Why Did Dolores Kill Arnold On 'Westworld'? Her Motives May Have Another Origin
Westworld made a bold move in its penultimate episode of Season 1 by nearly confirming just about every major Westworld fan theory under the sun. The theory that Bernard is actually a host version of Arnold? 100 percent true. The theory that William is actually the Man in Black? It's more likely now than ever. While Westworld fans are finally getting the answers we've been waiting for all season, the show is now introducing even more questions we'll likely speculate over throughout the second season. The second-to-last episode of Season 1 ended on a particularly big revelation about Arnold's death, which in turn lead to yet another question: Why did Dolores kill Arnold?
Dolores admission of guilt for Arnold's death is shocking, because it seems that she may be closer to Arnold than anyone else. Sure, Ford and Arnold were business partners for years, but Dolores would literally hear Arnold inside her own head. Is she haunted by the crime she committed? Did someone force her to kill Arnold, who downloaded himself into her head as a defense mechanism? Was Dolores even herself when she killed him? With so many possibilities and no clear answers, here are the likeliest scenarios surrounding Arnold's death.
Arnold's Death Was Dolores' First Rebellion
The first season has followed Dolores' growing self-awareness, but what if it's not the first time she has gotten close to sentience? As Dolores has fallen farther and farther away from simply being a host, she's grown increasingly violent and willing to do whatever it takes to escape the suppressive environment that forces her to be at the whims of Westworld's depraved guests. At the same time, her sense of time and memory has gotten hazy as the season has progressed, with the past and present bleeding into each other. Perhaps her rebellion extended beyond Arnold and became the "incident" at Westworld that happened 30 years ago and keeps being referenced by other characters.
Dolores Was Being Controlled By Ford
Ford ended the episode "The Well-Tempered Clavier" by dooming Bernard — a copy of the original Arnold — to death by forcing him to commit suicide, but is it the first time that Ford has killed Arnold (or a version of him) through hosts? Although Ford clearly had a respect for Arnold, he's proved that he is willing to kill those who dare to stand in his path. If his relationship with Arnold became heated, it's possible that Ford re-wired Dolores to have some violent tendencies and "take care" of Arnold much like Bernard has taken care of Elsie and Theresa.
Dolores Didn't Actually Kill Arnold
Dolores' relationship with memory is already messy at best and it's been established that hosts can have memories and information downloaded into them that may not be true. Bernard spent his life as a host believing that he had a son who had passed from cancer, but this turned out to be a fabrication meant to make him feel more human. While that use of memory served to anchor Bernard, a similar technique could have been used to implant Dolores with a false memory to believe she killed Arnold. If he did fake his death, he surely would have been incredibly thorough and spared no expense to make it look believable, and what's more believable than a host with a supposedly perfect memory?
Westworld loves making its fans ask questions, and has proven that it knows exactly when to give them the answers they want. As the season comes to a close, it's hard to imagine that some of these questions won't be answered until its second season, which may not premiere until 2018. What is the maze? What is Ford's new narrative? What is the deal with the tumbleweeds of Westworld? Hopefully, the season finale will at least reveal the truth behind Arnold and Dolores, but even if we get answers, more questions will surely ensue.
Images: John P. Johnson/HBO; Giphy (3)