While it seems that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is continuing down a path of self-discovery, another host — Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton), to be exact — is beginning to see through the veil to a firm “Westworld” truth: None of this matters.
The image of a seemingly human person pulling shrapnel out of their abdomen really does open up the realm of possibilities for Maeve — and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) — and while it seems they are just on the precipice of learning the true nature of their existence, Dolores is well on her way to changing everything. Or … is she?
In the beginning of Sunday’s (Oct. 23) episode, titled “Dissonance Theory,” Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) has another secret conversation with Ms. Abernathy and tells her of a new game — one that involves finding the center of a maze, to truly become free. Could this be the same maze the Man in Black (Ed Harris) is searching for? If so, how does he learn of its existence? There’s a growing theory that explains just how this all can be possible: The Man in Black is really an older version of William (Jimmi Simpson).
Throughout the episodes that have aired, there have been multiple mentions of the park’s past — whether it’s retired hosts, Dr. Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) old partner Arnold or even the Man in Black’s own 30-year history at Westworld. The story exists equally as much in the present as it does in the days of yore, so to speak. And with the glitches, reveries and old memories revisiting the hosts in various cognitive states, it’s possible we are seeing Dolores’ story play out in two timelines.
After last week’s episode, where she faced down her attackers in the barn and subsequently viewed the murder of her family, she had a vision of the Man in Black coming after her. While he was not there, it’s obvious that she has been scarred by whatever he did to her in her past. She may have escaped her home, with no plans on returning, but the next scene which has her falling into William’s arms as Logan (Ben Barnes) looks on bemused could very well have happened long ago.
Yes, Dolores is the oldest host in the park. This would mean her narrative has stuck to its original story for years. And that might negate the theory right there — Dr. Ford likes to create new narratives to keep the park’s adventure options fresh — but if Dolores somehow communicated to William the idea of the maze, that could be the point in which the Man in Black learns of the deepest level of this game.
But for this theory to truly work, it means that William has to make the ultimate decision and switch to the dark side. Logan, in his crass and violent nature, has attempted multiple times to get William to go black hat with him. So far, we’ve seen William as a man of conscience and good will. It’s what the audience connects with — he’s the hero player of the Westworld game, after all. Something impactful would really have to happen to change his course.
It’s also worth noting that, as we’ve followed William and Logan, their adventure has existed away from the other main characters in the show. The host William first met when he was getting acclimated at Delos also appeared in the Arnold flashback from last week, which alludes to her being an older model that may have since been retired.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that if Arnold does indeed have a run-in with William and Logan — and this connects to his mysterious death — then that may be how the Man in Black receives carte blanche to do whatever he wishes in the park. It’d connect him to Dr. Ford, as well, and may be the driving force pushing him to find this elusive maze.
This theory, if proven correct, would also allude to Dolores’ growing awareness of the world around her taking place in the past — as well as the present. The hosts’ narratives run on a loop, after all.
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.