Westworld World

Bernard's Glasses Are the Key to Decoding 'Westworld's Season 2 Premiere

bernard westworld season 2
HBO

This story contains spoilers for Westworld Season 1 and the Westworld Season 2premiere.

"Is this now?" Bernard asks in the beginning of the new season of Westworld. Good question -- this is a show that likes to play convoluted chronology games, confusing viewers who don't look for all the breadcrumbs, or obsess about decoding every possible spatiotemporal clue. Had the Westworld park logo on walls and lab coats been altered, indicating at least two different timelines? Did William's change of clothes give him the same gray button-up shirt as the Man in Black, revealing they could be the same person? Was "Bernard Lowe" being an anagram for "Arnold Weber" just a coincidence, or the biggest tipoff that they were also one and the same?! That was all well and good for Season 1, but Season 2 is about to get trickier, and one way to help navigate it is to look very closely. Or more precisely, look at who isn't looking very closely.  

As Bernard wakes up in the beginning of the first episode, washed up on a beach, his glasses are discarded, off in the surf. He does not seem to miss them. He does not frantically fumble around in the sand or water searching for them, or complain that things look fuzzy without them. That's primarily because he never needed them -- as a host, he has 20/20 vision, and the glasses were a prop to help him resemble the original Arnold. (Dr. Ford had even instructed him to take a moment to clean the glasses to resemble a moment of reflection, as a "final touch.") But Bernard, feeling disoriented, is forgetting his prop, and even seeing the security team's sunglasses doesn't serve as a reminder that he's missing something. Nor does the security team seem to suspect anything is amiss, despite the image of him on their identification cards revealing that he requires vision correction.

westworld season 2
HBO

Bernard's caught up in something much akin to how Dolores and Maeve experienced memory in Season 1 -- reliving past events. He's not sure what happened when, and because of his confusion, neither are we. It takes a while to get reoriented, and as the security team prods Bernard to tell them what happened, he flashes to the night of the party. If we start to get confused, the further Bernard dives into his memories, all we have to do is follow one simple thread: Is he wearing his glasses, or not? If he is, we're in the timeline immediately following the party/massacre. If he's not wearing them, then we're in the post-beach-wakeup timeline, and the lenses have been lost. Got it?

While that might help us keep track of the timelines for the first few episodes, it could ultimately prove to be Bernard's downfall. Once the humans around him get past their crisis mode, they might start to see something's off with how Bernard doesn't seem to need his glasses to read anymore, or prevent him from walking into the lab's glass walls -- and it's not like he had time to get LASIK surgery on the beach. Bernard, it could be time to claim you also use contacts. We hear they're all the rage in the future.

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Jennifer Vineyard, a regular Thrillist contributor, has also written for Elle magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times.