Westworld Theory Log – Episode 4 ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’
In what may be the best episode of Season 2 the Riddle of the Sphinx confirmed a number of the biggest theories so far, shot down some others and set the stage for a number of unknowns going forward. The Dolores and Maeve free episode detailed what Delos’ secret scheme behind the park has really been, more glimpses of Bernard’s loosening grip on reality, a pretty definitive (although possibly arguable) answer on Logan, and at the very least a hint of a pretty big returning character.
With the original idea behind the ‘Westworld Theory Log’ simply being one long form article, not anticipating how much speculation and theorising we’d have so soon, I’ve now split each episode’s entry into it’s own post. Over each week there will be a new post with some of my own theories, and my take on some of the best and most interesting theories from the web, namely the overly active (and extremely impressive) Westworld sub reddit.
Bernard is in a Loop [Updated]:
With the mounting evidence of Bernard being in some sort of loop, namely in the timeline that starts with Bernard, Stubbs and Strand on the beach, Episode 4 throws a bit of a curve ball at the idea by outright stating that Bernard’s memories are overlapping, and as a result he is never sure where or when he is, and so in short almost nothing we see from Bernard’s perspective can be taken for granted.
In The Riddle of the Sphinx, we see Bernard’s faulty memory in practise as the events with Elsie in the secret Delos bunker seem to alter between a previous visit of Bernard’s (where he killed all of the human techs and drone hosts), and what looks to be at least one other version of events (where Bernard is perhaps there alone, or with someone other than Elsie). We can assume there are at least these three sets of events due to a few factors including the scar of Bernard’s head, and Elsie’s responses (or lack of) to Bernard.
Some of the scenes (mainly the earlier ones) see Bernard with the scar on his head, from where he shot himself in Season 1, but after Elsie fixes him up with the Cortical Fluid Bernard no longer has the scar, of course Elsie could of somehow repaired his skin, but she doesn’t mention it and so we can’t assume she has.
From that point onwards the scenes with Elsie seem to shift between her and Bernard discovering the James Delos host clone, and what could be an alternate set of events where Elsie is asking Bernard a number of questions, looking for information much like we’ve seen Strand and Charlotte do already. Additionally there are a number of times where Bernard seems to realise, or at least suspect, that he isn’t really there and is instead reliving a memory.
You can split the scenes into these two parts pretty easily, and see where one set of events could be the actual exploration of the bunker with Elsie and Bernard, and the other part maybe being Bernard’s brain playing a number of different events over the top of each other, or even part of a loop set up by Delos to extract information from Bernard.
Delos are Putting People into Immortal Host bodies [Updated]:
This theory was based around the idea that one of Delos’ ulterior motives with the park was that they were using the host technology to create immortal bodies for people, and then uploading a version of a human consciousness into those bodies. Admittedly this is a pretty complicated process a lot of which hasn’t been directly established on the show, but had a decent basis in the original Westworld movies’ sequel Futureworld, which saw Delos replacing humans across the world with host copies.
The fourth episode in Season 2 gave us yet another explicit confirmation in that it showed us the process of Delos, and in particular William, attempting to put a human consciousness into a host body, namely the conciseness of James Delos himself.
The episode shows us a number of attempts over the years (transitioning from Jimmy Simpson’s William, to Ed Harris) at getting the James Delos’ clone/host to work, with it slowly improving but always failing, with his mind rejecting the new body each time.
The episode confirms that Delos have been working on putting human brains into host bodies for a long time, and although they aren’t there yet (with William explaining to James that Juliet is dead, placing that last visit within a year of the current events in the park), they could be very soon.
Logan is the Man in White [Updated]:
This theory looked at the idea that the “Man in White” we see at the beginning of Episode 3 talking to ‘Grace’ is an older version of Logan, with the twist being this older Logan, is now working with his niece Emily to take down William (and a great parallel in switching William as the White Hat and Logan as the Black hat from the beginning of Season 1).
The theory is however now all but confirmed to be false as William says to the James Delos host/clone that “Logan overdosed years ago”, and so seemingly details Logan’s eventual fate even if we are going to see more of Ben Barnes’ Logan in Season 2.
In defence of the theories continuation there is an old storytelling trope where viewers often don’t take what they hear for fact unless they are told it by a good guy (a great example of this being a huge number of kids not believing Darth Vader was Luke’s father following Empire Strikes Back), and regardless of what William is now, in that scene (which takes place presumably just before he enters the park in Season 1) he’s definitely more of a bad guy than a good guy, and so could be lying to torture James Delos even more.
Although there is still some hope for the idea (even if that’s literally just because it’s such a good idea), it does seem that for now it’s been disproven.
Who ‘Grace’ Really Is [Updated]:
With ‘Grace’ being mysteriously introduced alongside ‘The Raj’ in Episode 3 (and her name only coming from and IMDB listing) two theories cropped up about who she might actually be, either a younger version of Theresa, the parks QA manager from Season 1, or William’s daughter Emily.
The Theresa theory came from the visual similarities between the younger ‘Grace’ and Theresa, along with a number of her mannerisms in particular the way she smokes, but now this seems to be an intentional misdirect, following the reveal of ‘Grace’ being William’s daughter (Emily) at the end of the Episode.
Ford is Still Alive (Kind of):
One of the biggest reveals, if not ‘the’ biggest, is the James Delos reveal, where we learn about the red brains being attempts at copying human minds into a similar format of the hosts (who have white brains).
We then see that Bernard (at some point in the past) went to the secret facility where the James Delos experiments were taking place. Once there Bernard takes a ‘control unit’ which is explained to be for another human/host, other than James Delos. Although this could be absolutely any human character from the show so far, the implication is of course that he was sent there by Ford, and perhaps retrieved a copy of Ford himself.
This would in turn lead to a version of Ford being alive somewhere in the park. Even though we saw how Delos had struggled for years trying to merge the human consciousness and the Host body, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Ford had found out about these experiments (assuming he didn’t know all along) and was able to perfect the process all on his own, leading to his eventual return.
Although Ford’s return may undercut his death in Season 1, and is perhaps a little too obvious to be a big reveal this season, a possible return has been seeded very well so far, and would at the very least make for another of Ford’s very well thought out and meticulously executed plans.