5 New Westworld Season 2 Theories From Episode 6, "Phase Space"
After one of the strongest episodes in the series' history, Westworld goes back to its old tricks for "Phase Space," the sixth episode of Season 2. We're back to fractured timelines--there's another one added to the pile this week--and more speculation about who's a host and who's not.
It may be that Westworld is better binged than watched on a weekly basis; the dense narrative places strict demands upon a viewer's recall and long-term memory. The weekly format allows Westworld's online theorists to suss out every mystery before it's intended to be revealed.
But for these fans, the pleasure comes not from the surprise of being fooled, but from solving these puzzles before the characters do. Here are 5 new Westworld fan theories, based upon the first six episodes of Season 2.
Ford is Music Theory: Confirmed!
In keeping with many fans' speculations, Ford is alive. But he wasn't hiding in the body of a single host, nor was he hiding off the grid in some uncharted location. Instead, Ford's consciousness was hiding in The Cradle--the nickname for Westworld's data center.
After Bernard is plugged into the Cradle by Elsie, the audience sees Ford in the saloon, sitting by and playing the piano. This underlines his final words at the gala about 'becoming music' in death.
No doubt, we will learn more details about Ford's survival in future episodes. But for now, it's nice to have Sir Anthony Hopkins back.
The Bathtub Theory
During one of William's flashbacks earlier this year, we see his memories of a lifeless arm dangling out of an overflowing bathtub. Most fans have speculated that the arm belongs to his deceased wife, who killed herself before any of the current events took place.
But perhaps, this assumption is confirmation bias; because the show told us that William's wife killed herself, fans are making a narrative leap to connect this bathtub body to her.
We never actually see the face of the bathtub body, thus it could be anyone. What if it's William himself, and the current William is actually a host on a loop? What if it's his daughter Emily, and the current Emily is actually a host on a loop? That brings us to our next theory...
The Man In Black "Elephants" Theory
Following the hypothesis that William is a host and not a human, some Westworld fans believe they've found some hard evidence to support that in the latest episode. During an awkward father/daughter family reunion, Emily and William reminisce about when Emily was a child. William recalls that Emily was afraid of the elephants in The Raj, and Emily corrects him, saying it was her mother who was afraid of the elephants, not her. William gets a strained, confused look on his face.
There are different interpretations of this exchange. Some fans believe that William is a host and that he failed an impromptu test given by Emily to prove that he was real. William's pained expression is similar to the one that Abernathy made in Season 1 when he malfunctioned, and similar to the one Jim Delos made when he malfunctioned earlier in Season 2.
Other fans speculate that Emily is the host, and William is the one giving the "test." She fails, and that's why he abandons her in the morning. And lastly, many fans think this is all overanalysis. They believe the simplest interpretation--that William was a bad father who doesn't remember his daughter's interests--is the most likely one.
The Aspect Ratio Theory
The shifting timelines and locations are the main source of confusion amongst Westworld fans. But in Episode 6, the showrunners gave fans a little clarity. The clue is in how director Tarik Saleh frames his shots.
When Bernard is plugged into the Cradle at the end of Episode 6, the aspect ratio shifts from a full screen to a widescreen perspective. Thus, widescreen shots are events that happen within the alternate dimension of the Cradle, and fullscreen shots are events which occur in the "real" world?
If true, that means the opening scene with Bernard and Dolores also takes place within The Cradle. It begs multiple questions: how far does the Cradle representation of Westworld go? Does it also include all the underground facilities? What are the implications of a host occupying and using that space?
And speaking of Bernard...
The Arnold Fidelity Theory
Dolores is performing a fidelity test on Bernard in the episode's opening scene. It is similar to William and Jim Delos' fidelity test earlier this season.
Because Bernard was designed as an exact physical replica of Westworld co-founder Arnold, fans believe that Dolores is attempting to implant Arnold's consciousness into Bernard's body. If she succeeded, that means the Bernard we see later in the timeline--the one who washed up on shore and appears completely disoriented--may actually be Arnold.
Where has Arnold's consciousness been this entire time? Was it already inside Bernard? Was it inside one of those little red balls in Delos' labs? And is Arnold an unwitting participant in Ford's grand storyline, or is he another puppet master in waiting, who will be pulling strings in episodes to come?