Westworld theory

“Are you watching closely?”

That line from The Prestige could just as easily apply to HBO’s Westworld, since both are written by Jonathan Nolan, a writer who loves seeding surprises and twists into his work. Two episodes into Westworld season 2, the story seems more straightforward than in the enigmatic first season, but there are still plenty of unanswered questions on the table. Now a new Westworld theory indicates that a repeating symbol seen in the show may be a key to one of season 2’s biggest mysteries.

The second episode of season 2, entitled “Reunion,” begins with a cold open and shows Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) working with an early version of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), whose programming hasn’t quite been perfected yet. Arnold takes Dolores into the real world and shows her his home, and eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that some of Arnold’s brick design looks strikingly similar to those in Rick Deckard’s apartment in Blade Runner.

Upon first watch, I assumed that just an homage to a classic film that grapples with similar themes about the truth of identity and humanity. But perhaps I wasn’t “watching closely” enough. EliteDaily points us to this observation from a Redditor about a symbol that appears in the decor of Arnold’s home – and, it turns out, one that’s popped up elsewhere in the series, too.

Westworld Reddit

Another Redditor jumped in with this helpful excerpt from author Carl G. Liungman’s book Symbols: An Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms which explains exactly what this symbol means:

Symbols excerpt

So how does that tie in to what’s going on in Westworld season 2? Well, in this year’s season premiere, Bernard and the Delos security team stumble across a strange body of water that’s full of the corpses of floating hosts, including Teddy (James Marsden).

Westworld bodies

Standing on the water’s edge, Bernard says “I killed them, all of them,” but the show has yet to explain how those hosts died (if that’s indeed what’s going on) or how Bernard killed them (if that’s indeed what he did). That body of water isn’t even supposed to be there…what did Bernard do?

We don’t know yet, but the fact that this symbol means “stone bottom at the water’s edge” has fans excited to find out if there’s a deeper connection. Plus, the symbol’s Greek origins tie into this show, too, with the word “Delos” (the company that owns the park) being a Greek island which, in ancient mythology, humans could visit but never remain. The company that approached Logan Delos (Ben Barnes) for investment is called the Argos Initiative, and Argos was the son of Zeus and the inspiration for the “Argo,” the ship in the mythical tale of Jason and the Argonauts, who were searching for the famed Golden Fleece.

There’s one more connection, too. The symbol also has connection to vinegar, and EliteDaily points out that in the early days of science, vinegar was thought to be “water that kills and vivifies.” Not only that, “It transmuted the vehicle of consciousness the body, into the vehicle of consciousness the spirit.” That’s a fancy way of explaining a spiritual awakening, which the hosts in Westworld are certainly experiencing at the moment.

Stay tuned to see if any of this makes its way into the show in more specific ways, and in the meantime, sound off with your own theories about season 2 in the comments below.

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