More 'Westworld' Theories To Make You Question Everything You've Seen

As Episode 5 of Westworld seems to substantiate the Man in Black theory further, it also introduces a bunch of new mysteries and questions. We return once again from having cocktails at the Mesa Gold to bring you a new batch of Westworld theories that will make you question who you are seeing, when you are seeing, the meaning behind the names and much much more. Hit the jump to board the train to Sweetwater.


We Are Seeing Many Different Timelines, and Dolores Is Retracing Her Steps From 30 Years Ago

Some Westworld fans have noticed that Dolores is sometimes shown alone where others should be around. Is this part of her malfunction? Is she really hallucinating and seeing another version of herself or is it possible that she has been here before and is remembering and retracing her steps? Is it possible that we do not just see two timelines, but many different timelines, with Dolores recalling past attempts and retracing her steps in an effort to find the maze?

Let's not forget that the show's creator/showrunner Jonathan Nolan, is the screenwriter of Christopher Nolan's film Memento which plays a lot with the perspective of time. In that film, a character is retracing his steps through the help of his tattoos. The Verge theorizes that Dolores' story is actually in the distant future and we are seeing "the composite of countless loops and memories that, cumulatively, will help Dolores — in the distant future — solve the maze at the center of the park and the show."

"I believe that Dolores has planted signposts for herself for decades, and we're following her at different stages of this process. This week's episode hinted that the majority of Dolores' experiences are in the past, including her adventure with William. First, Dolores spotted a version of herself while visiting the border town of Pariah with William. This "alternate" Dolores sat across from the "real" Dolores at a table, and presented tarot cards, including a card with the maze icon. Like the tattoos of Memento, it's possible that Dolores has left clues throughout her loops, guiding her closer and closer to the center. This tarot reader isn't Dolores from the future, rather a prompt left by Dolores in the past. So, by that logic, it would seem like we're following Dolores and William on the most present timeline. But another moment, near the end of the episode, hints at her adventure with William being just one of the many loops that will gradually lead her to the center of the maze. When Dolores sees the maze icon on the coffins, she says "I'm coming" to herself. And the camera pulls back to reveal William and the smuggler, who were just with her on the train, have disappeared. Why are they gone? Because this moment takes place on a loop long after William's initial visit. The real "present" timeline of Dolores is long after the events of the show, her own lonely path to self-discovery."

It's definitely an interesting theory that I've seen all over Reddit. We've definitely seen flashbacks to Dolores past, which possibly includes Arnold. So I don't doubt that we have been seeing more than these two timelines, it's just a matter of from which perspective are we viewing these events.

bernard dolores westworld

Arnold, Not Bernard, Is Interviewing Dolores Over 34 Years Ago

Previously we've theorized that Bernard is actually a robot based on Ford's lost partner Arnold. Joanna Robinson over at VF believes that Bernard is actually a host based Westworld's dead co-founder Arnold and that Dolores' interactions with Bernard may be set in another timeline and that the person we see in these scenes might be Arnold himself and not Bernard:

If Bernard looks identical to Arnold then, as is the case with all the scenes featuring the ageless Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton), we have to wonder when any scene with Bernard/Arnold are taking place. Was the scene where he was Skyping his wife (Gina Torres) actually taking place in the distant past? And, more crucially, are those intimate interviews with Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright actually very early conversations between Dolores and Arnold? We know from Episode 5 that Arnold's death pre-dates William and Logan. Is this, in fact, a third timeline? Since Dolores is clothed when talking to Bernard/Arnold and nude when talking to Ford, are we seeing a flashback to Arnold's dangerous dalliance with over-humanizing his creations? The maze seems to have been Arnold's idea, so it would make sense that we see Wright as Arnold tell Dolores about it. It doesn't really make sense to have Wright as Bernard bring it up. Lawrence's daughter tells the Man in Black the maze is not for him. Is that because it's just for androids? Just Arnold's little test for his favorite robot (the one who he kind of sees as a replacement for his dead son) Dolores? To help him, as Dolores tells Ford in Episode 5, "to destroy this place"?

But why would Ford ever make a replica of his partner? Especially one who has been erased from all the history books and there is no known public photo of in existence?

hector logan westworld

Hector Is Based On Logan's DNA

More than a few viewers have noticed just how much Ben Barnes' visitor character Logan looks like Rodrigo Santoro's host character Hector Escaton. Is it possible that Hector is based upon Logan's DNA? Of course, if this were the case, why not have them played by the same actor? The only reason I can think to not have that happen is to hide a reveal. Yeah, this theory is pretty thin, but I thought the visual was worth sharing. Maybe this is a potential set-up for one of them swapping places or being somehow mistaken for each other.

PullTheOtherOne suggests the following:

In Episode 4, MiB says he never bothered with Hector because he seemed too "market-tested." In Episode 5, Logan tells William that areas like Sweetwater are too "market-tested" (which is why he prefers more chaotic areas like Pariah).I have seen this as one (of many) parallels between Logan and the MiB. HOWEVER, your post brings up an interesting idea: If someone really wanted to ridicule, spite, or annoy Logan, it would be pretty brilliant to create a host in his image to loop forever in a "market-tested," "color-by-numbers" beginner-level Sweetwater quest like the Saloon robbery. I can't think of anything that would piss Logan off more.I'm not going to suggest that this is how Hector came about. But it's a funny thought.

Logan and William in Westworld

Logan and William Work For DELOS

William and Logan's trip to Westworld is partly a business trip. We know that William is an Executive Vice President at Logan's company, a company that is considering buying out Westworld, as the park has been hemorrhaging money. Ford says Arnold died 34 years ago, right before the park opened, and Logan references the rumors that the co-founder killed himself. A lot of Westworld theorists believe that the William/Logan storyline takes place three decades earlier, probably a few years after the park opened.

We know that a company named DELOS now owns Westworld, and it's been teased that that company is using the park for their own secret purposes. We've theorized that it may have to do with reaching the singularity by progressing artificial intelligence, or maybe something to do with the fact guests must give up their DNA rights when entering the park. Is it possible that Logan and William work for DELOS before the company bought out Westworld?

The interesting thing here is that The Man in Black, who a lot of people now assume to be an older timeline version of William, says early in episode 5 that the robotic hosts used to be beautiful, but that the change from elaborate animatronics to 3d printed skin and bones was a cost-cutting measure. This seems to indicate that there isn't some sinister plan behind this technological progression. And if William is the Man in Black, and he does (or did) work for DELOS, you would think he would have a good understanding of the company's real motivations, right?


The Man In Black Is A World-Renowned Surgeon In The Real World

While Episode 5 of Westworld seems to add fuel to the fire that we are seeing multiple timelines, we are still a ways away from a confirmation on the Man In William theory. Even though I believe it will, let's for a moment consider that theory doesn't pan out or at very least, let's consider that The Man in Black is no longer an Executive Vice President at some firm. What does the Man in Black do in real life? Perhaps he's a world renowned surgeon.

The following theory comes from Comrade_leviathan:

In Ep. 1 he drains Kissy of enough blood to leave him barely alive, something that most people probably wouldn't know. In Ep. 4 the ride-along Guest that approaches MiB at Armistice's camp says that MiB's foundation saved his sister's life. In Ep. 5 he drains all of Lawrence's blood in order to perform a transfusion on Teddy, something that arguably only a medical doctor/surgeon would know. I think MiB is a world-renowned (based on his comment to Lawrence about "ain't a man alive that would take the tone with me that you do") surgeon or medical doctor. Add to that his comments to Teddy about MiB's fascination with the prior design of the Hosts... mechanical versus flesh and bone. He clearly despises how weak and fragile biological life is, presumably based on his experiences in his profession. Bonus: Rewatching Compasso, I was relieved to realize that when MiB looked at the young Ford boy and said "too small" he was talking about the amount of blood, not something more sinister.

He makes some good points. But could the Man in Black's knowledge of blood transfusions just come from three decades of playing in this world? Like any hardcore gamer, he probably know the ins and outs of the games rules, to the exact level of how much blood loss "kills" a host.

felix in westworld

What Is Up With Cats And Episode 5?

This one is less of a theory and more of an observation. You may not have noticed it, but Episode 5 of Westworld had quite a few cat references. The episode opened with Dr. Ford relaying a story to Old Bill about his boyhood greyhound bewilderment after finally killing the neighborhood cat. Of course, this story serves to tell us something about Ford himself. Like child childhood pet, he spent his whole life with one goal (Westworld) and now that he has achieved it he doesn't know what to do with himself. Which begs the question, what is his new narrative?

The second set of feline mentions come in the introduction of the odd-couple lab techs Felix Lutz and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum). Were they named after the famous animated cats as a reference to their cartoonish comic relief role on the show, or is there something deeper? Vulture theorizes that "given all the reasons to muse about characters' potentially myriad incarnations and plains of being, all the cat references could be another way of subtly seeding the notion of multiple lives."

westworld dolor close-up

The Meaning Of "These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends."

Earlier in the season, the quote "these violent delights have violent ends" was spoken by Peter Abernathy to Dolores. The Westworld engineers figured out that Peter knows the word because, in one of his past lives as a host, he was a professor of Shakespeare. It's been pretty much assumed that this trigger phrase reprograms the hosts in some way, but we've never really explored the possible meaning of the phrase in the context to the show and story. The quote itself is from Romeo and Juliet:

These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey Is loathsome in his own deliciousness And in the taste confounds the appetite. Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so. Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow. – Romeo and Juliet, ActII, Scene VI

The basic gist of this passage is that Romeo says he doesn't care if he dies the next day, as long as he can marry Juliet. Friar Lawrence warns Romeo that a love so strong can be explosive. Shakespeare is also using the word "violent" here because of its double meaning. It comes from a root word that means "impetuous, " and the Friar is using it to say "impetuous" love while the author is forecasting the couple's violent end at the end of the play.

It might be easy to assume that the quote is meant to reflect on the rampant violence in the park, but Gathly on Reddit theorizes that "if we take the impetuous meaning too, then perhaps it's also a reference to the idea of bringing consciousness to the hosts as being too impetuous and leading to humanities end." He points out that there's a character in the show named Hector Escaton, with the word Eschaton being a Greek word in Catholic theology referring to the ultimate end of the world.

westworld dissonance theory ed harris

The Meaning Behind El Lazo's Name

Speaking of names and meanings, Doublerolls points out that Clifton Collins Jr.'s character Lawrence's nickname "El Lazo" transliterates into Spanish as "The Loop".

More precisely the name means "The Lasso" or "The Noose". This name has a lot of layers to it: The transliteration of the name references the cyclical nature of Westworld and possibly an even larger cycle that hasn't become apparent yet.(In some form of Dual Timeline.) The name meaning "The Noose" references the fact that, if left alone, El Lazo's story always ends with him being hanged. If we were to read into it further, it's even possible that El Lazo himself is trying to use the third meaning of his name, "The Lasso", and not referring to either of the other two. What really puts the cherry on top of those 2 or 3 meanings is that "Lazo" is also almost certainly a reference to Lazarus, although the meaning behind that beyond the simple fact that he is resurrected is not yet clear.

And Lawrence also a connection to the trigger phrase "These violent delights have violent ends," which as we pointed out earlier, is a quote from Romeo and Juliet. That quote is spoken by Friar Lawrence, who is also the character who procures the poison for the couple. Maybe this might symbolically come to play at the end of William and Dolores' young romance storyline?