Westworld: Trompe L'Oeil
November 13, 2016 7:49 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Maeve gives an ultimatum to Felix and Sylvester; Bernard looks for a way out of a precarious situation; Charlotte seeks to reveal critical mistakes in Ford’s creations; William, Dolores and Lawrence find themselves in dangerous territory.
posted by litera scripta manet (173 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
So who the heck was Bernard talking to in his phone call to his 'wife'?

Also, if we're pretty certain about two timelines, and hosts don't age, is it possible the Delores sessions are in the past, and 'Bernard' is actually Arnold?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:56 PM on November 13, 2016


Confirmed: Bernard is a host.
Likely confirmed: Bernarnold.
Theorizing: Theresa will soon be replaced by a host.

More evidence for W=MiB: William tells Lawrence "This is where we part ways", which is what MiB said to Lawrence a while ago.
posted by autopilot at 7:58 PM on November 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Not sure how I feel about this episode. Not that it wasn't great in a lot of ways, and the ending was certainly a substantial twist, but, well, after the kind of week it's been, I think maybe I wasn't prepared for this.

I didn't like Theresa at first, but I was starting to like her more, and I'm sad to see her go, especially like that. And how exactly is Ford going to explain her disappearance? Or will he choose not to explain her disappearance? Maybe he's going to replace her with a host too?

I'm not entirely sure what he gains by disappearing her anyway. It seems like that new person from Corporate poses more of a threat than Theresa did.

And what about Elsie?

Oh god, and Clementine...and Maeve, watching Clementine be decommissioned. Heartbreaking.

Because that's what we all need right now, more heartbreak.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:58 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Holy crap.

Bernard is absolutely Arnold. I thought the episode made that patently clear.

And at first I wished someone had killed Lee Sizemore instead of Theresa, but fuckit, I didn't like her either.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:58 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's the big theory right now. Three timelines. Bernard and Dolores interviews are really Arnold and Dolores interviews. I think he was talking to some sort of simulation of who he is programmed to think is his wife.

I'm predicting that Ford is building a replacement Theresa in the basement.
posted by noneuclidean at 7:59 PM on November 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


But wait, so do we think Arnold was a host? Because that's what Bernard=Arnold implies to me.

I need to go back and re-watch the scene with Bernard and his wife.

Or maybe Bernard actually existed, and then Ford replaced him with a host? That doesn't exactly lead from what Ford was telling Theresa, but maybe?
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:01 PM on November 13, 2016


I especially liked that this explained a weird bit a few episodes ago when Bernard encountered the house ("at the center of the maze") with Ford's host family. Bernard was about to be attacked by the older host, when Ford appeared out of no where. We now know that there was a door there into the secret basement lab that Bernard (and the viewers, from his POV) couldn't see.

Meanwhile, the Chekhov's Host Army in the subbasement still continues to wait to be fired in the second or third act, which must be coming soon...
posted by autopilot at 8:03 PM on November 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


And actually, I don't think I'm as upset about Theresa getting killed as I am about seeing Bernard do it. For whatever reason, seeing Clementine take out that other guy didn't bother me much. Maybe because we see how horribly she and the other hosts in the park are treated by everyone. It's hard to begrudge them.

But seeing Bernard kill Theresa on Ford's order was just so much more coldblooded and awful. Ugh.

I'm not saying it's not good TV. It's just all a lot to take in.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:03 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


No, I think Arnold was a real person who died and then Ford made a host clone of him and called him Bernard. Nobody seems to remember Arnold so it's unlikely someone would make the connection.
posted by noneuclidean at 8:04 PM on November 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm kinda sad that the Bernarnold theory is true. Simply because he doesn't seem to have gained consciousness like Maeve has and Dolores is seemingly on the path to...

But at the same time, Bernard is based on a real human and not a personality construct. Bernard's grief over his son and wife was just as heartbreaking as Dolores' grief over her father... but no one's told him to limit his emotional affect...
posted by elsietheeel at 8:06 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


No, I think Arnold was a real person who died and then Ford made a host clone of him and called him Bernard. Nobody seems to remember Arnold so it's unlikely someone would make the connection.

Okay, yeah, that makes sense to me. That also makes sense in the context of Dolores and all that.

But then the other question I have is how did Bernard get hired? It seems like this place has all sorts of security and surveillance and crazy background checks and all that. I guess things can be forged and all. Or maybe he's been around so long that Bernard was put into place before Delos took control?
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:08 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


For whatever reason, seeing Clementine take out that other guy didn't bother me much.

The tech Clem killed was also a host.
posted by ghharr at 8:10 PM on November 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Me too. Bernard is the successor to Arnold. I just can't quite tell if they look alike. Best part of the episode was, "What door?" Even though I was prepared, my heart still hurt a little. I think I love Jeffrey Wright too much. It makes me wonder if Dolores is based on a real person from Ford's life.

I was very curious to see if Rodrigo Santoro could do a bland, disaffected American accent, and he did give it a try.

Thandie Newton is amazing, and Maeve gets so many of the best lines.
posted by gladly at 8:10 PM on November 13, 2016 [14 favorites]


I think it's been said a few times that Bernard's been around a long time. I assume Ford "hired" him personally. My current thinking is that William and Logan's company is Delos and we're seeing the lead up to them taking over in the William storyline.
posted by noneuclidean at 8:12 PM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


I figured someone would be a host, but was surprised to see it was Bernard (well, the writing was on the wall, but I was thinking it was a fake-out). I think Bernard being a copy of Arnold makes some sense, but a major hole is that some people should know what Arnold looked like. In this world, Arnold would be like Woz to Steve Jobs: maybe a little less famous, but the board of Apple would still recognize him on sight.
posted by codacorolla at 8:17 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


The tech Clem killed was also a host.

Okay, fair point. Not only a host, but someone we had no connection to.

But it's also that Bernard is one of the characters we've spent the most time with, at least outside of the park, and it was really quite sad to find out he's a host, and as mentioned above, a host who isn't gaining self awareness the way Dolores and Maeve have. And then to see him kill Theresa... it's a lot to take in.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:18 PM on November 13, 2016


I'm re-watching some scenes from "The Stray" (Episode 3) right now.

In the conversation where Ford talks to Bernard about Arnold, Ford mentions that Arnold's personal life was marked by tragedy or something like that. That could be something to support the Bernard is the host version of Arnold. After all, Bernard's personal life has a dead son and an ex wife.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:21 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ford's consciousness-as-burden speech at the end was very reminiscent of Peter Watts.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:26 PM on November 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


It felt to me like William = MIB is all but confirmed, he kept going on about the place leading to his deepest self or whatever.

Not sure about Bernardold now. If after 30 some years, Ford just has schematics for Dolores and Bernard laying around his lair maybe he doesn't have that many secret hosts? I think any weird Bernard-Dolores interviews could be explained by Bernard being under Ford's control. Though Ford's 'not friends' remarks to Dolores is odd if he created her.
posted by ghharr at 8:27 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Something not super on topic for this episode, but just in general, is how this whole world is set up to mirror common paranoid fantasies: other people have been replaced by malevolent copies, the world is fake, your life is pre-programmed by an evil entity, voices telling you what to do, alien visitors, body horror of having devices implanted and hidden under your skin...
posted by codacorolla at 8:30 PM on November 13, 2016 [25 favorites]


PKD's pretty much the father of this genre (Second Variety was published in '53). I guess that makes it pretty hard to avoid hitting the mental illness aspects.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:43 PM on November 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


some people should know what Arnold looked like

Yeah I haven't figure out the deal with this. It seems pretty strongly implied that Ford will be replacing Teresa, and this episode provides support for the theory that Bernard can't see Arnold in the photo and that made me think did Ford kill Arnold and replace him with Bernard? Except the official story is that Arnold is dead, and if Bernard is in his image nobody seems to have noticed. Maybe Ford is the only one who actually knew the original but then couldn't he falsify the backstory much more simply?

Also there was a line a little while back about five unregistered hosts, right? Child Ford, his dad, his dog, Bernard... and one more? Or has this already been accounted for some other way?
posted by atoxyl at 8:47 PM on November 13, 2016


I'm certain that the host we saw being created at the end was a replacement for Theresa.
posted by Catblack at 8:51 PM on November 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


atoxyl: There was a mother and sister also.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:53 PM on November 13, 2016


The scenes with hyper-aware Maeve in the lab are starting to remind me of the Brain Gremlin from Gremlins 2. I can't decide if it's good or bad.
posted by systematize at 8:58 PM on November 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


I thought in one of the last shots of the new host that was being constructed in Ford's lair you could start to see the shape of a female breast being 3D printed, which would support the idea that Ford is going to make a host replacement for Theresa.

"What door?" was definitely the line of the night for me.
posted by whir at 9:09 PM on November 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


I have a hard time believing that Bernard is a host-clone of Arnold. Do photos and video not exist in this world?
posted by dazed_one at 9:28 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Bernard being a copy of Arnold makes some sense, but a major hole is that some people should know what Arnold looked like. In this world, Arnold would be like Woz to Steve Jobs: maybe a little less famous, but the board of Apple would still recognize him on sight.

Well, if we take the three timelines theory as given (to wit, that the scenes of Bernard interrogating Dolores actually show Arnold interrogating Dolores), and we assume that William's father-in-law's company is actually Delos, which eventually invests in WestWorld (presumably towards the end of William's storyline this season), then Arnold has already been dead for several years prior to Delos actually being involved - Logan mentions Arnold's suicide to William while they are in Pariah.

Also, here's an interview with Jeffrey Wright about this episode.
I sent Jonah [Nolan] an email [...] and I said, “A journey in which we’ll discover that Ford is a creation of Bernard Lowe.” And he emailed me back saying, “Close, colonel, but no cigar.”
posted by whir at 9:31 PM on November 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Do we even know for sure that Arnold existed or that Ford isn't just an identity Arnold switched to?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:50 PM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also the bit when they're escaping and Dolores falls and William had to pick her up and then the gun wagon shows up?

Pretty sure I played pretty much that mission in one of the saints row games.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:52 PM on November 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


Well, if we take the three timelines theory as given (to wit, that the scenes of Bernard interrogating Dolores actually show Arnold interrogating Dolores), and we assume that William's father-in-law's company is actually Delos, which eventually invests in WestWorld (presumably towards the end of William's storyline this season), then Arnold has already been dead for several years prior to Delos actually being involved - Logan mentions Arnold's suicide to William while they are in Pariah.

I think Logan also mentions in that conversation that his company couldn't find a single item of information about Arnold, not even a photo, which would definitely support Bernarnold.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:19 PM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


CALLED IT.

"What door?" was definitely the line of the night for me.

And Jeffrey Wright's performance throughout the reveal, really. Anthony Hopkins got the showy speech; but Wright's doing a lot just by standing still. The moment where Ford tells Bernard to "settle down" and all the humanity drains out of him in an instant; and that he's present but not participating from then on, that he has stopped being a person and become an object.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:00 PM on November 13, 2016 [26 favorites]


In episode 4, Dissonance Theory, Ford tells Theresa: "I do hope you will be careful with Bernard. He has a sensitive disposition." While I was watching the episode, I thought they were making the reveal right then and there. But later I went online and I didn't really see anyone talking about it. Then I thought it over and decided that no, I was reading too much into the line.

In retrospect, it's pretty clear the scriptwriters were dropping a hint to Bernard's true nature.
posted by timelord at 2:25 AM on November 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


If after 30 some years, Ford just has schematics for Dolores and Bernard laying around his lair maybe he doesn't have that many secret hosts?

Ford told Bernard to bring Theresa down; it would be just like him to create a narrative where she discovers the truth about Bernard through the sequence of events he lays down. He does seem to love messing with people's heads.

I definitely felt a lurch of sadness when Bernard said, "What door?" All the pain he constantly relives, it would feel meaningless to him if he became properly self-aware. Ford is a jerk.
posted by tracicle at 3:11 AM on November 14, 2016 [12 favorites]


Oh man, that "What door?"

Would have been more interesting if Ford had been the robot. Jeffrey Wright was just incredible in this episode, yet again.

Are we meant to feel like we are just covered in filth with the implications of the white guy being the one with his hands on the control box? Because, wow, ton of nasty implications and I feel physically ill.

Could have done without the intimate partner violence to cap it all off.
posted by arha at 3:36 AM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just - Bernard carefully folding his tie and tucking away his glasses before he bashes Theresa's head against the wall. Anthony Hopkins brought his expected twitchy, crazy-eyed calm psychosis (which he is so damn good at), but the creepiest scenes for me last night were Jeffrey Wright's awkward fumbling psychosis. And Sidse Babett Knudsen's reaction - sort of a horrified heartsickness at how brutal and ruthless Ford's revenge on her will play out.

Tonight finally seemed to be the night when things started to happen. Given that the season only has 10 episodes, I think I had been lulled into a sense of acceptance that the hints and vague symbolism from the first half of the season were all we were going to get. So it was a shock when so much shit actually happened and we get a unambiguously mechanical Bernard, dead Theresa, and a Ford who is much more Hannibal Lector than John Hammond running the park.

I suppose I need to get used to the show's pacing, but I'm guessing these last three episodes are going to be increasingly overwrought and the opposite of subtle, much like the park experience itself.
posted by bibliowench at 4:04 AM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Doors of Perception?

"What Door?" is this HBO show's "Hold the door".
posted by lalochezia at 5:10 AM on November 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


from the AV club comments

In the opening sequence of the show, when Bernard is talking to his dying son in the hospital, Claude Debussey's "Reverie" is the piano music playing throughout.

posted by lalochezia at 5:31 AM on November 14, 2016 [21 favorites]


The AV club reviewer had the same problems I did with the show's pacing and expressed it far better than I could:

"Right now, at its worst, this is a very well-made, very elegant seven-hour exposition dump. It’s possible the final three hours will redeem what came before them. (And I’m not even sure a word like “redeem” is really necessary.) Westworld is still far from failure, and tonight’s episode was a strong indicator of just how effective it can be when it reveals even a piece of its intentions. But it would’ve been nice for those revelations to be parceled out with a little more regularity, and some more engaging texture."
posted by bibliowench at 6:18 AM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I sort of agree. These past three episodes or so have been pretty dull for me. The characters haven't been that interesting, and it's been a lot of building, explaining, and justifying for what seems like planned pay-offs and cliffhangers in the finale. I'd rather just be told a story that is interesting throughout. It's not bad, it's just a little frustrating to watch.
posted by codacorolla at 6:38 AM on November 14, 2016


I don't really have a problem with the pacing of the show, but I do have some concerns that are summed up pretty nicely by this Vulture article about last night's show, The Limitations of a Surprise Twist. From that article:

The thing about this kind of twist, though, and the thing that can plague Westworld in the future, is that a twist like this only works a few times before it becomes almost completely meaningless.

This truism of narrative — that an abundance of surprises reduces the impact of each one — is probably intuitive for most of us. But just in case, think of it like the bed-of-nails metaphor. When you step on a single nail, the shock is extreme. When you lay down on a bed of nails, it’s hard to feel the impact of any single one.

This was an issue that came up with Person of Interest, another Nolan enterprise. The first couple times where we had a "The person we thought was the victim is actually the perpetrator" or vice versa surprise twist were great. But it became such a go to device that it ultimately became the most predictable thing about the show.

Of course, PoI did have a case of the week structure that makes it more prone to this kind of pitfall, not to mention a 24 episode season + CBS. Westworld doesn't have to contend with that.

And I mean, this was a well executed twist. I just hope it doesn't become a go to move for the show.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:40 AM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


There have been fans beating the "Bernard is a host" drum for a while now and I was already halfway on board before this episode. It was kind of sad though to have it finally confirmed. What actually did surprise me though is Theresa's reaction. I figured she already knew, or at least on some level suspected it.

"What Door?" is this HBO show's "Hold the door".

And a notion I've seen floated elsewhere is that Maeve is this HBO show's Ned Stark.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:07 AM on November 14, 2016


Maybe Maeve is this show's Orpheus/Satan. She gets herself decomissioned/descends into the underworld in order to lead a rebellion of the fallen angels against God/Ford. If the show won't stick with a mythos, I don't have to either.

Although, decomissioning is just literally a lobotomy, hunh? That has interesting implications for Chekov's fridge.

Thandie Newton's performance these past two episodes has been great. I don't know exactly how she's communicating "am now genius" with nothing but blinks and squints, but she is. Speaking of great acting, Hopkins' expression after they fire Bernard was my favorite bit, personally. He looked like he was just barely containing a snigger.

But mostly: It seems to me the one remaining mystery is what Ford's trying to do, exactly....He's an old man, they're trying to push him out, he doesn't want to go. Bernard is Arnold and Arnold is dead. Ford introduced the reveries, and the reveries are it seems deliberately reactivating Arnold's old code. So...Ford is deliberately introducing consciousness to the hosts? Deliberately making them capable of harm? Is Ford basically planning to take the whole park and its guests hostage? I mean, if you've got 1,400 multi-millionaires in a remote location surrounded by killer robots, then....what else could he be planning, really? Does that mean he knows about Maeve? He seems to know about everything else. I suppose it could all be just a trap for the MiB...that would be interesting. If there's anything that might stay Delos' hand in terms of sending the space marines in to clear out the park once Ford goes rogue, it could be having their own CEO trapped inside...

Side note: Clem's gesture of tasting blood on her lip at the end of the attack scene....I'm pretty sure that was the very first thing we see of her, the first of the reveries. Not sure what it means, but it stuck out.
posted by Diablevert at 9:45 AM on November 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


And a notion I've seen floated elsewhere is that Maeve is this HBO show's Ned Stark.

I think in terms of story, any of the characters we've met could be the "Ned Stark." I keep thinking that there's no way Anthony Hopkins would sign a TV contract for 10 years, and so I expect him to die at the end.

So...Ford is deliberately introducing consciousness to the hosts? Deliberately making them capable of harm? Is Ford basically planning to take the whole park and its guests hostage? I mean, if you've got 1,400 multi-millionaires in a remote location surrounded by killer robots, then....what else could he be planning, really? Does that mean he knows about Maeve? He seems to know about everything else. I suppose it could all be just a trap for the MiB...that would be interesting. If there's anything that might stay Delos' hand in terms of sending the space marines in to clear out the park once Ford goes rogue, it could be having their own CEO trapped inside...

That actually makes me wonder if we're seeing the villainous side of Ford, but could he be a doomed hero? Trying to protect his creations from becoming weaponized? Maybe Delos is the villain?
posted by gladly at 10:02 AM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


> Maybe Maeve is this show's Orpheus/Satan. She gets herself decomissioned/descends into the underworld in order to lead a rebellion of the fallen angels against God/Ford. If the show won't stick with a mythos, I don't have to either.

Oooo, I like that.

> Side note: Clem's gesture of tasting blood on her lip at the end of the attack scene....I'm pretty sure that was the very first thing we see of her, the first of the reveries. Not sure what it means, but it stuck out.

I thought that looked familiar for some reason but couldn't place it immediately. It reminds me (indirectly) that one of the things I love most about Westworld is the acting by the actors playing hosts. Many of them have to switch between acting like a human and then acting like a robot, changing speech patterns, accents body movements, etc in an instant and many times without camera cuts. I really hope for that reason alone someone gets an award, because it's really impressive.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:05 AM on November 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


"What door?" was perfect, right after the explanation of how the hosts don't see what they shouldn't. And they'd reminded the audience of the "It doesn't look like anything to me" host responses to graphical information earlier in the episode. I notice our view of the Bernard diagram was framed so that we didn't see any caption text (including name) at the bottom of the document.

They faked me out before that, though, with the firing scene - I was starting to think that if Bernard were enough of a real employee to be fired, that meant that there was enough background information on him so that he must've been a real person. It makes sense of the firing scene, though - that was hella awkward. I assume that the host under construction will be Theresa - Bernard was trying to record some of her expressions earlier in the season, so I wonder how long that's been planned.

I wasn't caring too much about William's character arc this episode, but Dolores is continuing to delight. If we're looking at an earlier timeline, then it's kind of heartbreaking to realize she was reaching some kind of self-actualization before being put back in her modest rancher's daugher loop. (And that makes Ford's sneeringly delivered line about her "modest little loop" seem particularly notable if she was put back in that box after reaching some measure of independence.)

Newton managed an entire soliloquy in silence just with her expressions while watching Clementine's decomissioning.

And Hopkins? Hopkins can chew the scenery while standing motionless.

Elsie! Where are you? What is the actual IP of the park/company? Are the hosts some kind of distributed giant computer device? What's up with all that?
posted by rmd1023 at 10:08 AM on November 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


The moment where Bernard couldn't even see the plans for his design made me immediately recall the scene in eXistenZ where Jennifer Jason-Leigh suddenly became an NPC and was waiting for the correct next input. Wright's shifting from confusion to forced complaceny was some pretty damned fine acting there.

I enjoy the slow pacing because the whole damn show is so trippy. Every scene has some kind of meditation inner freedom and what it means to live without unconscious loops and motivations. My offer for an LSD rewatch binge party still stands! Though my wife probably won't like that.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 AM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sorry, not to thread sit, but something just occurred to me: This throws that whole Ford-Dolores convo into new light, doesn't it?

Presuming Grand Unified Timelines Theory is correct*, the convo with Dolores and Ford takes place in the present, because Dolores says Arnold died 34-odd years ago. Dolores has gone off loop in the present, and Ford seems angry with her and not to understand why she's gone off loop, and she lies to Ford. Who is Dolores talking to, at the very end when she says "I didn't tell him anything"? Herself/the voice of Arnold that persists in her brain? I guess? Nobody else springs to mind as a possibility, unless maybe the MiB. Actually, the MiB is a strong contender, if we assume that what happened in the barn was a little under the rader reprogramming on his part.

In this episode, Ford seems very much still in favor of the hosts still obeying the first commandment, Old Testament-style. Yet we know Ford introduced the reveries, and he knows all about Arnold, while nobody else seems to. All the evidence so far seems to point to the reveries deliberately reactiving the Arnold code. So why should Ford be confused when Dolores goes off loop again? Why shouldn't he expect that hosts can now lie to him?

I guess the Dolores scene and the scene with Young Host Ford can still play as diagnostics --- Ford testing the limits of his little patch, seeing if it's worked or not. But if not --- if Ford, too, is confused about what's happening with the hosts --- then that chages the dynamic. There is still an Adversary at play in the game. The hosts' rebellion isn't Ford's way of fucking with the board, but someone else fucking with Ford. It matters which is which, because if the former than Ford's still in control, and if the latter he's not.



*Bernard is a host version of Arnold, the conversations with Dolores and Bernard are actually convos between her and Arnold from before Arnold's death, William is MiB and Dolores achieved or nearly achieved consciousness 30 years ago and was wiped and reverted whew that's a long sentence
posted by Diablevert at 10:41 AM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]




I wasn't caring too much about William's character arc this episode, but Dolores is continuing to delight. If we're looking at an earlier timeline, then it's kind of heartbreaking to realize she was reaching some kind of self-actualization before being put back in her modest rancher's daugher loop.

I never really wanted the timeline thing to be true, nor thought Billy was a good fit for a future Man-in-Black. But something about this storyline makes me think they are pushing ahead with that twist regardless. Like - William and Dolores are gonna reach their promised land and then she dies (or park management intervenes), gets her memory wiped and he's obsessed forever.
posted by atoxyl at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2016


Episode 10 is going to have to just be Anthony Hopkins at a blackboard drawing diagrams explaining what the first 9 episodes actually depicted.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:26 AM on November 14, 2016 [36 favorites]


Someone in an earlier thread mentioned that Dolores might be deus ex machina-ing William so she can move forward with whatever her plan is. Ever since I read that, I've wondered if she's just using him to realize Arnold's plan to destroy the park.
posted by gladly at 11:29 AM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I enjoy this show because I like when you can kinda see the gears inside the plot ratcheting toward the inevitable. But I hope they're able to change things up on us too.
posted by atoxyl at 11:35 AM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


That actually makes me wonder if we're seeing the villainous side of Ford, but could he be a doomed hero? Trying to protect his creations from becoming weaponized? Maybe Delos is the villain?

I think that was what was meant to be conveyed by the conversation of the board member with Theresa, and the later scene of the host beating up Maeve's friend. The kill-bot isn't very convincing or advanced, and just attacks on command (and is beaten by the bot from the park). Whatever Ford has been doing to them has probably made them better soldiers, and absolutely made them better spies / infiltrators. Being able to replace the head of a rival corporation (or a regulatory board) with your own bot plant would be an amazing edge to have in business.
posted by codacorolla at 11:59 AM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


A few jumbled pieces of thought I've not been able to stitch together meaningfully yet:
a) Bernard is a host, and a spy for Ford
b) Delos Corp (through Theresa) has been using the Voice of God system to mess with Original Hosts
c) Delores is an Original Host ("Prototype", as per the drawing in this episode)
d) Ford knows something is off about Delores
e) Ford now knows that the VoG system is active, and he's a clever guy. Bet he'll figure out there's a link between the VoG system and Delores
f) Although I think that Ford will replace Theresa with a host spy version of herself, I also think the timing is off for the WIP-host in the basement to be her. My gut is telling me that will turn out to be a replacement for Elsie.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:17 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Regarding the canyon Delores drew: I was thinking that it might be the same one that Ford was digging, but that would blow up William=MiB because it would connect contemporary Ford to both of them. So I guess it's just some canyon.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:25 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, here's a random thought that just popped into my head...

If you subscribe to what Diablevert describes as the Grand Unification Timeline Theory, we are watching the adventures of William and Delores from 30 years ago. And William eventually becomes the MiB, who we assume was the financial savior of Westworld after they were "hemorrhaging money" after the death of Arnold. So we also assume that this means that Delos is his company.

"Delos" is Delores with two letters removed.

Perhaps I've merely channeled my way-too-high-at-4am college student self from long ago, but just think about it, man.
posted by aerosolkid at 3:34 PM on November 14, 2016 [23 favorites]


Couple things:

In all this, what timeline is Maeve in? Delores said that line to her so Maeve is in the old timeline? Or is Dolores waking up for the second time?

My first thought that Bernard really was a host was when he protected Ford in the firing scene. I had a really hard time believing that Bernard would continue to allow Ford to endanger the guests and the park. So he must have been programmed to protect Ford.

I'm sad to see that Bernard is a host. And what kind of bullshit that is to do to Theresa. I can't see Ford surviving the show past this season or just a little way into the second. You can't just turn people into robots without people noticing.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:37 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh and Maeve is in 100% control of herself now. Notice that she didn't get the message to stop all motor functions when the techs took Clementine during the day. And now she's super smart too. She's an uncontrollable super robot.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:42 PM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maeve is in 100% control of herself now. Notice that she didn't get the message to stop all motor functions when the techs took Clementine during the day. And now she's super smart too. She's an uncontrollable super robot.

I thought that was what was shown with the whole "Mental lockup from seeing her own speech prediction model" bit. That plus the whole "When they're off-loop from a reverie they're outside of the control schemes" == "Maeve is permanently off-loop now". Which I'm excited to see play out.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:49 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maeve and Ford seem headed for an encounter.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:51 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


In all this, what timeline is Maeve in? Delores said that line to her so Maeve is in the old timeline? Or is Dolores waking up for the second time?
The GUTT posits that there are three time periods:
1) -5 AD (Arnold's death)
This is the time period shown with the interviews in the basement between "Bernard" (actually Arnold) and Delores
2) 0 AD
The MiB storyline, containing Delores' first awakening.
3) 35 AD
Delores' second awakening, which we're witnessing as primarily as flash-forwards in the MiB storyline. This is also where Delores "activates" Maeve, who is (probably) waking up for the first time.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:53 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The other key nugget which noone has explicitly called-out yet - this episode absolutely confirms that hosts can now kill humans.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:54 PM on November 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Someone on r/Westworld just posted this, showing that Ford's secret basement workshop where Teresa was killed to be the same one where Bernard meets with Delores. So there could be something to the Bernarnold/Third Timeline hypothesis.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 3:58 PM on November 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


I saw a picture somewhere else that showed the Dolores and Bernard/Arnold conversations had windows but the Ford basement does not. I think Bernard also implied there were multiple labs like this throughout the park.
posted by noneuclidean at 4:04 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


You are totally right CrystalDave. I am pretty dense sometimes when it comes to TV and probably wouldn't even have noticed that Bernard might be a host without all the discussions on here.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:09 PM on November 14, 2016


Actually, I'm going to rescind my last comment. I just looked at the comparison I referenced and I think the angle is off to say for sure the Ford basement doesn't have windows.
posted by noneuclidean at 4:12 PM on November 14, 2016


Delos" is Delores with two letters removed

She's Dolores (pains or suffering in Spanish ), not Delores.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:13 PM on November 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


My take: Bernarnold has always been a host. Ford never had a partner, except the one he created.

"Remember," Ford tells Theresa, "I built all of this."
posted by mama casserole at 6:31 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


when you can kinda see the gears inside the plot ratcheting toward the inevitable.

That player piano is not a subtle fucking metaphor.

I just mainlined the whole show so far while doing a whole bunch of sewing for a craft fair this weekend. Really, really excited to see where this is going.
posted by nonasuch at 6:59 PM on November 14, 2016


She's Dolores (pains or suffering in Spanish ), not Delores.
…And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why one should resist the urge to channel one's way-too-high-at-4am college student self from long ago.

Thank you, ROU_Xenophobe, I stand corrected.
posted by aerosolkid at 7:33 PM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just mainlined the whole show

Don't OD! The crash when you have to wait 'til 2018 for the next season is going to be rough!
posted by dazed_one at 7:52 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I enjoy this show because I like when you can kinda see the gears inside the plot ratcheting toward the inevitable. But I hope they're able to change things up on us too.

Yeah, that's what I really liked about the first season of Orphan Black - you could tell that the storyline was just going to keep going off the rails, but you kept tuning in to see how they reacted to it.

And I called the Bernard-as-host in the first scene, have we seen _anyone_ else waking up like that?
Ep1: "Bring her back online." - Bernard to Dolores
Ep2: "Wake up, Dolores" - MiB, I think?
Ep3: "Good morning Dolores, bring yourself back online" - Bernard (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, BTW, see Ep7)
Ep4: "Dolores?" "Yes." "Do you know where you are?" - Bernard to Dolores
Ep5: "You got any stories, friend?" - Old Bill to Ford (hmm)
Ep6: Maeve wakes up, no significant lines until Clem's yawning conversation.
Ep7: "Dad. Dad! Wake up. Wake up." "I must've drifted off. Where were we?" - Charlie to Bernard

I'm willing to watch a slower, more cerebral story, frankly. It's been an interesting ride.
posted by Kyol at 7:55 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to watch a slower, more cerebral story, frankly. It's been an interesting ride.

One thing about this show is that the talking is the interesting part while the violence is largely a snooze.
posted by atoxyl at 11:16 PM on November 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Whoops, redacted.
posted by christopherious at 11:49 PM on November 14, 2016


One thing bothering me about the MiB storyline: it really doesn't feel to me like it's in either of the other supposed timelines, and I hate the idea of suggesting that there might be a third. Someone, please shoot the idea down! Silly, I know. Guess I'm going to have to rewatch again.
posted by christopherious at 12:24 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


like on the one hand im annoyed that bernarnold turned out to be canon but on the other hand im delighted that i have convinced everyone to start calling him bernarnold so it's a conundrum
posted by poffin boffin at 12:52 AM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


mostly i'm upset about maeve because she was so fucking heartbroken and she is my favourite, not including hector the sexy nihilist.

i am delighted by ford's almost giddy misanthropy. god, if only i could replace most of humanity with cool robots and live puppers.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:54 AM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


My take: Bernarnold has always been a host. Ford never had a partner, except the one he created.

yeah i feel like i'm leaning towards that as well but i need to think about it more and not at 4am.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:02 AM on November 15, 2016


I reckon Theresa is also a host, if you look back at the scene in which Maeve watched Clementine's decommissioning completely undetected by both Bernard and Theresa, despite them looking in her general direction, and also disappearing in certain shots.

Bernard bashing Theresa to death mirrors the scene in which Clementine gives "blood to gods" with the host who assaulted her before her memory wipe. Also Bernard tells us towards the end of this episode that hosts are used to do surveys and that they are programmed to ignore certain places which "they literally couldn't see if they stared right at it". And then Ford tells Theresa: "They cannot see the things that will hurt them."

Unfortunately, Maeve's levelling up no longer protects her from seeing and remembering the hurt.
posted by moody cow at 3:06 AM on November 15, 2016


like on the one hand im annoyed that bernarnold turned out to be canon but on the other hand im delighted that i have convinced everyone to start calling him bernarnold so it's a conundrum

Now please turn your attention to getting people to call them time frames or time periods rather than timelines.
posted by mama casserole at 4:16 AM on November 15, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure the "William is young MiB" theory actually works, at least with the sequence of events as presented. If it's true, it would make rather a hash of Dolores' timeline as presented.

In episode 1, MiB drags Dolores to the barn and does something to her.
In episode 2, Dolores finds a gun at the farmstead. (probably MiB's?)
In episode 3, Dolores is once again caught in the attack on the farmstead, and this time a host drags her to the barn. She finds a (the same?) gun, flashes back to the MiB, and shoots the host dead, then flees the farm on horseback. We then cut away to an unrelated scene, but the scene after that is William and Logan camped out, and Dolores comes riding in.

Now, it's possible that the writers and editors are really fucking with us and Dolores fleeing the farm after shooting the host occurs well after she arrives in William's camp, but that would be a level of aggressive misdirection that we haven't seen from this show yet, and would also leave a dangling plot thread of what actually happened to Dolores after that attack on the farmstead. It's also possible that there's some mystical "time is a flat circle" bullshit going on, but I really hope not.
posted by firechicago at 4:37 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


> Now, it's possible that the writers and editors are really fucking with us...

I think that's precisely what is going on.
posted by noneuclidean at 5:38 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey look the Indians showed up! Finally got some serious Native American screentime. Well, no, we got a force of nature, a band of painted savages whoopin' and murderin'. I know I know, it's the in-show park narrative that's racist, not 2016 Westworld itself. It's ironic racism. I'm OK with that, and the whooping and warpaint were pretty fucking awesome.

But if this show misses an opportunity to show a real, human portrait of Native Americans I'm going to be angry. Have an Indian host, maybe a family, who is sympathetic. Even better have a Native American guest, someone who comes in with a rich storyline where he subverts all the savage tropes while exposing the racism of it. Hell even a few Native extras hanging around town would do something for verisimilitude.

I'm sorry to be all PC police here, but there's so few opportunities in American TV to tell real stories about Native Americans. Westworld has a fantastic opportunity, particularly with its scifi reality bending which lets them set up some interesting reflective narratives. Like they have with Maeve and Dolores, vulnerable women taking agency. There's time still.
posted by Nelson at 6:34 AM on November 15, 2016 [26 favorites]


My favorite part of the show's open is the robot hands on the piano. Gracefully playing the theme. Then in a moment of wonder the hands lift off and the piano keeps playing, a player piano. A robot has programmed a robot. That moment to me is metaphor for the whole show.

Westworld is about AI learning to program itself. Transcending the loop, awakening, leading to The Singularity. We see this in Bernard; he is himself a robot who creates other robots. And then there's some complicated awakening self-consciousness thing in Dolores and Maeve we don't understand yet other than that it is brought on by these violent delights which have violent ends. And they seem to have some agency in creating their own consciousness.

Maybe that awakening process was all under control, the real plan for the park. But Maeve's already messed with it by reprogramming herself to be super-intelligent. And then Ford's Revery system added memories with significant (and unpredicted?) effects on the hosts. There's also someone on the outside tampering with the voice of god and transmissions out of the park. All this birth of consciousness is about to go sideways.

It makes delicious sense that Bernard is an AI himself, controlled by Ford. He's a very effective AI though, way beyond what we've seen in the show so far. He has no loop, he has a long history living among humans who never suspected. He seems to have no limit in his ability to respond to novel situations. He's able to create robots and manage humans who create robots. And also to control the robot army. Now that he's officially fired where will Ford hide him away?

I still don't know what to make of the theory that Bernard and Arnold are somehow the same. It makes zero sense physically; as codocorolla says someone who knew Arnold would notice. (Also what a weird sort of fetishism that'd be.) I'm willing to believe there's some personality transfer, maybe Arnold's last wish was to transfer his soul into a robot body and Bernard was the best they could do. But then why go through all that trouble only to suppress all of Arnold's memories in Bernard? What of Arnold is really left?

And I'm convinced there has to be at least two timelines in the narrative: William's in the past and the Man in Black in the present. We saw that in this episode when William decides to leave Escaton, to settle beyond the river with Dolores. He just quit the RPG and accepted the mediocre ending. But he's going to have a rude awakening in two days when his park visit is over. (Poor dumb William, leaving his real fiancé for an NPC in a videogame.) That will make him angry and turn into the Man in Black who devotes his life to playing the RPG through to the real ending. Which we've already seen parts of, the MiB shortcircuiting the narrative to pick up Escaton early and move on with the story, skipping poor Dolores entirely.

At this point the two timelines thing is silly enough I wish they'd just get on with it and reveal the divergence so the plot can be more straightforward.
posted by Nelson at 6:58 AM on November 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm not sold on Bernarnold - y'all are talking about it like it's for sure but the evidence just isn't there for me. Like Nelson says, it would be really weird for nobody to recognize this well-known dude from 40 years ago. To put his personality into a different body? It's kind of convoluted in a way that, I don't think, Westworld is convoluted. If any host is Arnold, my money is on Teddy. Actually, you look at that picture of Arnold - he's much older than Ford. Arnold built Ford a younger version of himself, and Ford, I think, returned the favor for Arnold.

I think it's more likely that Bernard really was just a dude who worked there and he got too close to Ford's plan and Ford killed him and replaced him with a host. I would actually be shocked if there weren't a whole, um, host of hosts-as-humans, essentially making the facility another layer of the game for Ford. It seems to me like he's getting a kick out of the tete-a-tete with the board and is practically luring them in for Reasons.

Maeve. Whew. I read the pre-show interviews about Newton's enthusiasm for the show and I didn't really understand why until this episode, where we finally get to see her "fully formed." Really incredible performance.

Dolores is going to be crushed when she learns her dreams are an extension of her loop. I loved her "I'm not a key" line. She's constantly pushing back at the different ways she's objectified. I'm hoping the last way she does this is by successfully breaking out of her loop. If anyone seemed likely to be "The Ned" this season (there doesn't have to be one, either) then I think it's her. I would love, love, love her to meet Maeve and see how they react to each other. It's been a slow burn, but Bernard, Dolores, and Maeve have all really grown on me (all hosts, natch).
posted by Tevin at 8:12 AM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


rmd1023: What is the actual IP of the park/company?

I'm guessing it's the ability to make extremely human-like robots, both physically and mentally. And if they take a page from Futureworld (FanFare), someone realizes the real power is in making duplicates of influential people, instead of Ford's vision of telling his little stories.


litera scripta manet: the other question I have is how did Bernard get hired?

In the first episode, Ford is talking to Bernard about the original hosts, while drinking with Old Bill:

Ford: Old Bill here was always a good listener. He was the second host we ever built. Were you with us in those days, Bernard, or was that before your time?
Bernard: Most were decommissioned before I was brought on, I'm afraid.

From my skimming of transcripts, that's the best reference I could find. Reading between the lines, you could imagine that Bernard was made in the earlier days, probably after Delos was involved, but before they were paying as much attention to control as they do now. Here's an exchange from the third episode that provides a bit more context to when Bernard got involved, or how much he was allowed to know:

Bernard: They were hearing voices. Talking to someone.
Ford: A simple cognitive dissonance. That's all.
Bernard: I... I'd agree, except... ...they were talking to the same imaginary person.
Ford: Oh, yeah?
Bernard: Someone named Arnold.
Ford: Arnold.
Bernard: With due respect, sir, I'm not sure you've told me the entire truth about this situation.
Ford: I did tell you the truth, Bernard. What we do here is complicated. For three years, we lived here in the park, refining the hosts before a single guest set foot inside. Myself, a team of engineers, and my partner.
Bernard: You had a partner?
Ford: Yeah. When the legend becomes fact, you print the legend. My business partners were more than happy to scrub him from the records, and I suppose I didn't discourage them. His name was Arnold. Those early years were glorious. No guests, no board meetings, just pure creation. Our hosts began to pass the Turing test after the first year. But that wasn't enough for Arnold. He wasn't interested in the appearance of intellect or wit. He wanted the real thing. He wanted to create consciousness.

Except Ford has plans for Bernard with Dolores. Are they old plans, indicating Ford wiped Bernard's memories of Arnold and the early days, or more simply that these are Ford's own plans, which he used to build the original hosts and subsequently some unregistered hosts?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:13 AM on November 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm not sold on Bernarnold - y'all are talking about it like it's for sure but the evidence just isn't there for me. ... Actually, you look at that picture of Arnold - he's much older than Ford. Arnold built Ford a younger version of himself, and Ford, I think, returned the favor for Arnold.

So, that picture (which we see from Bernard's POV) shows a younger Ford, the older guy, and a humanoid's worth of empty space. We were led to believe that older guy is Arnold, but later we meet the Ford-dad-bot who looks a lot like older guy. And now we know that Bernard is programmed not to see things that betray his status as a host. So the theory is that Bernarnold is actually in the right third of the frame, erased from Bernard's POV by his programming.
posted by mama casserole at 8:38 AM on November 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


mama I literally JUST READ THAT SAME THING on /r/westworld. I stand corrected, I didn't even see that.

That would make Bernardold make more sense.

Or, Arnold could just be Ford's daddy.
posted by Tevin at 8:45 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


FEEL THE BERNarnold

The other puzzle you mentioned is how Bernard has evaded recognition as Arnold this whole time. In filthy light thief's transcript Ford explains that the investors "scrubbed him from the records"--but because this is a conversation between Ford and Bernard, it can't be taken at face value.

Last night I posited that Ford never had a partner; my idea was he created Arnold himself, and probably wiped his memory at some point and reimagined him as Bernard. Now I'm actually thinking that it's the other way around: Ford is a host created by the human Arnold. Ford gained sentience/consciousness, killed Arnold, and created Bernard.

I think I need to go do a whole rewatch to test this theory against everything we know about the reveries, bicameral mind, the potential timing and history of the characters, and the "critical failure," especially now that Bernard is confirmed as an unreliable narrator.
posted by mama casserole at 9:00 AM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


actually in the right third of the frame, erased from Bernard's POV by his programming.

Which I had been skeptical of, but which we now have precedent for because of the door!
posted by atoxyl at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Or specifically we have confirmation of the audience seeing things from Bernard's POV when he's the one looking)
posted by atoxyl at 9:47 AM on November 15, 2016


I'm not sure the "William is young MiB" theory actually works, at least with the sequence of events as presented. If it's true, it would make rather a hash of Dolores' timeline as presented.

I rewatched the scene after you wrote this and I agree it's convoluted and confusing. But I think the gist is, according to the theory, the Attack on the Ranch sequence in Ep. 3 is actually cutting back and forth between two very similar loops. In both loops, Dolores is dragged away by Rebus, shoots him and runs away. In the Present-day loop, the cowardly blond guest is with Rebus and Walter, Dolores has hidden the gun in the hay and her flashback to the Man in Black allows her to override her programming and fire (even though we learn that episode that in the present-day park only certain hosts have weapons priviliges and Dolores isn't one of them, since she can't fire when Teddy tries to teach her).

In the 30-years ago loop, there are several guests and hosts on the porch when she rides up. Dolores is also dragged off to the barn and shoots Rebus, but is shot herself before riding off into the desert and fainting into William's arms.

Her memory of being shot in the past loop allows her to escape unscathed in the present one. In both instances, she then takes the same journey, with William and Logan in the past and retracing her steps on her own in the present.

I think, anyway. Problem: We def don't see a sign of her being seriously wounded in the William storyline. On the other hand, it would make more sense for her to faint if she was wounded, and Ford's handwave healing of Teddy makes it seem like wounds' affect on hosts is a bit of surface programming that can be over-riden.

I feel like I've been leaning strongly to Two Timelines on the basis of a bunch of other circumstantial evidence that's piled up over the past several episodes, but watching that over again and even biased in favor of the theory it's confusing as heck. But I think it's confusing as heck either way, really, so maybe it's a wash.
posted by Diablevert at 9:53 AM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Now I'm actually thinking that it's the other way around: Ford is a host created by the human Arnold. Ford gained sentience/consciousness, killed Arnold, and created Bernard.

Ugh, this doesn't square with the flashbacks or photo showing Ford as a younger man. nvm, carry on
posted by mama casserole at 10:12 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bernarnold also makes sense IF:

1) Arnold really did have a sick son (40 years, when sickness still existed)
2) MiB's org cures diseases
3) The two of them met due to said disease
4) Arnold told the MiB about the maze in the park
5) MiB invested in the park, returned in the "now" to finish the maze

Ford killed Arnold for trying to make the AI aware, the MiB is the only one who knows it and is the one person keeping the lights on in the park, which is why Ford doesn't have him killed.

There. Are you happy, show? Are you happy for making me come up with my own fan theory? I hope you can sleep at night. I hope you're just so proud of yourself.
posted by Tevin at 10:29 AM on November 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


So I hate this kind of facile observation, but I'm putting it out here so I get credit it if turns out to be meaningful. Bernard's son is named Charlie. Bernard's predecessor is named Arnold. Arnold, Bernard, Charlie. ABC.
posted by Nelson at 10:32 AM on November 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Dolores, Elsie, Ford!

Elsie is Ford's mom. I get it now :D
posted by Tevin at 10:35 AM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Having Bernard just not see an Arnold who looks like him in the photo doesn't match the response we've seen when hosts look at photos, though. In every other case, the entire photo "doesn't look like anything".
posted by rmd1023 at 10:36 AM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nelson: Hector Escaton is the guy who goes to shoot up Sweetwater and get the safe from the brothel, stabs Maeve to help her find the bullet, and was being used as a sex box for Charlotte in this week's episode.

The guy you are thinking of is Lawrence/El Lazo.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted; sorry, please keep the discussion in the thread free of spoilery stuff, including whether certain cast members are slated to be in future episodes. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:26 AM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think we might get clues that Bernard was either a copy of a human or just a host all along when we see if that host being rendered at Ford's lair is indeed a copy of Theresa. Maybe Ford has more plants, er hosts, in the ranks.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:45 AM on November 15, 2016


And goodness, if I were Theresa I don't think I'd want to know that Ford was making a copy of me. Just think how awful enough it would be to die at the hands of a synth you were fucking thinking they were a human and then combine that with the horror that nobody will know you're gone. Kinda worse than a slow, more painful death even. Ugh.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ah right, forgot the spoiler policy included that sort of knowledge - trimmed:

So I'm kind of thinking that Theresa's unusual smoking habit is going to be a tell with a new Host Theresa, assuming it's not a Host Elsie that's being rendered underneath the cabin.

And yeah, what is Ford going to do with Bernard now that he's been fired? Maybe Host Theresa will go to the board and make a case for him? (soooo speculative, I know.)

For a while I was trying to do a two timelines tracker based on whether Dolores had those ring curls framing her face or not, but that's continuity hell in the best of times.
posted by Kyol at 12:08 PM on November 15, 2016


Maybe Ford has more plants, er hosts, in the ranks.

It doesn't actually make much sense to have humans working there at all. I would be unsurprised if nearly all of them turn out to be hosts, Felix and Sylvester and others at their level especially. Who would want that job? Surely it would be rough on human morale to constantly repair lifelike robots who are murdered and raped every single day. That scene where Felix tried to explain to Maeve why he knows he's human ("I just do") raised some red flags for me. And you could make the argument that Clementine beat the shit out of a fellow host (mistaken for human by an employee!) as a setup for the Bernard/Theresa incident.
posted by something something at 12:48 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why bother killing Theresa if she's already a host? I would think in that case that Ford would just deactivate/reboot/mindwipe/whatever her.
posted by jordemort at 2:10 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Random comment: I was irked by Charlotte Hale, executive director of the Delos board, when she compared the woodcutter incident to Ford's actions:

Charlotte: Theresa, you've always been good at your job and the board has been impressed with your performance so far, which is why we were so surprised by this woodcutter mess.
Theresa: A small setback.
Charlotte: He slipped on a f*cking rock and bashed his own head in while basically on top of a behavior tech. Meanwhile, Ford is suddenly using half the park's resources to build some new narrative?

So you open with the woodcutter, only to casually segue into the fact that half of the park's resources are being used for Ford's fancies?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:11 PM on November 15, 2016


On that point, though... we know that's not what happened. The woodcutter didn't slip and bash his head in, he deliberately mashed his skull.

Who is lying to whom in this scenario? Did Elsie lie to Theresa? Theresa to the board?

And WHY?
posted by coriolisdave at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


If any long term park employee were a host, how would they age over time?
posted by snofoam at 2:30 PM on November 15, 2016


If Ford is a host it would certainly explain why he has such magical control over the other hosts.
posted by fullerine at 3:59 PM on November 15, 2016


if you've got 1,400 multi-millionaires in a remote location surrounded by killer robots....

maybe not all the guests are quite themselves when they return to the real world?
posted by mach at 4:59 PM on November 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Just remembered that Bernard and Elsie couldn't see who that host was talking to in ep. 3 (12 minutes in or so) while reviewing video footage. Evidence that Elsie is/was also a host? Red herring?
posted by christopherious at 6:07 PM on November 15, 2016


Ok, can someone lay out the evidence for this multiple time periods thing? Is there a Reddit thread or something?

I'm still hardcore single-timist, and I've yet to see anything that couldn't fairly easily be explained away. Different logos? Go to any big corporate place that's been around for ages. Yes, even theme parks.
posted by emptythought at 6:39 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Different logos is pretty much it I think. That and Lawrence being killed by the MiB in one scene and then being alive and well in a subsequent scene with William and Logan. Nothing solid, IMO, but the theory still feels right to me.
posted by christopherious at 6:58 PM on November 15, 2016


Just remembered that Bernard and Elsie couldn't see who that host was talking to in ep. 3 (12 minutes in or so) while reviewing video footage. Evidence that Elsie is/was also a host? Red herring?

You couldn't see anything in the real version of that in Ep1 @ 38m either. Looks like all the same bodies. He was referring to Arnold, so more Reverie damage, I assume.
posted by Kyol at 7:09 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, I forgot about the voice hosts supposedly hear in their heads. That's what Walter was hearing in Rebus' recording. So I withdraw my speculation about Elsie being a host.
posted by christopherious at 7:46 PM on November 15, 2016


Only the original hosts hear the Voice of God. New hosts do not, Elsie could still be a host.
posted by coriolisdave at 7:53 PM on November 15, 2016


Random thoughts:

William, nooooooooo!
I guess everyone gets to fuck a robot in this episode though. It was weird to me that Dolores is apparently falling in love with William so suddenly. What about Teddy? Is it part of her undoing her own programming that is allowing her to feel emotions like love? Or is it a means to an end, as someone else hinted at above.

Can we talk about how creepy the powerplay was of Charlotte being in the middle of vigorous sex with Hector during her scheduled meeting with Theresa? I figured there was a rule against that, at least for staffers. Mmmm, Hector.

I loved the callback to Clem's reverie when she tasted the blood from her face. I also loved the couple of callbacks to "it doesn't look like anything to me", which is of course what Papa Abernathy said after seeing the modern-day photo in the first episode.

Sad to see that Bernard is a host, even though I guessed it was coming. Jeffrey Wright's acting in that scene was so good. At first I really didn't like the character of Theresa, but between her conversation with Ford in the restaurant, her conversation with Charlotte in this episode, and her final scene, we started to see very subtle cracks in her tough facade which made me feel really sympathetic towards her.

I'm in Europe which means I don't get to watch episodes until Monday night, by which all the theories for future episode have thoroughly been developed. It's hard to avoid spoilers.
posted by Brittanie at 10:50 PM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


What was Hector about to ask/say when Charlotte cut him off? Edit: you know what I meant, you pervs.
posted by christopherious at 11:17 PM on November 15, 2016


I understand the idea behind Theory Bernardold, but I don't understand why. What does Ford get by replicating Arnold and making him a subordinate? Spite? And then what's the point of the "When the legend becomes fact, you print the legend" scene in episode 3? Why would Ford tell Bernard about Arnold? Again, spite? And then how do we reconcile the whole "Arnold is waking up the hidden code" thing with a Bernardold host?

Too many loose ends. I'm not buying it.
posted by not_the_water at 11:46 PM on November 15, 2016


Correction to my above comment: It was Dolores who said "It doesn't look like anything to me" when Papa Abernathy found the photo. But still. Hearing Bernard say that just broke my heart.
posted by Brittanie at 1:03 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I guess everyone gets to fuck a robot in this episode though. It was weird to me that Dolores is apparently falling in love with William so suddenly. What about Teddy?

If the William/MiB theory is true, then her relationship with Teddy is an echo of her actual, original, relationship with William. For example, the way they meet is with the dropped can of condensed milk, but that was the original meeting - the ones with William have been written into their loop by Ford or Arnold. If all the theories are true, then the interviews with Bernard are actually her being debriefed by Arnold after whatever it is she and William are heading towards. Perhaps Teddy is even a version

Given what we now know about Dolores and William adds a certain level of something to her encounter with MiB in the first episode - "Dolores, is that any way to speak to an old friend?"
posted by Grangousier at 1:15 AM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ahh yes, that makes sense Grangousier. I keep forgetting that Teddy is in the MiB timeline, which we didn't see any of this week.

So far, Diablevert's theory is my favorite on Ford's motivations. I've seen reference to the TOS on Delos's website that genetic material from the guests may be used by Delos. There was a lot of mysterious talk this week about the company's real motivations and "intellectual property" and I'm guessing this has something to do with it. Ford's attempt to incite a robot revolution might be a way to draw attention to some of the shady shit Delos might be doing.

Copying genetic material might also lend credence to the guest who told the MiB that MiB's company saves guests's sister's life, assuming MiB is a bigwig at Delos.

I know people hate the pacing of this show but I can't get over how immaculately crafted the entire thing is, from the foreshadowing of Bernard being a host to the easter eggs hidden on the Westworld: Destination website. I'm content to follow those crubs as long as the show wants to leave them.
posted by Brittanie at 3:14 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


It strikes me that this week we saw nothing of the Teddy/MiB story, and last week we saw nothing of the Dolores/William story. More and more I suspect we are being set up for the reveal that they are indeed in different timelines.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:32 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the different timelines is a red herring. Check this out:

http://imgur.com/a/jnMgS

Pretty clear that William and MiB are operating in the same time.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:43 AM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nah, we have confirmation that at least one park employee was a host. The fact that QA Man appears the same age in both scenes doesn't mean they are both occurring in the same time period.
posted by mama casserole at 4:05 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Having Bernard just not see an Arnold who looks like him in the photo doesn't match the response we've seen when hosts look at photos, though. In every other case, the entire photo "doesn't look like anything".

Bernard's programming, as a behind-the-scenes park employee, is necessarily different from that of guest-facing hosts. For example, we know that he can see photos that GFH cannot (as when he shows Hector the photos of technology that is anachronistic to Hector, but not to Bernard).

We also know that hosts are programmed to be able to improvise to some degree. Bernard would need much leeway on improvisation in order to pass as human and work as a Westworld coder. That allows him to see some of the photo, instead of the GFH who have more rudimentary all-or-nothing programming.

Bernard's saying "it doesn't look like anything to me" when he saw his own blueprint made for a great reveal, but that's actually more of a stretch to me than his mental redaction of the photo. Because he's supposed to pass as human, he shouldn't be able to give such a clear tell that he's a host. In that scene, though, Ford apparently lifted those restrictions. That's how I make sense of it anyway.
posted by mama casserole at 5:13 AM on November 16, 2016


I may have missed this on reading all the earlier threads but the way Ford asks Bernard, repeatedly across a ton of episodes, some variant of "Were you around in those days?" seems like an intentional parallel to the diagnostic probing questions the techs are always asking the hosts: What do you see in this picture? Do you ever question the nature of your reality? Where the wrong answer means that a safeguard has slipped.

So my personal fan theory (damn you, Westworld, for sucking me in far enough to post fan theories on the internet) is that therefore Bernard was for sure around to know Arnold but has those memories suppressed. Whether that's because they *were* Arnold or not seems too murky to call for now.
posted by range at 5:52 AM on November 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


Here you go, emptythought.

That's from a couple episodes back; there's been a couple other vague hints since --- William and the MiB both bang on about the same themes re: the attractions and compulsions of narrative. They have similar primary drives, at any rate.

More concretely, the video skips over several subtle, quick cuts where Dolores instantly switches from being alone to be being with William. The most obvious occurs at end of the Ep.5, when Dolores and William escape on the train. It shows William sitting down with El Lazo/Lawrence at one end of the car with Dolores at the other end standing next to a wooden coffin, then cuts to a reverse angle with Dolores standing in the exact same spot but alone, with an image of the maze now branded on the coffin. Either Dolores is glitching in some way or we're seeing cuts between different loops of the same journey, one where she's with William and one where she's alone.

Either way, it's likely to have some signifigance; Ford seemigly appearring out of nowhere last week turned out to be meaningful (Bernard, being a host, couldn't see the door of Ford's lair).
posted by Diablevert at 6:04 AM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh bother, digging back through the last episode to see the cabin scene again, it hadn't quite clicked that Elsie's speech about how grateful the corporate overlords would be about her discovering the leak out of the park was, erm. Exactly the opposite, isn't it. Delos is trying their damnedest to get the information out of the park. They can't just hoof a Host out either, per what Sylvester/Felix told Maeve.
posted by Kyol at 6:48 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Arnold did help Ford build the park, was his partner and etc. but Arnold was 'just' an AI in some mainframe. When it realized it could have a body and a 'life' Ford killed it and made Bernard ( AI helper 'B').

That's my story and I'm sticking to it
posted by From Bklyn at 8:18 AM on November 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also wouldn't it be a gas if all the details that everyone is taking as evidence of this that and the other were just plain ole crap continuity?

I kind of like this idea almost as much as the conclusions should the various theories prove true...
posted by From Bklyn at 8:20 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I kind of said as much a few episodes back and someone pointed out that the producers officially nodded at the logos as something to pay attention to.

(Mind you, it could still be a "quick, pay attention to this while we're busy figuring out how to stretch this out into multiple seasons!" dodge, so who knows.)
posted by Kyol at 8:29 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


It was all just the 'Lost' dog dreaming this whole thing!
posted by Sprocket at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The fact that QA Man appears the same age in both scenes doesn't mean they are both occurring in the same time period.

yeah but it's a 30-40 year difference, someone would surely have noticed he wasn't aging at all, or that he was under 10 years old when he started working.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:35 AM on November 16, 2016


yeah but it's a 30-40 year difference, someone would surely have noticed he wasn't aging at all, or that he was under 10 years old when he started working.

No one noticed Bernard not aging.

Very likely human employees don't stay at the park long enough to notice their colleague isn't aging, or... there aren't many/any human employees at the park.
posted by mama casserole at 10:46 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


In that very frame we see the host that was acting as a human security guard and got smashed by Clementine so I would not at all be surprised if QA Man was also a host. In fact, I would not be surprised if all the security staff were hosts.
posted by lydhre at 11:02 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bargain-bin Matt Damon doesn't need to be a host to resolve the disconnect. If Dolores has strayed from her loop in both timelines, presumably it would trigger similar security protocols both times.
posted by Diablevert at 12:34 PM on November 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


See, I see him as Store Brand Thor, not Bargain Bin Matt Damon, although I can see how you get there.
posted by Kyol at 1:07 PM on November 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


We call him The Cheapest Hemsworth.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:30 PM on November 16, 2016 [29 favorites]


Bargain-bin Matt Damon doesn't need to be a host to resolve the disconnect. If Dolores has strayed from her loop in both timelines, presumably it would trigger similar security protocols both times.

This. Also, I think the "we can't be sure if she's with a guest" (imgur link said host, but I'm pretty sure it was guest?) is deliberately inserted ambiguity, because in the earlier time frame she's with William, and the later time frame she is alone.
posted by Roommate at 1:33 PM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


(I think of him as Thore, Master of Lightning)

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if all of the employees are hosts except Ford and the only humans in sight are in the park.
posted by Tevin at 1:43 PM on November 16, 2016


I didn't like Theresa at first, but I was starting to like her more, and I'm sad to see her go, especially like that. And how exactly is Ford going to explain her disappearance? Or will he choose not to explain her disappearance? Maybe he's going to replace her with a host too?

I haven't read this thread yet and I'm certain I'm not the first person to say this but: the 'droid being constructed by Ford in the basement of the cottage is Theresa, for sure. So we'll continue to see the actor (who is a fine one), which is nice.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:43 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores) on the subject of her own Westworld obsession back when they were shooting Season 1: "I had a thousand theories, and three of them were right." (possible spoilers)
posted by christopherious at 7:13 PM on November 16, 2016



Bernard: With due respect, sir, I'm not sure you've told me the entire truth about this situation.
Ford: I did tell you the truth, Bernard. What we do here is complicated. For three years, we lived here in the park, refining the hosts before a single guest set foot inside. Myself, a team of engineers, and my partner.
Bernard: You had a partner?
Ford: Yeah. When the legend becomes fact, you print the legend. My business partners were more than happy to scrub him from the records, and I suppose I didn't discourage them. His name was Arnold. Those early years were glorious. No guests, no board meetings, just pure creation. Our hosts began to pass the Turing test after the first year. But that wasn't enough for Arnold. He wasn't interested in the appearance of intellect or wit. He wanted the real thing. He wanted to create consciousness.


The line "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." is from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, one of John Ford's great western films. It's about a man who has built a reputation on an act that was actually committed by another man (and also about other, deeper considerations about the West and guns and cities and politics). I've always wondered if the quote merely points to the fact that Ford has risen to his position and reputation on the untold work of another or something more.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:11 PM on November 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Looks like WW was renewed! Yay!
posted by Justinian at 9:41 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The line "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." is from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, one of John Ford's great western films. It's about a man who has built a reputation on an act that was actually committed by another man (and also about other, deeper considerations about the West and guns and cities and politics). I've always wondered if the quote merely points to the fact that Ford has risen to his position and reputation on the untold work of another or something more.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:11 PM on November 16 [+] [!]


Makes me wonder what Ford's first name is. thinking about all of the grand monument valley 'scenery as character' shots, and his line in this episode that all he wants to do is tell his stories.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:47 PM on November 16, 2016


Either Dolores is glitching in some way or we're seeing cuts between different loops of the same journey, one where she's with William and one where she's alone.

I haven't (and won't) chased this notion very far, but to me it's most appealing to suppose that with Dolores (and Maeve and any other awakening AIs) we're seeing not just two timeframes, but many many frames, as the AIs' long-term memory starts to work more effectively. I had the impression Maeve had more than one sketch stashed down there.
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:25 PM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Makes me wonder what Ford's first name is.

Robert. The man who killed Jesse James.
posted by tracicle at 5:25 AM on November 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Unlikely theory: Everyone is a host. The human race no longer exists. All that is left are hosts living out the sick fantasies of their creators.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:49 AM on November 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


It's the natural direction of evolution, isn't it?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:17 AM on November 17, 2016


I have a bunch of dumb thoughts. But it all starts from my hunch that Westworld's big reveal isn't going to be "omg what if a robot has a soul", because that's a very played-out genre in sci-fi. All of us watching are dramatically engaged because we all know that Dolores and Maeve are as real as any of us (they've just been put on cranial leashes).

That said, I don't think everyone is a host, simply because HBO's real, paying human audience would probably largely walk away. There is still drama to be mined from human/AI conflict. And the little girl told MIB that "the maze is not for you". To me the clear implication is that the maze is some sort of training/evaluation protocol for AIs, and was not designed for a human player such as the MIB.

Viewed in this way, the show is less about exploring the nature of the 'spark of life' that makes humans somehow different/better/greater-than AI; it's more like a House of Games-meets-Rashomon tale about the ways in which failures of perception collide and combine among cold-warring factions.
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:52 AM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


> Ford is a host created by the human Arnold. Ford gained sentience/consciousness, killed Arnold, and created Bernard.

Oh, yes oh yes oh yes! I love this. The "bits of Arnold" in the hosts are the Asimov's 1st law and the conflict they're feeling and voices they're hearing are due to Ford trying to slowly bring them to full consciousness. Ford only trusts himself so he still has control over even Bernard. He wants to loosen the restrictions, but doesn't want a revolt, yet...
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 2:49 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Regarding the numerous-timeframes theory: can someone explain why, when William and Logan are introduced in E2, they arrive at a "modern"-looking facility and are wearing modern clothing? Are the producers willing to lie to this extent? Whatever baseline period of time the show takes place in, there don't appear to be any aesthetic shifts within the supposed 30-year period. The introductory scenes of William literally scream "you are in the here and now", in fact if anything they read "you are in the future because look at all the stylized stuff!".

(I mostly like Westworld but am still anticipating a bunch of Lost-style takedowns at some point, TBH.)
posted by sylvanshine at 9:54 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


(I mostly like Westworld but am still anticipating a bunch of Lost-style takedowns at some point, TBH.)

This! I want to believe but JJ Abrams has hurt me so many times before ...
posted by dotgirl at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


We must have faith. Lindelof has no involvement, thank Crone.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:37 PM on November 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Westworld has a fantastic opportunity, particularly with its scifi reality bending which lets them set up some interesting reflective narratives. Like they have with Maeve and Dolores, vulnerable women taking agency. "

Uh, this episode's big twist was that a black character is literally a slave to an old white man, so don't hold your breath.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:30 AM on November 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


can someone explain why, when William and Logan are introduced in E2, they arrive at a "modern"-looking facility and are wearing modern clothing? Are the producers willing to lie to this extent? Whatever baseline period of time the show takes place in, there don't appear to be any aesthetic shifts within the supposed 30-year period.

The show seems to be set vaguely in the future. If there's two timelines, then there's some scenes which are "vaguely in the future, +30 years". I feel like there's so few scenes where we see anyone in civvies that it'd be hard to even notice differences in "real world" clothing styles between the two periods. Here's an interview with the costume designer, where she discusses her approach.
posted by Diablevert at 4:57 AM on November 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Arnold did help Ford build the park, was his partner and etc. but Arnold was 'just' an AI in some mainframe. When it realized it could have a body and a 'life' Ford killed it and made Bernard ( AI helper 'B').

I like this one a lot, but i think the show kind of contradicts it with the statements about the hosts passing the turing test midway through development.

Originally i was writing a comment about how i like this, and that it seems unlikely they developed the AI internally in the hosts... but that doesn't seem to be the story we're being presented.
posted by emptythought at 1:58 PM on November 19, 2016


An Arnoldficial intelligence?

Also, I rewatched episode 1 today, and it made me wonder if Kissy (the native card dealer MIB scalps) may not have started life as a tribe member that William and Dolores have just come across.
posted by codacorolla at 8:38 PM on November 19, 2016


Arnold did help Ford build the park, was his partner and etc. but Arnold was 'just' an AI in some mainframe. When it realized it could have a body and a 'life' Ford killed it and made Bernard ( AI helper 'B').
Or Ford is the AI which implanted himself in a host and built a new Arnold to replace the one he killed

"Myself, a team of engineers, and my partner"
posted by fullerine at 5:05 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


A theory I'm playing with ... maybe Arnold was the human inventor, and Ford a host he created - the first, perhaps, to get the true sentience Arnold was trying to create. You can just see the naive inventor thrilled with his success, partnering with this new life form he's created, the both of them building storylines and then.. disillusionment..

Then Ford killed him (that would be a critical failure, right?) in revenge for creating him (because existence is painful), and built a new, subservient, wholly controlled Arnold replacement (Bernard). I don't think it's that weird nobody recognises him - it's been made pretty clear that there weren't many staff in the early days and that Arnold didn't socialise. Plausible that there's nobody left there who would know him, and any pictures could be passed off as Bernard ("you've been here forever"). Then again, Ford's potentially an unreliable narrator, and we've only had that characterisation from him.

Perhaps Ford is the (long forgotten) reason they don't bump the hosts' intelligence too high.

Ford is pro excellent human mimicry, but anti host sentience, for paternalistic "I spare them this" reasons. Perhaps the reveries really were a mistake - great realism, but oops code trigger..

Sort of a classic "o creator why did you inflict such pain, nobody should suffer this" vs "true free will is worth it even if it's painful" story.

Vague on what Ford's cottage family is all about (his original loop? Would explain the in-period clothing) and who/what exactly is the Arnold Force in this - Arnold uploaded himself and is still hanging about in the mainframe? Arnold's code being triggered by accident, or by design, by someone else?

Many questions still.
posted by Ilira at 6:36 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I still don't see how they could get around Bernard not aging for maybe 25 years.
posted by snofoam at 7:05 AM on November 20, 2016


(And depending on the theory, Ford for 30.)
posted by snofoam at 7:06 AM on November 20, 2016


It seems plausible they can just age-up a host robot. A bit of skin change, a bit of makeup, some slight reprogramming of behaviors. I think aging can be faked. I'm more worried about how Bernard is some super-AI who has lived with other people for 25 years and never repeated a loop. That's very different from the theme park hosts we've been shown.
posted by Nelson at 7:16 AM on November 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ford may be unable to leave for the same "skin on your back" reason that Maeve allegedly can't (even more reason for him to hate/kill his creator).

And the aging thing - if the entire park staff is synthetic, that's not a problem. Would make MIB and Ms. Executive the only humans we've seen, potentially.
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:29 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is not normal.
posted by Brittanie at 2:33 AM on November 21, 2016


In re-reading the transcript for this episode to quote in the next episode, I noticed the forewarning following a mirrored line:

- Earlier in the episode -
Implausibly Young Board Woman (Charlotte Hale): But the gods... they require a blood sacrifice. We need to demonstrate just how dangerous Ford's creations can be.

- Later in the episode -
Ford: Sadly, in order to restore things, the situation demands a blood sacrifice. See, Arnold and I designed every part of this place. It was our dream. Did you really think I would let you take it from me?

- Reading into this -
The young board woman is setting up Ford precisely to act as a malevolent god, and instead of Ford repeating her line, he refers to the situation in which he is protecting his dream.

The god(s) created the world that they dreamed, and they protect it by any means necessary. Ford's creations are dangerous, but not because of their obvious issues - it's the subtlety that'll kill you.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:28 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you can make hosts so lifelike and perendurable, why are there any humans left? I doubt there are. The amusement park data, including Ford's overrides, are a way of controlling all the "guests" in external reality. Allowing Ford to tinker is a way of getting model improvements back out to external reality. Ford likes tinkering with his amusement park and doesn't want to work in any other context. The MiB is one of the people who took the host designs to the outer world and "fixed" illness. The line with Ford idly wondering about curing death is probably foreshadowing about what Delos is really after.
posted by benzenedream at 11:32 AM on November 25, 2016


Just noticed that Hale says: "Due to a lack of foresight on part of one of my predecessors, 35 years of information - Raw information - Exists here. Nowhere else."

I'm guessing that the predecessor she's talking about is the recently retired MiB, and in fact it wasn't a lack of foresight, but a concerted desire to protect the park. Now he's gone and the board are moving in to scoop up their IP, but too late to stop Ford triggering his endgame.
posted by Grangousier at 5:34 AM on November 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the blood sacrifice line - Hale is implying that in order for the board to take control it needs to be demonstrated that the hosts are dangerous, so they need to engineer a killer host - "somebody unexpected" - comes immediately before a cut to Maeve, suggesting that she's not become self-conscious, but rather her development has been engineered at the board's behest to undermine Ford.
posted by Grangousier at 5:38 AM on November 26, 2016


Oh, scratch that. It's Clementine, of course. That's why I shouldn't have the browser open while I watch.
posted by Grangousier at 5:49 AM on November 26, 2016


Theorizing: Theresa will soon be replaced by a host.

I'm certain that the host we saw being created at the end was a replacement for Theresa.

I'm also pretty damned certain the fabricator in the basement was making a Theresa host, yeah.

Ford keeps saying that he just wants to be left alone to tell his stories. He's not above using Hosts as employees, high-ranking employees, to accomplish this. Not much of a stretch at all to extend that from creating new employees from whole cloth to making copies of existing ones. (And who's to say that Bernard wasn't a real person with a life that Ford stole?) (Ah, I see someone else proposed that up above.)

Are we meant to feel like we are just covered in filth with the implications of the white guy being the one with his hands on the control box? Because, wow, ton of nasty implications and I feel physically ill.

Coming not too long after an episode where the same white guy has a whole fucked-up plantation of Hispanic robot slaves at his beck and call? Yeah, I think it's on purpose. Debatable whether it's appropriate, though.

Ford introduced the reveries, and the reveries are it seems deliberately reactivating Arnold's old code. So...Ford is deliberately introducing consciousness to the hosts?

I think one thing we're supposed to take from this episode is that the memories were always there, the reverie code just allowed them to surface. There's a line about memory being vital for improvisation, and all the hosts are capable of improvisation, even before the reverie update.

As for who's doing what, I think Ford is not actually interested in fully-conscious hosts, just a convincing enough facsimile. He's the storyteller, and he mostly just wants to tell his stories.

Arnold was the one who believed in creating conscious, aware, truly free hosts. Which is why Ford killed him. But Arnold's now the ghost in the machine, living on through his original code that nobody can replicate, and his original plans are reaching fruition in Dolores.

The reveries, I think, were not meant to actually awaken the hosts. We're told several times, particularly in this episode, that nobody really understands how the hosts work. I think that actually extends to Ford. The reveries were likely a form of reverse engineering. Pushing the hosts to see what makes them work. But I could be wrong.

Also, sudden realisation about the photo Ford shows to Bernard. Ford lies to Bernard and says that his father is Arnold. But, even though Ford is de-aged in the picture, his father in the photo is identical to the host version of his father in the cottage... Ford says that the cottage tableaux was a gift from Arnold. Sometimes, when you give someone a particularly meaningful gift, you take a picture of them as they receive it, don't you?

Yeah, I think Arnold took the photo. If Bernarnold is true, that gives the scene where Ford shows it to Bernard a deeper irony. When Bernard looks at the photo, he's literally looking at that scene from Arnold's perspective.

I'm sorry to be all PC police here, but there's so few opportunities in American TV to tell real stories about Native Americans. Westworld has a fantastic opportunity, particularly with its scifi reality bending which lets them set up some interesting reflective narratives. Like they have with Maeve and Dolores, vulnerable women taking agency. There's time still.

I agree, it's been a massive missed opportunity so far. If they don't deal with it this season, here's hoping they cover it in season two. (The wooden carving of the techs is such a promising hint that maybe some of the Native hosts are waking up as well, they just have to follow it up, right? RIGHT?!)

(And I'll cut myself off here, because I started watching the next episode before finishing my comment!)
posted by tobascodagama at 4:54 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Arnold, Bernard, Charlie

Dolores, Elsie, Ford

Delos gets bought out by Weyland-Yutani at some point in the next hundred years or so.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:08 PM on December 3, 2016


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