This post contains spoilers for the eighth episode of Westworld, "Trace Decay." Head to our Westworld show hub for more reviews, theories, and deep dives.
Westworld is a show about obfuscation. In the same way the masterful (and downright evil) Ford manipulates his dutiful employees, his robot servants, and his corporate overlords by confusing them, the HBO show's co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy clearly enjoy keeping theory-obsessed, message-board-patrolling viewers in the dark for as long as possible. Case in point: Arnold, the show's mysterious antagonist who we've never even met. After eight episodes, he remains an enigma wrapped in a Reddit post.
Ever since Episode 3's lengthy flashback, Arnold has been a source of fascination for fans who want nothing more than to untangle exactly what role he plays in the history of the park and its increasingly precarious future. At this point, Ford's "dead" partner isn't even the show's only vaguely menacing offscreen threat -- Wyatt serves a similar role in the Man in Black and Teddy plot -- but after the Man in Black's "deeper game" speech to Teddy at the close of "Trace Decay," the Wyatt business feels more like a smokescreen for something bigger. And that's Arnold's game.