Westworld is a show crammed full of twists, turns, and intriguing philosophical questions, all of which totals to some game changing storytelling. What makes it even more unique is the level to which fans have totally broken down the series, analysing almost every scene and coming up with countless theories on where the show is headed. Admittedly this is hardly unique to Westworld, but the level to which it’s gone, and how accurate a lot of it has been so far almost certainly is.
In the first season some huge twists, such as who the Man in Black really was, and the connection between Bernard and Arnold, were guessed at after only a few episodes. And Season 2 looks to be just as much of a theorising/intrigue building gold mine as the first.
Bernard is in a Loop (on the Beach):
If you thought the part of the season two premiere where Bernard woke up on a beach after being missing for 2 weeks and was offered no food, drink or medical attention, not to mention the fact that no one was really that thrilled to see him, was a little strange you aren’t the only one. In fact there is a decent amount of evidence to suggest that the Delos employees that greet Bernard are not only well aware he is a host, but that he is in fact stuck in a narrative loop, most likely so that the human Delos employees can work out what Bernard knows about what happened in the park.
The first notion that something isn’t quite right here is the afore mentioned lack of apparent care for Bernard’s well being, he’d been missing for two weeks by this point and at the very least would surely be offered some water and a sit down before they immediately rope him into working out what happened. That is of course unless they’ve done this a number of times already and that everything we see is staged to get Bernard to reveal something only he can work out.
Other hints at this being the case include Bernard finishing Strand’s sentence as he greets him, almost as if he’s experienced all of this before, Stubbs being perfectly fine, even though the last time we saw him he was attacked (and presumably captured) by Ghost Nation, Bernard wearing totally different clothes from the Season 1 Finale and the scenes with Charlotte Hale, the order in which the hosts are executed alters from shot to shot (Westworld is far too clever of a show for this to be a simple production error) and of course the fact that he no longer has a scar where he shot himself at the end of Season 1 (again, he has this scar in both Season 1’s finale and the scenes with Hale).
Lastly, what I’d argue is probably the most crucial/convincing point is where we see Steven Ogg’s character Rebus protest the execution of a female host shouting that it isn’t right to execute a woman like that. Although on the face of it might look like a gentlemanly/heroic thing to do, we have of course seen Rebus numerous times before, usually playing a particularly sinister criminal type who on more than one occasion killed Dolores’ family.
To emphasise the idea of him having changed even more, later in the episode (during the flashback to two weeks earlier) we see Rebus take particular joy in torturing and then a shooting… a woman. Now of course it’s perfectly possible in those two weeks he simply had a huge change of heart or that his saviour complex only applies to hosts (the woman he shot being a human), but given how well thought out this show is, it’s surely too big of a clue to ignore, and possibly hints at the events on the beach being a staged scene (with Rebus simply playing a part).
[UPDATED] We see in Episode 3, Virtù e Fortuna, that Bernard actively hacks into Rebus and alters his personality to allow for much more compassion, this would seemingly explain his change in character and place the events in which Charlotte and Bernard are escaping the Host rampage sometime before the scene where Bernard wakes up on the beach.
Bernard is in a Loop (With Charlotte Hale):
Going from the ‘Bernard is in a Loop on the Beach’ theory we could extend much of that thought to the storyline with Bernard (seemingly) in the aftermath of the party massacre at the end of season one. Much like in the beach scene Charlotte seems to be constantly questioning and checking on Bernard, and so it could be some sort of ruse for information.
There are two ways to look at this theory then, either it conflicts with Bernard being in a loop on the beach (making one of them real, and one some kind of charade), or that they are both in fact loops, and different attempts at getting the information from Bernard.
The Beach Scene is all in Bernard’s Head:
This theory, is based on the idea that the Beach scene is some sort of visualisation of Bernard’s brain being extracted from his body and then analysed. We pretty prominently see in Episode 1 the hosts brain being extracted (and are thus introduced to the idea of the host brain, what it can store and how it is removed etc.). But what if it isn’t simply an on and off switch for the hosts, and instead plays out as some sort of storyline inside their head, and for Bernard the beach scene is just that. This could explain some of the apparent ‘inconsistencies’ such as Bernard’s lack of scar, his change of clothes, his disorientation etc.
There are Multiple Bernard’s:
Personally I was a little underwhelmed with the Westworld Season 2 Premiere (at least before I started properly digging into all of the theories and sets ups we got from just that one episode) and thought that the multiple timelines plot device was only there as it was such a big part of Season 1.
But that is of course assuming that there are multiple timelines, as the episode seemingly presents. All Westworld fans should know by now that whatever you think is happening more than likely isn’t, and the theory here states that the events we are seeing (specifically the Bernard and Hale immediately after Ford’s Assassination storyline, and the other Bernard apparently two weeks after on the beach) are in fact happening somewhat simultaneously. The main point of this argument being that there are multiple Bernard’s running around Westworld, each in multiple scenarios. This would also explain the discrepancies between the scenes, such as Bernard’s missing scar in the ‘two weeks later’ scenario.
The Opening Scene wasn’t a Flashback, it’s a Flash Forward:
Season 2 started with a very familiar scene, in which we see Dolores in some sort of bunker, talking to who we at first assume is Bernard. The conversations vary, but more often than not showcase ‘Bernard’ looking to unlock some sort of free thought within Dolores, encouraging her to think for herself. One of the biggest reveals of the first season showed us that the character we assumed was Bernard, was in fact Arnold (Ford’s partner in creating the Hosts), that Bernard is actually a Host copy of Arnold, and that Arnold’s conversations with Dolores were happening thirty years in the past.
The opening scene to Season 2 is extremely reminiscent of those scenes (that Dolores thought to be her dreams), down to the setting and character’s outfits (after the fact, it’s clear that Arnold and Bernard have a different dress sense), expect for one key difference; Dolores seems to be the one in control. If you look at the scene its all about Bernard’s inner fears, his worries and unlocking his thoughts, due to prompts by Dolores, rather than the other way around.
This idea then goes further and suggests that rather than seeing yet another past conversation between Dolores and Arnold, we are seeing a future conversation between the newly ‘free’ Dolores and an increasingly worried and confused Bernard. Perhaps this is even part of Dolores trying to ‘free’ Bernard, in the same way Arnold did for her.
Why Delos is Stealing Guest DNA:
Another one of Journey into the Night’s big revelations was that Delos is recording what the Hosts see and documenting guest DNA. This obviously has some pretty large implications for what Delos are actually using the park for, and can be looked at in a number of ways. The first, and maybe most obvious, is some sort of blackmail. The park records what the guests get up to (a lot of whom we’ve seen do some pretty terrible things to the hosts), and so it’s easy enough to see how Delos could manipulate people on the outside world with the evidence of their deepest desires and secrets.
Another idea as to what Delos are doing with the recordings and DNA is creating host replicas of humans in the outside world, and then replacing them. A pretty outlandish idea I admit, but it’s a main part of the plot to the original 1973 Westworld movies’ sequel, Futureworld. In the 1976 sequel (which wasn’t written by original Westworld writer Michael Chrichton at all) saw Delos cloning and replacing a number of world leaders and influences (such as reporters) in order make sure Delos interests where always put first.
How this could play into the current series of Westworld is yet to be seen, but it’s clear we are getting closer to finding out what it is Delos are really up to, and maybe that there is a little more to exactly why their ‘IP’ (which until now we just assumed meant the Hosts themselves) is so important.
Dolores is in Bernard’s Body:
As mentioned earlier the first episode made a real effort to show us the Host brain extraction, and thus introduced us to the idea that the mind of one host (which we now know are becoming more and more sentient and possibly even human) could be extracted and put into another body. this could then lead to a host such as Dolores (who we can assume still has the explosive charge set to blow up should she try and leave the park) transferring her consciousness into a body of another host, someone like Bernard, who presumably has less restrictions than your typical host.
This would (in part) explain why the Arnold on the beach doesn’t seem to know anything, seems so confused and disoriented, and at the end claims to be the one who killed all of the other hosts, given what we’ve seen of Dolores’ rampage so far killing even more to achieve her goals doesn’t seem so much of a stretch. A Similar process can be put to other hosts such as Teddy being in Bernard’s body, or even some sort of reincarnated version of Arnold himself.
This is All Part of Ford’s Masterplan:
From Season 1 we know that Ford had some sort of secret plan that in the end seemed to totally contrast with the persona he’d put on in public. We saw the Westworld creator demean and objectify the hosts (almost always in front of other people) numerous times, putting across the idea that he really did seem them as nothing more than robots, built to play a part in a story. Then one of the big twists at the close of Season 1 showed Ford to be a key part (if not ‘the’ key part) in bringing hosts like Maeve and Dolores to consciousness, and setting the stage for their eventual freedom.
We still don’t know what brought this change of heart for Ford, was it that he had always felt this way and simply put on an act in public? Did he regret how things ended with Arnold (who put a lot of effort into helping the Hosts, Dolores in particular, achieve consciousness) and decide to act out his deceased partners wishes? Or was it all simply a way of messing with Delos who at this point were firing him. The exact motivations of Ford could be one of a number of things, but there is no denying that most (if not all) of what has happened since his death could be some sort of complex narrative that he has preprogrammed, and that none of the hosts are becoming sentient at all.
One of the biggest threads leading into this theory is the Young Ford host who talks to The Man in Black at the end of the first episode of Season 2. The Young Ford explains that William had been playing Arnold’s game (the maze), but that it that wasn’t meant for him, and now he’s playing Ford’s game, that is meant for him; the door.
Another big piece of evidence for this is when Maeve is told (by Bernard in the final episode of Season 1) that everything she is doing, including breaking out of the park, was all a part of her narrative. We are led to believe that just before boarding the train, when Maeve decides that she wants to go back for her daughter, that is her breaking the narrative she was acting out (as we can see that ‘board the train’ is the last part of her narrative on Bernard’s tablet), but what if that ‘decision’ was simply how the narrative was meant to play out all along. It would be a cruel, but very Westworld, twist if this did end up being true.