Ed Harris as the Man in Black on'Westworld'

One thing “Westworld” has been great at is its layout of specific park rules — for both guests and hosts, alike — with regards to behavior in the park and how the hosts are programmed to interact with the plethora of visitors. But while we do know that bullets do not hurt the guests, a bigger question has been floating around in our heads for quite a while: How exactly do knives work?

We first had this thought when we saw Logan (Ben Barnes) stab a host whilst enjoying a steak in Episode 2. Obviously, being a repeat visitor, he knew the man passing his table was a robot. But still, what if he was wrong? Could one guest actually stab another? Honestly, why would that even be an issue? If a person had murderous tendencies, they’d probably be inclined to save money they’d spend on park admission and just go and become a serial killer in the real world.

But, while we’re in that frame of mind, what stops a blade — when wielded by a host — from penetrating the skin of a visiting guest?

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When the Man in Black (Ed Harris) had his impromptu sit-down with Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) in Episode 5, titled “Contrapasso,” the itch in the back of our minds grew exponentially.

To refresh your memories, Ed Harris’ gunslinger — with Teddy (James Marsden) at his side — had a calm, yet heated, conversation with Dr. Ford. And as he laid out his plans to find the maze and destroy the park as we know it, he pulled his blade. Maybe he was really intending to attack Ford, or maybe it was simply a power play, but the good doctor set safety protocols in his hosts and at the mere sight of the knife, Teddy leaped into action, grabbing the weapon by the sharp end to stop the attack.

Doing some Reddit digging of our own brought up two major possibilities:

  1. A host’s skin is made of a synthetic material weaker than skin as we know it. The blades in Westworld are strong enough to cut hosts, but no match for human skin.
  2. It’s not simply against the host’s programming to inflict harm against a guest, but further — to protect them whenever they face any sort of danger.

Both could be possible answers to this question, but with the way things have been going with those code-altering reveries in “Westworld,” we have a feeling it won’t be long before hosts go from Protect to Kill mode. Whether it’s with a sharpened knife or a bare-knuckled fist, it’s anyone’s guess.

“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

Posted by:Aaron Pruner

When he was a child, Aaron memorized the entire television lineup, just for fun. He once played Charlize Theron’s boyfriend in a Japanese car commercial. Aaron’s a lover of burritos and a hater of clowns. TV words to live by: "Strippers do nothing for me, but I will take a free breakfast buffet any time, any place."