The penultimate episode of Westworld’s first season was chock-full of revelations and answers to some of the biggest questions that fans have speculating on all season.
With a heavy emphasis on the ongoing struggle between Ford and Bernard, “The Well-Tempered Clavier” rounded itself out by touching on each of the major threads–some of which are intertwining before our eyes.
Here’s what we learned:
The Identity of Arnold
We uncovered another layer of the hosts this week when Bernard seemingly backed Ford into a corner, demanding that Ford reveals his earliest memories. For weeks Arnold has been rippling in the backdrop. A number of hosts have discovered, sometimes by themselves (Dolores), other times with help and ingenuity (Maeve, and now Bernard), that Arnold wrote the most intricate portions of their code. Still, we never knew the identity of Arnold, other than that he cofounded the park with Ford.
But when Ford finally allowed Bernard to relive the moment he came online (more on that later), we put a face to a name: Bernard is a replica of Arnold, built after his untimely death.
The Man in Black is Playing in a World Partly His Own
While it has yet to be confirmed that The Man in Black is the future version of William, all signs continue to point in this direction. After his run in with Wyatt’s gang, he is visited by Charlotte, who asks for his vote to oust Ford from control of the park. Remember that Logan and William discussed purchasing interest in the park earlier in the season (they work for Delos, a company known to have great financial interest in the park). The Man in Black, whom we know to be a very wealthy man, is now confirmed to have at least a portion of control in the executive decisions of the park. What this also tells us is that Ford and his narratives, have, at least up to this point, been kept close to his chest and away from investors.
Whether or not The Man in Black will reach the center of the maze in the season finale remains to be seen, but considering that the Arnold reveal came tonight, the mystery of what lies there became a point of even more intrigue.
One of the novel features of the show is the narrative loops. The characters live thousands of lives, and for many of those, no memories are taken with them to the next. But as we have witnessed, the central characters in this world are remembering things, and in the case of Teddy, we are watching his memories of the same event, rewriting over and over again. As he is reminded by the host whose name was Angela when she met William at the entrance of the park, his memory of Wyatt is not what he believed it to be. When he saw it was him slaughtering everyone in his wake, he cannot accept it, and she proceeds to kill him. What’s most interesting about this sequence of events is that now it can, within reason, be theorized that Teddy may in fact be the villainous Wyatt. We may be witnessing the gradual change of identity of a host, but because of the reveries, Teddy’s full change may not be realized until another life, as the woman so eerily reminds him.
William Learns the Game
William–not Billy, as he so defiantly tells Logan–has gone all in during his trip to the park. In his feverish pursuit of Dolores, he apparently felt as if the best way to show Logan that he was serious was to not just kill everyone in their camp, but dismember many of their bodies. Things don’t look good for the once brash now quivering Logan as we last saw him being forced to search for Dolores alongside the piercingly determined William.
Despite the fact that William saw Dolores for what she really is, he is still steadfastly devoted to seeking her out following her escape. Now, if we are to believe in the very plausible William as the Man in Black theory then he might not be looking to reunite with her for the reasons we may initially think. It’s possible that he feels like a fool for being duped into believing in this world as something more than it really is, thus explaining the rage that he unleashed on countless hosts.
Maeve Prods Along
Maeve has become the most powerful host at this stage, thanks to her self-modification. We saw a few instances here where she displayed that overarching control. For starters, her wisdom allowed her to recognize Bernard as a host. We can assume that her intuition far surpasses that of not only hosts, but of humans. Also, her ability to tell Hector exactly how the deadly empty safe scenario would play out tells us that she is conceivably all-knowing as to the narrative (scripts (but more on this later).
What Dolores Did
In one of the most experimental scenes in the show’s short life, we watched as Dolores stepped through space and time, through memories and visions, in order to bring us to a solemn truth: Dolores killed Arnold. While we cannot make complete sense of this discovery now, judging by the way Ford had Bernard do his bidding, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Ford beckoned the first host to do his dirty bidding. Perhaps Ford coerced Dolores to kill Arnold, but there is just as much of a chance that Arnold was the one that asked her to do it. We know how Arnold felt about human life and consciousness, so maybe he decided that living on as a sort of central nervous system of code would be more worthwhile than existing as a human being any longer.
It’s All One Big Loop
Yes, the show hinges on narrative loops as a premise, but this episode in particular suggested that much of what we watch on-screen has likely happened in some form before. We learned that this was not the first time that Bernard pushed back against Ford. We also listened as Hector said that the current rebellion of Maeve sounded familiar. These events hint that a host uprising is just a part of the world that Ford operates.
But what happens when the loop stops?
After Ford is unable to convince Bernard to willingly revert back to one of his previous builds, Ford directs one last narrative for Bernard that ends with his old friend putting a gun to his temple and pulling the trigger.
It appears that Ford has entered uncharted territory, but maybe it’s all just a game to him. Perhaps Bernard has killed himself many times before. The narrative loop start over once again.