If there's one thing HBO's Westworld has been, it's delightfully confusing. Welding together a vast motherboard of narrative threads which span across different timelines, which occasionally include different versions of the same character (i.e. 'Barnold') and frequently reveal themselves to be false, created memories, understanding exactly what's going on in the Westworld Universe has at times been a challenge.
Until now that is. Genius Redditor draupp has meticulously pieced together all of the major plot points from the separate timelines and placed them all on one nice, neat, easy to read timeline to give our weary minds some respite before the Season Finale screens this Sunday. So, sit back and let the many pieces of the Westworld Maze fall into place.
And if you just can't get enough of the fan theory speculation, check out every single Westworld theory so far.
1. 'Westworld,' The Violent Beta Years
Let's start at the very beginning, because it's a very good place to start. Incorporating all of the evidence we've received so far, draupp suggests that development for Westworld began about forty years from the modern day timeline (the timeline which involves Maeve, Felix & Sylvester's story). He goes on to pinpoint the following:
- Arnold and Ford split the writing of the Hosts code 50/50. This is why some of the more sentient Hosts are able to hear Arnold in the minds, as his coding still exists within them.
- They embark on a three year research and development period in which the first Hosts are made.
- As Ford stated in Episode Nine, after the first year, the Hosts began passing the Turing Test for sentience.
- It's at this point that draupp suggests Arnold began tampering with the Hosts minds, introducing them to the "Bicameral Mind" experiments which saw the Hosts transforming their inner programming into an inner voice. In Episode Nine we see how this backfired when Dolores has a flashback of entering the Church to find a clergy of Host crazies driven mad with this inner voice:
- It therefore makes sense that Dolores and Arnold (who Bernard will later become a Host replicant of) begin their little interview sessions which take place beneath the Church as Arnold searches for signs of Sentience within her. It is suggested that Dolores is introduced to the idea of the "Maze" here.
- Things begin to get a bit more speculative at this point. We are lead to believe that as stated in Episode Nine, that Dolores kills Arnold, and then if the theories are true, becomes Wyatt and goes on an epic murder spree, massacring the entire town.
2. The Park Opens, And So Does William's Heart
In the aftermath of Dolores/Wyatt's mass freakout, the company does what companies do best: buries it, pretends it never happened and continues as normal.
- Whether the park opens before or after the Beta Town is buried is at this point somewhat unclear, although I'd personally assume that it was buried before the Guests were allowed into the park.
- While draupp is correct in stating that a few years after the park opens William and Logan make their first visit, I think stating that the Man in Black is married and makes his first visit alongside them is confusing. If we are to believe that the MiB is actually the older version of either William or Logan, it makes no sense to include him this early in the timeline. Also, if he is William, it also makes no sense to say he is married at this point as William enters the park with a fiancé, not with a wife.
- However, at this stage in the timeline, this is when we start to see Logan, William and Dolores's story develop. We see them leave Sweetwater, go on a bounty hunt, William and Dolores leaving Logan behind and then arriving at the location of the buried Beta park.
- Then we see Logan finding them and cutting Dolores' belly open, revealing her internal mechanics which clarifies that they are all part of a timeline taking place early on the parks history given how sophisticated the Hosts robotics have become in Maeve's modern storyline. Then Dolores runs away to the Church.
- After this point we are unsure what happens besides the fact that something bad goes on between William, Logan and Dolores and that William (or possibly Logan) later becomes a member of the Delos board, and begins the transformation into the Man in Black, getting married, having a child and generally not being a very great husband.
3. 'Westworld' In Maeve's Mutinous Modern Day
Fast forward thirty years from William and Logan's storyline and we know that Ford has recreated the deceased Arnold as Host Bernard and together they have been refining and creating the Hosts that now populate the modern day park.
- William/Logan returns to the park as the Man in Black after his wife dies determined to feel something more than he did as a human in the real world. In doing so, he decides to stab Maeve and murder her daughter and in this moment sees that she is more human then he is and he begins his obsession with "The Maze."
- Ford introduces a program update called "Reveries" which eventually leads to some Hosts being able to remember fragments of their pasts.
- Abernathy discovers an old photo of William's fiancé which was left in the park some thirty years before and this ends up completely blowing his robotic mind and leads to him being decommissioned and left with the other decommissioned Hosts down in cold storage.
- From this point on we see the MiB hellbent on discovering what's at the centre of the Maze and Maeve begins to become Sentient after Dolores whispers in her ear what Abernathy whispered to her: "these violent delights have violent ends."
- We see Elsie discovering that Theresa was sending information out of the park, and then we see flashbacks of Bernard strangling her, although we haven't seen her body so there's still hope for her yet!
- Then we begin to see Teddy remembering scenes of his own past and Bernard discovering Ford's secret house with his replicant Host family which is where he ultimately kills Theresa (RIP, she was clearly the best character in the show).
- Meanwhile, Maeve is rather impressively manipulating Sylvester and Felix into giving her a ridiculously high level of intelligence which means she can, like Ford, start manipulating the other Hosts around her.
- During all of this, Dolores has gone awol and returned to the Church in the old Beta town, while Maeve convinces Hector to join her crusade while having sex with him in a burning inferno of flames.
- Then Ford allows Bernard to access his memories, revealing to him that he is in fact a Host version of Arnold, but then cruelly forces him to commit suicide which coincides with both Dolores and the Man in Black entering the Church at the same time suggesting that they've both reached the centre of the Maze.
Here's Redditor @draupp's Timeline In All Of Its Epic Glory:
To get a closer look, click here.