Every week, I swing for the fences with one massive theory about the future of Westworld. Am I wrong? Am I right? We probably won’t know for sure for years, so why not enjoy the present?
Put a point on the board: Bernard Lowe is a host after all.
The only folks who didn’t predict this twist, I suppose, were the folks who figured it was too obvious. And yet, theorists be damned, the reveal still worked. Not since Titanic ended with a boat wreck has a turn been so expected, and yet so entertaining.
Each beat hit with the ominous thump of a war drum: Bernard viewing the blueprint of his body. Theresa understanding that her human lover is actually a manipulated host (after we get a scene of her judging a board remember for joyriding company property). And Ford reveals his full god complex, setting Bernard against the woman he cared about — or I suppose, who he was merely programmed to monitor.
“What next?” asks the Westworld cottage industry.
Where does Westworld go from here?
For starters, and this one’s practically a gimme, Theresa likely will be replaced by a host version of herself. That “body” we see mid-production in Ford’s basement? Meet Theresa-bot 3000.
Building off that, Ford mentioned how the board has sent others to reprimand him in the past, and we can safely assume he sent back, each time, a lifelike host to report that everything is running fine, just fine. In which case, how many people, from employees to board members, have been swapped for hosts via this process over the past three decades? My guess: a lot!
But again, that’s looking backwards. What’s next?
Westworld the show will leave Westworld the park — and in the process, go full Lost.
The similarities don’t require much effort.
Like Lost’s island, the Westworld park is a singular mysterious place, seemingly divorced of place and time. Both shows pull drama from the ambiguity of what brought these particular people together, and who (or what) they were before they arrived. And both shows hint at the formative experiments in the past that set the stage for the drama of the present.
I suspect Westworld, like Lost, will end with its own hatch.
Westworld will see the Hatch 2.0
You remember the hatch, right? At the end of Lost’s first season, man-of-science Jack and man-of-faith Locke discover a steel hatch in the middle of the forrest. The finale ends with the port being blow open, and the two men looking into the dark hole for answers. Instead, they get more questions. In the second season, we enter the hatch and go down the rabbit hole. The show balloons, looping in different timelines, dimensions, corporate interests in reality-bending experiments, and of course random numbers that may or may not prevent the end of life as we know it.
I predict Westworld will do something similar, and that the center of the maze will be the proverbial “hatch” to the show’s bigger agenda. The ideas of Westworld — the blurry line between real and artificial reality, the grander purpose of AI data, the utopian reality outside the park — are bigger than the “bots go bad” narrative from which the show was adapted. And for all of the gripes about pacing, the show is barreling toward a flashy conclusion that could permanently disrupt the status quo of its central amusement park.
We’re three episodes from the end of the first season, and already we know a lead engineer is a host, that Dolores is becoming semi-conscious, that Maeve has all but free access to the laboratory, that Ford is screenwriter gone rogue, and that the board has “bigger plans” for the intellectual property.
The most straightforward evidence that Westworld will expand beyond the park is the source material: the original Westworld film featured two additional parks, one inspired by the Middle Ages and another by the Roman Empire.
In the show, we have other clues: Ford building something big and new; employees visiting the basement full of spare hosts; the many mentions of the board’s secret, ambitious plans.
But really, this theory supposes the writers will not merely crib Lost, but learn from it. To survive, Westworld needs to not merely answer questions, but give us reason to care about hosts. That will mean some serious changes not merely to how hosts behave, but what they do. Watching characters make minor deviations from their loops for years would be torture, and surely the creators know that better than anyone else.
2:1. You don’t mention the utopia, “bigger plans,” and land expansion if you’re planning to tell a straightforward story about a theme park full of robots.