The violent delights of HBO’s groundbreaking new sci-fi drama came to a conclusion on Sunday, December 4, when Westworld’s first season finale ended with the shocking death of Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) at the hands of host Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) — the first casualty of the robot uprising we’d all been waiting for.
But while the rest of us were trying to emotionally adjust to the idea of a Westworld-less winter (seriously, how will we ever cope?!), some fans have been busy asking some interesting questions about what we just saw … and concluding that perhaps there was more to Ford’s death than meets the eye.
In a world where the robot hosts are virtually indistinguishable from the human beings — and where wondering if a given character might turn out to be a robot was a central, ongoing mystery throughout the season — how sure are we, really, that the man who took that bullet was a man at all? And could the real Ford still be alive? Here are a few reasons why this theory might hold water.
In the final moments of his life, Robert Ford claimed to have seen the light vis-à-vis letting the hosts of Westworld be free — the same conclusion Arnold had come to, and sacrificed his life for, 30 years earlier. And like Arnold (Jeffrey Wright), Ford chose to make himself the first human casualty of the revolution … which is poetic, yes, but also utterly out of character for the man who spent all season tormenting his hosts like a capricious and cruel god. Ford positively relished his role as creator — and some might suggest that he relished it much too much not to stick around to see the plot of his new narrative unfold.
Meanwhile, setting up a doppelgänger robot to die in his place and then lurking in the wings to watch the carnage would be not just in keeping with Ford’s character, but something he absolutely had the capability for, thanks to …
The underground lab
We already know that Ford kept his own secret lab in the park — the one where he created Bernard, the host reincarnation of Arnold. And the last time we saw that lab, its 3D printers were hard at work creating a new robot … of undetermined identity. Maybe that’s because the host-in-process wasn’t important to the plot of Westworld; or maybe, just maybe, it’s because the host was a Ford look-alike, meant to die in its creator’s place.
And how about that handshake?
Finally, the most telling evidence that Ford was, er, not entirely himself in that final scene at the gala: Before taking the stage to give his speech, Ford approached Bernard and shook his hand — which the camera lingered on for an oddly long time before panning to Bernard, who wore a confused expression. Why? The answer may lie back in the very first episode, when Ford introduced Bernard to the second Westworld host ever built — and reminisced about how totally, discernibly fake the robots were back then. Ford’s line?
“A simple handshake would give them away.”
All together, it’s certainly enough to make Us go hmm — and to spend the next year or so wondering whether Ford might still be pulling the puppet strings in Westworld’s second season.
Tell Us: Do you think Ford will return in season 2?
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