After Westworld‘s seventh episode, actor Jimmi Simpson, who plays William, told TV Line that what would make this season so great is the lack of cliffhangers at the end of it. Presumably, that meant fans could expect all their questions to be answered. Well, episode nine, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” answered some of the biggest questions viewers have been asking.
Who was Arnold? Is Bernard a host version of Arnold? Is William The Man in Black 30 years ago? Is the show operating on two timelines? What about three?
Let’s take a look at each question and how they relate to the show as a whole ,while also looking ahead to what we can expect from the season finale.
Who is Arnold and is Bernard a Host Version of Arnold?
Well, Bernard is, in fact, a host version of Arnold and that was confirmed this week by Dolores in a great bit of editing. The unveiling of this big reveal was brilliantly done on both a show and philosophical level. Let’s look at the show portion of it first, though.
Bernard figures out a way to corner Dr. Ford into getting answers. Despite Ford wiping his memory after he killed Theresa, Bernard is still able to remember things about what he did in a way that makes him want to know more, and understandably so. Anyway, Bernard corners Ford in a way that, for a while, I thought Ford wouldn’t make it out of this episode alive. But he did.
When he corners Ford, Bernard witnesses his entire memory go through its mechanical and technological phases. He video-chats with his wife, only to hear and see it glitch and instead hear Ford’s voice. Bernard then goes on to see his son die over and over, slowly discovering the memory isn’t a real-life scenario. From there, Bernard freezes time and gets the answers he needed.
Ford has no choice but to show him more, as he thinks it’ll help Bernard realize that Ford has given him everything and owes it to Ford to help him with the new narrative. Unfortunately for Bernard, this ends up costing him his life as he goes too far and ultimately learns that he is a host version of Ford’s partner Arnold.
Before getting to the philosophical underlying themes here, it’s important to note one more massive Arnold/Bernard note. Ford didn’t kill Arnold and Arnold didn’t commit suicide, as many people thought. Instead, Arnold was killed by Dolores.
Ford also continues to talk about how humans are basically savages that shouldn’t be trusted and how they have the right to control robots or artificial intelligence. This is an interesting question to bring up and arguably the main theme of the whole series. At what point do robots deserve rights or respect from humans? It’s an important question to consider going forward.
Is William The Man in Black 30 years ago?
If you weren’t paying close attention, you may have missed this reveal. When Dolores is in the church during modern day, she says lightly “William?” and in walks The Man in Black.
This question/answer was hinted at for a long time — not just in this episode, but in the series as a whole up to this point. As for this episode, here are a couple instances where the show nearly revealed the fact:
1. When Charlotte encounters The Man in Black, she doesn’t refer to him by name, but instead mentions how he is on the board of Delos. In William’s storyline, he and Logan talk about their company potentially buying the park or at least heavily investing in it.
2. When William kills all the host Confederados and tells Logan he’s now in control, he tells Logan not to call him Billy. This could have then led to William coming up with the nickname The Man in Black, or just made the point that in the park, he doesn’t want to go by his real name.
Having the William-Man in Black connection seemingly confirmed means the answer to the next two questions is an emphatic yes.
Is the show operating on two timelines? What about three?
Here are the three storylines that the show has been following:
1. 35 years ago — Arnold and Dr. Ford are creating the park while Arnold/Bernard has daily (?) chats with Dolores underneath the church.
2. 30 years ago –William and Logan enter the park, and William tries to help Dolores find the church while turning into The Man in Black.
3. Present Day — The Man in Black is trying to find the maze, Bernard finds out he is Arnold, Dr. Ford is creating his new narrative, Theresa dies, Maeve’s uprising, etc.
This apparent revelation had a hand in all of the other questions that were answered as well. By continuing to show us Dolores working her way through the park at three different times, we were able to learn that Arnold is Bernard, William is The Man in Black, and that Dolores is the key to solving it all.
Those three big plot points/questions/answers weren’t the only big things that happened this week. Here’s a quick rundown of everything else that happened.
** Maeve continued to assemble her army, starting with Hector: It’ll be interesting to see how Hector factors in going forward as it’s assumed that Maeve and Hector both burned in that tent. We know Maeve can die and remember everything perfectly, but who’s to say Hector will have the same luck? Did Maeve say something to help him remember it all?
** Stubbs was captured by Ghost Nation: Stubbs is getting suspicious, as the episode description told us he would. While looking for Elsie, Stubbs encounters members of Ghost Nation and tries to freeze and kill them, but is unsuccessful and captured instead. It’s pretty clear that the glitch has spread to the majority of the hosts.
** Charlotte tries to sway The Man in Black: While learning who The Man in Black really is, Charlotte made it evident he plays a massive role in the park. Not only has The Man in Black seemingly kept the place in business, but he also could be the crucial vote to get Dr. Ford removed from the job. Will he be able to do that now that he and Dolores are reunited?
** William’s fiancee: One key moment you hopefully didn’t miss was the picture of William’s fiancee that Logan gave him. After capturing him, Logan hands William the picture of his fiancee and it’s the same picture of a woman in Times Square that Dolores’ father found way back in episode one. Is it possible that we’ll see William lose the picture while returning Dolores home next week? Or is it possible The Man in Black planted that picture there?
** Does Bernard have a future?: We saw Bernard learn he was Arnold this week and it seems like Dr. Ford was forcing Bernard to kill himself in ways that he has in the past. However, the way Dr. Ford left by saying goodbye to his “old friend” and the way in which he spoke to him before leaving makes me question if Bernard is, in fact, done.
** Who is Wyatt?: A big theory out there is that Wyatt is Dolores and that seems very likely after what happened in the town later buried in sand/Escalante/the original town/the town with the white church. The way Dolores walked around and past all the dead bodies before arriving in the church and then later speaking with Arnold, it seems like she could actually be Wyatt.
Lots of questions still need to be answered with one episode left, and let’s hope they all are. After all, Jimmi Simpson did say they should be.
[You can read all of The Comeback’s Westworld coverage here.]