Westworld Theories: Bernard/Ford Inconsistencies, Charlotte's Role, That Photo, & Elsie's Whereabouts

As Westworld heads for its season one finale, the theory mill is slowing down a bit, but we're left wondering how it will end and what the second season might look like. So I have rounded up some new Westworld theories for you to consider before the finale airs this weekend. In today's Westworld theories, we consider whether the Bernard/Ford confrontation really went down like we think it did, where Elsie may be, if Charlotte is more than she appears to be, the real meaning behind that photo found in the park, and Ford's new and final narrative. All this and more, in today's Westworld Theories.


We Were Seeing Multiple Time Periods During the Bernard/Ford Confrontation Sequence

Some Westworld fans have noticed there are a lot of inconsistencies in the scene where Bernard confronts Ford in the cold storage laboratory. You can see some of them above, and more over here. Normally we'd chalk this kind of thing up to continuity errors that happened during filming. This often happens in movies and television shows, especially when a sequence is combined with reshoots, which might involve production having to completely rebuild a torn down set. But there are just too many inconsistencies here to ignore, and Jonathan Nolan is the kind of guy who pays close attention to all these details. Remember when everyone was writing off the Westworld logo discrepancies as continuity errors?

So what might this mean? We don't quite know. We do know that in this scene, Bernard realizes that he's had this conversation with Ford before. So it's possible that we are seeing moments from the current confrontation intercut with moments from the previous encounter. But to what end? Why would these inconsistencies be left in by the showrunners? Maybe just as an Easter egg for eagle-eyed fans? I have to believe there is more to this, but I can't quite figure out what.

elsie bernard westworld

Elsie Is Still Alive

A few weeks back, we theorized that Elsie might not have been killed and that instead, it was Stubbs who stumbled across his old partner in the abandoned theater. This week's and last week's episodes of Westworld strongly suggest that Ford sent Bernard to kill off Elsie, but I'm not buying it just yet. We don't see a brutal murder, and the evidence that Elsie was chasing would have only helped Ford's position against Theresa, not hurt it. There was no reason for Ford to have Elsie killed. And why not show her death rather than just tease the moment that Bernard snuck up on her?

So if Elsie wasn't killed, what happened? Donna Dickens at Hitfix theorizes that Elsie could have used her programmer specializations to escape somehow.

But what if Elsie escaped. Either because Bernard malfunctioned and was unable to murder his friend (unlikely, as he murdered his lover with no hesitation) or because Elsie realized what Bernard was and took control of the situation. Using voice commands, brute force, her wits, or a combination of all three, Elsie then fled into the wilds of the park to recover and regroup. Weeks later, she turned on her location knowing Stubbs or another member of security would come looking for her. Not one to be idle, Elsie reprogrammed the Ghost Nation tribe to defend her and/or capture Stubbs without hurting him so she could assess if he's trustworthy to help her blow this conspiracy wide open.

Maybe next episode we will follow Stubbs' capture to reveal he is jailed somewhere in the park with his partner Elsie. Or maybe she's dead, and I'm just holding on to the possibility that one of my favorite characters on the series might survive for season two.

westworld charlie charlotte

Arnold's Son Charlie Is Actually... Charlotte?

Okay, I'm not saying this theory has much evidence, but it's worth mentioning. Though Bernard's cornerstone backstory we keep seeing flashbacks to his son Charlie dying. We assume that this memory is based in truth, adapted from the backstory of Ford's former partner Arnold. We know that Arnold suffered a tragedy that sent him into his work. Perhaps that backstory was changed slightly. Just as Bernard Lowe's name is an anagram of Arnold Webber, maybe Arnold's son was a girl named Charlotte and not Charlie.

Maybe Arnold's daughter didn't die. Maybe the tragic events Arnold suffered was the loss of his wife and mother of his daughter? Maybe that daughter is now on the board of Delos running Westworld. This could explain why someone so young might have such a position. Again, none of the interactions between Ford and Charlotte seem to suggest there is a history. The actress that plays her is 33 years old, and Arnold died over thirty years ago, so if this were true she would have been an infant when it happened. Could it have occurred during childbirth? Maybe this is just a crackpot theory, or perhaps we are being set up for a reveal later on.

westworld wyatt storyline

Ford's New Narrative Has Been Engineering the Entire Plot of This Season

The following theory comes thanks to The Verge, who believes that we've been witnessing Ford's new narrative this entire season already.

Throughout the season, we've seen hints of a grand "final narrative" that will see Ford upending the park as we know it. But that narrative has always seemed a bit boring — a slightly fancier version of the normal cowboy gunfights. As much as I've enjoyed Teddy's journey from hero to potential in-game villain, his story doesn't have the stakes of the Man in Black playing a secret meta-game that will unveil the secrets of the park, or Elsie stumbling on a corporate-espionage plot that seemingly results in Delos board members being replaced by hosts. But what if all these plots — and implicitly, the entire show we've been watching — are the actual narrative? Earlier in the series, it seemed like sparking true consciousness was Ford's real goal. But it's feeling more and more like he wants everything to be as predictable, and as controllable, as his bots. Characters in Westworld already move more like pawns than people, following clues and coincidences in a world we know Ford micromanages. His endgame isn't to tell a story inside the park, it's to turn everything around the park into a melodrama for his own amusement. And he's spent 30 years bringing it to fruition. In other words, Ford's final narrative for Westworld is... Westworld.

westworld williams wife photo

Why the Photo Made Peter Abernathy Glitch

Back In October, I theorized that Ed Harris' Man in Black might actually be a Delos board member and that was confirmed to be true in this week's episode. In that same post, I theorized that the photo that Peter Abernathy discovered featuring a woman in front of a 21st-century setting, which appears to be Time Square in New York City, might be the Man in Black's dead wife. Using the Man in Black/William theory as a jumping off point, I theorized that the woman was William's fiancèe and Logan's sister. This was also confirmed by this week's episode.

As for how this photo ended up in the ground, we don't know yet for sure. And the series has yet to confirm the long-running theory that William grows up to become the Man in Black, although every bit of evidence seems to suggest this outcome at this point. So did William drop or bury it in the earlier timeline, or did the Man in Black lose it in his most recent visit?

The photo that Logan shows William appears to be in much better shape than the one we found at the Abernathy ranch at the start of the season, which again lends more weight to the two-time-period theory. It's possible that we'll see William lose this photo in the final episode of this season, or it may also be possible that we'll learn that The Man in Black dropped the photo in his return to Westworld when visiting the Abernathy ranch.

But the photo may be key to why Peter Abernathy started to glitch out. As we know, the photo caused Peter to malfunction after seeing it, but we didn't know why. Now Logan has mentioned that his sister had previously visited the park. It seems possible she had a run-in with Peter during that time, and him recognizing her in this alien-like technological urban setting fried his circuits.


Also, I don't think we've ever mentioned this, but the first time we saw Peter dig up the photo, it was a much different picture. It appears to be a shot of someone standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Many fans have written this off as a continuity error. You can only see it for a split second while Peter digs up the photo, and it's hard to make out unless you freeze frame the moment. At the beginning of the season we knew that the series stopped production for months and went through a bunch of reshoots, so we didn't think much of this, but like the changes in the cold storage set, maybe it's intentional?