Arnold ran, where each host would essentially hear a voice in their head instructing them what to do. It was eventually scrapped after it led to a bout of robotic madness among the hosts, but we’re seeing it resurface with one host in particular: Dolores.
The first evidence comes when Dolores hears a voice in her own head instructing her to shoot a fellow host who is attempting to rape her. Later on, we see her briefly recalling memories of past loops, all while that same voice continues to echo through her subconscious. After Dr. Ford directly asks her whether Arnold is still controlling her, she waits until he leaves the room to ominously say, “He doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him anything.” That all seems to suggest that Dolores is acting on 30-year-old instruction from Arnold, which is only now coming into play in order to sabotage the park.
2. Bernard is definitely up to something
Beneath the surface of Arnold’s long game, there’s another scheme at play here, and it looks like Bernard is the one behind it. Already we’ve seen him staging secret chats with Dolores, and he seems to be determined to not tell the Westworld higher-ups about the pattern of malfunctioning hosts currently developing. He even tries to downplay the situation to Elsie (Shannon Woodward), when he straight up tells her she’s imagining that there’s a problem after she’s almost killed by a rogue host wielding a giant rock.
We learned awhile back that Bernard lost a son to some sort of tragedy, and it doesn’t seem at all coincidental that he’s working in the one place that could bring his child back (albeit in android form). Elsie’s discovery of someone transmitting the park’s data to an outside location points back to Bernard even more, even if it hasn’t yet been proven on a concrete level.
3. El Lazo, and what he reveals about the Westworld timeline
One of the more prevalent early Westworld theories posits that we’re seeing the story told in separate timelines. The first involves William and Logan sometime in the distant past, and the second takes place in the present with the Man in Black, Dr. Ford, and Bernard. We saw our first major clue pointing toward the veracity of that theory in the latest episode, entitled “Contrapasso.”
In it, William, Logan, and Dolores stumble on El Lazo, a host who appears to be some sort of criminal kingpin in the decadent town of Pariah. El Lazo also just so happens to be the Man in Black’s traveling companion who was introduced to us earlier as Lawrence. So how does one host end up in two separate storylines? The simple answer: We’re seeing him in two separate timelines too. Factor in that “El Lazo” roughly translates to “the loop,” and all signs point toward the Westworld narrative taking place across multiple periods of time.
4. The Man in Black and his connection to Dr. Ford
We still don’t know the identity of Ed Harris’s enigmatic Man in Black, but we’re starting to see some of the pieces fall in place. What we do know is that he’s been coming to the park for upwards of three decades, and that he’s searching for what he describes as a high-stakes life-or-death adventure that exists in the shadows of Westworld. It’s not until Dr. Ford tracks him down for an intimate conversation though, that we begin to see just how integral to the park’s history the Man in Black is.
The two men sit across from each other in a tavern, pontificating on the true meaning of the park. And then, the Man in Black mentions something curious: That he was the one who stopped Arnold from destroying Westworld 30-some years ago. Clearly, this dates him back to the early days of the park, and the fact that he played a role in saving it from its own creator makes him a significant player in the DNA of the show.
5. We might have already met the younger version of the Man in Black
In order for this to be true, the whole “dual timelines” theory needs to hold water. That said, El Lazo/Lawrence went a long way toward proving that in “Contrapasso,” which leads us to the next big theory. It points at William as the younger version of the Man in Black. It seems curious to follow William and his friend Logan on their journey through Westworld, and even stranger that Logan’s been pushing William to let his violent side take over.
In “Contrapasso,” we get more evidence for the whole “William is the Man in Black” theory, when Logan offhandedly mentions William’s “cheap black suit,” all while continuing to encourage his friend to embrace his inner “black hat.” That level of imagery doesn’t seem at all coincidental. Meanwhile, Lawrence/El Lazo is referred to by the Man in Black as an old friend, and given that Lawrence is about to embark on an adventure with William, we could very well be seeing the history behind that friendship.
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