westworld angela

One of the best things about Westworld is that one viewing of each episode is never enough and I always discover new details and nuances in the days after my Monday morning spoiler reviews. One of the worst things about Westworld is that one viewing of each is never enough and smart people out in internet-land always discover new details and nuances that I completely missed, leading me to feel like a real idiot. In this case, I completely missed an interesting casting decision in this most recent episode, “Trace Decay,” and it may be another clue to deciphering the series’ complex timeline.

Spoilers for “Trace Decay” follow, of course.

You may have not noticed, but actress Talulah Riley has showed up in Westworld three times, seemingly playing a different character on each occasion. Redditor shine_o put together a side-by-side comparison on the Westworld subreddit, just in case you’re like me and can be totally thrown off by a change in hairstyle and a little dirt on a face.

westworld angela

So let’s break this down.

When we first met Talulah Riley’s Angela in “Chestnut,” the second episode of the season, she was working as one of the first robotic Hosts guests encounter as they prepare to enter the park. Specifically, she guided Jimmi Simpson’s William through the science fiction theme park equivalent of a character creation menu, helping him select a wardrobe and weapons. Unlike the Hosts who actually populate the park, Angela was programmed to be aware of the artificiality of her existence, a neutral presence rather than a character.

We then caught a quick glimpse of Angela when Dolores reached the center of the Maze and had her dizzying flashback/hallucination to a small town where Westworld technicians in lab coats were fine-tuning a group of hosts. You probably missed it. I know I did.

And finally, Angela re-entered the narrative in a big way when her unconscious body was discovered by Teddy and the Man in Black. Of course, she was actually an agent for the uber-villain Wyatt and she assisted in getting both of them captured. Her exact role in Wyatt’s organization remains to be seen.

So, what does all of this mean? While this could just be Westworld reusing an actress to showcase how the park cycles its various Hosts through different identities (the same episode explored how Maeve was reprogrammed to be the madam of a brothel after originally being written as a frontierswoman), these three Angelas seem to add further fuel to an already roaring discussion about what is taking place when.

For starters, the fact that Angela can be seen in Dolores’ vision at the heart of the Maze suggests that she is remembering a past event. After all, Angela is currently working as an introductory Host at this time, not as a Host within the park itself.

And that brings us to Angela playing a completely different character during her interactions with the Man in Black, which further suggests that those scenes are taking place sometime after William’s first visit to the park. After all, she can’t be welcoming new guests to the park and playing a key role in the Wyatt storyline at the same time, right? And if this does confirm that William and the Man in Black exist in different times, consider this more evidence for the “William is a younger version of the Man in Black” theory.

In conclusion:

  • The Distant Past: Angela is among the Hosts being tested, possibly before the park even opens.
  • The Past: Angela is the introductory Host who welcomes William to Westworld.
  • The Present: Angela is a character in Dr. Robert Ford’s Wyatt narrative.

Or this could mean absolutely nothing at all and we’re just over-thinking things. Then again, Westworld has always been about these tiny details. Nothing in this show has been an accident.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: