When it comes to Westworld, there are the things we know, and the things we know we don’t know. And it often feels like there’s a lot more of the latter. As HBO‘s captivating new sci-fi series heads toward its first season finale, the list of unanswered questions seems to be growing. What happened to Arnold? How many timelines are we dealing with? What is the maze? What exactly is happening to the robots to make them more aware?
In Westworld‘s seventh episode, we learned that Bernard, the theme park’s conflicted programmer, is actually a host himself. That chilling twist naturally led us to wonder, even more fervently, which of the series’ other characters could also be cleverly disguised AI. Though it’s hard to tell for sure — after all, the whole premise of the series relies on the fact that Ford’s hosts are nearly impossible to distinguish from humans — there are a few good candidates. Here are six Westworld characters that could actually be robots.
1. Dr. Robert Ford
Despite being one of Westworld‘s central characters, there’s not much that we really know about Dr. Robert Ford, or his future plans for the theme park. Here’s what we do know, though: he’s great at keeping secrets. The park’s co-founder, Arnold, died under what appears to be mysterious circumstances. Ford is more attuned to hosts, past and present, than perhaps anyone else at the park.
Sure, it may seem like a stretch to imagine that the creator of hosts is, in fact, a robot. But consider this scenario: Arnold created Dr. Ford, and then left him to mind Westworld once he realized that his vision for his creations would never come to fruition. Perhaps he even gave him a self-awareness that would allow him to evolve over time — and then disseminate his upgrades onto his fellow hosts. This revelation, if real, would fundamentally change the way that AI has functioned in Westworld‘s universe — because it would mean that the apparent malfunctions in the hosts would have been part of their design all along.
2. Charlotte Hale
She’s one of the newest characters on Westworld — and therefore, automatically, the one that we know the least about. There’s reason to believe that Charlotte Hale — the callous Delos executive trying to edge Ford out of his role at the park — may actually be one of her adversaries’ inventions. For one, she seems to operate with a singular goal, which is a hallmark quality of the other hosts we’ve encountered so far.
More importantly, the episode “Trompe L’Oeil,” revealed an intriguing connection between Hale and Ford; they both mentioned the need for a “blood sacrifice” in the corporation’s leadership dealings. That could be a coincidence — but it’s probably not. And since the two characters aren’t exactly buddy-buddy, so far as we can tell, it seems unlikely that they’ve picked up each other’s vocabulary. Could Charlotte be one of Ford’s creations — and could her attempted ouster of him be part of his master plan?
3. Logan or 4. William
At first glance, two of Westworld’s guests seem to be pretty unlikely candidates to be robots in disguise. But it feels like Logan and William, who were introduced to us as brothers-in-law and business partners, are playing a more integrated than normal role in park’s narrative, which could mean that one of them is actually playing host to the other.
If William is a host, it would make sense. After all, he and Dolores have taken to each other pretty quickly — in fact, he more or less took Teddy’s place in her narrative. They relate to one another in a way that seems atypical of hosts and humans. On the other hand, if Logan is the one who’s a robot, it would make sense, too. From the moment we met him, he definitely didn’t seem like a “newcomer” — it was almost like he’d been in the park his entire life. Maybe William, clearly more introverted, wanted a gregarious and strong-willed host to help him leave his real-world self behind so he could fully immerse himself in all that Westworld has to offer.
At first blush, it might seem pretty unlikely that Westworld would put a robot in charge of robot security. But we’ve already learned that Dr. Ford was happy to do the same in the case of programming — so at this point, it looks like all other employees are probably fair game, too.
Stubbs, like Charlotte Hale, has a lot of the personality traits that we’ve seen other hosts exhibit. His personality is considerably more even-keeled and, well, robotic than, say, Elsie or Lee. He’s hyper-focused on his goals. And at this point, we don’t know much about him other than that he works in security and doesn’t really trust the technology he’s been tasked with corralling.
It’s easily plausible that Ford had Stubbs placed in security because he designed him to be able to better anticipate his fellow hosts’ behavior. After all, sometimes insiders are the best sources for intel.
6. The Man in Black
He’s easily one of the most fascinating characters on Westworld today. Shrouded in mystery, the Man in Black has been coming to the park for over 30 years. Fellow guests seem to recognize him from the outside world. And it seems as though the hosts can’t hurt him. These pieces all seem to add up to the conclusion that the Man in Black is human.
Despite all this, though, there’s also a case to be made that he’s one of Westworld’s hosts — or something like it. For one thing, the park doesn’t seem to be keeping very close tabs on him, which means it’s unlikely that he’s a guest. His violent quest to discover the maze and find the end of the park — seems more in line with something a self-aware robot would do, too. Perhaps he’s one of Ford and Arnold’s original creations, now off the grid and in search of answers about not only the park, but his own creation.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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