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Here's the extremely subtle clue about season two hidden in Westworld's pilot

Photo: John P. Johnson (HBO)

Yesterday, we wrote about an Esquire interview with actor Jeffrey Wright, who plays sad robot Bernard on HBO’s Westworld. In that interview, Wright dumped some lighter fluid and a few lit matches onto Reddit’s Westworld threads by declaring that there were “some flashing neon breadcrumbs” in the show’s pilot, namely a scene that “speaks to the overarching theme of Season Two.”

It wasn’t long before online theorists figured out which scene that was, or at least what they perceive it to be. It involves Peter Abernathy, the host who, when we first meet him, is playing the role of Dolores’ homespun father. Since then, there’s been a great deal of mystery surrounding the character and his unique programming, and Delos’ pursuit of him is a major factor of the second season. In the scene from the pilot, Bernard and Anthony Hopkins’ Robert Ford meet with a decommissioned Abernathy in the park’s lab. In the scene, Abernathy tells Ford: “You don’t know where you are, do you? You’re in a prison of your own sins.” Later, Bernard whispers in Abernathy’s ear what performer Louis Herthum has revealed to be “Goodbye, old friend, for now.”

Screenshot: HBO

What’s really capturing people’s attention, however, is what looks like a scar on Bernard’s head. That scar, fans note, is not present throughout the rest of the first season, but is present for particular scenes with Bernard in the first episode of the second season. Now, considering we witness three different timelines just in the first episode, this raises points regarding both timelines and the nature of Bernard himself.

Image: Reddit/HBO

The first theory, which is stretching things a bit far in our opinion, is that the scar is a result of Bernard shooting himself near the end of the first season, thus meaning that this particular scene of the pilot takes place after the events of the first season. And, considering Ford is shot dead at the end of the first season, that means that this Ford is a host, which, in some fashion, aligns with Abernathy’s jab at him. This could also mean that the Ford we see in other parts of the season could be a host. It depends on the timeline, which, in this reading, is even more convoluted than we originally thought.


The more intriguing and plausible theory here relates to there being multiple Bernards, and that we’ve been seeing different versions of the character not only throughout the first season, but also throughout the first episode of season two. Supporting this is a screenshot pulled by Redditor solomars from the season two trailer:

Screenshot: u/solomars (Reddit)

Yeah, that’s pretty good evidence.

Combining the multiple Bernards theory and the timeline fuckery is yet another Reddit theory, this one being the most striking and plausible of them all. Season two opens with Bernard and Dolores having one of the many tête-à-têtes we saw them having throughout the first season. If you felt like something was off about this one, however, you’re not alone.


User Honesty88 writes:

In the opening scene s02 E01 When Bernard {wakes up } sitting in front of Dolores , the switch places, she is now the one asking question about dreams, and he replied dreams don’t mean anything. Just like the hosts in S01. It look like as if Dolores is making a check up on him and talking to him like Arnold us to do with her. I too think s02 is happening before S01.


To say that all of season two is happening before season one is, again, stretching things a bit, but the concept of time and memory is a key theme of the series, and we wouldn’t be surprised if much of what we’re perceiving as the past or future is actually the opposite.

If Westworld’s taught us one thing so far, it’s this: Never assume.

[via Esquire]

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com


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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.