So that first episode of Westworld, huh? Dark, mysterious, and deeply disturbing. If you can get past all the troubling ethical issues of robot Hosts being abused by human guests in a theme park designed for violent pleasures, what is actually going on? Let's take a look at some of the best theories...
1. Dolores is the key to everything
We know that Dolores is ‘the oldest Host in the park’, which suggests she has the most experiences and memories, but she’s so far shown no signs of ‘glitching’ or realising that her world isn’t what it seems. One theory suggests she’s playing dumb to hide what she already knows after her many active years. There also a suggestion that she’s the only surviving Host from an early park failure 30 years ago and could still contain some remnants of what caused the previous breakdown in her programming.
2. Watch the flies
Flies are a repeating motif in the first episode, crawling across Hosts’ unblinking eyes to clarify their inhuman nature. However, when Delores swats one (having previously literally said she would never hurt a fly) it’s framed as a significant event. Is Delores becoming more aware? Or is she already aware and just enjoying a moment of freedom when no one’s looking. Either way keep an eye on the insects, especially because...
3. One of the humans is almost certainly a robot and doesn’t know it
This is almost too obvious that I wouldn’t be surprised if the show avoids it all together. Although, given the interesting handling of various Host awakenings due to flickering moments of consciousness, the idea of reversing that could be an interesting counter point. If the story goes in that direction, who’s going to be? Given the framing of the flies in episode 1 to underline Hosts’ lack of life, let’s see if we see any hovering about non-Hosts. There’s also some theories discussing which ‘humans’ are around when Host voice commands are used. Are some people absent because they would be controlled as well?
4. Anthony Hopkins is behind it all
The various Hosts that begin misbehaving do so after Anthony Hopkins’ park founder Dr Robert Ford introduces some new programming to an Host update called reveries, which allow them to access previously wiped memories. So far his reaction to the ‘glitches’ are hard to read, but there’s a theory he’s doing it deliberately. Question is, why?
5. It’s all about the singularity, Skynet, or immortality
If Anthony Hopkins’ Dr Robert Ford character is trying to deliberately ‘evolve’ his robots then there has to be a reason behind it. One of his monologues makes reference to humanity’s obsolescence, suggesting he’s maybe using the Hosts to kickstart a new stage in evolution. He’s also getting pretty old and could be considering his own mortality. Would a more evolved Host be able to host human consciousness? Is he trying to create a robot he can transfer his own mind into? And finally, maybe he’s just decided a robot army’s really cool. Although that does feel a little out of character.
6. Whatever The Man in Black is after ties into a previous park malfunction
Ed Harris’ Man in Black character is obviously after some secret hidden in the park, but who is he and what does he want? One interesting connection we know about is that he’s been coming to the park for 30 years, which is the same amount of time it’s been since the last major malfunction. Either the Man in Black was somehow responsible and he’s trying to repeat it, or he saw something he can’t let go of.
7. The Man in Black didn’t rape Dolores - he reprogrammed her
If you’ve seen the season premiere, you know the scene I’m talking about. It’s already caused controversy, but there’s theory that the Man in Black didn’t do anything improper to Dolores when he drags her into the barn. Instead, he reprogrammed or ‘hacked’ her in some way in order to start messing with the park’s systems, and she’s passing this altered state onto the other Hosts. Could The Man in Black be the Hosts’ freedom fighter?