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Our Biggest Questions After Westworld, Episode 8

Jimmi Simpson as William, Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores. Photo: HBO

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

In “Trace Decay,” Wyatt’s masked marauders have Teddy and the Man in Black where they want him, Dolores gets that much closer to where she wants to be, and Maeve discovers that building a host army to subvert her creators is, much like pimping, not easy. Whether any of this elucidates the end game of Arnold’s and Dr. Ford’s feuding narratives remains to be seen, but if you want to make a Westworld prediction of your own, try your luck in the comments.

Is Elsie really dead?
Fan favorite or no, there’s reason to suspect that Westworld’s pluckiest behavior analyst somehow made it out of Bernard’s stranglehold alive. Maybe she triggered something in his humanity that compelled him to uncoil his vice grip around her throat. Or maybe he had some kind of flashback to a similar act from his past (despite Dr. Fold’s evasiveness about Bernard’s history of brutish deeds) and stopped himself short of absolute asphyxiation, and the two are grandly scheming to sabotage the duplicitous doctor. If Sylvester could be saved while bleeding out, there’s no reason to write Elsie’s obit until she’s on the autopsy table like poor Theresa.

Does Dolores have all the answers?
We’ll never find out if William keeps playing the knight in shining armor, rushing her away to the town with the white church. But Dolores’s visions — lying dead and face-down in a stream, offing herself after murdering an entire village — are pretty extreme, so one can only imagine the memories she has yet to unlock. Though the scariest scenario would be if Dr. Ford is rebuilding that old town in the hopes that Dolores is its key.

Has the war for Westworld already begun?
It appears to be part predetermined and part manifested through the choices of guests and engineers alike. There are numerous factions, from Logan and his Confederate posse to Maeve and her as-yet-unassembled militia. (Related question: Is Hector already rounding up troops at Maeve’s behest to bust her out of whatever hell hole Dr. Ford relocates her to?) With two episodes left in the season, the park’s wildly scattered populations are being drawn to one undeniable entity, although, like the show itself, the maze will surely reveal an even more inescapable loop of unrequited quests for purpose.

Whose side is Charlotte on?
It’s too early to rule out the possibility of her being a mole for Dr. Ford — though Bernard seems to have that role locked up — but she does seem hell-bent on smuggling data to Delos. Either way, she’s realizing there’s a lot more nuance to Dr. Ford’s intentions than she’d imagined. If Delos does wind up finding a way to dump him, let’s just hope this corporation doesn’t have even more insidious objectives for humans outside the park than what he’s devised for his creations within. Aw, who am I kidding? Of course they do.

What’s the relationship between Bernard and Arnold?
Whoever or whatever Arnold once was, even if he was just a voice inside Dr. Ford’s head, he’s clearly come back for closure. And although it would be a pat twist, there’s still cause to speculate as to whether Bernard has defied his creator’s assumptions about both human and artificial intelligence. Has he engineered a simulacrum, as Dr. Ford might describe it, of Arnold in essence? Is he a robo-replica of Arnold himself? There is no doubt that Bernard will be a historic figure in the coming war, but the role he’ll play is still unknown. Is he more man than machine, or vice versa?

Is classic rock a cue for Sweetwater narratives?
Amid the ‘90s alt-rock, we’ve heard a couple quintessential classic-rock cuts. The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” announced Hector and his gang’s first siege of the Mariposa. And tonight, the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” played its way through Maeve’s first shift back at the brothel after Clementine was put to pasture. Later, with Maeve’s help, Hector’s heist goes off without a hitch. In “Trace Decay,” the classic-rock cue was controlling the chaos, much like Maeve, rather than announcing itself after all the bloodshed.

Did Ashley Stubbs just make himself expendable?
The head of Westworld’s security is too good at his job, and he’s making Bernard uncomfortable with all these questions about Theresa and Elsie. Assuming those suspicions don’t put a target on his back, Stubbs may wind up being a valuable asset in the event that Bernard really is looking to recruit a few good flesh-and-blood men (and Elsie?) to shut down Dr. Ford.

Will Maeve ever reunite with her daughter?
That would be nice, wouldn’t it? The possibility might also give her incentive to stay inside Westworld and solve the maze, which feels more likely at this point than getting to see what lies outside the park. At least until season two, anyway.

Could Maeve be Westworld’s next overlord?
Let’s just say a host mutiny is a success, and folks like Logan and the Man in Black become enslaved to the will of their former obedient bots. Maeve’s already demonstrated some ruthless tendencies, induced by trauma and encoded as they may be. But unlike the ultimately vulnerable Man in Black, she is truly godlike — or capable of the closest thing anyone except Dr. Ford has ever felt to godliness. If she does somehow emerge as the figurehead of a host-driven state, would she be benevolent to her serfs? Or would she vindicate Dr. Ford by demonstrating yet another one of human nature’s inevitable loops?

Is Sylvester finally gonna squeal to the authorities?
Not if he knows where his bread is buttered from now on. What’s happened to Maeve is one cat Sylvester best not let out of the bag.

William will probably kill Logan, right?
And if he does, how will that affect him? He can’t just have his memory erased like Bernard, and it may make him crazy. If this murder comes to pass, might it lead to intervention from the outside world? As unlikely as it may sound, what if the Man in Black is Logan’s dad and William’s future father-in-law, and therefore the only narrative he authored was one with tragically Biblical implications? (Yes, sure, the Man in Black never mentioned a son. Just humor me here.) Well, Logan sucks, and if Theresa had to die, her murder merits a blood sacrifice from a character far more divisive.

If Angela is in the park, who greets Westworld’s new guests?
William’s orientation guide has been recast as a stone-cold Wyatt henchwoman, which means someone else has to occupy the important role of ushering in male guests and offering themselves up as a way of saying, “Welcome to Sweetwater.” Oh, God, what if Elsie’s been lobotomized and rebuilt as a host and assigned to that awful task? Where’s Elsie Goddamn it?!

Our Biggest Westworld Questions After Episode 8