westworld

We’ve already written a couple of articles about Westworld episode 7 entitled “Trompe L’Oeil“: a spoiler filled recap and an examination of how the episode’s big twist makes us reconsider everything we’ve seen thus far. But there is one last thing I wanted to talk about, that being, a big clue towards confirming a popular fan theory, which many viewers may have missed while watching the episode.

billy man in black westworld theory

We’ve already talked at great length about the multiple time-period theory. But for those who haven’t been following, here is the gist: Some fans believe that the storyline following William, Dolores, and Logan takes place three decades before the other storylines in the show, featuring Doctor Ford, The Man in Black, Maeve, Teddy, and others.

The theory suggests that William is actually the man who becomes the Man in Black. That we are watching him go from white hat to black hat, simultaneously reliving the backstory with his involvement in the massive critical failure which took place after the park first opened, while he tries to find the mysterious maze at the center of it all. There has been a lot of evidence to back up this theory, and we’ve chronicled much of it in our past articles and videos.

Westworld Episode 5 Trailer

Okay, so now that we’re all caught up, let’s take a look at a quote from Ed Harris who plays The Man in Black on the show.

“Beforehand, they told me enough to understand what kind of life my character had in the outside world and why he was coming to this park. But then you get the script for Episode 7, say, and you’re going, ‘Oh! Thanks for telling me, man! I didn’t realize THAT about myself!'”

Now the interesting thing here is that he mentions Episode 7 specifically but his character, The Man in Black, doesn’t appear on screen for a second of the episode. Nor does anyone talk about the character. It’s possible that Harris just threw that episode number out there randomly, and wasn’t specifically referring to this episode. Or it’s also possible he originally had a scene in the script that was cut from the final episode (Westworld apparently has a lot of deleted scenes). But let’s entertain the idea that he wasn’t mistaken, or that a scene wasn’t deleted. What might Harris be talking about?

I think it would have to be the scene shared between William and Dolores in the train car:

Dolores: Lawrence is right. You could’ve stayed in Pariah or gone back, but you’re here. With me.

westworld

William: The only thing I had when I was a kid were books. I used to live in them. I used to go to sleep dreaming I’d wake up inside one of them ’cause they had meaning. This place, this is like I woke up inside one of those stories. I guess I just wanna find out what it means. I don’t wanna be in a story. All I want is to not look forward or back. I just wanna be… in the moment I’m in.

William goes on to explain that he’s supposed to marry a woman named Juliet, Logan’s sister, the daughter of the man who owns the company where he works (which we have suspected to be DELOS). He explains he will help Dolores find what she is after but that he can’t stay as he has a life waiting for him outside of the park. She runs away to another train car, and he follows and makes the following admission:

William: “I’ve been pretending my whole life. Pretending I don’t mind, pretending I belong. My life’s built on it. And it’s a good life, a life I’ve always wanted. But then I came here, and I get a glimpse for a second of a life in which I don’t have to pretend. A life in which I can be truly alive. How can I go back to pretending when I know what this feels like?”

Now there are a few things to notice here. William is being won over by the park. He is getting emotionally involved, and we can see his white hat starting to slip off his head metaphorically. But the mention of the books he read as a kid seems like an obvious callback to something The Man in Black said in episode 4 “Dissonance Theory”:

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The Man in Black explains that:

“This whole world is a story. I’ve read every page except the last one. I need to find out how it ends. I want to know what this all means.”

It seems like The Man in Black and William are both a fan of books, which I think is no coincidence. If Jimmi Simpson is playing a younger version of the Man in Black, its very easy to see what Ed Harris might have been talking about in his reference to this episode.

When William says that he has been “pretending my whole life,” and discovered that he no longer has to pretend to be someone he isn’t in Westworld, we get a hint of the beginnings of The Man in Black. William came to Westworld a nervous and unconfident person, and we have already seen this begin to change.

And I don’t feel good about what’s coming. If the theories are correct, he will be at the center of this massive critical failure, and his love story with Dolores will come to a tragic end with her memory being completely wiped. I imagine that would send William towards the black hat. Also remember, The Man in Black has even admitted that “In a sense, I was born here.”

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