It seems like just yesterday that Westworld first debuted on HBO. We’re now approaching the final three episodes of the show’s first season, and over its brief run, it’s become a smash hit. Every week, fans are left guessing at one of the many mysteries hidden within the narrative. The level of speculation has hit Lost-levels in the process. It’s safe to say that just seven episodes in, Westworld has made itself into one of TV’s most talked-about shows this side of The Walking Dead. That said, there are still plenty of questions left to answer, and with a promise in hand that the finale won’t end in a cliffhanger, we’re hoping these mysteries will unravel themselves soon.
1. OK, so how many time periods are we working with right now?
The prevailing theory for much of Westworld‘s early run posited that we were actually being shown two separate time periods. The first was William (Jimmi Simpson) experiencing the park for the first time, alongside his mercurial soon-to-be brother-in-law, Logan. The second, (at least according to the theory) showed William 30-some years in the future, now donning all black, and obsessed with finding Westworld’s deeper, more nefarious level. With the reveal in Episode 7 that Bernard might be a host version of the park’s long-deceased co-founder, Arnold, we saw talk of a third time period crop up.
The first few episodes show us what appears to be Bernard running through a series of odd, off the book questions with Dolores. In Episode 7, we see host-Bernard enter a diagnostic facility in a basement before being ordered to kill Theresa. Eagle-eyed fans spotted identical staircases in both Bernard’s conversations with Dolores, and the scene where Theresa is murdered, leading to one conclusion: That those early scenes were in fact Arnold running diagnostics on Dolores before his death, and that Dr. Ford later created host-Bernard in Arnold’s image.
So to recap, the three (alleged) time periods as they stand now: Arnold’s conversations with Dolores (above), William’s first journey through Westworld, and the Man in Black that William becomes decades later.
2. A handful of Arnold-related questions
Even with a good deal of evidence pointing to the supposed identity of Arnold, we still don’t know how exactly he died. The information we have right now tells us very little. We know he died inside the park under mysterious circumstances, and that he was obsessed with creating self-aware, sentient hosts. We also saw how ruthless Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) can be when threatened, and it’s clear he’s not one to allow anyone to get in his way, even if it means killing them in cold blood (RIP Theresa).
Did Ford kill Arnold himself? And did Arnold sabotage the hosts before he kicked the bucket? These are both questions that should be answered before Season 1 closes out, but don’t underestimate the show’s need to keep at least some secrets for the long run.
3. Dr. Ford’s plans
Even as the Delos board has schemed to oust Dr. Ford from Westworld entirely, it was revealed in the latest episode that Ford has been six steps ahead of everyone this whole time. He’s had host-Bernard spying on Theresa, and because of that, he’s had all sorts of insight into the inner-workings of Delos. All the while, he’s been expending monumental resources to build out a new narrative for the park, and all signs point to some serious implications of its completion.
Why Ford would be willing to kill in order to finish his narrative has yet to be revealed. With a cadre of hosts already beginning to defy their programming though, we see some decidedly violent consequences on the horizon.
4. Westworld‘s long game
To no one’s surprise, Westworld was recently renewed for a second season by HBO, set to debut sometime in 2018. Because of that, it’ll be awhile before we get new episodes, and with all the unanswered questions, odds are that time will crawl as we await Season 2. Beyond that, showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have a five-year plan for the series, meaning there’s still plenty to come.
The thing is, it’s tough for fans to see the endgame right now. How will Westworld extend a series about robots in a theme park for upwards of 50 episodes? Unlike Game of Thrones, there aren’t hundreds upon thousands of years of mythology to pull from. That doesn’t mean Nolan and Joy can’t pull it off, but it also won’t be easy keeping fans on the hook, especially with the massive gap of time between seasons.
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