Before dissecting the beautiful enigma of this week’s new episode of Westworld, let’s celebrate the show’s third-season renewal announced on Tuesday! In twelve episodes, Westworld has shown no sign of letting up, and “Reunion” followed by the news of the renewal are a clear indications of such. To begin to deconstruct Westworld is a taxing effort and demanding of a high tolerance for enigmatic dialog for viewers, particularly this season. We are essentially following several timelines, keeping track of the events of each and how they relate to the present timeline. With so many theories already brewing—from Bernard actually being Teddy to the reality of “the weapon”—this season of Westworld is off to a phenomenally jarring and ambiguously promising start.
To say season two of Westworld feels almost like a different series is a massive understatement. Season one’s finale was the perfect setup for all that is to come, and now that the climactic death of Ford and uprising of Dolores as Wyatt is leading is to what quite literally equates to human genocide, it is quite evident that the series has changed drastically in direction, yet it remains surprisingly similar in tone and execution. For example, Westworld continues to unfold its mysteries in a non-linear fashion, riddled with enigmatic clues. Of course, now we now are aware of the show’s multiple timelines—even if it does raise more questions in the end. Additionally, the uprising of the Hosts is something the series has teased since its start, and seeing it finally come to life in genuine form is phenomenal payoff—particularly for Maeve and Dolores (though I have my qualms with Dolores, which will be discussed soon). It may be argued the season hasn’t fully taken off yet, but frankly, this is incredibly similar to the manner in which season one developed, and each episode will bring more to the table and brew newer theories as it evolves. Let’s work with what we know so far.
There are four key narratives (no pun intended) to watch for in this season of Westworld (some in both past and present timelines): Dolores as Wyatt on her quest for world domination, Maeve en route to her daughter in a deserted region of the park, William as he is playing a new game, “The Door,” and Bernard as he struggles to stay alive. We also see characters like Dolores and Angela taken into the real world at the start of Delos, long before Westworld and incredibly telling of where it has come to be. There are several major takeaways from these scenes, particularly the gorgeous beta-Westworld party where Mr. Delos conducted the Turing Test. Sure, the company was stunned by the advancement of AI, but there is something much deeper at play. During an exchange at the retirement party, William’s father urges him to stay on board and discusses his “running out of time” due to his illness. This leads us to believe that perhaps, since the start, Delos has planned on creating Host replicas of some (if not all) of its elite. Immortality has been hinted at heavily, particularly through the transfer of consciousness into code in the form of white eggs this season, also tying into a huge reveal in “Reunion.” Not only is the IP of the Hosts what Delos is interested in—they want to know how humans interact in real, raw situations outside of their perceptions of normalcy and morality. Human interaction is being monitored and documented just as much as Hosts, and this begs the question, to what end?
To avoid diverging into a discombobulated mess of fan theories, let’s run through the current timelines. We know Dolores is headed to “the weapon”—something William has shown her before and is now the key for her new “narrative”—the destruction all of mankind. Therein lies the dilemma with Dolores: Is it possible for her to be truly sentient and in control of her own actions if she has been previously coded as Wyatt and is acting accordingly? It has been taken for granted that Ford re-encoded all the Hosts at the party, Dolores included, essentially sentencing them to murder humans. Dolores hauntingly encompasses two personalities, speaking in an innocent Southern accent to Teddy as Dolores while directing others in the steely monotone voice of Wyatt. While it is possible Dolores has been running off-script as Wyatt after having murdered Ford, it also seems plausible this is all part of Ford’s narrative. The clues lie in the game of cat-and-mouse Ford has played with Delos since the start. We see him taunt William all through season one with The Maze, questioning him about his experience and the nonexistence of any real stakes. This season, William has been introduced to “The Door,” a game made specifically for him. We can then assume Ford has constructed a game specifically for William due to William’s disenchantment with Westworld—the odds never felt real. In “Reunion,” being aware of this reality has both raised the stakes for him but also made it increasingly difficult to reason with Hosts sticking to their narrative. (This is nothing less than expected of Ford.) Dolores attempts doing the same, using her form of omnipotence to rally warriors for her army, taunting that she is headed to “Glory” while William travels to “The Valley Beyond”—locations we later learn are synonymous and link both Wyatt’s and William’s current timelines. Therefore, if both Wyatt/Dolores and William are headed to the same location, can one assume Wyatt is William’s final challenge in the game he always wanted? This wholly fits the theory that Ford’s narrative for William’s ultimate game is not over, and furthermore, Dolores is continually existing as Ford’s pawn suits her current demeanor.
Additionally, one must continually take the new crucial revelation of Westworld into account: what of the Delos company Hosts? It is insinuated in “Reunion” that at least one would be created, and we have already seen successful clone Hosts with Bernard as Arnold. Could the Delos company Host clones possibly be the army and “the weapon” Dolores continually alludes to? Influential individuals seeking immortality isn’t something I’d be remotely surprised by in Westworld. And lest we forget, Dolores always has Peter Abernathy to blackmail Delos as backup. He could essentially also be the weapon, but that seems mundane and on-the-nose, considering he’s only been referred to as “the package” not successfully delivered in the previous episode.
Now to address arguably the best and most biting reunion of “Reunion:” the interaction between Dolores and Maeve. As (presumably) intellectual equals, the two are able to discuss their goals, perceptions, and ideologies in a civil and wonderfully passive-aggressive manner, rooted deeply in the philosophical implications of what drives the emotion of a sentient Host and the missions they are attempting to achieve. There is a moving juxtaposition in what each view as true freedom: for Wyatt, is it being free of the human race through war and death, but for Maeve, it is finding her daughter as a form of validation for her own existence. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Evan Rachel Wood (who plays Dolores) decoded their exchange impeccably:
“They’re both awake enough and smart enough to recognize in each other that they are equals. It’s why neither of them does anything. No one lashes out. I felt there was this caution, but also a mutual respect between the two, even though they have very different objectives. I think Dolores does respect Maeve very much. She also wants to warn her, and is scared for her. I don’t think they want to do each other any harm — at least to my knowledge. But I love that Dolores is killing people, and Maeve can do whatever she wants, but the second they’re faced off with each other? It’s just like, ‘Okay, I can see you’re where I am, so let’s all be cool. We’re all just talking!’ I really liked how it was a tip of the hat moment, and then they both went about the rest of their days. They’re on different missions.”
Last but not least, let’s discuss B = T. For those unfamiliar with the theory, it translates to “Bernard = Teddy.” This has been widely discussed since the season’s start for a variety of reasons. Not only is Bernard dressed incredibly similar to Teddy on the beach at the season’s start, but there is cut in which Bernard looks at his hands on the train and they look much like Teddy’s. (Photographic evidence provided!)
His behavior is fitting of Teddy’s as well, considering gunning down people and talking down Dolores tend to be his specialties—both of which we see Bernard do in episode one. This does, however, bring up replication and meshing. Even if Teddy really is Bernard, thanks to consciousness meshing on the parts of the Hosts, he clearly sees Teddy lying dead in the water. Therefore, who is he truly? Stubbs sees his confusion in episode one and is quick to ask, “Bernard?” It is possible this is all a play on the part of Delos to preserve a Host. Additionally, this raises the question, which Teddy is accompanying Dolores? Is he simply another cloned Host pawn in the grand game that is “The Door,” or is it possible Bernard is someone else entirely? As aforementioned, the premiere has an odd feel to it as Bernard is introduced to others, making it likely Delos is protecting him at all means at the moment—particularly considering their first “care package” wasn’t successfully delivered.
Truly, Westworld has only scratched the surface of the possibilities for this season, and everything to come is sure to answer as many questions as it raises new ones. Be sure to share your thoughts and theories below!
Here’s an exclusive inside look at the making of the Delos Mansion for the party followed by a preview for next week’s episode, “The Riddle of the Sphinx:”