This story contains spoilers through the second episode of Season 2 of Westworld. Check out Westworld World for all our theories, reviews, and spoilers.
Westworld! It's the wild, wild, West out there, folks, except if all the cowboys and exploited indigenous peoples were actually robots who start glitching out and developing a heartbreakingly naive belief in self-determination and free will. What's going on with Delos' most lucrative, most troublesome theme park? When we last left Dolores, Teddy, and the Man in Black in Season 1, the robots were learning free will and using it to kill all normies, aka humans.
What will happen in the weeks ahead? The show's return has officially put tinfoil hats on us all. Here are a few of our favorite theories, a list we'll update as the season opens up its robot guts and reprograms us all.
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Westworld is located somewhere near China
There's a good deal of evidence that points to Westworld's location as an island off of China, including references to a mainland and a skyline that may resemble Singapore. We'll spare you the details here, but you can track all the evidence we have so far in this exhaustive story.
Bernard is operating in different timelines during Season 2
This one is less of a theory and more of actual fact. Bernard clearly wears different clothes in the aftermath of the party massacre than he wears during his dazed walk along the beach, and it appears as though enough time has passed to allow Delos to establish an outpost on the shores of Westworld. We know based on cast information that we'll flash back to the earlier versions of the park, scenes that played a huge role in the first season. But even in the present-day storyline, something funky is happening with timelines, as Bernard's glasses demonstrate. It's a little strange that none of the Delos employees seem to notice that Bernard's missing his glasses, right? Which leads us to...
Delos has Bernard on a loop to try to get to the bottom of what happened
You know how Bernard is all confused and whatnot after waking up on the beach? He sure resembles a disoriented host waking up after a death! Since Bernard is a host, scenes where he says the words falling out of Delos "literal person" Karl Strand's mouth start to look fishy. As this imgur thread points out, the background characters of Bernard's beach stroll feature slight inconsistencies that imply we're watching a composite shot of several different loops. As added evidence, Redditor GreDemaso points to the astronomical phenomenon of Barnard's Loop and how it may have appeared in a Season 1 scene. Why would Delos put Bernard on a loop? To figure out whether or not he's responsible for this massacre, and if his free will (or lack thereof) is something Delos can contain.
Dolores was once a greeter, or is able to access past memories of being a greeter
This photo of Dolores in the same dress the greeters wore during Young William-era Westworld has Reddit in a tizzy. We've known for a while that Dolores is one of the oldest hosts in the park, but we still don't know exactly how she came to be the rebellious spirit she is in the present timeline. How many timelines will Season 2 feature? The answers have yet to be revealed.
Arnold was never a human, and Bernard is the second version of him
A... then B... get it? No one seems to remember Arnold, which is weird considering Bernard looks exactly like him, right? Ford perhaps made the first version, Arnold, too independent, which is why he's able to control Bernard at the end of Season 1. It would also make sense for Ford to give Bernard DNA to unlock doors, further clouding his identity.
RajWorld is probably the third Delos park we'll discover
We already saw evidence of Shogun World at the end of Season 1, but according to a Delos Destinations website, there are actually six parks, four of which do not have reservations open to the public. Now that we've seen a dead tiger at the fringes of Westworld, it seems like RajWorld will make an appearance; it's already in the code, as Redditor EightB1ts discovered. Code is everything in Westworld, never forget. Less clear is what exactly is going on in those parks.
The Man in Black will convince James Delos to hand over the company to him
In a lengthy thread on Reddit, u/SolumDon throws a bevy of theories against the wall, one of which involves James Delos -- whom we know will show up in this season -- either turning over the company to William (the Man in Black) after William tells him Logan went off the rails, or creating a host version of Delos to serve as his proxy. This one is pretty farfetched, but who knows!
Delos' big project is immortality
An intriguing side-by-side photo points out that William/The Man in Black and James Delos share a vocal pattern, and perhaps there's a deeper explanation than "James is William's father-in-law." The retirement party in Episode 2 reveals that James Delos is ill, probably terminally, which is why he's stepping away from the company. William exhorts him to use the park as data mining for marketing, but perhaps that's a red herring to disguise the true aim of the Delos project.
Dolores' experience outside the park will help her win the war against humans
Another Reddit theory (there are loads of them!) suggests that not only will Dolores leave Westworld in her newfound conscious bliss (seems likely), but she's been brought out of the park before (confirmed in episode 2). It makes sense that early hosts would've left the park, because how else would Delos convince customers to drop $40,000 per day on a product they've never seen?
As for what her memories of this time mean -- she thinks the city is full of splendor -- we have yet to find out. But we do know that William has shown her the weapon she plans to use, and that it's located in what the hosts consider the Great Valley Beyond, or Glory, and probably several other names over the course of their many lives.
This is the door the Man in Black must find
And that door is a metaphor for leading Dolores to true independence
A substantial Reddit post (what else) by smac_down speculates that the game Ford has made for the Man in Black -- in which he must return to the beginning and find the door (see above) -- is really a psychological quest that will get him back to the place where he felt actual affection for Dolores and wanted to help free her.
Flies -- living, robot, metaphorical -- hold the key to unlocking Season 2
Yes, you read that correctly: Flies. You know how Dolores dramatically slapped the fly at the end of the first episode, which foreshadowed the violent end of Season 1, when she kills Ford? According to executive producer and co-creator Lisa Joy, the flies will again play a significant role in Season 2, and they may not all be living flies. "In Season 2, now that the gloves are off, we’re gonna see a lot of flies -- and they’re not necessarily gonna be actual flies," she told TVLine. The "actual" might mean they're robots, OR that the heavy-handed symbolism will come from some other source. Theory: This is going to play out like the episode of Black Mirror, "Hated in the Nation," in which mechanical bees are hacked and turned against the population. Delos could use a few flies to wrangle these suddenly sentient hosts.
Free will doesn't exist
Wouldn't this be a twist? Human or robot, it doesn't matter, none of us can truly demonstrate free will! Dolores will find this out the hard way. Wittgenstein would love Season 2 of Westworld, maybe.
The season will end with everyone drowning in semen
Seriously, where does all that cum go?
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