The Best Westworld Fan Theories, Mid-Season Edition

Photo: HBO

This week’s Westworld has already been hailed as one of the best in the history of the HBO program, enhancing our obsession with the mysteries of this fascinating world. Since we first dove into the rabbit hole of fan theories after the season premiere, we’ve visited the real world with Dolores, been introduced to an entirely new park, and even learned that the Man in Black has a badass daughter. Of course, the internet is abuzz with theories about what’s happening this season and what’s yet to come. Let’s examine a few of the more interesting fan theories floating around out there as we reach the midway point next week.

Theory No. 1: Someone important is in the little red ball

In “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” we see Robert Ford send Bernard Lowe to the bunker, where he later finds Elsie. While there, he takes a little red ball that contains the consciousness of a human, and then unleashes a robot massacre on everyone in sight. Why? Clearly, someone important is in that little red ball, but who? Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson has a brilliant and lengthy breakdown of all of the potential candidates — which is essentially everyone — with two standing out as the most interesting possibilities. One, did Ford upload his own consciousness to that little red ball to later be implanted into a host? It would certainly add credence to the fan theory that Ford would never just end his life. Who would fight for immortality more than the man who has tried to create it? Two, could Ford have put Arnold Weber’s consciousness into that little red ball? And could that consciousness be uploaded already into the “Bernard” we see in the “future” timeline on the beach? It could explain his confusion.

Status: Definitely. This season is clearly about the form of immortality that is an inherent part of the fabric and purpose of Westworld. Not only is the Delos Corporation offering entertainment, but they are learning as much as possible about the guests, conceivably in order to replicate them or offer them a way to live forever. The little red ball of consciousness that Bernard takes from the facility has to be someone essential to the narrative of this show or else it’s a gigantic red herring.

Theory No. 2: Bernard Lowe is now actually Arnold Weber

Let’s explore this idea a little more because places like the Westworld Reddit thread are in love with it right now. Per the first theory, we know someone important is in the red ball that Ford sends Bernard to get from the facility. Ford is obsessed with the past — he’s constantly telling William to look to the beginning of the park. What if he took Arnold Weber’s consciousness and it gets placed, somehow, in Bernard? Might that explain Bernard’s confusion in the scenes on the beach? Might that explain why he thinks he’s the one who “killed them all,” because he’s one of the people who created the park in the first place?

Status: TBD. We have to admit to liking this idea, although one has to ask why Ford would do that to Arnold. Just cruelty? What would the endgame be of bringing him back to life? It’s not something Arnold would have wanted. Unless Ford is coming back too, and they will be the first to live forever.

Theory No. 3: Bernard Lowe is actually Teddy Flood

The fact that we’ve only seen glimpses of the “future” Bernard on the beach and with Strand has made him the center of most of the theorizing nowadays, but this one is interesting. What if he’s not Arnold or Bernard but the consciousness of another host transplanted into the Bernard body? After the premiere, some were speculating he might be Dolores trying to escape, but people have begun suggesting that he’s actually Teddy. When he says in the premiere that he killed them all, the show cuts to the shot of the floating Teddy. And get this — the famous Rickroll video, in which the producers promised to reveal spoilers only to play a prank on fans, opens with Bernard going to Sweetwater and starting on the Teddy loop. Would you put it past the producers to actually reveal something major in that video for those committed enough to see it?

Status: TBD. All the “What’s Going On With Bernard” theorizing is enough to make your head hurt, but we do like the idea that the video promising to spoil the season would actually contain something that did, but everyone missed it. That feels very Westworld.

Theory No. 4: What is now in Peter Abernathy’s head will be moved into Bernard Lowe’s

It certainly appears that the massive file of guest information currently taking up space in Peter Abernathy’s head is causing some serious problems with its host. No one in the future seems to know where Peter is and Bernard is acting super strange. What if the file got moved somehow? Might that explain Bernard’s odd behavior even more than theory No. 2 or No. 3? His brain could be cluttered with the guest file.

Status: TBD. Something is clearly wrong with Bernard on the beach and the writers seem to be in no hurry to reveal what that something is, which means people are gonna keep guessing until they do.

Theory No. 5: The Man in Black is a host

The last couple episodes have theorists on Reddit speculating on the history of the Man in Black, and they’re going deep with the idea that there’s more to Ed Harris’s character than we know right now. Two of the major narratives this season have been the “real purpose” of the park and the fact that the Man in Black is still playing a game. What if they’re intertwined? What if William is dead and the version of the Man in Black we see now is really just his consciousness loaded into a host? Might that explain some of the mysterious Ford-written dialogue about how he has to look back to look forward? Could Ford’s final narrative be to test this version of William in a way that creates the ultimate host-human hybrid? It could explain how the characters who “speak” for Ford keep finding him, as hosts can be tracked, and perhaps explains how his daughter finds him in the final scene.

Status: Maybe? After last season, anybody could be a host, but wouldn’t you feel like it was a little repetitive if they pulled that trick two years in a row, revealing Bernard to be one and then the Man in Black? One of the joys of season two has been how the mythology of this universe has expanded with new parks, characters, and subplots. If the most interesting human character left in Westworld turned out to be something else, that would feel a little cheap. Although it does make a kind of twisted sense.

Theory No. 6: We’re gonna have host babies (or maybe we already do)

A lot of people have spent time analyzing the opening credits this season and noted the imagery of a host mother and baby. Is it just because so much of this season is about parenthood — William’s daughter, Maeve’s search for her child, even the dynamic between Dolores and Peter — or could there be another clue there? Could the next phase of evolution for the hosts be the ability to procreate? And consider this crazy idea: Maybe Maeve is so obsessed with finding her daughter because it’s not an implanted memory but her actual offspring.

Status: TBD. We all know that Ford loved to play God, and so it’s not hard to imagine him looking at his creation and realizing that it couldn’t go on without him without the ability to reproduce. However, there’s so much already going on this season that this kind of feels like something for the future. Just imagine the season finale: Dolores is ready to sacrifice herself for the revolution when she realizes she’s pregnant with Teddy’s baby! It could happen. Anything could at this point.

The Best Westworld Fan Theories, Mid-Season Edition