It is unsettling to think that engineered machines are more human than the guests of Westworld. But by the third episode, the viewer is exposed to a very different reality than the fantasy advertised to the public. As the hosts gain access to memory and human behavior, they become true victims of the guests. They remember pain they are programmed to forget and yearn for self-autonomy. They develop personal desires and skills not programmed into their behavior, such as one host who kills others that harmed him in past storylines, or another who creates sculptures and artwork of constellations; Dolores finally fires a gun at a man who attacks her. Dolores slowly develops the urge to leave her world, and pushes Teddy to take her somewhere past the land they’ve already explored. Dolores displays a very human frustration when he replies “someday.”
During Logan and William’s arrival last episode, it was made clear that Logan is self-indulgent while William possesses a deeper concern for the hosts. He seeks adventure while Logan seeks abuse. Logan also insists that Westworld will change William, and that he cannot wait to see how the park transforms him. The question is, have we already seen this transformation?
One of the biggest mysteries in Westworld remains the identity of the man in black. We are told he has been attending the park for almost thirty years and he clearly recognizes both Dolores and Teddy. Each time he picks up the can Dolores drops instead of Teddy, he makes a remark that leads us to believe he is familiar with Dolores even though her memory resets each day.
Upon closer examination, the interactions between the man in black and the hosts could occur separately from all other guest storylines. A circulating theory suggests that the man in black’s storyline takes place in the present, while Logan and William’s storyline is a glimpse back into the past. We have to wonder if William’s transformation could provoke an inner vigilante, a man who is forced to act harshly in order to overcome the evil done by others. Two episodes of appearances have been enough to display William’s growing distaste for the indulgent and abusive nature of the park. Several of Westworld’s trailers show the man in black stating, “I’m here to set you free,” indicating that his violence towards the hosts is not without reason. He is clearly searching for answers with regards to the suspicious setup of the park and willing to get those answers by whatever means necessary.
Other small details that bolster this theory include that the logo when Logan and William arrive is slightly dated looking. Additionally, the mannerisms in which William and the man in black retrieve Dolores’s dropped can are nearly identical. These are only background details, but could hint to something much greater. And while this might be entirely false, it proves that the filming and writing of this series causes the audience to think deeply and “question the nature of reality.”
As Westworld continues, it sets up a seemingly endless stream of questions that go unanswered. Pieces of a larger story are scattered throughout the episodes, and it is only now that some of these pieces are beginning to converge. These questions are finally overlapping, fostering the development of more questions and theories by the audience, and hopefully soon: answers.