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Our 13 Biggest Questions About This Week’s Westworld

Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

Mystified about Westworld? You’re not alone. The second episode of season two kept a few burning questions from the season premiere in limbo (how did that flood happen?), but also answered a couple of long-standing major mysteries (Dolores has been to the real world!) and got us thinking about a plenty of new ones. As we’ll do after every episode, we’re here to break down the big questions we’re pondering after “Reunion.” If you want to make a Westworld prediction of your own, give it a shot in the comments.

Did Arnold actually bring Dolores to the “real” world?

Pardon the skepticism, but few things are what they seem in Westworld. While it’s easy to presume that this week’s opening sequence truly is Arnold showing Dolores the outside world, it’s reasonable to wonder if this isn’t all one big simulation. Pay close attention to the repeated phrase by Dolores about the world being “full of splendor,” which she says both in the real world and in Westworld, perhaps hinting that this is all a part of programming. Nothing should be taken at face value, even the seemingly obvious.

When does that opening scene take place?

Once you get past the shock of Westworld leaving the park for the first time, it’s worth asking not only where we are but when. Clearly, that’s not Bernard Lowe but Arnold Weber, the co-creator of Westworld. He’s still alive in the episode’s opening scene, which means it’s taking place well before the vast majority of the show’s other story lines. We also hear Robert Ford’s voice in the background, and in a follow-up scene that (seemingly) happens shortly thereafter, Logan meets their robot creations for the very first time, long before he ever visited the park. This week’s prologue is one of the earliest scenes in the chronology of Westworld that we’ve seen so far.

Where are Dolores, Teddy, and Angela going?

When the trio of revolutionary hosts bust into the base, it raises the question yet again: What is Dolores/Wyatt’s end game? She claims that she knows exactly where she’s going — and what kind of “weapon” she’ll find there — but is that true? Or is she just trying to wake up as many hosts as possible? The closing scenes of this episode suggest that she does have a purpose and location in mind, but the specifics remain just out of reach for viewers and Teddy alike.

How much does Dolores remember?

Dolores is awake to her plight, but how much does she remember about her past? The editing style of this episode — specifically, how it cuts from her memories to the present-day scenes of her revolution — implies that she remembers everything about those traumatic moments. (As she tells Teddy, “I’ve been there before.”) Much like Westworld itself seems to be a massive surveillance tool used to harvest data about guests, Dolores herself was watching and recording what she saw. But are her long-suppressed memories of abuse coming back in scattered pieces? Are there any periods she doesn’t or can’t recall?

What is the Argos Initiative?

In a flashback sequence, a host named Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) introduces himself to Logan as a representative of the “Argos Initiative,” shortly before demonstrating what Westworld could do for their potential investor. Is that just a fancy name for what would become Westworld? Was it the name of Robert and Arnold’s business prior to the Delos investment? Or is it something new entirely?

What will the truth do to Teddy?

As our fragile cowboy looks at the proof of his programming and the images of his repeatedly murdered body, he seems to shatter. Dolores can surely handle the mental stress of independence and revolution — especially given how she was trained by Arnold — and we know that much of Maeve’s independence was programmed into her. But what about Teddy? We know that his days are numbered, but what happens to him between now and whenever he winds up in that lake?

Is Old William enjoying the game more now, since it means real guns, real wounds, and knife fights?

Duh. Of course, he is.

William says that “dead not what it used to be.” What does he mean?

When Old William saves Lawrence from two sadistic hosts, one of them seems to come back to life rather unexpectedly. Are the hosts actually stronger and harder to kill now? Of course, there’s a much simpler possibility: This particular host was grazed by a nonfatal bullet, fell down, and then brushed himself off to fight again.

What is the real purpose of Westworld?

Two scenes really deepen this question in “Reunion.” In the first, Old William describes the park as a place where people could get out of the eyes of God. However, an unseen God was still “tallying up all their sins.” Was Westworld created as a place to blackmail the rich and powerful? Is it an evolution of Facebook’s data-mining practices? Or something even more sinister, as implied by William saying, “We had something else in mind entirely?”

In the second scene, we see a younger William selling his father-in-law James Delos on the very concept of the park. He pitches it as a massive focus group, the only way to truly figure out what people want — because it’s the only place that allows people to be who they truly are. The exact purpose of Westworld will clearly be one of the recurring questions of season two.

Does Dolores know about Westworld’s purpose?

If Dolores indeed remembers everything, it’s worth asking how much she knows about the hidden meaning of Westworld. Pay close attention to the way that two major scenes are cut in this episode: After Dolores says she knows the “real purpose of this place,” she’s frozen in the flashback that follows as William sells Delos on his vision. That scene ends with a shot of Dolores. Did she hear everything and take in what they were saying? And does she remember it now?

Why must William play Ford’s game alone?

When William and Lawrence come upon El Lazo in Pariah, it seems like they’ll soon amass an army of badasses led by the man formerly known as Gustavo Fring. But Ford doesn’t make it that easy: With Ford pulling the strings from beyond the grave, El Lazo and his compatriots commit suicide. Why? And what did Ford want William to learn on this quest?

Why is everything so “full of splendor” and why does Young William repeat the phrase?

Dolores mentions a world “full of splendor” more than once. and then William repeats it to her later in the episode. Is it just part of her programmed dialogue, and so William is spitting it back to her? Or could it be a code phrase? Let’s go deep down the rabbit hole for a second: Might this be a clue that the William we’re seeing in this scene is actually a host? One fan theory proposed that young William will eventually make a host version of himself, if that’s indeed why Westworld is harvesting DNA for its mysterious project. We were fooled plenty of times last season by Bernard’s identity, so perhaps Westworld is messing with us yet again.

What is the “weapon” and how will Dolores use it?

Is it an army of host clones created with human DNA? Is it a server filled with surveillance data about every Westworld host? It is a literal weapon? We don’t know, but at least Dolores answers the other half of this question: “I’m going to use it to destroy them.”

Our 13 Biggest Questions About This Week’s Westworld