Four episodes in and Westworld has its hooks in me but good. What could’ve been a straight-forward “robots go on a murderous rampage” horror story is instead a deep psychological look at what makes us human and how a consequence-free world changes the way we interact with the world around us. On top of that is a dollop of growing unease about the never-ending nightmare that his the Hosts’ reality, and the unshakable feeling that there is more to the Delos corporation than a hedonistic Disney World and you get lore so thick you cut it with a knife.
But considering how flawlessly each piece of the Westworld puzzle interconnects with the next, there is one thing that feels completely disjointed: Bernard’s (Jeffrey Wright) secret meetings with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) deep in the bowels of the corporate offices. This is a place where everyone — or at least Ford (Anthony Hopkins) knows your every move. It seems impossible that Bernard could be whisking Dolores away on a regular basis for extended conversations about the nature of self-awareness without anyone noticing. Yet, based on Dolores’ statement that she and Bernard have read several books together, this is exactly what’s been happening. Or is it?
I posit a different solution. Dolores has two bodies.
In the first episode, we are introduced to Ford as he stares wistfully, or perhaps with a Machiavellian glint, at Bill, the decommissioned Host in cold storage. The audience quickly learns Bill was the second Host the park ever built, with Dolores being the first. So why is Bill in the robot morgue (with special “fully dressed” privileges, no less) while Dolores is still stuck in a never-ending loop of sexual assault? Hopefully, that’s something the show delves into at some point, but from where I’m standing it looks like a matter of software degradation and not obsolete hardware. If Bill’s software (brain) were beyond salvaging with new technology for whatever reason, it would make sense to retire him. After all, Dr. Abernathy (Louis Herthum) was also regulated to cold storage for a software malfunction. Dolores, on the contrary, has clearly been upgraded many times over the years, both physically and mentally. But as anyone who has dabbled in DIY computer builds knows, eventually, the hardware just can’t keep up and has to be replaced entirely.