‘Westworld’ episode 3 recap: ‘The Stray’ leaves lots of loose ends

Just when it seems like the rules of HBO’s “Westworld” are fixed, new revelations upend viewer’s beliefs. The third episode, “The Stray”, refreshingly introduced new questions and answered them a few scenes later (Where is Bernard’s son? He’s dead). But peppered amongst the instant gratification were powerful moments that raised serious questions about who is a hero, who is a villain, and who is real. Here are a few major dangling threads that will keep fans up at night.

Perhaps the most important information we learn in this episode is that Ford (Anthony Hopkins) did not create Westworld on his own. He had a partner named Arnold, who became obsessed with discovering a way to create consciousness in the hosts. We see the malfunctioning robots mention Arnold by name and appear to carry on conversations with him. According to Ford, Arnold died many years ago in the park, but did he find a way to stick around?

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Secret Hosts
Arnold could have maintained a presence in the park after his death by downloading his consciousness into a host. Surprisingly, the prime candidate could be Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). In “Futureworld,” the sequel to Michael Crichton’s original “Westworld” film, the main characters discover that the hosts were actually based on real people. Ford makes a point in noting the similarities between Bernard and Arnold. Could Bernard be an android whose life is just a backstory that serves part of Ford’s new narrative?

The Woodcutter host whittled some darling animals, but in each of these sculptures was a curious carving of the Orion constellation. Could that provide directions to the much discussed maze? Of course, Orion was a hunter in Greek mythology, and the show could simply be going for symbolism here. Similarly, the company that owns Westoworld is called the Delos. This is also the name of a Greek island where Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, was born.

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Man in Black: Hero of Westworld
From his first scene, the Man in Black (Ed Harris) has been a terrifying force, but this episode offers a different interpretation. Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) experiences a flashback to her encounter with the Man in Black in the barn. As she hears him say “do you remember now?” she is able to interrupt her programming and kill the attacker about to rape her. Are the Man in Black’s violent acts actually an attempt at waking up the park hosts?

Fact or Fiction
Ford finally finds time to flesh out Teddy’s (James Marsden) backstory, and ties him to the new narrative for the park. The narrative revolves around a new villain, Wyatt, who claims to hear the voice of god and wages all out war. When describing the narrative, Ford claims that “fiction, like all great stories is rooted in truth”. This would suggest Wyatt is based on a real person. It is hinted that aspects of Ford’s new narrative are linked to the park’s “critical failure” thirty years ago. Was Wyatt (or the man he is based on) responsible for that event?

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