This 'Westworld' Finale Theory Connects Multiple Timelines To The Man In Black's Motives

After a mystery-packed season, Westworld’s first chapter will come to a close on Sunday, Dec. 4. Rampant speculation has trailed the series since its start, and fans are now scrambling to piece together its final puzzle. But perhaps the Westworld endgame isn’t as important as its backstory. There have been plenty of hints that this isn’t the first time park creator Dr. Ford has dealt with the beginnings of an android uprising, so could it be possible that the apparent multiple Westworld timelines are actually a symptom of the park bein on one giant loop? If this Westworld theory is correct, it could reveal the Man in Black’s motives — one of the biggest secrets still hanging over the show.

Thus far, Westworld's loops have only played out in their most basic sense. They serve as a regurgitated narrative for the host’s daily routines. Depending on how human guests interact with them, they can take a few different paths, but they always end up waking up and living out one of their programmed cycles. As the show’s mysteries have begun to unravel, however, it’s clear a larger story has been guiding them, and the finale episode may just be history repeating itself. If you’re not yet caught up on Westworld — and by some stroke of profound willpower have managed to avoid the internet — please stop reading now, because there are major spoilers ahead.

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So, by now we know that Bernard is an android modeled in the image of Ford’s former partner, Arnold. We also know that this revelation isn’t new: Ford tells Bernard he’s made this discovery time and time again, and in the end, he always wipes his memory clean. In fact, when Bernard mentions he wants to find other sentient hosts and free them, Ford says Bernard has been central to tracking down rogue androids in the past… and getting rid of them.

Cue Dolores, who’s been shown uncovering the true nature of her reality in both past and present. “Trace Decay,” the Nov. 20 episode, seemed to debunk the two timelines theory. Instead, Dolores was quite vividly reliving her memories as she makes her way to the white church. Regardless of if we saw those experiences through real-time or flashbacks, it’s clear she made the leap toward sentience long ago, and is on the verge of doing it all over again.

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This suggests the androids aren’t just on a daily loop, but also a longer, more complicated one in which they repeatedly become self-aware, die, and return to their unquestioning existence. If true, they’re essentially trapped in Westworld forever. Even finding the center of the maze can’t free them, because their sentience is ultimately temporary. Ford is always one step ahead, and only another human could break his control. It’s a concept that could unlock the key to how the kindhearted William evolves into the callous Man in Black, a theory that was all but confirmed in the penultimate Nov. 27 episode, “The Well-Tempered Clavier.”

Reddit user VonViddy hypothesized that when Dolores descends down the church’s elevator to slaughter the original Arnold and anyone in her way, William is distraught. He loves Dolores for who he thinks she is — a wide-eyed Western damsel who’s pure, gentle, and caring, not a murderous robot. To preserve the innocence of their relationship, he kills Dolores, resetting her and saving the park. But 30 years later, he regrets preventing the androids from escaping their Westworld confines, and returns to solve the maze himself and free them once and for all. This would paint a more compassionate Man in Black, one who recalls his earlier days as the warm, heroic William. He’s always seen the hosts as more than metal parts, and has returned to right the wrong he made on his very first visit to the park.

We’ll have to wait until the Westworld finale on Dec. 4 to find out if VonViddy’s theory holds weight, but seeing a softer side to the MIB would be a welcome break from his violent reign. Either way, there's definitely a lot more happening in Westworld than what we're seeing.

Images: John P. Johnson/HBO; Giphy (2)