Westworld is HBO's latest TV show that premiered on October 2nd and has amassed a huge fan-base already. The first episode drew the same ratings as the pilot of True Detective, and amassed a staggering 3.3 million live viewers!
Since its fantastic pilot, Westworld has posed lots of questions to its viewers, constantly playing with our expectations and subverting them. Let's take a look at some of Westworld's biggest mysteries, and what we need explained by the end of the season.
1. Who Is The Man in Black?
I thought I'd start off with the most obvious question on everybody's mind: who is The Man in Black? It's definitely clear that this character is the biggest bad-ass in the show, but that's practically all we know about him. We also know that he's searching for some sort of maze and will stop at nothing to find it. We are still uncertain whether he's a good or bad guy. His ruthless killings would suggest he's a villain, except he knows they're only robots and will be back the next day, so he's not really killing them, so to speak.
I'm also very keen to find out whether he is a host or a guest and I can't seem to make up my mind on which one I think is true. In the latest episode he said "I've been coming here for 30 years. In a sense, I was born here", which makes you immediately think he's a robot. But if that were the case, how has he never been decommissioned, or how is he invincible? The most likely explanation for this is that he's a glitch in the Westworld programme and the creators don't know about him.
2. What Is The Mysterious Symbol On The Host's Scalp?
In the first episode, the Man in Black kills a man and (brutally) tears off his scalp only to find a mysterious code on the inside. My instinctive reaction as to what this meant is that it's a numbering system of some kind to keep track of the hosts. But if this were true, why does the Man in Black want it? There has to be more to it, especially in a show like this where if you predict something, you're more than likely going to be wrong. A big question on my mind is: does the Man in Black has this on the inside of his scalp? I'm sure we'll find out in due course.
3. Will We See Other Worlds?
As you may or may not know, the book Westworld was made into a film in 1973 with a very similar plot and it's actually pretty good. It follows the same idea as the HBO show, where customers (guests) pay an amount of money to visit theme parks occupied by extremely life-like robots. In this 1973 film, Westworld wasn't the only world available in the park; there's also a roman world and a medieval world.
At Westworld’s panel at New York Comic Con, show creator Jonathan Nolan was asked whether or not we would see Medieval world or Roman World in season 2 This was his answer:
“You said Roman World and Medieval World, right? No.”
He could be dismissing this idea to leave a surprise for us fans - or he's maybe being totally honest and we won't see other worlds for quite some time. Let me know in the comments if there's another world you'd love to see - personally I'd love an industrial revolution era one.
- Who Is Arnold And What Is He Making The Hosts Of 'Westworld' Do?
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- 5 Things You Might Have Missed In The 'Westworld' Pilot Episode
4. What Is Anthony Hopkins's Character Planning?
Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is the renowned creator of Westworld and he takes immense pride in what he's established. He still makes executive decisions about Westworld, including dismissing Lee Sizemore’s new storyline for the theme park. At the end of Episode 2, we find out that Dr. Ford is working on something of his own to which the camera pans out only to reveal a black steeple in the middle of the desert. This hint couldn't have been more ambiguous, as I cannot fathom one possible theory as to what he has in mind. If you have any ideas or theories, let me know in the comments!
5. How Many Guests Are Allowed into Westworld?
One of the best things Westworld's got going for it is the fact that we, aren't totally sure who is and isn't a robot. This makes us feel like we are like guests to the park and experiencing the same treatment as the characters in the show. It's hard to make an assumption about how many guests are in the park, because on the one hand, I'm sure the demand for this technology is colossal, but on the other hand they couldn't have too many guests, or else there would be chaos.
My theory on this is there are lots more towns in Westworld than just the one we're used to. We got a glimpse of another town in Episode 2 when the Man in Black had a shoot out with his captive and his cousins. If you rewatch the episode and look at the town, you'll notice it's nothing like the town you start off in. I'd love to find out just how many guests are allowed in Westworld at one time later on in the season. What's your guess?
6. What Makes Westworld's Robots Aware?
From what we've seen so far, Dolores Abernathy (played by Evan Rachel Wood) is the most fascinating character yet. She is a wonderful actor who makes me cling on to every facial expression she makes, in the hope that it aids my understanding of who she is. It's hard to tell if she's aware yet, but I've believed she is since Episode 1.
I think throughout the whole of Episode 1 she is a regular robot who sticks to her script, but once she encounters the Man in Black that all changes. In the scene where the Man in Black drags her to the barn, most of us would assume she was raped, but I think he made her aware by saying a sentence (more on that later). I make this assumption because at the end of Episode 1, Dolores smacks the fly on her neck when all the developers of Westworld said "they wouldn't hurt a fly". As well as that, whenever a fly goes on any other robot, they don't notice, as if it wasn't there.
Earlier I spoke of a sentence that made the robots aware and I think it's what Dolores says to Thandie Newton's character in Episode 2; "These violent delights have violent ends.". This sentence is completely out of character for Dolores and she has no reason to be talking to Maeve (Thandie Newton). After Dolores said this to Maeve, she seemed to become more aware and remember more of her old life, which suggests that Dolores triggered this by saying that sentence. I believe that this sentence is what the Man in Black said to Dolores in the barn to 'activate' her somehow. Was this activation sentence created by one of the programmers on purpose? Who knows, but I hope we find out throughout the season.
7. Is Westworld Set on Earth?
With great shows, come great fan theories. When I was scouring the internet for Westworld theories, I came across a few gems that made absolute sense. The one in question here is - are they on the planet Mars? Hitfix’s Donna Dickens poses the idea that Westworld is not set on Earth, but is in fact on Mars. Her first piece of evidence is the fact that the developers and workers at Westworld talk about their "rotation" and Lee Sizemore's character (Simon Quarterman) asks Theresa Cullen's character (Sidse Babett Knudsen) “When do you get to rotate home again?”.
Another thing she reiterates is: how would they acquire so much land on Earth? Surely it would cost a small fortune for the humungous size of Westworld. What do you think guys: do you believe that it's on Earth?
Westworld is a fantastic programme that poses lots of questions, but this is exactly what creator Jonathan Nolan wanted. Speaking to IndieWire, he explained his feelings towards all the questions surrounding the show:
I’m a big believer in pose some questions and then answer a few of them before you move onto the next set of questions. You don’t ever want to run out of engaging questions, but I do believe in it.
I personally love the idea that the show doesn't spoon-feed you the answers. It lets you think for yourself and pose your own questions and theories, which makes it all the more engaging. I'm crazy-excited for the rest of the season and all the seasons that follow, because I think this is a really special show.
I'd love to know if you have any questions that I haven't on this list, let me know yours in the comments!