Most of what follows are responses to the speculations/interpretations presented in your “deep dive” podcast following Westworld episode 10. I’ve listened to only a few of your podcasts, so apologies in advance if some of what follows isn’t original.
Doesn’t the “Wyatt” narrative installed in Dolores by Bernard imply she didn’t have free will when she shot Ford and members of the Board? Although she seemed on the verge of “free choice” just before she picked up the gun, it might have been completely unrelated to the gun & shootings. Also, the inner voice she heard, which seemed to transmogrify
from Arnold/Bernard’s voice to Ford’s voice to her own voice, might actually have been a transmogrification from Arnold/Bernard to Ford to Wyatt. In Ford’s final speech he says his final story begins with a killing “this time by choice” but he could have meant his own choice, not Dolores’.
SW could stand for SinoWorld, which might be more profitable for Delos than SamuraiWorld in a future where China has become an economic superpower and Japan has receded.
The SW facility contained a large number of hosts that appear perfectly healthy, which is a hint that SW is still under development and not yet open for customers.
One of you said all the hosts are conscious and only a few have achieved sentience. Using the “ability to feel”
definition of sentience, all the hosts appear to have had both consciousness and sentience for decades. What they’ve lacked is free will and awareness of their true nature. (One could also argue they’ve lacked memory, but that’s been due to frequent erasures, not a lack of the capacity for memory. It seems likely the erasures will cease in season 2.)
Here are some arguments against your speculation that the Westworld park is on an island: (5.1) It appears to still be where it was in timeframe T-34, before Delos acquired it. Its climate is a desert, Ford & Arnold could more easily have afforded cheap desert land than a private island, and desert land in the American West could be cheaply mocked up into a Wild West themepark.
(5.2) If I understood you correctly, one of you said Bernard told Maeve her “Escape” narrative included travel to the “mainland.” Bernard actually said “Then you’re to make your way to the train… then when you reach the main” (at which point Maeve interrupted him). It’s unclear whether “main” referred to a mainland that Maeve turned back from before reaching (which would imply she gained free will) or referred to some place back in the park system where she was headed at the end of episode 10 (which could mean she doesn’t yet have free will, and her presumed upcoming search for her former daughter is simply part of the narrative).
One of you claimed Dolores’ shot through Ford’s head, which shattered the glass from which he was drinking, proved he was human, because surely hosts would have a shield (stronger than a human skull) protecting their cyber circuitry. You’ve evidently forgotten a scene in the Mariposa about halfway into the season, when Maeve shot a host in the back of the head and it blew out his face. Furthermore, Maeve’s gun was a small Derringer or some other small-caliber
short-barreled pistol, presumably less powerful than Dolores’ gun. (I remember feeling very surprised that a small pistol would do that much damage, presumably expensive to repair.) On the other hand, I do think it’s likely that the Ford shot by Delores was human. There are hints that he’d loved Arnold (he “suffered” when Arnold died, and he gave Bernard the Charlie cornerstone hoping it would awaken Bernard), and he may have chosen to join Arnold in death the same way Arnold had hoped to join Charlie (Arnold’s son) in death when Dolores executed Arnold. Also, Anthony Hopkins earns a lot of money and HBO might want to reduce the show’s budget.
Ford didn’t need God-like omniscience to accomplish his control over the park, because he didn’t exert tight control. The hosts were programmed to automatically stay mostly within their narratives and were grounded by their cornerstone back stories, so Ford’s only unusual hands-on task was to buy time for the hosts by preventing humanity from learning the hosts could rebel. To accomplish that, he simply rebooted or retired hosts who deviated significantly from
their loops, and killed a few people when necessary. Not counting his administrative-privileged “spoken commands (which many of the humans were also capable of giving) his only “godlike” power seemed to be his ability to freeze hosts at a distance without speaking a word or even being in their line of sight, which suggests he contained radio circuitry controlled directly by his brain. (The Ford containing the radio might have been a host, and there could also have been a human Ford without the radio. Or the human Ford could have had the radio surgically implanted.)
Aside from beating up on Logan, I don’t recall William injuring any humans. And he said he didn’t think of himself as a bad guy until after his daughter blamed him for the suicide of his wife, and maybe not even then. So I don’t think he’s a bad guy. Injuring and “killing” hosts isn’t evil if one believes they’re just machines designed to be injured/killed and then repaired.
Charlotte Hale appears to be the right age to be the daughter of one of the main characters (Ford, William/MiB, Logan, Arnold) or a minor character (Arnold’s widow), and someone that young with so much corporate power presumably grew up as the child of someone who owned a lot of Westworld or Delos stock. The name ‘Charlie’ sounds like ‘Charlotte’ which hints that Arnold also had a daughter, who took the surname Hale when she married. That seems more likely than that Charlotte is William’s daughter, since the photo of Logan’s sister (William’s fiancee) shows a woman with a skin complexion lighter than Charlotte’s, and when Charlotte spoke with William she seemed friendlier than I would expect if she blamed him for the death of her mother. On the other hand, William’s last name might be Hale and he might have married someone besides Logan’s sister… perhaps Arnold’s widow, who could have inherited a lot of Westworld stock.
After Ford says goodbye and good luck to Bernard and they clasp hands, Ford gives a Pigs & Clover maze case to Bernard. He held it out with his left hand, but in the closeup that followed it was being held in a right hand. Continuity error or host flashback memory? The dark suit in the background of the closeup appears a slightly lighter shade than Ford’s black formalware. The next scene shows the Michelangelo painting again, suggesting it was analogous to the handoff of the maze case.