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The 10 best Westworld theories, to get you primed (and blow your mind) before season 2

Maeve’s attempt to ‘rescue’ her daughter will go badly  

Things are going to be more complicated than a simple path to redemption via familial reconciliation. Because we know, via the clue given to Maeve by Felix in the final episode of season 1, that her ‘daughter’ has been relocated to “Park 1, Sector 15, Zone 3”. She’ll be someone else now, somewhere else, probably not even in the same ‘reality’. There’s little to no chance that Maeve’s daughter will recognise her one-time mother. I strongly suspect that what Maeve expects to be an emotional reunion will play out more like the attempted kidnap of a terrified child - who probably has other parents now. And where would that put Maeve on the morality spectrum? 

It’s an important question, because whatever Maeve’s current idea of herself, it is current only an idea. To truly become ‘real’ she needs to have that prescribed idea tested against her currently unknown, deeper self. Maeve is currently freed by her newfound knowledge that the park is fake, finally living above the fog of false purpose and able to make true decisions based on fact. But when that realisation bites back, the lack of inherent meaning (and yes, chaos) that comes with that freedom – emphasised by her ‘daughter’s’ blunt rejection of the relationship - is going to push her to deeper soul-searching. 

She could suffer a similarly violent, nihilistic breakdown to William upon his eventual understanding of the Hosts’ limitations, or she might double-down on her need for personal meaning, attempting to raise the Hosts up to a ‘worthier’ state of conduct. However she responds, given that she now has super-intelligence, and Host-control powers akin to those of Ford, the fallout could be massive. And chaotic. Maeve could decide the whole fate of Westworld via brute force if she wanted to. On a related note… 

Maeve and Dolores will swap roles 

Dolores and Maeve are, on many levels, very deliberate parallels. It all starts with names. ‘Dolores’ comes from a Spanish name meaning ‘Virgin Mary of the Sorrows’, a clear fit for her arc of innocence giving way to hardship, violence, and tough realisation, and also significant in her ultimate role in the birth of the new Westworld at the end of season 1. So it’s the Virgin Mary vs. She Who Intoxicates. The Madonna and the Whore. Think about their season 1 colour-coding too, with Dolores usually in blue and white, and Maeve in black and red/pink lace. It all fits and opposes. That parallel will underpin their paths as they evolve in season 2. 

Free of her old role, Maeve is making an attempted shift toward a maternal role and its related white colour-coding, as seen in flashbacks to her old life. The Whore is attempting to become The Madonna. Accordingly, Dolores must (at least temporarily) make a move in the opposite direction (we’ve already seen her seeming to grow an army in the season 2 trailers) and there’s a lot of stimulus ready to kick-start that change. Rage at her past treatment, obviously, but there’s also the matter of Wyatt to consider. Wyatt was planned to be the psychopathic ‘final boss’ character of Westworld, but was instead merged with Dolores’ programming by Arnold in order to instigate the destruction of Westworld’s beta version. 

In Westworld season 2, both Dolores and Maeve will be plunged into parallel chaos of identity, trying to create order and coherence out of multiple fragments of possible selves, on the road to finding out who they really are now that they’re free. Dolores has to make sense of Wyatt, and Maeve has to make sense of her previous life. And whichever way one goes, the other will go the opposite. The latest trailer certainly hints that the two in philosophical opposition. And as for William...  

 The Man in Black will go White Hat. Or at least Grey

William became the Man in Black out of a kind of grief. Having finally found a place he could thrive and excel - and prove that an idealistic, nice guy hero could get ahead, after years of ridicule in his workplace - it all fell apart when he started to realise the limitations of the Hosts. But while he became bitter, and very, very bad, there’s a strong implication that he never gave up on the ideal. It’s all right there in the two halves of his name, in fact. His ‘Will’ was too strong to give up. He still believed in the potential for realisation because, well, ‘I am’. He’s Westworld’s representation of self-belief and persistence. 

That’s why he invested in the park to keep it afloat and evolving - and kept visiting. Why would he have spent so long trying to understand and find the maze, if not for the hope that the Hosts could elevate themselves to become what he initially thought they were? William has done many, many horrible things as the Man in Black, but he’s also seemed eager to force the Hosts to become something greater. And now, with Ford’s secret rebellion starting to realise that dream, he can perhaps get back to being who he was, and very probably an ally for the Hosts. In the latest trailer he states, “They want a new place hidden from God. We had something else in mind, entirely. I’m gonna burn this whole thing to the ground.” This strongly implies a serious allegiance with the new Host nation. 

William’s overall journey has closely paralleled theirs. He was an oppressed drone with an assumed role, who eventually realised a greater potential by breaking the rules others forced upon him. Surely he now empathises with the newly awoken Hosts. In a way, he’s been them. As such, expect him to act as a sympathetic go-between for the two species in season 2. 

Elsie and Stubbs are alive, and might have much greater roles in season 2 

After a fair old bit of speculation, we now know - via her appearance in the Westworld season 2 trailers - that Elsie isn’t, in fact, dead. Rule one of TV deaths: If it didn’t happen on camera, it probably didn’t happen. Considering her possible involvement in Maeve’s awakening - whether she was aware of it or not at the time - there’s a good chance Elsie will return more overtly allied with the Hosts. Hell, we've already seen her illicitly kiss a dormant Host, so she obviously sees them as more than objects. 

Related: We didn’t see Stubbs die either, after he was set upon by the Ghost Nation Hosts, and of course he’s still alive too. Though God knows whose side he’ll be on by the time we see him again. 

Oh, and one last point… 

The park is almost definitely not on Mars  

Can we let this one go, please? The fan theory ‘evidence’ of the park being so remote that staff have to work there on rotation is flimsy at best. And besides, Ford explicitly refers to “the evolution of life on this planet” at one point in season 1, so unless Westworld is set billions of years into the future, it’s highly unlikely that “this planet” refers to anywhere but Earth.  

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.