The only thing you know for sure about “Westworld” is that no one knows what the hell is going on.
The most popular theory about the hit HBO show claims that William (Jimmi Simpson) is a younger version of the Man in Black (Ed Harris). If that’s the case, we’re watching two timelines at once. In one timeline, William (aka the future Man in Black) is a young man experiencing Westworld for the first time. In the other, William is now the Man in Black, trying to discover the true meaning of the park.
Throughout the season, the show has added evidence to the theory while simultaneously taking it away, and Sunday’s episode, “Contrapasso,” basically offered proof for both believers and naysayers.
Early on in the episode, the Man in Black explains why he likes Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.), saying no one in the world talks to him like he does. He also tells Lawrence, “There’s another old friend of mine likes to say, ‘There’s a path for everyone.’ Your path leads you back to me.” The old friend he’s referring to is likely Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), since she says that line in the first episode. The Man in Black apparently has a long history with both of those characters.
Shortly after the Man in Black kills Lawrence to use his blood to save Teddy (James Marsden), we see William, his friend Logan (Ben Barnes) and Dolores in the town of Pariah. They are about to meet a notorious criminal called “El Lazo,” and, what do you know, when he introduces himself, it’s Lawrence. Later on in the episode, El Lazo tells William his name is actually Lawrence, just to drive that point home.
The time from when Lawrence dies to when he shows up in Pariah as El Lazo feels way too fast. Sure, it’s possible that he was collected, fixed up, reset and placed in Pariah, but you can’t help but feel like you’re not watching one linear timeline. From the Man in Black’s dialogue in the episode about having a history with Dolores and Lawrence, this almost seems like a heavy-handed hint that he and William are the same person, and we’re watching this history unfold.
Also, at the end of the episode, the Man in Black pulls out a knife while sitting down with Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Teddy, and Redditors immediately started pointing out that a knife William has in the new “Westworld” preview “sure looks familiar”:
The Man in Black’s knife:
Here they are together:
Can we call this confirmed? Not quite.
The Evidence Against:
The show gave us a heap of evidence in favor of the theory; however, there are some discrepancies.
For one, the Man in Black says he once opened up a robot before they were made more humanlike. In William’s timeline — though we can’t be sure — the robots seem to be the newer, humanlike versions.
Also, when William and Logan arrive at Pariah, Logan recalls the story of how one of the creators of the park died before it opened. This is consistent with what we know about the mysterious Arnold, Ford’s former partner who apparently died in the park.
Later on, the Man in Black talks to Ford and reminds him that he helped stop Arnold from destroying the park. If the Man in Black was involved in stopping Arnold, and William and the Man in Black are the same person, Logan wouldn’t have to tell William about one of the partners dying. If so, he’d be like, “Duh, Logan, just shut up.”
Whether you’re a believer or a naysayer, we can probably all agree on one thing: Logan really needs to shut up.