HBO ’s technological know-how fiction drama Westworld isn ’t just recognized for its proficient cast and its philosophical musings in regards to the nature of fact. It ’s also turn out to be well-known for its finds, from mind-bending bombshells that link two characters to simple items of backstory that bring new perception to a storyline. Staring At Westworld is like peeling an onion, one layer at a time.
That ’s why for the display ’s 2nd season, I ’ll be diving into one explicit spoilery revelation from each and every episode, to work out what it means, how we came, and where issues would possibly go in the episodes to come. Some weeks, it might be a huge plot twist. In other weeks, it could be one thing subtle. Both means, we ’re going to break the hell out of it.
Welcome to the Westworld Spoilers Membership.
Westworld enthusiasts who have been lacking the presence of Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) had reason why to have fun remaining week. not just did the series delve into the Cradle, a Matrix-like laptop simulation that serves as a backup for all of the park ’s hosts, however in its final moments, it additionally found out that the consciousness of Dr. Ford had been uploaded into the system — permitting Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) to speak along with his former colleague inside a virtual Mariposa saloon. the moment reframed much of the season, explaining how the person in Black (Ed Harris) has been in a position to receive messages from Ford, and suggesting that the bloody uprising of unfastened will-enabled hosts can have been simply any other sparsely orchestrated narrative, with Ford ’s digital ghost pulling the strings.
Closing evening ’s episode, “Les Écorchés,” picked up that Ford storyline, however the highlight was in truth on some other persona: Bernard. Leaning closely into backstory and exposition, the episode pulled back the curtain even further on how Bernard used to be created, and it also defined the park ’s real reason for current.
If that wasn ’t sufficient, it additionally hinted that one main character ’s storyline will have been nothing greater than a radically invasive robotic interrogation.
Picture by means of John P. Johnson / HBO
The Large monitor?
“Les Écorchés” opens on Bernard in the Mesa, maintaining an image of his useless son. For the ones conserving monitor, the scene is about throughout the 2d of 2 “present-day” timelines that the display has been twiddling with this season. the primary of those timelines started the night of the robotic uprising. the only featured right here started 14 days later, with a glasses-loose Bernard being picked up on a beach through Delos security forces.
At The Same Time As investigating the underground lab where Bernard killed Theresa Cullen remaining season, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) comes throughout a mystery room, where a host of previous Bernard hosts were tucked away for safekeeping. Realizing that Bernard is definitely a host — and therefore has absolute best memory — she brings him in for a correct interrogation to assist her discover where the missing Peter Abernathy control unit is. The episode that follows is largely a filmed version of the occasions that each she and Bernard skilled whilst Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) attacked the Mesa.
Delos desires to reproduction park guests
Bernard ’s half of that story begins throughout the simulation global of The Cradle, proper whilst he sees Ford again for the first time. Bernard temporarily places the items in combination — Ford had created a duplicate of his own awareness, and tasked Bernard with importing it to the Cradle — but Bernard ’s largest eye-opener is concerning the park itself. Westworld hasn ’t just been a topic park, he realizes; it ’s been an experiment and statement chamber, permitting Delos, Inc. to gather all the data it needs to reproduction the consciousness of its various guests. Information gathering in the name of promoting may have been the place to begin that William (Jimmi Simpson) to begin with urged, but the mission has develop into one thing a lot more sinister. “The people are playing at resurrection. they would like to reside eternally,” Ford tells his protege. “They don ’t want you to turn out to be them. they would like to turn into you.”
Ford acknowledges that the host clone venture nonetheless doesn ’t paintings, and that if he was positioned in a physical body he might ultimately go mad similar to the James Delos copies. But Bernard, he says, is a unique more or less introduction altogether.
Ford takes Bernard to an attractive, modern home — the digital model of the one Arnold used to be development for his circle of relatives in the actual global. that is where the place Ford examined and delicate early variations of Bernard, he says. The thoughts-capturing technology that the James Delos challenge makes use of hadn ’t been created whilst Arnold died, so Ford needed to depend on reminiscences — his, and more importantly, the ones of Dolores. Dolores hung out with the Bernard awareness throughout the Cradle for years, Ford explains, serving as Bernard ’s own personal Turing test. As Soon As she couldn ’t inform the variation between Bernard Lowe and Arnold Weber, Ford knew he used to be able for the actual international.
The revelation clarifies that the letterboxed starting shot of the season, during which Dolores seemed to be speaking to Arnold, used to be in truth her carrying out a fidelity test on Bernard inside the Cradle ’s digital international. However Ford admits that Bernard, like several hosts, is an idealized and romanticized illustration of humanity — “more just, more noble” — and when submit in opposition to the cruelty of actual other folks, will almost always be destroyed.
“Unless we open the Door,” Ford says.
Shutters shut over the home windows, and Ford says that Bernard doesn ’t have what it takes to survive on his own — an echo of what Dolores instructed Teddy earlier than revising his programming without permission. Bernard protests as Ford approaches, noting that Ford mentioned he had given hosts free will.
“I did, however you won ’t have any use for it,” Ford says. “Except I take it again.”
Photograph by John P. Johnson / HBO
What does it mean?
The shuttle into The Cradle clears up a couple of chances from ultimate week. the idea of a Ford clone host roaming the park seems to were nixed totally, laying bare the corporate motivations behind the Westworld park. Once that ’s been spelled out, Bernard wakes up from his jaunt and rejoins Elsie as they try to flee the Mesa. But he soon discovers that Ford has left The Cradle and hitched a journey within his mind, capable of seem to Bernard at will — and give him instructions.
Ford has left The Cradle and hitched a trip within Bernard ’s thoughts
It ’s an excellent factor Ford does as a result of quickly after he ’s left the Cradle, the renegade hosts typhoon the power and smash all the system. But there additionally seems to be a extra particular function to his cognitive hitchhiking. One second, Ford tells Bernard he’s now not pulling any strings and that Bernard is in control of his own path. the following, Ford takes keep watch over of Bernard and forces him to kill several Delos safety guards so as to flee. It ’s almost as though Ford is trying to force the hand of his personal advent, to provide Bernard one thing to ward off in opposition to, so that he’ll have the courage to step up and seize hold of his personal agency, regardless of the effects.
Ford ’s mention of the Door turns out specifically relevant. Whilst first introduced to the person in Black, the Door perceived to be a few type of recreation, one who may just probably be offering him a shot at redemption. However Ford invoking it with Bernard indicates one thing somewhat other. The Door might be a metaphor; a few state of enlightenment or self-awareness that Ford is attempting to cause in both the person in Black and Bernard (although we ’ll stay away from any “the man in Black is a host” theories for now).
On The other hand, The Door could also be tied to The Valley Beyond, the mysterious destination that the hosts are all clamoring to reach. That position has been stated as the whole thing from “my biggest mistake” (the man in Black) to a “weapon” (Dolores), and Ford could have simply been describing a state of affairs by which this mysterious weapon is became against Delos, Inc. so hosts like Bernard are allowed to are living freely and evolve with out disturbance.
Either method, all of the display ’s characters at the moment are in a race in opposition to the similar destination. Even As it ’s no longer clear what the Valley Past in reality is, the show has already made it all too clear what the endgame shall be: hundreds of dead hosts floating in water, with Bernard the only obvious survivor.
Photograph through John P. Johnson / HBO
Converting the game
For all of its mini-revelations, “Les Écorchés” ends proper where it all started. Bernard reviews a blur of flashbacks regarding moments among Arnold and Dolores, his life as Bernard, and plenty of of the terrible things that he ’s done. He wakes up, mid-interrogation with Charlotte Hale, the place she provides a moment of sympathy, feigned although it’s going to be. “i know it ’s confusing, keeping apart your actual memories from the ones you ’ve been given,” she says. “but it surely ’s the only way to take into account that.”
He in the end unearths that the Abernathy regulate unit is in the Valley Past, and the entire team gets able to head back there. At The Same Time As the scene neatly buttons up the interrogation, something about the way Bernard and Hale ’s trade began increases an entirely other question approximately his storyline.
inside the season, Bernard has gave the impression to “flip” among different timelines. The monitor stutters and strobes, and Bernard suddenly finds himself within the center of previous events, every now and then as an out of doors observer. that same more or less transition is what happens whilst Hale first starts interrogating Bernard on the beginning of “Les Écorchés.”
One option to parse it is that this whole season, whenever the show has introduced Bernard outdoor of the interrogation timeline, audiences have in reality been seeing what information he shared with Charlotte Hale all over their dialog in “Les Écorchés.” that might be a artful selection, mirroring the best way Dolores skilled fractured memories in the first season, best in this case giving the selection a clear, story-primarily based motivation.
the other technique to have a look at it is that the display in “Les Écorchés” used to be now not a payoff, however a clue. A reminder that as a bunch, Bernard is capable of ping-pong among recollections which are so easiest, that they’re indistinguishable from his actual, real-time cognition. If that ’s the case, possibly his memory flipping throughout the season has been the end result of some other interrogation series the display hasn ’t discovered yet. or maybe — simply maybe — it ’s an artifact of having opened the Door.