ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

Everything began to short-circuit and the curtain started to fall in the fourth episode of , "Dissonance Theory," as a surprising new menace reared its head. Beyond the fact of "Oh my God, it's Hannibal Lecter," this week set in motion that Anthony Hopkins could be the true villain of Westworld. Don't let that cuddly Santa exterior fool you, Ford is channeling some serious Dr. Lecter vibes. From his sinister meeting with park Operations Leader Theresa Cullen, to his cavalier attitude to his partner's demise, let's break down the facts on why Dr. Robert Ford is the wild West's newest outlaw.

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Hey Arnold!

Image: HBO
Image: HBO

After a very brief history of the parks origins in Episode 3, we once again revisit the mystery of the park's other creator incarnate. We were told that Arnold, Ford's partner in robotic crime, had befallen some terrible accident in the park. But what if his demise was more calculated than we first thought? The only man who is able to account for Arnold's death is Ford himself.

During Ford's Godfather-esque meeting with Theresa Cullen he resorts to downright threats before bulldozing her childhood restaurant. It was creepy enough to see Hopkins as head Mafioso; however, the most interesting part was his speech about Arnold:

Ford: "In here we were gods, and you merely our guests."

Theresa: "And how did that work out for Arnold?"

Ford: "Sadly, he lost his perspective."

It could just be Hopkins's gravitas, but the delivery of the line seemed more than a little ominous. He continued to say that Arnold had gone mad, and that people like Theresa would come and go — sometimes they made it work, and sometimes they didn't. The heavy implication is that Ford killed Arnold for getting in his way, and was laying down the same law for Theresa. Moral of Episode 4: Do not cross a man with a giant mechanical bulldozer and the ability to make all the witnesses freeze at a moment's notice.

Cain and Abel

Image: Jacopo Palma
Image: Jacopo Palma

I've already covered the importance of religion in HBO's sci-fi Western, but the Arnold and Ford story conjured the idea of the two biblical brothers Cain and Abel. Although Ford and Arnold probably aren't biological brothers, the theory still stands in principle. For those who don't know, Cain and Abel were the two sons of Adam and Eve, one a farmer and one a shepherd. Cain eventually killed Abel and committed the world's first murder. In Westworld, it is highly likely that Arnold's death was the first to transpire in the park.

The Cain and Abel anthology also ties in with the previous theories that Westworld is the Garden of Eden, with Dolores as Eve. Admittedly that would make Eve their mother, but I have that one sussed too. A screen-grab from Episode 4 shows robotic Dolores digging up a grave with her name on it. If Dolores was in fact based on a real woman, she could indeed be a relation to Ford or Arnold. It would explain why she is one of the longest serving hosts — created in memory of someone "real."

Hat's All Folks

Image: HBO
Image: HBO

I have touched on it before, but returning to the symbolism of black and whites, I still can't throw the image of Dr. Ford strolling around Westworld in his black hat. There is already one theory that Hopkins was a benevolent version of God, backed up by the fact he called himself and Arnold gods, but what if Ford is both God and the Devil? During the second episode he says to Bernard:

“We can’t play God without being acquainted with the Devil.”

Whether Ford and Arnold play two separate deities, or Ford is both God and the Devil, there are clearly religious implications for the park and he is only looking out for his "legacy."

A Snake In The Grass

Image: HBO
Image: HBO

Ford's "dance with the devil" is also backed up with snake analogies too. Genesis implies that the Devil tempted Adam and Eve to eat the apple through a serpent, and that was what resulted in them being banished to "normal" life. We see that Ford has control over the snakes, which have some reference. Before he reaches the spire in the desert during Episode 2 we see him and robo-kid Michael reach a rattlesnake under Ford's control. Then there is the snake tattooed woman, who may or may not be the key to entering the maze. She says she has ties to Wyatt, who we still no nothing about.

Ford himself could be the "real" version of Wyatt, but that aside, Ford has ultimate power over all the creatures. His power is again reiterated at his meeting with Theresa when he freezes the hosts. An army of robots at your disposal may seem pretty nifty, but with their no-killing human rules, they aren't a weapon "for now." We know that Bernard is keen on sending Dolores to the centre of that maze, but if Ford really knows everything (which he does), he will be fully aware of that, possibly even instigating it. Whatever lies at its centre is sure to have severe consequences for all involved.

A Biblical Flood


So, if we are to assume that Ford is a vengeful Devil/God, it could also explain how that white church appears to end up buried under six feet of desert. The theory is that the critical failure 30 years ago actually came from a critical failsafe. Redditor DomDC87 calls comparisons between James Marsden's forever doomed Teddy. In the third episode Teddy, who is coincidently surnamed FLOOD, tells Dolores:

“Well, there is a place I heard about down south where the mountains meet the sea. They say the water’s so pure there it’ll wash the past clean off you.”

The Westworld website lists the main town of Sweetwater in a sunken area, close to the mines. It suggests that Sweetwater now lies where a body of water "used" to be. The town itself in conveniently located in a lower part of land, which could be easily flooded. We have also seen that whatever Ford is building out in the desert, "bothering" the neighbors, is currently a big hole in the ground. Finally there is that flooded cold storage area, which seemed like a throwaway remark. Are we heading for a biblical flood to cleanse the park and wash away Ford's non-believers?

I'm Not Mad

Image: HBO
Image: HBO

Like some sort of Howard Hughes, Ford's parting words to Theresa were that he isn't mad — first signs of a madman if you ask me. His final Brando threat reminded the Operations Leader that he could see everything very clearly. Ford certainly has an idea for his legacy and how he wants the park to look, killing anyone that stands in his path (robot, or human) seems pretty plausible. Forget gunslingers or murderous bots, the doctor is in the house as the resident psychopath!

Check out the promo for Episode 5, and don't forget our poll below!


Is Dr. Ford the hero or villain of Westworld?


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