Warning: this article includes SPOILERS for the latest episode of Westworld. Do not read on unless you are up-to-date with the show.
The cyborgs of Westworld are not your typical 'bots. We've surpassed the rubbery-skinned age of The Terminator, into a hyperreal terrain where it's impossible to tell who's human and who's a Host. While these artificial creations share an alarming amount of similarities to humans - flesh, bone, blood - they're... you know, artificial.
Now isn't the time for me to launch into a heady discussion of what is real, what is artifice, and whether or not Bernard is really a simulacra of Arnold. However, it's still fun to ponder the mechanics of how the Hosts operate on a functional level.
We know they have human components (the body parts) that cover the false skeletal chassis underneath. But how are they powered? What about their "brains?" It sounds as if we'll be learning more about that in the recently-confirmed season 2:
"Their construction and their power source is something we’re really going to get into during season 2," showrunner Jonathan Nolan tells EW, "So we’d like to keep that mysterious. They’re closer to biological than they are to mechanical, but they don’t suffer brain death the same way we do. They’re largely indistinguishable from a human beings, but their brains don’t require oxygen — which opens up interesting possibilities. Their brains are not as fragile as ours."
Closer to biological than mechanical? Okay, keep going Mr. Nolan...
"On one hand, their cognition is controllable and malleable, but on a structural level they can’t be killed in the same way you and I can. There are advantages and disadvantages to being a host. Season 2 we’ll be exploring more the nuts and bolts of what they are— as the hosts themselves are trying to understand."
We already know that Hosts die differently to humans. It'd be interesting to explore more of the effects of those recurring "deaths" on the Hosts' Reveries. After we saw Clem practically murder someone (yes, it was a Host but still) we know the Reveries accumulate to create a back catalogue of fake memories for the Hosts. Now that Maeve's aware she's artificial and knows she's died loads, I can't wait to find out more about how she may use that knowledge to manipulate humans other than Lutz and Sylvester...
Westworld airs on HBO on Sundays at 9pm in the US, and on Sky Atlantic on Tuesdays at 9pm in the UK. You can also catch up via Sky On demand or via NOWTV.