Photo: John P. Johnson (HBO)

From the outside, Westworld looks a lot like the 1973 film that inspired it: Theme park robots rise up against their human masters and chaos ensues. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s HBO series, however, is using its vessel as an extended series to explore the global implications of artificial intelligence gaining true consciousness. This latter point was emphasized in last night’s episode, the second of its second season, when we saw a flashback of Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores existing in the world outside of Westworld. There, she has an offhand encounter with d-bag Delos flunky Logan, who, after consuming a half-dozen whiskey sours, remarks that this entire project will mark the end of the human species. It’s easy to think he’s simply predicting a robot uprising, but the truth is likely much more complicated than that.

Last week, we explored some theories that there were multiple versions of Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard peppered throughout the park. It’s very likely that he’s not the only one getting cloned out here—in season two’s first episode, it was revealed that Delos was in the process of collecting its users’ DNA. And, in last night’s episode, it was heavily implied that Jim Delos, the head honcho of his namesake corporation, is at death’s door and that William is urging him to be patient as “the process” is moving forward. Could this mean that there’s efforts being made to transmit Delos’ consciousness to a clone before the man himself dies? If so, what kind of power does that give those running the park?

One user on Reddit elaborates on this theory:

After S02E01, it was made clear that Delos is collecting DNA & experiences from their guests. My belief is that the purpose of the park is to become the next phase in human evolution - to move all of humanity beyond their “human” bodies.

[...]

They are building a clone replacement for the senior Delos to transfer his consciousness to before he dies; but William sees something even bigger - the ability to use this technology to save (or conquer) the world. Logan (drunkenly) explains that this is going to be the end of the human species.

The next step was to start replacing real guests with their identical clones, and sending them back into the real world. Guests are likely killed and disposed of, replaced with an identical copy. The rich and famous - the most powerful people in the world - have been replaced with “sleeper” hosts, and nobody is the wiser.

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Redditors also point out that this potential plot evolution was actually hiding in plain sight. Westworld’s 1976 sequel Futureworld, which was poorly received at the time and more or less forgotten, is about that very thing. By cloning and controlling the world’s richest, most influential people, as well as the its most prominent journalists, Delos can ensure that nothing, not the investors or the press, can harm the company’s interests. That’s some evil shit, but William’s a pretty evil dude, and let us not forget that his wife literally killed herself due to living “in sheer terror of him.” Not everybody wants to be cloned, we suppose.

These theories extend to the final moments of last night’s episode, when Dolores proclaims that she’s in pursuit of “a weapon” that that can use “to destroy them.”

“The ‘weapon’ is a huge transmitter - a satellite dish, perhaps - which will allow whoever uses it the ability to control the ‘sleeper’ hosts (former guests) around the world, remotely,” continues the above Reddit post. “In S02E01, it’s revealed that the hosts have some sort of local wireless network they can use to communicate with each other, and it’s clear that Maeve has mastered this to control the other hosts.”

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Far-fetched? Absolutely, but speculation like this is half of what makes Westworld fun. If you want to dig deeper, Reddit’s brimming with discussions as to whether Delos’ consciousness is currently being stored in the head of Peter Abernathy, the series’ most consistently mysterious host. The key piece of evidence here dates back to season one and the random photo that caused Peter to have his meltdown. It’s a whole other rabbit-hole to go down, but it works neatly with some of the broader conspiracies people are brewing up about the show’s future.

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