Where 'Westworld' Might Go After a Major Death

westworld, hbo, theresa
John P. Johnson/HBO

Warning: this post contains spoilers through Westworld's seventh episode, "Trompe L'Oeil." Head to Westworld World, our hub for more recaps, theories, interviews, and deep dives.

Well, that was rough. The latest Westworld delivered two heartbreaking twists, one that finally validated a long-held theory and another that probably just made you go, Theresa, I really wish you knew krav maga. As Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), a host under the control of Anthony Hopkins' Dr. Ford, led his ex-lover (Sidse Babett Knudsen) to her doom, it became painstakingly clear that nobody in the Mesa Hub is to be trusted, and that nobody is who they seem. But what does Theresa's departure mean for the show's future? And is it a departure at all?

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The "blood sacrifice"

Charlotte Hale, the board's newly introduced executive director, wants Ford to retire. She's worried about the volatility of his reverie updates, as displayed in a violent scene with Clementine in the Mesa Hub. "The gods... they require a blood sacrifice," Charlotte told Theresa during their conspiratorial tête-à-tête. "We need to demonstrate just how dangerous Ford's creations can be. ... We need someone thoroughly unexpected."

It was an eerie exchange that resurfaced several scenes later, when, approaching the precipice of death, Theresa heard Ford reference the same cryptic phrase: the board tests "me every now and then -- I think they enjoy the sport of it. This time, they sent you. Sadly, in order to restore things, the situation demands a blood sacrifice."

Was Theresa the blood sacrifice all along? The answer can only be yes if Charlotte is in cahoots with Ford. And that's a twist I hope we don't encounter, as it would suck all the fun out of the creative director's antagonistic relationship with the board, and it would ooze cheese like stuffed crust pizza.

A more hopeful reading: Theresa is Ford's sacrifice, but not Charlotte's (hers would be the newly lobotomized Clementine, or worse, potentially a park-goer). Ford likely echoed the phrase to assert his power, showing Theresa that he overheard her conversation with Charlotte (via Hector) and that he's privy to the board's plans of a coup. For Ford, Theresa had to die so he could protect his hold on the park, and so he could flex his muscles at his enemies, the pesky moneymen.

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The Charlotte mystery

We still know little about Tessa Thompson's character -- not to mention the few instances we've seen her onscreen have involved her withholding information and scheming. Are we supposed to believe she's genuinely against Ford? A preview clip above (spoiler alert) shows a scene from next week's episode in which Charlotte, Stubbs, and Ford surround a dead body on a gurney. Is it Theresa's? Or someone else's? If it's the former, Theresa's death, and the reaction it elicits, should help us learn more about Charlotte, her true motives, and her loyalties, as Theresa was essentially her henchwoman.

theresa on hbo westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

The corporate espionage

Right before killing Theresa, Robo-Bernard told his ex-lover that he knew about her satellite transmission -- meaning Ford should know all about it, too. Unfortunately, we, the audience, still don't know what type of data Theresa was poaching. We just know that Delos doesn't care about the hosts or their profiles. If Theresa was sending fragments of code or test results to the Delos satellite, who assumes that job now? Was the whole QA team helping her with the leaks? Or will her death put a serious wrench in this so-called research project? If so, the show will have to shine more of a light on what's happening behind the scenes at Delos, outside Westworld.

westworld on hbo

Cloning time?

The park's main automata are built in the Mesa Hub labs, but Ford evidently has the ability to make his own hosts in a matter of days. In the basement of his secret robo-family's cottage, where Theresa was offed, a 3-D printer hummed along out of Delos' sight. A possible, and monstrous, solution to cover up Theresa's death? Make a robotic clone of her -- which could be a gear-shifting embrace of the Westworld movie's 1976 sequel, Futureworld.

If Ford sends Theresa back to the Mesa Hub as a host -- and Charlotte is unaware -- the bot could play along with the board's conspiracy as a double agent, informing Ford of more of their plans and giving him a major edge. Chillingly enough, this scheme might have been in the works since the beginning of the series. Remember when Bernard was studying Theresa's brow? He was taking notes for something, and Ford's personal machine has been busy at work laying the muscle tissue on a fresh skeleton (pictured above). Maybe we've already gotten a sneak peek at her replacement.

westworld on hbo
John P. Johnson/HBO

The park's protector is gone

Theresa's chief concern was the "well-being of the park and the people in it." As head of QA, her job entailed managing the park's operations, its security responses, and its forensics. Now, she's gone. Robots are running around with the ability to retain memories, hold grudges, and lie to techs. And even if Theresa comes back as a host, she'll come back under the ultimate control of Ford. Meaning: her replacement will no longer genuinely care about the safety of the visitors, especially any of the visitors Ford deems a threat.

If Westworld's creative director needs another hit, she could even prove deadly herself.

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Sean Fitz-Gerald is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment and already misses Theresa. Find him on Twitter: @srkfitzgerald.