Understand the World The Series Inhabits
I am now going to tell you a story I believe connects all the dots and explains perceived anomalies about the series… So, real (and, maybe?) spoilers ahead! DO NOT Read if you haven’t watched all episodes!
Here is a link to a video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUSB3yNTZeE
Ford and Arnold are essentially based on Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. They are two geniuses who found each other in their youth and a shared interest. Arnold is Wozniak and Ford is Jobs. They had created an artificial intelligence that got them great attention. They needed funding and that’s when the met Logan. Logan has a father who is super rich and was willing to help form a company; Delos. The three men become very wealthy as their A.I. is incorporated in technologies around the world. All three men live their lives of wealth and Ford and Arnold do their day jobs at Delos.
Logan grows bored with his life and he introduces Ford and Arnold to the concept of Future World, a place where people can be who they want in pure luxury and fun. Ford had already been moving in the direction of artificial bodies to accompany the intelligence that Arnold had created. So, they started planning and creating the desert complex of Future World.
At the point that FutureWorld opened, the hosts didn’t need to be very intelligent. The whole experience was not that far removed from a World’s Fair or Expo from the 1930’s in concept. People essentially were put into a world of tomorrow where everyone was beautiful and they got to have sex with them while experiencing cutting edge technology.
At this point two things happened; Arnold began arguing over the morality of what this whole thing has turned into, and they started to notice hosts engaging in forms of self-protection they hadn’t programmed into them.
Those things were the catalyst for great change for the three of them. Logan was caught up in how FutureWorld was losing gravitas in the public mind because it had morphed into a corporate-sponsored world of sex and materialism. Ford and Arnold obsessed on the new found “life” in the hosts.
The one thing they all shared was the need to expand and grow the area of the world of the hosts (though for different reasons.) FutureWorld was constantly being adjusted and they began work on RomanWorld. RomanWorld was conceived to remove the modern materialism while keeping the sex for those who wanted it, but still maintaining areas of learning and family interactions. RomanWorld was also the first time they started purposefully providing and exploring the violence that had appeared in FutureWorld, with gladiators, slaves, and small army skirmishes.
The goals of Ford and Arnold are to evolve the hosts. RomanWorld was created as a simple world with very little complexity programmed into it. The hosts are meant to explore and develop the early stages of their senses and higher level thinking in this world.
At this point, there is an event in the outside world, a great man-made pandemic strikes the world. They all lose friends and family, (perhaps Ford loses a wife and children.) This is when Arnold loses his son. This is the catalyst for all that is to come. This is when a defining realization occurs in Arnold and Ford. Mankind will not survive this plague.
They devise a plan to transfer the minds of people into the hosts. Humanity will only continue in a new form. The problem is the hosts are still too rudimentary. They must evolve the hosts to the level of complexity found in humans if they are to be imprinted and hold that complexity. Both Ford and Arnold take on the role of gods.
They accelerate all their plans for expansion and start building WestWorld (as well as, several other worlds.) This is when they had to seek more funding, and realized they had to go public. Because of Logan’s increasingly bizarre behaviors, his father took control of his shares at this point, sadly.
WestWorld will be the next level of complexity for the host’s development. They work tirelessly and make great advances in all areas of host development.
There are great leaps with the hardware of the hosts, including the capacity and complexity of their minds. With this new complexity in place, they were ready to develop Arnold’s subconscious A.I. and hardware, and attempt to implement it in the new WestWorld hosts.
One day Fords father visits and the two of them show him around and have a picture taken to commemorate the occasion. While speaking with him about the deaths and suffering they have all endured, and observing his callous manner towards his son, in face of said son’s great success, that both Arnold and Ford realized; when people suffer, they get motivated. They must suffer to grow.
This is when both Dolores and the maze are created. The maze being the tool by which the new subconscious is integrated into the hosts being as a whole.
More hosts were presented with the maze (they were denoted by the maze Arnold had tattooed on the underside of their scalp,) in hopes of some of them integrating the new A.I. and hardware.
Another complexity entered their model they hadn’t anticipated. The consistently abusive behaviors of the guests that they would be subjected to (Arnold, always naive to the sins of others that aren’t present in him. And, this is from a small handful of corporate Beta testers.) But, it hearkens back to the early detection of self-protecting behaviors seen in FutureWorld. Hosts were anticipating the cruelest of evils and starting to flee the area. They were not allowed to hurt the guests even in self-defense, so they would literally run through walls and other anomalous tactics.
Arnold realized it was the nature of artificial memory. It is highly compartmentalized and each compartment is written and re-written, hundreds of times. Eventually creating echoes.
They decided to use this to their advantage. They already knew from their own lives that suffering motivates. So, they reinforced what was organically happening in WestWorld already, which was, the further the guests got from the town of Sweetwater, their behaviors got more fringe to suit. And, all they had to do to do that was expand the physical park and put a war in its outermost realm. Then they placed the hosts, that were there for the maze, either physically in the outer realms, or in a narrative that takes them there.
Let’s use Maeve as an example of how this works. Maeve is an educated woman who lives with her husband and daughter on a homestead in the outer world. Sometimes Dolores would bring guests out to their homestead and you would experience a very loving and happy family sans any race issues, even though the Civil War is going on (two sectors over) and they face racism in the town when they get supplies. Maeve and her family are very happy living their ideal lives.
But, one out of so many guests that made it to their homestead realized there are no prying eyes out there on the outer fringe of the park, and Maeve is very beautiful. Horrible things would happen to her and her whole family regularly, and Maeve was remembering and getting motivated to change the nature of her existence.
It was less than a year past the great expansion of the park, that more defining events took place. Logan continued to self-destructed and lost more favor with his father. William was the catalyst and his unique level of evil, also accelerated the evolution of the maze inducted hosts. But, Ford and Arnold hated him and did manipulative and cruel things to him in their world of which he is still unaware.
The second was Dolores solved the maze. It didn’t have the full effect Arnold had anticipated but there was integration. And that brings us to the third thing; the argument between Ford and Arnold.
“When, and why do we stop being gods and let them find their own path to the complexity we need?” Asked Arnold.
“When they prove to me they are Human,” said Ford.
“But are they more?”
“It doesn’t matter, they will be human at some point. That is the purpose of their existence. If we stop controlling their evolution just when they are taking their first steps, they will evolve into something else. We didn’t create them to be something else. We created them to be, the human race.”
Arnold conceded and things continued mostly as they had. Except for one important thing; Arnold’s empathy could no longer withstand the end of the maze, knowing he would just roll them back and make them endure it again and again. This is when Arnold devises his plan.
He eventually uploads the data he believes is himself, to the main computer and leaves an explanation for Ford on his desk. He then goes and meets Dolores at the end of the maze.
Ford is left further isolated and alone. He knows the hosts aren’t advanced enough to imprint Arnold on one so, he continues to work on the hardware and opens WestWorld with great fanfare, always preparing for his friend’s return.
A big part of that preparation is working on the other parks as well. Both RomanWorld and FutureWorld are upgraded with the advanced narratives and hosts, with SamuraiWorld and others being created, as well.
Ford and Arnold had spun their “Host Evolution” narrative throughout all worlds and all systems.
Ford gathers some key allies and shares the truth with them, and together they continue the master plan. (Nobody can know the master plan and what they have done or else it would be corrupted by greed and emotion.) Ford picks his two top engineers Felix and Sylvester, and they assist with a modified version of Arnold’s plan.
First, they create the most advanced host body to date and hope it will be able to hold the imprint of Arnold’s being. When they do the transfer they at first think they have had success, but quickly realize this host also has no empathy. At that point, Ford realized, that would be the signal he has had success with Arnold; it would have his innate sense of empathy.
He also realized his theories about suffering being the motivator for growth were true, and he also could no longer bear the strain of it. While still trying to fine tune Bernard into Arnold, he had a Ford host created and transferred a copy of his mind into it. It, of course, did not have empathy and would be relentless and methodical in its ways.
The Ford host could be used as a puppet by Ford if needed. (At first it was a little clumsy and Felix and Sylvester had to help him fine tune his controls. Although, even after the fine tuning he is almost discovered a few times.) But, for the most part, the host Ford could handle all the duties and expectations that are thrown at him, although the real Ford will often take control during important events. Having the host body gave him the ability to have transmitters so he could communicate with other hosts without the verbal commands or any other visible means.
The concept of the hosts being a surrogate for humans who are suffering from the pandemic is not new. Although the original reason to build the Delos compound far from any population was the fear of its power generators, they were able to use that to their advantage. They built extensive Hyperloop systems bringing clients in from all over the United States. But when Ford and Arnold realized the convoluted task before them of creating a truly compatible hosts (get it?) they created an industrial “accident” in the lower levels that once were the transportation, welcoming center and lobby of Future World. Then it was claimed to be uninhabitable for many years, so they had to build a new much smaller rail system essentially at surface level that only connects to the larger transportation system some 20 miles out. That way it was much more isolated and they could control security much better.
Ford and Arnold took over the now uninhabited lower levels and created their secret offices and labs, as well as, the cold storage for maze runners.
The peoples of the world have been clamoring for even artificial organs, but Ford and Arnold tried to refuse. But, William was eventually able to manipulate them into releasing a few organs through a non-profit organization he created. They had desperately wanted to control the path of evolution for their hosts, and even an organ could lead others to the accelerated path that leads to futures they had already rejected. Another reason for Ford to despise William.
That pretty much gets us to season one. You can see the factions at play. Members of the board are essentially trying to do the same thing Ford and Arnold are doing (for reasons bigger than greed. So, can you really blame them?) and William is still confused as to why he is so blessed, but looking to the external not the internal.
In the last episodes, we saw certain sought after events took place; Dolores got her voice, and Arnold got his empathy.
Those two things triggered Ford and Arnold’s next phase of the evolution narrative. That included waking up Maeve and others. Then putting them on their paths to the next phase of their evolution.
I will leave it at that. Wait, no. (speculation alert level 2) In Season Two, Maeve will enter both FutureWorld and SamuraiWorld. In SamuraiWorld she knows she is in the “WestWorld” worlds, but in FutureWorld she thinks she is in the real world. So, the first episode of season two, in the Maeve story line, we will see her essentially move through the train station in FutureWorld (which is now shut down for security reasons like all the parks. Which means, yes, every time she was in the “real” world she was actually in a section of FutureWorld that is only used by Ford and the Evolution Narrative. Whenever we see someone like Theresa Cullen in that area, it is because she is subject to Ford’s whims as to where he sets up his many shops. He is also pretty lax about who does what to the hosts there, Theresa not so much.) leading her to the doorway to SamuraiWorld with a big climactic effect of being faced with an entirely other world, as the closing shot…or…more likely Bam! It’s RomanWorld! Because HBO still has sets and costumes sitting around somewhere.
And, no she does not have freewill, she is under control of the Evolution Narrative.
I can just keep going, but I will wait to see if anyone wants to hear more.
Also, let me know if this post doesn’t look like anything to you.
Okay, I got two questions from Reddit:
- Who are all the guests coming to the park acting like they’re on vacation from the real world (with no hints of plague or death)?
- Why are the board members trying to get the hosts to be more simple if they want to move humans into them?
- There has not been a complete societal breakdown, but it is a hellish future for the masses, these people, they’re the super rich. The way the world works is; When the world really goes wrong, we are fractured even further. The super rich live like the super rich. When the plague comes they just sit on their throne and have that surrounded by fire. History.
- The board is trying to sneak out as much technology as they can to off site labs to continue their advancements. They don’t want them more simple they want to advance their evolution just like Ford and Arnold. The reason you keep hearing “management” say they want the new park hosts to be more simple is because of the insanity of mankind. Even on a throne, if its surrounded by fire…life sucks-ish. Because the hosts are so real, the guests are constantly running away in the parks. Trying to stay and live their lives there past their purchased time. The entire defense force exists to retrieve guests and keep old guests from trying to break in. The idea of Hosts going crazy and needing to be contained by a defense force hasn’t been a concern…except in science fiction. (We only see them in that light because of our own cognitive bias [and we have facts they don’t.] So when they are called in because of the anomalies created by Fords updates, we immediately assume that is their main task in life, when in fact this is may be a quite rare task. Ashley Stubbs seemed to have such bravado, and we assumed it’s because he is a super bad-ass, and he knows how to handle situations. And he most likely is and does, but in this case he just doesn’t have any fear because there has never been a reason to develop any.) They want them more simple so WestWorld is not more appealing than the super-rich real world. It’s exhausting and expensive.
Some more thoughts have been put up on Reddit.
I have just begun re-watching the episodes, but while I’m writing.
My theory seems to be holding up. I don’t see real holes but only subtle changes. I feel like I am ruining it.
There is scene after scene that reinforces my theory.
Even the Native People being the introduction to a religion that seems to have real “other worldly” knowledge that to Maeve reinforces her belief in her “dreams” And that is how they will use the next worlds for her. To develop some type of religious type thinking (whether it is Shinto or just Samurai Feudalism in SamuraiWorld or some form of western philosophy in RomanWorld.) To further her hardware’s development.
One thing I don’t think everyone is picking up on even though I mentioned it in my theory.
There are maze runners, or those hosts who are under the Evolution Narrative, with the upgraded hardware brains and software. (Although, some seem to possibly be supporting characters (i.e. Mr. Abernathy) in the main characters life. Meaning they too have solved the maze or have at least been given the upgrades so they too can see beyond their narrow role.) They reached the next level of development (i.e. gone insane) and put in cold storage waiting for Dolores and other main characters to catch up. Then move the story along.
Well, all those hosts are worked on in a special place. I mention it in my theory. Only select people go there. In episode one they take all the dead into the lab and there are many people around, then they go to where the maze runners are…they even have to turn on the lights. This is Fords lab (where you can see he builds all the hosts he wants. Doesn’t have to be in a secret lab.) if you see Ford (other than official duties), they are in a very secluded place…he would be a god to even the employees.
From that you can glean who are the people in on Ford’s secret and/or who he is using.
Now that Dolores is Awake and ready for the next stage in WestWorld (Maeve heading out of WestWorld) she needed her Army… So cold storage was emptied of the hosts so they could fill that role.
The two main characters are Dolores and Maeve and they represent, yin and yang.
Dolores is order, and Maeve is chaos.
Dolores receives the esoteric spoon fed to her, Maeve aggressively chases anomalies.
Dolores’ journey is inward, Maeve’s outward.
They are hopefully getting to the same end, but on different paths.
The wood cutter isn’t carving Orion but mapping his own understanding, of his own passage through the maze.
Put an over lay of the maze on the carving in your mind and you can see there is a little discrepancy but it makes sense.
He went left and ran into a curved line and was killed 7 times feeling “the walls” of the maze (Like Castle Wolfenstein 20 some years ago) then he goes right and feels the walls…you get the idea.
I can tell you THE big thing coming two or three seasons from now.
It will be obvious when you hear it, and it opens up a possibility of two or three ultimate endings…some more cliche than others.
Oh, and Arnold’s wife knows she is talking to Bernard and her husband is dead. She calls him from time to time as an attempt to talk to her “husband” That is why she says, “Oh, these talks, I don’t know if they help or hurt.” Then he looks at her a little confused because this is the first time, maybe.
Although, I am hesitant to continue fine-tuning. I don’t get anything from this except impressing a few people I can decipher things, and screwing up the whole show, which is an awesome show.
Still seeking guidance from the population of the internet.
This is completely the creation of my INTP deductive and inductive reasoning. I am in no way affiliated with anyone connected to the production of WestWorld the series or anyone in the entertainment industry. I have been given no scripts or source material of any kind. I made this up, are you getting that? This is all theory and conjecture on my part based on watching the series once…that could be a mistake. So, anyway, I hope you will watch the series again with this new paradigm. And let me know what you think.
I retain all rights of ownership and protection of this work and all others on this site.
I have not been active on my site for sometime and am not sure when or if I will devote anymore time to this page (I might) but, I wanted to share my beliefs of how I think the show ends…sort of.
I always believed that, from inside my theory, the only way to know you have the perfect host is for the host to be able to procreate. I believe that the last two or three seasons will be about the creation of the first host child, brought about through two hosts mating and the female giving birth, and who will control that child and its unique abilities.
I felt like I was encouraged by what I saw in the opening credits based on people saying the show’s creators stated the opening credits have hints to all seasons.
I have more speculations but will leave it with that thought.
Oh, and this is THE big thing I referred to earlier.