BySean Gallen, writer at
The pen is mightier than the sword but is ultimately useless in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Filmmaker, filmlover, MP staff writer.
Sean Gallen

Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen the first episode of Westworld, what are you waiting for? Go watch it and come back to us!

HBO premiered their epic, sci-fi drama Westworld this week and the response was emphatic, breaking the record for the biggest audience since the premiere of True Detective. Westworld is a virtual theme park where human guests can live out their fantasies in an artificial Western simulation. This virtual playground is populated with intelligent androids who follow set narratives to make sure the guests have the best, most lawless time possible.

Check out the incredible trailer below:

The immense sandbox of Westworld is so immersive and the androids are so sophisticated that it's hard to believe it is all the creation of one genius: Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins). The elderly engineer is responsible for creating the A.I. of the androids and has spent his whole life working on Westworld. Although he didn't get that much screen time, the mysterious God-figure has more answers than he is willing to reveal. We're going to take a closer look at the mastermind and discuss whether or not he can still be trusted?

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1. Ford’s New Update Is Causing The Malfunctions

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) on the verge of breaking down / HBO
Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) on the verge of breaking down / HBO

At this late stage of his career, Ford is still responsible for updating the programming of the androids. His latest updates push the androids closer to verisimilitude with the addition of what he calls "reveries": moments of reflection, nostalgia and daydreaming that make them seem even more human. Throughout the premiere, we see several androids breaking down due to these updates to become twitching wrecks, incapable of retaining their human form.

Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) are responsible for quality assurance in Westworld and question Ford's updates behind his back. They don’t understand why Ford wants to keep improving them; most guests enjoy the simpler models anyway. Ford may be intentionally pushing the androids past their limits because he wants them to obtain sentience and evolve to full human status.

2. There Are Robots In Management

Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) in a moment of reverie /HBO
Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) in a moment of reverie /HBO

The premiere left many clues that suggest that some characters aren't aware that they're androids. This is obvious with characters such as Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) who are trapped in the virtual world to satisfy the desires of the guests. However, there is evidence to suggest that there are androids behind the scenes as well.

For instance, there is the case of Ford's protégé, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), who obediently follows his mentor even though he knows his logic is flawed. Bernard tells his co-workers he doesn't have children, yet he is caught looking wistfully at a picture of a young boy. The androids have their memories reset every day but sometimes they malfunction and stumble across memories of a former function they used to fulfill. Ford is the only human who has been part of Westworld since its inception so it makes perfect sense for him to surround himself with perfectly compliant but highly intelligent androids he can control.

3. Ford Is Preparing For Something Much Bigger

Despite the fact that 10 percent of the android population is suspect to malfunction because of his update, Ford doesn't seem too concerned. He shrugs his shoulders to suggest that even a genius can make mistakes every once in a while.

The old engineer acts a bit senile and innocent but he also talks about being at the cusp of a magnificent breakthrough, overcoming the last boundary: death. Ford had big ideas for Westworld in the beginning but it has now become a sordid vacation resort where guests violate his beautiful creations. Perhaps he is creating something bigger than humans; a sentient life with free will that lives forever.

Hidden In Plain Sight

An invincible, intelligent machine in the making / HBO
An invincible, intelligent machine in the making / HBO

Ford's young team is quietly waiting for him to retire but it is clear that the elderly engineer is still the master of puppets. He is playing God by pushing his creations past the point of control. Endowing them with the sacred gift of free will and intelligence beyond their requirements. Whatever his final goal is, Ford is treading on dangerous territory and risks plunging Westworld into a violent vortex of an android rebellion.

What do you think Ford has planned?


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