Through nine episodes of Westworld, a lot of theories have been confirmed. We know, for instance, that Bernard is a host, and as I wrote after the third episode, “Ford built a new partner modeled after his old one, as he built a boy host in his own image” (I was wrong only in that it was Arnold who built the boy in Ford’s image). As we predicted after the second episode, we are also 100 percent certain that William is the Man in Black.
We also know there are multiple timelines; Dolores killed Arnold; and that Teddy’s memory of the Escalante massacre is fuzzy.
On the latter point, I also posit that Dolores is actually Wyatt. Wyatt, after all, is part of a backstory that Ford implanted into Teddy in the current timeline. Teddy was never actually in Escalante. Before this current timeline, as Ford notes in episode three, they “never bothered to give” Teddy a backstory, just a “formless guilt you will never atone for.” It was the backstory that began the waking process Teddy is now enduring with the Man in Black. But, to reiterate because it is important: Teddy was never in Escalante. This is what’s confusing to viewers. His backstory is a “small part of [Ford’s] new narrative, a fiction that — like all great stories — is rooted in truth.”
It never actually happened, just as Bernard never actually had a kid.
Teddy’s backstory is implanted. It’s why he can’t decipher the truth. Did he shoot all those people? Or did Wyatt shoot all those people and then turn his gun on Teddy. The truth is: Neither of those things happened, because Teddy was never there. That’s the “fiction.” I believe the “truth” is that Dolores is Wyatt, and that she committed the massacre — the one we saw in last week’s episode — and then turned her gun on Arnold before shooting herself. It’s Dolores, and not Wyatt, who “claimed he could hear the voice of God,” the very voices that Arnold implanted into the hosts in order to bootstrap the bicameral mind.
By combining scenes from the last couple of episodes, we can actually put the timelines together. Within the series, it can be confusing, because different timelines are spliced together as memories on top of memories.
Here, however, are the three different Dolores timelines, as she heads into the Escalante church and down into the basement of the control room.
35 Years Ago
“It was a time of war,” as Ford told Teddy in the third episode. That war was actually between Arnold and Ford. Arnold had decided to bootstrap the host’s consciousness by piping into their minds the voice of God.
Enter Dolores, who walks into the church in Escalante and passes by all of these hosts on the fritz because of the voices in their minds.
She walks into the confessional. She finds in the confessional an elevator to the control room. She walks into the control room and follows Ford into a room where he is having an argument with Arnold — the “war,” to which Ford referred. The argument is over Arnold’s decision to bootstrap the bicameral mind. The hosts are malfunctioning — or going mad — which is why Ford is in a rush to meet Arnold.
When Dolores gets to the room, she’s met by Arnold. This is not Bernard’s hand entering the room this time. It is Arnold’s hand.
We don’t know exactly what Arnold tells her in that room, but I think when she ends up meeting the man — Arnold — who was also the voice inside of her mind, it drives her mad. She then runs back out into Escalante, and begins killing people.
Arnold follows, and then she kills Arnold (in Teddy’s implanted memory, he is Arnold).
She then turns the gun on herself.
That’s why, as spotted in a preview for the finale, there is a gravestone with her name on it.
30 Years Ago
Now, Dolores is in the timeline with William. Again, she returns to Escalante, and again, she finds the passageway to the control room. This time, when she returns, there is no city, just the burnt-out church steeple. However, the elevator to the control room is still inside the steeple. She takes it.
When she goes into the control room, she walks in and passes by old Abernathy — who is rehearsing his lines as an English professor who is in a cannibalistic dinner party storyline. He’s the fuzzy guy in the background here rehearsing lines from King Lear.
Abernathy’s presence in this timeline is important, as I’ll explain below.
At any rate, this time when Dolores enters the room, she meets Bernard. This is Bernard’s first memory. This is where Bernard tells Dolores that she killed Arnold.
I’m not sure what happens after that conversation, but we can assume this: She returns back to Escalante after her conversation with Bernard and she reunites with William. Dolores and William also somehow get involved in Abernathy’s professor/cannibal storyline. Why do we know this? Because it’s when Abernathy first sees the photo of Juliet, the wife of William/Man in Black, the very photo that Logan showed William the night before.
Now we’re in the timeline with the Man in Black. This is the same timeline where Abernathy sees the photo of Juliet again, it triggers him, and he freaks out.
In this timeline, Dolores returns again to Escalante to the church that Ford had rebuilt as part of his new narrative.
This time, when she returns to the control room, she finds dead bodies all over the place inside the control room.
Why would she find dead bodies inside the control room in the present timeline? Simple. Because that’s where Maeve and Hector were returning to, and Maeve had planned to use Hector to shoot her way out of Westworld. That explains the carnage (I have a hunch that Abernathy returns from cold storage and played a part in the massacre, as well).
This time when Dolores returns to the same room where she first met Arnold, and where she first met Bernard, she was confronted with neither. Only an empty chair and her memories.
When she goes back up and returns to Escalante, she had hoped to see William again, as she did in a previous memory.
“William,” she whispers under her breath and smiles ever so hopefully.
Instead, she is confronted by an older William, the Man in Black.
To reiterate: Dolores returns to the control room through the Escalante elevator in the church steeple three times. The first time, she meets Arnold. The second time, she meets Bernard. The third time, she meets an empty chair. “Because you’re just a memory. Because I killed you.”