What Did Bernard Take From The Westworld Lab? It Contains Secrets That People & Hosts Are Willing To Kill For
Spoilers ahead for the May 13 episode of Westworld. Has any episode of Westworld ever had such an appropriate title as "The Riddle Of The Sphinx"? The fourth episode of the HBO series' second season is one of the most revelatory yet, but it raises just as many questions as it answers. What did Bernard take from the secret Westworld lab? The solution to that mystery will likely have huge ramifications for the future of the show.
"The Riddle Of The Sphinx" does provide concrete answers to two long-simmering puzzles: what happened to Elsie Hughes, and what is Delos doing with guest DNA? Bernard's programming protégée makes her first appearance since Season 1's sixth episode, having been chained up in a cave in the park ever since Bernard choked her out on Ford's orders when she stumbled upon his plan to reprogram the hosts. And the popular fan theory that Delos is cloning humans and replacing them with hosts was confirmed, as the episode reveals that William had long been working on perfecting a host version of his father-in-law, Jim Delos.
Part of what the team in the secret lab (which bears the same twin-hexagons symbol glimpsed in Grace's notebook) was working on involved the manufacturing of small red spheres in a machine Elsie refers to as a "control unit printer." But what is a control unit, and why does Bernard take one?
During Bernard's flashbacks to his previous trip to the lab, viewers got a glimpse of the drone hosts handling the same "mind eggs" that were revealed in the Season 2 premiere as being inside the skulls of all hosts. These are presumably the androids' central processing units; but while the hosts' cpus are white, the ones being manufactured in the secret lab are bright red, like a cup of Rita's water ice.
Bernard points out to Elsie that while the hardware is the same as that used for hosts, the code is different. Presumably, the difference is due to the fact that the "control units" being built in the secret lab aren't for hosts, but for human clones; what's inside them isn't programming, but a copy of a human consciousness.
But whose? That's the question that will likely haunt the rest of Season 2. The control unit that Bernard pocketed could conceivably contain the consciousness of pretty much any human character on Westworld. Most theories will likely revolve around Robert Ford; many fans have refused to believe that Ford is truly dead ever since he was gunned down by Dolores in the Season 1 finale. This would be a convenient way to bring Anthony Hopkins back onto the show.
But there are other options as well. The control unit could contain the consciousness of Jim Delos, perfected some time after the failed experiment glimpsed in flashbacks throughout the episode (and later incinerated by Elsie). It could be a recreation of Arnold's mind, made to be inserted into Bernard and bring the park's co-founder fully back to life.
Theoretically, the control unit could even contain the consciousness of a character that's not even dead yet. Perhaps William uploaded his mind into one of those red spheres as a form of life insurance, only for it to have fallen into the hands of Bernard (presumably on Ford's orders). That could explain what the "weapon" is that both William and Ford are racing for: William's own consciousness, which he wants to track down and destroy before Dolores can find it and use it against him.
But perhaps the most tantalizing question isn't who is the control unit, but where is the control unit? Given that the hosts' cpus are so easily removable, it seems feasible that one could just as easily replace a host's "mind egg" with another one. Which host is a literal Trojan horse, walking around with another person's consciousness inside of them? That seems like exactly the kind of twist Westworld might pull before the end of Season 2.