Warning: Yee be warned, herein lies spoilers galore!
If there’s anything we can definitively declare about HBO’s spellbinding hit series Westworld, it’s that nothing is what it seems—absolutely nothing.
And as we prepare for the season finale—wait, we’ve already sat through nine hours of sex-crazed debauchery?—the show’s maniacal creators have given us the big reveal fans have been craving for, and one that its legion of fans had long suspected: that good ol’ Bernard is none other than Dr. Ford’s oft-mentioned park co-creator: Arnold.
That well-intended shocker, however satisfying, was hardly the biggest surprise of the Sunday’s episode. We were all distracted by the Bernard-is-really-Arnold-now-it-all-makes-sense smokescreen that the creators so cleverly used to conceal from us the episode’s deepest and darkest secret to date, one in which we hardly had the bandwidth to immediately recognize the enormity of it all as the park’s facade crumbled before us: William—yes, Dolores’ wide-eyed companion—is actually the same character as the Man in Black.
Of course, this hasn’t been confirmed by the big wigs running the show, but all the clues are there: William somehow uses the very same knife the Man in Black has in his clutches, how they both appear to be wearing the same shirt in a previous episode, William’s primal rage finally—and horrifically—revealing itself in a bloodbath, and the episode’s not-so-veiled ending in which a silhouette of a man who appears to be William emerges, staring at Dolores. “William?” she asks. Yes, well, no, it’s the Man in Black. But yes, it’s William, at least we think so.
Confused? Let’s explain. Fans have theorized that Dolores’ storyline is actually a different timeline than the rest of the show we’re watching, speculating that we’re witnessing events take place 30 years in the past. It’s an early period when the park had just opened. An initially apprehensive William eschews the purported pleasures the park offers but seems to be interested in discovering something greater.
More clues are offered in the show’s penultimate episode. Take, for example, William’s sadistic colleague, Logan, who guts Dolores so he could showcase her robotic skeleton—a stark difference from the latest host models, which most resemble the human body. Or the aforementioned knife William uses to slaughter Logan’s brigade of apparent outlaws that just so happens to resemble the same weapon the Man in Black carries around.
These clues may all seem circumstantial, until we see Dolores escaping captivity at the urging of William, who proclaims, “I’ll find you.”
That takes us to the episode’s final moments when the Man in Black stumbles upon William’s new love. “Hello, Dolores,” says William, err, the Man in Black.
The Dolores-William-Man in Black connection was hardly the evening’s only revelation. We also learn that Dolores killed Arnold. Why? We don’t know yet, but we’re hoping the finale offers more answers.
As the season’s conclusion approaches, we’ll have to see if Maeve and Hector, whom she’s roped into her plot to flee the park once and for all, are successful. She’s been prodigious so far, so why not?
In Westworld, nothing would surprise us.
(Featured photo credit: HBO/Westworld)