Westworld - Plot and details exploted


If you are here, you probably noticed the multiple layer, time-lines and details that fill each episode of Westworld and how important it is to connect each and every one of them to understand what is going on, and why some events and even screen tricks happen. This article tries to cover as many plot points as possible, so be warned. Spoilers ahead.

This article is based only on season 1 of the show.

So let's get started on several key points you might have missed or would like some clarification:

  • There are 3 timelines happening simultaneously:
    • A few years before the park was supposed to open (The park was in "beta" between 40 and 35 years "ago"), as the first generation Hosts are being prepared and Arnold notices Dolores is gaining consciousness. Most of the scenes in this timeline are Arnold (not Bernard) talking with Dolores on the first few episodes;
    • 30 years "ago", a few years after the park actually opened, when William visits the park. More or less simultaneously, Ford creates Bernard, based on Arnold;
    • The "current" timeline, where Ford machinations are reaching its peak towards the Host revolution: Maeve awakening, the "Man in Black" (William) quest to find the maze, and the Delos Board trying to oust Ford because he has kept all the Host research secret for far too long.
  • The "reveries", which basically allows the Hosts to access all their memory (including past loop) in a subconscious way, were introduced by Arnold. Ford merely installs it on select Hosts to speed up their awakening, and as his plan nears completion, he tries to install on all Hosts;
  • Arnold believed the world, as well the Hosts, were not ready for sentient robots. As Ford pressed the park to be open and exploit the Hosts, he chose to destroy them rather than sentence them to eternal pain in at the hands of the guests at the park. He hoped that with their destruction and his death, the park idea would not be possible and Ford wouldn't be able to fully replicate them. He was wrong, not only Ford is able to restore some hosts and the research, he also manages to open the park, albeit to considerable economical loss ...
  • Due to Arnold actions, the Park opens with considerable deficit and is threatened to close. Thanks to William assuming the Delos corp. and buying out the park, it manages to stay open;
  • With the grief and guilt over Arnold death, Ford comes to realize the pain that loss would mean to the Hosts, should they possess consciousness - which he quickly realize is true. So, he decides to continue Arnold's work. The end goal of Ford is not against the Hosts like we are led to believe the whole season, but quite contrary, to prepare and improve them to eventually break free from human control, something that Arnold didn't factor in properly;
  • By using the "reveries" and eventually further improving the Hosts capacity, Ford slowly enables them to gain consciousness, but keep them in their loop to hide it from the Delos Board. As more of the Hosts are gaining consciousness and more painful truths about human nature they experience in their loops, the closer they get to not only being fully self-aware, but also knowledgeable on human nature and, therefore, prepared to handle them. It takes him all the nearly 40 years of the park to reach his goal;
  • Arnold devised the "Maze" as a thought experiment to improve self-awareness and consciousness. There is no literal maze, or rather, it is a mental process of self discovery. Since only Hosts require this process, they often tell William that the maze is not made for him, a human;
  • There are some analogies about the Maze in William's own journey of self-discovery 30 years ago, when he discovered his ruthless nature, and in the current day, when he became further aware of it after his wife passed and commented on how fearful she always was that he would one day "loose it". He never fully noticed how much the park experience changed him until he came back, a little over 1 year before, and killed Maeve and her daughter, and felt nothing, proving he had really lost his empathy. This enables him to realize there should be a hidden "game" in the park that enabled such self-discovery (discovering your true self) or even change in him thanks to the memories of Dolores pursuing it, thus he becomes obsessed with it, unaware it was not meant for humans, nor did he need a new journey. 
  • During Dolores journey to the center of the Maze with William, we see multiple times objects that appear/disappear, flashes of Dolores with different clothes or talking to different people, or Dolores alone rather than with William. Those are her memories (from the current date) of all the times he already did the journey before and after William. Her journey with William 30 years past were not the first nor the last time she tried to reach the center of the maze. She was self-aware since the beginning, thus she was always looking for the maze, and Ford kept holding her back until all others were ready, as well letting her learn more about humans; The biggest give-away is on episode 8 when she finally reaches the "center of the maze" (the original testbed town) and first we see her arriving alone to an empty city (current date, Ford's new narrative is a recreation of the town), then with people (40~35 years ago, during the beta period) and finally she sees the massacre. When William catches up to her, we notice the town has been claimed by the desert and is deserted (William's timeline is almost 10 years after the city was emptied).
  • There are clever moments when the series flashes the fact about William being 30 years back in regard to "The man in black", but we just don't see it: When Dolores is stabbed by Logan, we can see mechanical parts inside her. That is because 30 years ago, the Hosts still had some mechanical parts - it is our first major hint those events were happening in the past. Dolores actually died after that and never reached the maze on that loop, thus William never found her while trying to go further in the park - she was back to Sweatwater on her original loop. The Dolores we see managing to continue as her wound vanishes is from another loop; In another even more direct give away (ep. 8), when "The man in black" and Teddy find the "victim" of Wyatt (who we eventually learn is a trap), he wonders "It's you, I thought you were retired" ... if you look closely, she is the host that welcomed William 30 years ago into the park. Her clothes, makeup and narrative are so different we fail to see the obvious.
  • In order to make reality come close to the past memories of the Hosts, Ford builds his new massive narrative as, in fact, a recreation of the original testbed the Hosts were created, and where the massacre that Arnold triggered (by installing Wyatt in Dolores, her personality was too passive to be a mass killer) happened. Thus, by adding a fictional Wyatt to the narrative, all the Hosts are one step closer to merging reality with memories. 
  • As "The man in black" explains what drove him to kill Maeve and her daughter (a passage that shows how Maeve is also self-aware), he mentions he has been playing "Ford's game", where no matter where you go, you cannot be hurt by the Hosts. However, at the "center of the maze", there is "Arnold's game", and that is a world where anything goes. It is a clear indication of what the "maze" is all about: self discovery and liberation.
  • The "voices" that the Hosts hear are actually their own thoughts, as explained by "The bicameral mind". Some think it is "God", others project it onto someone important (Arnold), but only the truly aware realize its themselves - thus the importance of the moment Dolores realizes it herself. We are tricked to believe Ford was sending these thoughts to the Hosts mid-series, but he wasn't: Elsie discovered that Theresa did use it to try and smuggle data out the park, and that "someone else" is using the first-generation Hosts reception system to change their data remotely. Ford is actually amused by the Hosts who say they heard Arnold, because basically it means they are getting more and more self-aware (since they are thinking for themselves, except blaming "a voice in their head").
  • Maeve had her awakening sped up by Ford by improving her code using the old Host reception system (when they try to update Maeve parameters, they realize it has already been tampered with by a "superior administrative ID"). Ford probably used Maeve as a backup plan to have a Host leave the park, although she actually didn't (that was her actual first important decision herself);
  • As Ford presents his new narrative, he also reactivates all the Hosts that were on cold storage (thus even Clementine is among the Hosts coming to attack the Gala). Before his retirement speech, he purposefully hostilizes Dolores to further force her to come to her own sense - which she does, thus completing his plan to fully free the Hosts;
  • William watches in awe as the Hosts attack the gala as a bullet grazes him: he always felt the park was unfair with the Hosts because they could not kill humans. His deepest wish, a "worthy adversary", just came to fruition;
  • Every Host who knows about the maze are first-generation Hosts. It hints us those closer to self-awareness. Hosts who know about the maze: Dolores, Teddy, The girl currently El Lazo daughter, the snake tattoo girl (Armistice)




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