HBO’s Westworld premiered Sunday, and in five days, it’s become one of the most talked-about pilot episodes in a long while. Jonathan and Lisa Joy Nolan’s sci-fi drama has already amassed a large following, inspired a number of theories, and left many asking a lot of questions.
On its surface, Westworld is a compelling sci-fi drama with plenty of action, violence and intrigue. But there’s a lot percolating underneath. It’s a dense pilot episode that reveals more with each viewing. There are Easter eggs, Chekhov’s altered guns, and foreshadowing clues that won’t likely avail their true meaning for many more episodes. For the purposes of this post, and in the interest of keeping this a manageable length, we’re going to focus only on Dolores Abernathy, the flies and what they can tell us about both the episode and the future direction of the series.
The Nature of Dolores’ Reality
“Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” is the question that Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) poses to Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) in the opening scene, and it’s that question that drives her narrative for the rest of the episode. “No,” she says, as a fly crawls across her eyeball. She doesn’t react to the fly the way a human would, because she’s a machine. She is not self aware and thus does not question her reality.
That, however, begins to change in subtle but perceptible ways over the course of the pilot episode.