The Original Redux
I have been listening to a couple discussions regarding whether William is a host or not. The consensus seems to be that Nolan & Joy’s on-the-knife storytelling is effective at leaving everyone wondering, including William himself, what is reality, but that the story Westworld is telling will not be as good in the end if William turns out to be a host rather than if he is simply a human who was, or became, delusional and lost himself in the park, etc.
I think the reasoning is that the reveal of Bernard as a host was a hand that has already been played. It has been suggested that the impact of things like William’s ‘real’ pain from killing his daughter or the larger commentaries on society that the show touches upon are things that would somehow be diminished if he were a host. I suppose that is true if you only want to look at the story that way, but time and again, Westworld writers have surprised us and, more than anything, I believe the story continues to be one about the nature of reality, the meaning of consciousness AND the different ways the hosts are coming to that point. They have robots who meditate, for God’s sake! (probably one of my favorite things to try to wrap my head around). In addition, they still have a larger story to tell, so is the show going to devolve into some sort of action adventure/mystery caper with robots and humans chasing each other around or will it still find a way to retain these elements and, ideally, dive even deeper into them? I, for one, hope it’s the latter.
I suggested in my very long voicemail weeks back(thank you again for indulging me!) that more and more loops can lead to higher and higher levels of consciousness and I also tossed out a quick quip that it made me question the MiB’s status. I didn’t elaborate because it was a whole other animal to tackle. Now, I was not the only one to think that William being a host was a possibility but I have yet to hear anyone to go in the direction I am about to. To that end, please allow me to don my tinfoil and share something that has been rattling around my noggin…
Since that call, I have mulled over the thought that our notion of Dolores as the Original host might be a poor assumption on the part of us, the audience. She was revealed as the oldest in the park, hence our assumption, but was she truly the first host? Ford talks about & treats Dolores as if she was solely Bernard’s special project and almost reviles her a little at times, like he wants nothing to do with her or she remains for him a painful reminder of something not yet explained. This seems a bit odd as we would think of Dolores as the product of a partnership and assume he would continue the care of Arnold’s ‘children’ in his absence. Ford only seemed to soften towards Dolores at the end of season 1 when looking at the greater significance her consciousness has on the host species as a whole.
In fact, Ford’s coldness towards his creations, or children as he now refers to them, has always struck me as unusual and out of place. We are not talking about Walt Disney and the Hall of Presidents animatronics here, the hosts are another thing altogether. So where is the love, the pride? Perhaps it was all part of the act for his long play, but if the results of Bernard’s enhancements in Dolores had an impact on Ford’s original Fave host in some way that skewed his perception of these creations, his behavior towards Dolores might start to make more sense.
So where is the creation for whom Ford had a special affinity? Surely, there was one – his first truly complete host for which he had toiled and tweaked and worked endlessly to perfect. It is only in this last episode that we see Ford say Maeve was his favorite, but I think she became his favorite – over time, as her displays of consciousness coincided with the evolution(perhaps softening?) of his feelings regarding the hosts. There is also no indication that Maeve was the original. Bernard is not the original. Arnold seems to have been human after all by all accounts. What other characters were featured enough to be a consideration? Teddy is not the original, but it could be argued that he bears a resemblance to someone who was. So who is left besides William?
Now I cannot say for sure, but I would think that someone trying to create an android is going to try to perfect one version(ie unit) and test the shit out of it well before creating an entire species of different units all at once. Further, I would think that part of that testing would involve bringing it out in the real world to get as much feedback and real world input and data collection as possible. Again, who was this Host Patient Zero so to speak if not William?
I will make a quick mention that the marketing pitch to Logan totally stuck the landing. They sure seemed to know how to cater it directly to Logan, but at that point, I do not believe the park was up and running and they certainly hadn’t gathered data on guests anywhere near the level they do now. So how did they learn so much about Logan?
Granted, this might be a creative stretch of storytelling, but Ford has both a gift for taking a long view and the necessary hubris that I can envision him creating a host qualified to get an insider job at Delos and gather intel in order to win over investors in the competitive “VR” industry. He would also send the best(ie advanced) host for the job.
If a host, posing as a human in the real world, came into Westworld and evolved in the fashion that William did, I can see Ford becoming disillusioned with humanity, as well as conflicted as he watched his own ‘son’ go down this path. Yet he may also marveling at his creation, feeling it necessary to let his child forge his own path. Sorry for the pun, it slipped out. Why does Ford carry such a dim view of humanity? Could it be that he saw that by living among them, humanity had corrupted his greatest creation? There are so many damn Biblical references, how the hell could they not include the prodigal son? Perhaps the door is part of completing his son’s redemption story.
What could be a more mindbending question on the nature of consciousness than a host that, thinking it is a human, wants to convert all humans into hosts?
The quote from Alexander the Great about being aware of infinite worlds but a master of none also struck a particular note regarding William. He could very well be the most highly evolved host in some respects, yet he has no true understanding of the nature of his reality in either world he lives in.
Oh yeah, and it would be an awesome send up to the original Yul Brenner character.
Granted, there are a couple things that could shoot this down, not least of which is explaining how William had a daughter, but with everything else we’ve been watching, I’m sure there are some narrative work arounds there for talented writers.
I don’t know what you think of this or if you find this even remotely interesting, but thought I’d put it out there. I have a few more days of madness until I, like William, find out how horribly wrong I probably am. But if you made it this far into my theory, thank you for indulging me yet again with one more wild one for the road. Thanks for another great season; looking forward to the other shows and movies!
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