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Our Biggest Questions After Westworld, Episode 3

Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Ford. Photo: HBO

Mystified about Westworld? You’re not alone. We don’t have many answers yet, but HBO’s sci-fi brain teaser will surely parse out a few from week-to-week. So we’re following up each episode with the myriad questions we’re pondering.

“The Stray” introduced us to the animalistic Wyatt, provided more insight into Bernard’s backstory, and finally revealed just how pricey playing cowboys and maidens at Westworld really is (about the cost of one mid-sized family station wagon per day). All the business about Orion and bicameralism is beyond our scope for now, but if you want to make a Westworld prediction of your own, give it a shot in the comments.

What you talkin’ bout, Arnold?
Indeed, it was different strokes for different scientists when Dr. Ford and his partner, Arnold, embarked upon Westworld. Dr. Ford claims that Arnold’s obsession with utter sentience was his undoing, leading to a suicidal spiral. But while it appears that Robert accepted sole credit for the legend of their creation, good ol’ Arnie’s first-gen programming may yet call into question the true source of consciousness. Or he could merely be alive and hiding out in some imperceptible part of the park, plotting the slow arc of his prophecy. Que sera.

How did Charlie die?
A swimming incident would seem too pat — not to mention reminiscent of The Affair — following Bernard’s monologue about teaching him how to keep his head above water. Then again, Bernard did speak with pained recollection of letting him go, metaphorically or otherwise. It’s obviously left him feeling less and less in touch with his own humanity as Dolores and other hosts close the gap of their cognitive dissonance. Whether the way in which Charlie died affects Bernard’s manipulation of Dolores is what’s unwritten.

Why does anyone visit Westworld?
Seriously, it’s terrifying. Only a small minority of the guests we’ve spent time with has really relished their roles (outside of lothario Logan, who’s about to get a reality check). Was there ever a period where Westworld was fun and games? Are the current patrons just unlucky enough to be on premises as the whole experiment unravels? Have all the world’s tropical resorts been subsumed by natural disasters? Each of those last two scenarios is equally likely.

How do the weapons privileges work?
It sure seemed as if Dolores was programmed so she couldn’t fire a weapon, but then she blasted away her rapist with a gun snatched straight from his holster. Was she accessing some higher form of sentience and memory in order to improvise an act outside of her makeup? Then there was the group of campers stuck in a loop without their stray buddy, literally incapable of wielding an axe to chop wood. Whoever metes out weapons privileges might appreciate a warning: As host reveries evolve into self-possession, they should all be considered potentially armed and dangerous.

How good is that employee discount?
It was a brief aside between Elsie and Ashley (aw, what cute couple names), but it certainly invites curiosity about how significant a break Westworld’s tireless workers get. Even half-off would set them back $20,000 every 24 hours. Although, they certainly put in plenty of overtime hours, so they can probably afford it.

How will Horace, Jasper, Slim, and Jonesy get involved?
À la Hector, wouldn’t it be reasonable if Teddy recruited bandits to fight the bigger fight against sickos like Wyatt and the Man in Black? (Or, for that matter, Dr. Ford.) It’s doubtful we’ve seen the last of these four, on or off their wanted posters.

Does the Mariposa check IDs?
To rehash a talking point from last week, kids are running rampant around Sweetwater, mere feet away from host hookers looking to score johns. There sure don’t seem to be any bouncers posted at the saloon doors of Maeve’s establishment. Unless, this being the Wild West, drinking-age minimums need not apply.

What creep programmed all the potty talk?
These male hosts are mighty clever with their come-ons (again, children are listening, jeez), as they make passes at the ladies with lines about tight timpani drums and juicy clams. Our money’s on Lee Sizemore having scripted those particular pearls — no crustacean pun intended.

Is this place where the mountains meet the sea as nice as it sounds?
Teddy sure makes it sound that way. And Dolores wants to head that way stat. But interestingly, Dr. Ford put an end to that happy ending right quick by uploading Teddy’s new narrative with weirdo Wyatt and his primitive killers. The mountains might also meet the sea precisely where Dr. Ford pictures his “town with the white church.” (And about that: Is it too out there to hypothesize that he’s speaking of the church where he was baptized, and the surrounding town being a precise model of where he grew up? Might the whole project work up to his reincarnation in sentient-robot form and ostensible immortality? Hey, this is a no-judgment forum.)

Is Ashley man-made?
Naw, that backstory quip was probably just that. Right?

Did that stray ever find what he was looking for?
He didn’t carve Orion into that shell-cum-compass for nothing. Given how Elsie and Ashley found him, trapped like a feral James Franco in 127 Hours, one can safely assume he got preempted. That is, unless you’d theorize that his manic behavior was a result of channeling God-like voices that seemed to be coming from the stars — but in fact were hardwired into him and just now sparking an overwhelming sense of self-determination. Dr. Ford’s team can rebuild him and any other host, even if they die 1,000 times, but how much longer can either human engineer or man-made host live with what they’ve wrought and/or endured?

Biggest Questions After Westworld, Episode 3