This post contains spoilers for the seventh episode of Westworld, "Trompe L'Oeil." Head to our Westworld show hub for more reviews, theories, and deep dives.
Never trust a giant corporation in real life, but it's an especially bad idea in a science-fiction universe. Over the first seven episodes of Westworld, the Delos Corporation -- the company that funds the violent robot amusement park -- has proven itself to be a shady enterprise in the tradition of conglomerates like the Dharma Initiative in Lost, Evil Corp in Mr. Robot, or Weyland-Yutani in the Alien franchise. If you work for Delos, you probably need to keep an eye on more than just your 401(k). Seriously, protect your neck -- or head.
Though episode seven ended with the brutal death of Delos operations leader Theresa Cullen at the hands of now-officially-a-robot Bernard, there are still lingering questions. Anthony Hopkins' Ford has revealed himself as a Hannibal Lecter-like Big Bad, but, if Theresa's tense conversation with Charlotte Hale (Creed's Tessa Thompson) was any indication, the not-so-good folks at Delos are up to no good, too. "This place, the people who work here, are nothing," said Charlotte. "Our interest in this place is entirely in the intellectual property. The code."
Talk about a twist: This whole show is about IP, baby! So, if Delos is not psyched about running a theme park for Wild Wild West enthusiasts, what is their actual intention? If they push Ford out, how will they use that precious code? And what are they going to do with all the cowboy hats they've invested in? Let's theorize some intellectual property of our own.
1. Delos is creating eternal life through robotic clones
The phrase "mind uploading" sounds scary. But, it doesn't have to be: It could be a path towards eternal life. Many of the theories surrounding Arnold are rooted in this idea, but it's also possible that the Delos Corporation could have plans to mainstream whatever experimental procedure Arnold did to stay in control of his park. If guests are willing to pay $40,000 a day to play gunslinger, imagine how much they'd fork over for everlasting life. (Note: When I die, please upload my brain into a bird. Thank you.)
There's serious money to be made not only in eternal life, but also in bringing people back from the dead. Think of how much this idea of resurrection has been built into the DNA of the show already: Bernard's memories of his (likely fictitious) son, Maeve's reveries about her daughter, Dolores's yearning for her father, and Ford's creepy cabin filled with robot-ghosts. Imagine how much money Delos could make by marketing a Lazarus-style resurrection solution.
2. Delos is building an army of super-soldiers
We already know that the androids of Westworld have some serious fighting capabilities -- Dolores, Teddy, and Hector Escaton have all shown off their shooting skills -- but this week also gave us a chilling fight in a glass box between the previously docile Clementine and a poor robot who really got his shit rocked. Seriously, Clementine had moves. Even Luke Hemsworth, owner of precious Thor-family blood, was scared to climb in the cage with her. Imagine a whole army of Clementines ready to take on the world.
Judging from how interested Delos seems to be in a "blood sacrifice," I'm betting their big plan for Westworld involves using the robots for some corporate-approved "violent delights" of their own. It's practically a science-fiction staple -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and Star Trek have all made use of the trope -- so expect it to pop up sooner rather than later.
3. Delos wants to use the "code" to make better AI
Maybe the Delos Corporation isn't as evil as it seems? While it's fun to view the organization as a maniacal paramilitary force, it's also possible they're more benign: a mismanaged travel company with a really advanced IT department. If we've learned anything from HBO's other tech-savvy show Silicon Valley, it's that the rich people calling the shots behind the scenes are often just as ego-driven, petty, and stupid as the rest of us. Maybe Delos just wants that IP to launch an AI-powered app? Like Yelp, but with robots who can have sex.
It's in the interest of the show's creators, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, to keep the actual plans of the Delos corporation as vague as possible at this point. ("I would assume nothing," said Nolan in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.) The goal of Delos has been a lingering question since the premiere when Theresa and the very shouty narrative director Lee Sizemore had a conversation overlooking a vista. "This place is one thing to the guests, another thing to the shareholders, and something completely different to management,” said Theresa. We've learned more about the guests and a bit about the shareholders -- Logan's family is definitely an investor, and the Man in Black is probably on the board -- but management remains mysterious. Don't expect that to change.
4. Delos wants to bring about the singularity
The singularity is a concept you've probably read about online in relation to any robot-related sci-fi media you've consumed in the last 10 years. Basically, it involves a rapid acceleration of artificial intelligence that will quickly surpass our puny little human brains. There are brighter, optimistic versions of this (Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near) and more apocalyptic visions (cough, Skynet, cough). The larger question going forward is this: Why would Delos want to bring about the singularity? How does it help their stock price go up?
While Ford is content building his elaborate "narratives," Delos seems to be playing a bigger game. Are they working in tandem with the equally mysterious Arnold to kickstart the next level of robotic dominance? We already know that disease has been eradicated in the world outside of Westworld, so it's easy to assume that the world's scientists have moved on to other pursuits. Only one thing is clear: No one at Delos has seen Terminator.
5. Delos is its own planet -- and now they want the Westworld planet, too
Ever since eagle-eyed viewers spotted a Delos-embezzled globe in the background of the pilot, there's been rampant speculation that Westworld takes place on a planet other than Earth. There's a popular theory bubbling up online, carefully outlined here by Uproxx, that the employees of Delos "rotate home" to another planet at different points. Maybe this other planet is called Delos, and there's something wrong with it? To be clear, Jonathan Nolan recently pushed back against this idea a bit in a recent interview. " I think Ted Turner owns that much in Mexico," he told Entertainment Weekly. "It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that a park this size would exist here in America."
But, if this is an Earth 2 situation, Delos is in a good position to colonize. We've already seen the army of robot groundskeepers and construction workers that Ford employs at his chic restaurant. If Delos can push him out of the picture, can they use these workers to turn the planet into whatever they want? Yes. Will their vision for the planet be very different than Ford's? Maybe. Will Ford give it up without a fight? Hell no.
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