Are Bernard & Arnold Connected On 'Westworld'? Many Theories Link The Mysterious Programmers
Whether you're a fan of the theory that Bernard is actually a host on Westworld or not, it's hard not to think something is up with the head programmer. As he starts digging for the truth about the park's secrets, he may just come to discover a few things about himself. With another theory floating around that Bernard might be a version of Arnold, just how influential the programmer is — and just how much he knows — has come into serious question.
If Bernard is an AI host, then there's a strong chance that he has no idea — like most of the other robots of Westworld. As Thandie Newton's Maeve questioned during the Nov. 6 episode, "The Adversary," how do the real people know that they aren't engineered robots? Yes, Bernard has memories, desires, and a backstory, but part of the beauty of the park is that the hosts are not self-aware, so the same could be said for Bernard and all of his motivations have been scripted by the park's creator Dr. Robert Ford.
Regardless if Bernard is a human or a robot though, he does seem to have a connection to the park's other creator — Arnold. He recently discovered that Arnold is transmitting messages to the hosts in the park, but could it be Bernard who is doing the communicating?
While I think Bernard could be some sort of Arnold proxy, Paul Tassi for Forbes theorized that Bernard really is Arnold. This could work if you're into the idea that Westworld is playing with multiple timelines with Bernard's conversations with Dolores happening in the past — closer to when the park was originally created. Elsie did say that Bernard had been with the company forever.
On the other robotic hand, Vanity Fair's Joanna Robinson thinks that " Bernard is a cloned robotic version of Arnold." You don't need to believe in Westworld's time jumping to back this theory up, but you do have to believe that Bernard is a host. Either way, the fact that the photo that Ford had shown Bernard of "Arnold" is actually a photo of Ford's dad must indicate something. Not to mention, there seems to be a missing person in that old photo on the right. Could Bernard also be in the photo as Arnold but he doesn't have the ability to see it because he hasn't been programmed to? Dolores couldn't see a photo of Times Square, so it's plausible.
Even if all of these theories are too out there, how about this? Dolores has often heard Bernard's voice in her head. Yet, Arnold is the one apparently giving her directions to the center of the maze to find him. But when you listen closely to the voices that Dolores hears, I don't feel confident saying that it isn't Bernard's voice every time. In the below compilation, doesn't Bernard's "Do you remember?" at 2:15 sound often similar to (the supposed) Arnold's "Kill him" at 3:58 or "Find me" at 6:16?
Something that furthers this theory that Bernard's connection to Dolores could be a key to the identity of Arnold is something the actor who portrays Bernard, Jeffrey Wright, said. "I think Bernard is fascinated by the idea of synthetic consciousness and the idea that they could be or are creating new life forms," Wright said in an interview with Collider. "Perhaps we'll find that there are reasons that Bernard is desirous of these discoveries and perhaps we’ll find out later on that the conversations he's had with Dolores are very specific in their intent."
So Bernard's conversations with Dolores could be very specific in intent, eh? Nothing seems more specific to me than having Bernard lead Dolores to Arnold.
More evidence that Bernard Lowe is connected to Arnold is that his name might be an anagram of the original programmer's name. While the show hasn't revealed Arnold's last name, a reddit user gave Weber as a last name to prove the idea. Still, Arnold can be made out of the letters in Bernard Lowe even without knowing Arnold's last name and that seems good enough for me.
Whether Bernard is Arnold or unknowingly or knowingly assisting Arnold, it doesn't seem off base to say these men are linked. But what that means for the park Westworld, the show Westworld, Dolores, Ford, and Bernard himself will remain very much a mystery — at least for now.
Images: John P. Johnson/HBO (3), HBO