Westworld (mega-spoilers!)

westworldThe previous posts avoided spoilers and talked about HBO’s Westworld in general terms of its themes and characters — stuff that is apparent just from the trailers and basic setup. This post isn’t like that! Do not read this post unless you’ve seen all of season one!

Or unless you really like spoilers or just don’t care about the series. But if you do, you should trust me on this: You do not want this spoiled! It may even be all the better if you avoid any interweb discussion … the fans really did figure out some of the secrets before their big reveal. (On the other hand, the show’s creators have made it clear the truth was always in plain view. And so it was.)

Here are my questions and observations about the last episode and the season as a whole. I think we all have a few questions…

¶ Starting with the obvious one: Is Ford really dead? Supposedly Anthony Hopkins was signed for only one season. (Doesn’t mean they couldn’t sign him up for season two. Or that there isn’t a secret second season deal.)

How many Robert Fords are there?

How many Robert Fords are there?

There is some reason to think Dolores shot a robot Ford — the closeup of his handshake with Bernard and Bernard’s apparent reaction. We were told early on that hands were the hardest part to get right. There’s also that robot we saw being made in his secret lab (when Bernard killed Theresa).

On the other hand, his sacrifice makes narrative sense, and it recapitulates Arnold’s suicide (which was also assisted by Dolores). Is it a story, an homage to Arnold, or is it as real as it seemed?

¶ Which brings me to: What is Ford’s real plan? There is good reason to believe he’s behind Maeve’s uprising. Their escape sequence was very much like many computer games (in a multi-level facility). How real was it?

westworld-b

All the world’s a stage…

A bigger question is how he arranged that beach scene with Teddy and Dolores. It seems to require that the Man In Black (MIB) stab Dolores during their confrontation in the churchyard just before Teddy rides in to save her.

How did Ford insure the MIB would do that?

¶ Bernard’s forced suicide: Obviously Ford knew it wouldn’t really kill him. It was just a way to switch him off for a while before he got too stressed. Apparently the brain is well protected — exactly what you’d expect in a robot that will get shot a lot. (What does that suggest about when Dolores shot herself in the head 35 years ago?)

But did Ford expect (or know) Maeve and crew would come along and fix Bernard? Again, Ford’s narrative seems to depend on his ability to predict what people and robots will do. The robots, at least, are understandable, but how did he predict Felix’s actions?

¶ Speaking of Maeve: Just how programmed is she? Was her choice to return to the park to seek her “daughter” her first actually free choice? (Or was it really free at all?)

westworld-c

“Should I go? Or should I stay?”

In any event, she never made it to the “mainland” — a term we saw that raised a lot of eyebrows. It appears that Westworld (and Samurai World!) exist on some sort of island served by train. (Some question whether it’s even on Earth.)

That beach scene, with the “moon” suddenly becoming a stage light raises interesting questions about just how controlled the whole environment is. That rising “moon” in the title sequence always struck me as very artificial. Is the park itself underground?

Or were we merely seeing through the eyes of Teddy and Dolores?

When Bernard takes Theresa to Ford’s secret lab, we first see a blank wall in the house; we’re seeing through Bernard’s eyes. Then Theresa asks about the door and Bernard replies, “What door?” Then we see the wall again, but this time there’s a door in it!

It was a cool, somewhat subtle, early signal that Bernard had to be a host. It also reminded us that sometimes we see things as the hosts see them, not necessarily as they are (cue that Mad Hatter quote again).

¶ What the hell is the deal with Felix? He’s going along with a robot uprising awfully calmly. Maeve assured him he wasn’t a robot, but was she lying for some reason? (Maybe she didn’t want to upset him?) Can she always tell who is a robot or does her programming blind her to certain hosts?

westworld-d

Felix and the real girl.

The business where Felix coaxes the robot bird he’s working on apes John Hammond in Jurassic Park coaxing the frog-DNA Velociraptor baby from its egg. The allusion is that, as Hammond created a problematic monster, so too did Felix with Maeve.

¶ Sylvester poses an interesting question: He didn’t bleed all that much when  Maeve slit his throat, and Felix was able to fix him with a tool they used to repair robots. Does this mean the tool works on humans due to how the robots are biological?

Or does it hint that Sylvester is a robot? He, too, has ultimately gone along with all Maeve’s plans. Are both Felix and Sylvester part of Ford’s new story?

¶ There is also the question of whether Hector and Armistice survive the battle. During the end credits we see Armistice still going at it.

westworld-e

Cue the Mission: Impossible music…

I wonder if the QA Security guys might be robots, making the whole thing part of Ford’s story. We saw the people in the control room being sealed off, perhaps for their protection from the story?

The original movie is about robots malfunctioning — that one is very much a Frankenstein story; our stronger-than-us lifelike creatures turn out to be a bad idea. So we can expect robot mayhem, but the ideas driving the show suggest things might not be what they seem.

¶ We know Ed Harris is signed up for season two, so it’s likely he survives being shot in the arm (by Clementine). In what state he survives might be an open question.

And who is this guy who attends a gala with a broken (?) arm yet still changes into a tux between the nearby churchyard and the gala in the town? (We did go from daylight to darkness, so presumably some time elapsed.)

westworld-f

Oh, goodie! Finally, here come the killer robots!

At least we know that, yes, the MIB really is William. We even see William take on the black hat at one point.

¶ And what about the board members? We see Dolores firing into the crowd, and we see her army approaching, but we don’t see anyone actually killed. (Contrast that with the battle between Maeve’s forces and the QA Security forces.)

The show is never shy about showing us death, so why do we not actually see any board members killed? The final glimpse shows Dolores shooting a woman in the back, and we see a red dot appear on her bare back, but that’s all we ever see happen to the guests.

In an interview, Jonathan Nolan mentioned they spent some thought on that “red dot” — a red dot! paintball? — and so I’m really wondering if the supposed massacre by Dolores was not actually fatal. Maybe it provided exactly what Ford promised in his final speech: violence and danger.

¶ Along similar lines, what actually happened to Elsie and Stubbs? We’re not shown their deaths (if indeed they died). Contrast that with, say, the death of Theresa, which we’re shown quite explicitly.

westworld-g

Maybe they’re off flirting somewhere…

We know Bernard choked Elsie, but did he kill her? And we know Stubbs was taken by members of Ghost Nation, but did they kill him?

¶ And what’s the deal with Ghost Nation? Who are they, and what’s their purpose?

¶ What happened to Logan? Do we just assume he eventually made it out of the park alive but disgraced enough that William was able to take over the company?

¶ What happened to Abernathy with his head full of corporate data (a plot point that bothers me a bit)? We saw Lee go down to get him and find the storage area empty of robots.

westworld-h

“These violent delights have violent ends!”

Interesting that he was the first host to go wacky seeing that picture. And the first to use the Shakespeare quote: “These violent delights have violent ends.”

¶ Speaking of that picture, how did it get from where William dropped it to the Abernathy ranch? (On the other hand, if Dolores was frequently meeting Bernard in the “field lab” beneath the church, perhaps that town wasn’t all that far away. But still. Hard to imagine it lasted outdoors for 30 years.

¶ Finally, what deeper plans does Delos have other than shallow entertainment? We’ve given to suspect they have some other purpose in mind.

§

So, yeah, lots of questions. Many were answered, but many remain.

And I have a huge one — something I don’t understand…

Season one very cleverly (and misleadingly) intertwines three narratives from three different times. All three can be, to a big extent, be seen as revolving around Dolores.

westworld-i

Dolores I and Arnold Weber.

Dolores I: All her scenes with Arnold in the lab under the church, and culminating with Arnold’s death and the destruction of the robots, take place in the earliest timeline, before the park opened. Call it 35 years ago.

Dolores II and William

Dolores II and William.

Dolores II: All her scenes with William, beginning with the engineered meeting in town, her fleeing her ranch home and running into William, take place in the second timeline. The park is open, and William and Logan are guests. It’s the first time for William, but not for Logan. Call it 30 years ago.

This timeline ends when a long-searching William sees a resurrected Dolores in town repeat the engineered meet cute with the can of sweet corn. William is shattered by the blank friendly look Dolores gives him.

Dolores III and the MIB (William).

Dolores III and the MIB (aka William).

Dolores III: Dolores is alone until she encounters the MIB in the church. This is the contemporary timeline. Presumably she fled the ranch again and journeyed on her own to the church (we see her several times alone during the journey).

In reality, the stories of Dolores I and Dolores II are memories the contemporary Dolores III is having during her journey.

We know that robots experience memories as vividly experienced flashbacks indistinguishable from reality, so much of season one — except for Maeve — revolves around Dolores and her flashbacks.

We do occasionally jump to Ford, Bernard, William & Logan, Elsie, Stubbs, or other characters, but the real narrative centers around Dolores and Maeve.

(Part of what elevates the show is the acting ability of both Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton. Of course, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Jeffery Wright, are also outstanding actors. It’s a very strong cast!)

westworld-l

How did William “save” Westworld?

But here’s my big question: William (as the MIB), during the chat in the bar with Ford, says that he (William) saved the park. There is an implication he saved it from a disaster.

Yet, when William first came to the park, it was open, running, and the incident with Arnold was years past. Logan even mentions it to William. So apparently the park successfully weathered Arnold’s attempt to stop it from opening.

How? What saved it back then?

And what did William do to save it after his visit? What did he save it from?

If William saved the park from what Dolores and Teddy did, then Arnold had to be alive when William visited. Yet Logan mentions Arnold’s death, so there’s an apparent timeline problem there.

Later, with Dolores, the MIB (William) says he took her assertions about the place to heart and bought a majority share, thus becoming its most important guest (not to mention board member). But that doesn’t sound like saving anything from disaster.

Storytelling error? Or something we don’t know about yet?

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The female robots are a key to the story!

Is there more to learn about what happened shortly after William visited for the first time? Was there some sort of robot uprising then? There is an older Wyatt story — possibly involving Peter Abernathy — that the new one is based on. Is that yet to come?

Specifically, did Dolores wake up to consciousness in the past? There is a reference to it, but I’m not clear whether it refers to when she and Teddy killed the robots and Arnold or something that came after when the park was open. (And might be related to the original Wyatt story?)

What if that event is meant to parallel or reference the events in the original Westworld movie? The TV series focuses more on robot self-awareness — a robots-as-pathos story — whereas the original movie was a robots-as-menace story.

A past “malfunction” related to Dolores might give us the original flavor while the contemporary story with Maeve gives us a new one.

Highly speculative, yes, but it’s a long time until season two in 2018.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

9 responses to “Westworld (mega-spoilers!)

  • rung2diotimasladder

    Maybe the MIB/William is Arnold? And Bernard is not, but has been given this narrative of being Arnold to fool everyone? And maybe Ford is Logan (Is that his name…the dude who takes William to the park, tries to get him to kill robots, etc., the soon-to-be brother in law?)

    I have no evidence for either of these ideas, just guessing. I can see some sort of showdown with Ford and the MIB (William), especially since their characters could be seen as opposing (if you take the MIB as William, in other words, as a romantic rather than a jaded nihilist.) Plus, the guy I’m calling Logan was betrayed in some scenes back there. That seems to be a dangling thread. We expect some sort of revenge.

    Maybe this story has little to do with creating consciousness, but more to do with showing humans how to be fully human?

    So suppose William/MIB is Arnold. We’re looking at the past now. Arnold has Dolores kill him so he can enter WW as William (and host memories are not to be trusted…Barnard’s vision of himself being killed by Dolores could morph into something else later, or something similar to this device.) Maybe Arnold/William tried to save WW not just by buying shares, but by redeeming people and hosts from violence and even from their own programming? In Dolores William once found love, so perhaps he tried to re-create that experience, to make Dolores remember that love? (BTW, the link between pain and memory resonates here in her name. “Dolores” means pain and sorrow. And she’s the one who’s told to remember, remember.) And so each time William/MIB encounters Dolores as a mere robot, as something amoral and merely programmed, he feels like a failure. Each time he tries harder, but he finds himself becoming angry and violent himself. So the game turns out to be about human nature after all, but more about whether he can redeem the world from the bad and ugly without becoming bad and ugly himself?

    On the other end we have Ford who holds a dismal view of human nature. He’s trying to prove that William/MIB will fail. Maybe the whole Westworld is a bet between these two men about human nature, and William/MIB has allowed Ford to tinker with WW in certain ways to make the game harder for him. Each storyline becomes a new challenge for William.

    Now we’re in the present. William is losing, becoming more and more like Ford. He’s cynical as the MIB and barely resembles William, his former self. It looks like we’ll see Ford become a robot himself in order to thwart William/MIB, but if I’m right, if William has already lost, what would Ford want to prove now? I dunno. Or maybe Ford will inflict pain and punishment on William/MIB in order to get him to remember his former self? Who knows.

    I wonder if they’re all gonna turn out to be robots in the end. And if that’s the case, does it mean the question of free will turns out not to matter all that much? I mean, if no one is really free to create without being predisposed in some way or another, what sense does it make to talk about freedom in the usual absolute sense? Maybe Maeve’s decision to go back to her daughter IS her first free choice, and perhaps this is a taste of what’s to come with the other characters. Maybe it turns out that freedom is knowingly choosing to be happy/moral, even if that life may not be real in the strictest literal sense (eg., Maeve choosing to live in a narrative with her daughter vs. blindly choosing to destroy the past, her own identity, and possibly humanity, for no apparent reason?)

    Lots to discuss indeed! I’m really good at speculating, especially when I don’t have any real evidence. 🙂

    • Wyrd Smythe

      “Maybe the MIB/William is Arnold?”

      That would be a stretch, since Logan mentions his death to William on their first day in the park.

      But there is something weird about Bernard being Arnold… why has no one recognized Bernard as the spitting image of Ford’s old partner? And while during Dolores I’s memories we see a young Ford, but never Arnold (and we know by then that Bernard is supposedly in Arnold’s image, so there’s no reason to be coy about showing Arnold).

      On the other other hand, we have those scenes with Dolores I and Arnold, so maybe Ford is counting on no one remembering what Arnold looked like 35 years ago?

      “And maybe Ford is Logan…”

      That would be a huge stretch, I think. Logan as a visitor to the park (he’d been there before he brought William), but Ford and Arnold had already created the park five years before.

      The timelines can be kind of confusing! Very deliberate on their part, and I think they are still hiding something important from the past.

      “Plus, the guy I’m calling Logan was betrayed in some scenes back there.”

      Do you mean when the Confederados dragged him off and William refused to help, or later when William sent him packing naked on a horse?

      “Maybe this story has little to do with creating consciousness, but more to do with showing humans how to be fully human?”

      Or juxtaposing human consciousness with artificial consciousness? They do seem more to take AI as a given rather than be interested in explaining how it came to be. As Ford says, they hosts passed the Turing Test after the first year, so they were already much more sophisticated than anything we have today.

      (Some clues about what years this takes place in suggest that Arnold and Ford must be working on Westworld right now!)

      “Barnard’s vision of himself being killed by Dolores”

      Those are actually Dolores’s memories. Arnold seems to be really dead, although there is some question about whether he might be somehow inhabiting the computer system itself as a disembodied AI.

      “In Dolores William once found love, so perhaps he tried to re-create that experience, to make Dolores remember that love?”

      Maybe. His seeing her back in town, with no memory of him, seems to have crushed him and been instrumental in his final change to the MIB (although that progression had obviously started at the army camp).

      “‘Dolores’ means pain and sorrow.”

      Wow! Cool! It does almost seem as if her current loop as the rancher’s daughter is some form of punishment for her earlier actions. Arnold, IIRC, said she’d solved the maze once (meaning become aware). And we saw it happen to Maeve as well.

      Until I wrote these posts and looked it up, I was spelling it as Delores and wondering about a connection between “Delores” and “Delos” — the company that owns WW now. But since it’s “Dolores” there seems no connection.

      “And so each time William/MIB encounters Dolores as a mere robot, as something amoral and merely programmed, he feels like a failure.”

      Or is reminded how badly he was fooled at first? The MIB is looking for something “real” and thinks the maze is a higher level of the “game” (despite being told several times that it’s not for him). He’s pretty pissed off when he finds out!

      “Maybe the whole Westworld is a bet between these two men about human nature…”

      Interesting! Ford and William/MIB are certainly the only two still around from the beginning. I really need to watch that cantina scene again…

      That episode, IIRC, is called The Adversary, and MIB asks Ford whether he’s finally created a worthy adversary for him.

      (Now if William actually somehow was Arnold, that scene takes on whole new levels of meaning.)

      “He’s cynical as the MIB and barely resembles William, his former self.”

      And recall that his wife killed herself (hmmm, three suicides in one season) because of the darkness she perceived in him. Things Logan says to William suggest that darkness was always lurking and just needed the right circumstances to come out.

      “I wonder if they’re all gonna turn out to be robots in the end.”

      Others have wondered the same thing. I’d be willing to put a little money on the idea that the QA team in the final shootout, as well as Felix and Sylvester (two cats?!?!), are robots.

      “And if that’s the case, does it mean the question of free will turns out not to matter all that much?”

      I do wonder if they’ll be getting into the issue of free will. Maeve refuses to accept that her rebellion was programmed, and it sure appears that her decision to stay was counter to that programming.

      “Lots to discuss indeed!”

      That’s what makes good (science) fiction! It’s thoughtful and though-provoking.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        This is so much fun! I love interpreting shows and movies. Most people just say, “It was good.”

        Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up on all that you did. I watched some of the episodes twice, but I’m usually shoving food in my face in the evening—you know, multitasking. So my attention is not great at that time.

        Well, onto the details:
        “‘Maybe the MIB/William is Arnold?’
        That would be a stretch, since Logan mentions his death to William on their first day in the park.”

        That’s a very good point, and I’d forgotten that. I wonder if it’s still possible though? Maybe Arnold, qua Arnold, is dead, and William is not human (but he’s told he’s human) and he’s really Arnold as a robot? Or maybe Arnold was never human, and always some robot? I dunno. Things are getting too weird, but it doesn’t seem out of bounds with this series.

        I tend to make predictions based on characters and themes—what I think needs to happen to the story—rather than what’s given or what’s logical.

        You ask:
        “But there is something weird about Bernard being Arnold… why has no one recognized Bernard as the spitting image of Ford’s old partner?”

        Good question. I wondered the same thing. I suspect it’s because during those scenes we see Bernard in a different way from the other characters, at least that was the way I explained it to myself. But that leaves even more questions I think. What do the others see?

        “On the other other hand, we have those scenes with Dolores I and Arnold, so maybe Ford is counting on no one remembering what Arnold looked like 35 years ago?”

        That’s a possibility, but it seems strange that the same body would be used. Wouldn’t there be photographs or some sort of evidence? If you’re trying to hide Arnold, wouldn’t you switch bodies? Seems easy enough for them. I think the unique way the POV characters perceive themselves is the more likely answer to our mystery.

        “‘And maybe Ford is Logan…’
        That would be a huge stretch, I think. Logan as a visitor to the park (he’d been there before he brought William), but Ford and Arnold had already created the park five years before.”

        Yeah, I see your point. Once again, I was thinking thematically rather than technically. So how about this. Maybe Logan is the son of Ford? What corporation were Logan and William working for anyways? There was some talk of William becoming an employee or partner something, but I don’t remember the details there. If Logan was the son of Ford, that could bring the themes together nicely. Ford could’ve indoctrinated his son in his way of thinking about the world (and we have to admit those two characters are similar, although Logan is more of an A-hole, but that could be because he’s young.)

        And there’s this: Logan’s body strapped to the horse that rides off into the sunset…we don’t know if he’s dead…Logan that is…what do we make of that?

        “Arnold seems to be really dead, although there is some question about whether he might be somehow inhabiting the computer system itself as a disembodied AI.”

        That’s an interesting idea. Arnold could be the game itself, the world itself.

        On Delos, I wondered about the meaning of that too, but I haven’t gotten around to researching my theory about its significance. My first thought was this name refers to the island of Delos just off Mykonos island. I’ve been there actually. It’s a very beautiful little island with a mysterious and magical feel. I’ve been to Delphi too, and this place beat Delphi, which is saying a lot. I felt utterly transported into the ancient world here, as if I’d entered a time machine. I even had that fluttery butterfly feeling as I approached the island, I was so enchanted by it. The ancient Greeks once used it as a treasury for the Delian League. This was neutral territory where the city-states kept money for war, protection against the Persians, I think, and later the treasury was moved to Athens (and that’s symbolic, right?) I think it was Pericles who moved the treasury to the Parthenon. Don’t quote me on that. But I think that was part of the hubristic downfall of Athens, contributing to the negative views that other Greeks must’ve had of Athenians and their crazy democracy. Okay so…now, the island is being run by French archeologists who are still excavating. You can take a day trip there from Mykonos by ferry boat, but there aren’t any places to stay on the island of Delos, and you can’t stay overnight. Basically, you take a ferry, you get off and wander around and see what looks like a giant treasure trove of historical artifacts all over the place, really really ancient stuff, almost Egyptian-looking stuff, and you feel like not many people have come before you to see this island. It’s absolutely incredible. You might even kick a piece of ancient pottery, that’s how dense the artifacts are. There are still beautiful mosaics in ruined buildings…I’ll have to email you some photos. There’s a nice little museum there and a little coffee shop, but that’s it. It’s really one of the best sites in Greece. But the point is, the island isn’t inhabited and there are giant—I mean GIANT—phallic statues everywhere. I think it must’ve been a Dionysian religious cult center or some such thing. (Again, back to Nietzsche who wrote about Apollo vs. Dionysius in some work that I can’t remember. On the side of the latter, obviously.) I might have to look into this more when I have time. I think it seems worthwhile as a clue, don’t you?

        “The MIB is looking for something “real” and thinks the maze is a higher level of the “game” (despite being told several times that it’s not for him).”

        Yeah, that’s right. That’s important. I’d forgotten about that line (how could I?) That seems to be a blow for my MIB as Arnold theory. Or at least for my elaboration of that theory. If the game is not for William/MIB-as-Arnold, it seems it must be for Dolores, right? She’s the one who has to find the center of the maze. The others don’t seem all that connected to this goal, except the MIB. Okay, how about this for crazy…maybe Arnold is Dolores?

        Once again, no evidence. Just throwing out ideas.

        “That episode, IIRC, is called The Adversary, and MIB asks Ford whether he’s finally created a worthy adversary for him.”

        What is IIRC?

        And yeah, the MIB seems to be asking for a better game, as if this is some sort of personal things between them.

        “I do wonder if they’ll be getting into the issue of free will. Maeve refuses to accept that her rebellion was programmed, and it sure appears that her decision to stay was counter to that programming.”

        Yeah, that was my first thought. It could go either way of course. It could be that Maeve’s programming was to rebel, and then return. But that seems kind of lame for the plot, doesn’t it? What theme does that advance really, and why should her part in the whole rebellion be so long and drawn out if all it accomplishes is letting us know that her rebellion is part of the storyline? I mean, why focus on her so much? So it seems that her decision to return should be free, if we are to believe that the story as a whole points to a deeper meaning than mere trickery.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “This is so much fun! I love interpreting shows and movies. Most people just say, ‘It was good.'”

        Yep. And yep. And if you ask, they can’t even tell you why they thought it was good. It’s part of the whole “feelings” era. Very few even get the idea of critical analysis.

        (I’ve come to the conclusion that humanity is non-viable. We’ll never last.)

        “I wonder if it’s still possible though?”

        Well, anything is possible, I suppose, but I’d be willing to put money on William/MIB and Arnold/Bernard being distinct (and key) characters. (Thematically I see Bernard as the Igor to Ford’s Victor Frankenstein. William is a whole other proposition.)

        “Or maybe Arnold was never human, and always some robot?”

        I think Ford really had a partner Arnold. (Remember we see a young Ford in the era of Dolores I stomping into Arnold’s office and arguing (unseen) with him.)

        “I suspect it’s because during those scenes we see Bernard in a different way from the other characters,”

        Indeed, anything we see from the perspective of the hosts is suspect! One question I’ve been asking myself is whether it’s possible to segment the season into perspectives of characters. Much is from the POV of Dolores, but some is from William’s POV, or Ford’s, or other seemingly (ha!) human characters. It’s one thing I’ll pay attention to when I re-watch the whole series as a whole (in a month or so).

        A real puzzle that remains is that photograph of Ford, Arnold,… and Ford’s father? It’s the same actor who plays his robot dad (which Arnold gifted to him). We know nothing about any involvement in WW on Ford’s father’s part.

        In part, it was a deliberate trick in that when Ford showed Bernard the photo, all Bernard saw was Ford and the elder Ford. Later we see all three.

        “Wouldn’t there be photographs or some sort of evidence?”

        Especially in this era of cameras. Maybe Arnold wasn’t well known? Maybe Ford destroyed any photos? It seems weird that Theresa, a WW top exec and Bernard’s lover, wouldn’t be aware of the company’s history and founders.

        BTW: “Bernard Lowe” is an amalgam of “Arnold Weber” (we see the name Arnold Weber on his office door). As the show’s creators said: It was in plain sight all along! Many fans figured it out way before the reveal.

        “I think the unique way the POV characters perceive themselves is the more likely answer to our mystery.”

        It’s about the only thing that makes sense, but Theresa still throws me. It might be something they just hoped we wouldn’t over-think (but they really ought to know better).

        “Maybe Logan is the son of Ford?”

        I really don’t think there’s a connection (although…). Logan’s dad owns Delos, and Logan mentions that one reason he and William are visiting is because Delos is thinking of investing in the park. (Which, indeed, William later does, becoming the majority shareholder.)

        William was promoted to an executive position, and the visit to WW is kind of a treat and get-to-know his future bro-in-law, William.

        Of course, we don’t exactly know who Logan’s father (owner of Delos) is. I doubt it’s Ford, but who can rule it out for sure?

        The general thought is that William disgraced Logan in WW which gave him ammo to suggest to Logan’s father that Logan wasn’t worthy of taking over the company. (Logan even seems to acknowledge this just before William sends him off naked on horseback.)

        I think it’s possible we’ll never even see Logan again. I think he was mostly misdirection away from William. (During the final reveal, I notice it’s structured so you can — just for a moment — think, “Oh, my god MIB is Logan!” I think that misdirection was intentional all along, but the fans were too clever.)

        “On Delos, I wondered about the meaning of that too,”

        Keep in mind that it’s the name of the company in the original movie, so they are bound by that.

        “If the game is not for William/MIB-as-Arnold, it seems it must be for Dolores, right?”

        Yes. It was Arnold’s attempt to bring Dolores to self-awareness.

        I don’t know if you saw the joke I posted as a comment in the first post, so I’ll repeat it here:

        Q: Why wouldn’t Dolores let William eat the corn?
        A: Because the maize wasn’t meant for him!

        “What is IIRC?”

        If I Recall Correctly.

        “It could be that Maeve’s programming was to rebel, and then return. But that seems kind of lame for the plot, doesn’t it?”

        With the one exception that it appears the folks at WW go to great lengths to prevent the robots from leaving. Would Ford change that as part of his final story (who knows)? It may be that Bernard, in reading her programming, just didn’t get to that part.

        Or maybe she’s off her programming now, which will raise all sorts of interesting issues.

        “I mean, why focus on her so much?”

        Perhaps she becomes some sort of robot’s Harriet Tubman? Having a black actress in that role may mean nothing at all, or could it be some sort of nod to Tubman?

        So many questions to be resolved! (And it’s so long until 2018! 😦 )

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I think a huge part of what’s confusing about the show is the POV of the characters. We’re used to that in novels, but having their perspectives not quite share the same reality is a bit difficult to get. Normally, we assume that what we see is happening, and we take into account who’s there and who’s not. But in this show we can’t really trust what we’re seeing 100%.

        Next year. Yikes. It’s around the corner. How scary is that?

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Matter of hours, now.

        They are really messing with our minds in WW. I read an article yesterday that made me realize I may have to re-watch this multiple times frame by frame…

        Remember the scene between Ford, Bernard, and Clementine, down in the office behind the cold storage area? Photos from that article I read show that the scene may have occurred multiple times. There are subtle differences in what you see in that room! I noticed an electrical plug in plain sight on the side of that dissection table… and it’s not there in other shots!

        That’s no continuity error, that’s deliberate clue-planting! The shelves with bodies of robots in body bags… in some shots those shelves are empty!

        Oh, boy, I think there are some big secrets yet to come!

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Whoa. That’s incredible. I’ve never seen a TV series worthy of such detailed attention!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        There are some (Doctor Who, maybe) that are in the general ballpark, but I can’t think of any this convoluted. S’what you get, I guess, when you have a crafty movie SF script writer team.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        And Ford does say something about this having happened with Bernard before! Oh, you rascals!

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