There’s now only one episode left of Westworld season 1, followed a painfully long, year-plus wait until season 2. That’s one episode where ten weeks’ worth of speculation will all (or at least mostly) be resolved.
Not that the show’s been light on big twists thus far. Episode 9 confirmed a major fan theory – Bernard isn’t just a host, but is in fact a perfect replica of park founder Arnold – and set us up perfectly for another, even bigger one: Ed Harris’ Man in Black is widely expected to be a future version of Jimmi Simpson’s William, placing the show’s events in two timelines (a theory this article will take as presumed fact). However, there’s still one major aspect of Westworld that fans still haven’t been able to crack with any semblance of certainty: Wyatt.
Wyatt is the major antagonist of Ford’s newly created narrative: a presumed barrier in the Man in Black’s quest, a dark figure from Teddy’s past, the commander of an army of violent, possibly woke hosts, and yet we still don’t quite know what his deal is. Ahead of the season finale, which is poised for a big reveal of some form, let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it.
Fact: Dolores Is The Inspiration For Wyatt
What we now know as borderline fact after Episode 9 is that Wyatt’s assumed backstory is in fact Dolores’. This was speculated after she had a memory-induced freak-out in Episode 8 upon arriving in the City Swallowed by Sand, showing her partaking in a mass killing along with another hidden gunman that bore a striking similarity to Teddy and Wyatt’s soldier massacre. When the next episode revealed Teddy’s memory was a reskinned construct of a host murder spree, it was all but confirmed; Ford simply reused the event for Wyatt.
Within that, it’s also possible that the “General” Teddy mentions, whom Wyatt supposedly pulled out into the commotion and killed at the end of the violence, was actually Arnold. After all, we know from the conversation between Arnold and Dolores in the penultimate episode that it was Dolores who killed her creator.
Is Dolores Wyatt In The New Narrative As Well?
Dolores being the stand-in for Wyatt is pretty much locked, but that’s just in Teddy’s memories – it doesn’t really explain what the violent Wyatt’s purpose is in the show’s present. Could it also be Dolores?
As discussed before Episode 9, there were two key possibilities of where Dolores was in the multiple time period theory – either she’s Wyatt, or she’s repeating the journey she had with William – and the end of the episode seemed to point towards the latter, which would place Wyatt as a separate entity. It’s not out of the question that she could be the murderous gang leader as well, but you’d expect that most of the reveals involving her in Episode 10 will relate to the Man in Black’s past. The other big knock against this is that Wyatt is repeatedly referred to by various characters as a “he” – it would be easy enough to unskin Teddy’s murder memories to place Dolores in Wyatt’s place, but the followers imply their leader’s a male. It is possible that Teddy’s new loop will reset that, but is still tricky to back.
But in dismissing Dolores being Wyatt, we may be taking things too literally. Ever since “he” was introduced as Teddy’s long-term antagonist, Wyatt’s been treated as the major villain of Ford’s new narrative – the Man in Black suggested he was created as a villain to stop him, Sizemore believed he was working on some monstrous antagonist – with minimal actual proof. In Episode 9, when the Man in Black learned that the entrance to the maze was in the City Swallowed by Sand (which Ford has rebuilt) he states that this allowed him to sidestep confrontation with someone he described as the Maze’s gatekeeper – yet he never once considers that him learning that was all part of Ford’s narrative. What do we actually know?
Is Ford (Metaphorically) Wyatt?
As the show tells it, Ford is using Wyatt as a tool in his mysterious “new narrative”. The nature of this narrative is a topic with so many snaking possibilities it deserves (and will get) a breakdown article of its own; for this piece, however, we’re only concerned with Ford’s relationship to Wyatt.
Ford has done more than just create the big bad, also gifting him a violent gang made up of very interesting hosts; Angela, who captures Teddy and the Man in Black, is an old host seen in both Dolores’ memories of the massacre and welcoming William to the park – events both thirty years in the past – meaning she’s well past her original use (plucked out of retirement by Ford, perhaps?) Age isn’t the biggest difference these hosts have to the others though; that is that they seem to some degree aware of their real nature as robots, or at least know that there’s something “other” about their reality – Angela is able to help Teddy rediscover his real memories and knowingly sends him around for one more loop.
This meddling and allowing of self-awareness is something Ford has already applied to many in the park with his reveries way back in Episode 1, which are presumed to be the cause of the increased curiosity in the likes of Maeve and Dolores’ father. Are Wyatt’s men the result of similar code alteration? Are they actually the not-insurmountable-percentage of the park’s hosts that had the new upgrade? If so, then the position of their “leader”, who we presume is Wyatt, is actually filled in abstract terms by Ford.
This opens up the further possibility that Wyatt doesn’t conventionally exist as a host and is actually a front for Ford to play God on Earth in his narrative. It’s an out there idea, but worth keeping in mind.
The Real Question is “What is Wyatt?”
But back to the main man as a real construct. So far Wyatt has been more important as a spectre than he is a person himself – unsurprisingly, Sorin Brouwers, who plays him in flashbacks, is a complete unknown and would be unlikely to be cast as the show’s big bad – so the operative question isn’t who, but what, he is in the terms of the story. And, in that regard, there really is nothing Westworld about having the finale hinge on a simple bad guy; the show graduated past taking on mad criminals in Episode 1.
As a story, Westworld has spent a lot of time on subverting roles: in the very opening Teddy, who we assumed was a guest, was revealed as a host; Maeve was a prostitute and now she’s basically Neo; William is on a path that sees him go from white hat to black; Bernard had his very nature of existence flipped (twice); and so many background hosts have had their roles in narratives changed multiple times. It would be fitting, then, that at the end of it all the big villain hyped up since Episode 3 wound up being a faceless distraction so the maniacal overlord could enact his real big plan. And it would be even more fitting if that role switch also involved realigning the most important character of all to enact it.
Stripping Wyatt’s purpose from his packaging, it’s simply something that changes the game, is targeted at stopping the Man in Black and is somewhat Ford’s final play against Delos (of whom the MiB is a board member). So, going back to the original question, then yes, by all estimations Dolores is most likely going to do everything we expect of the Wyatt character. She may not be the leader of a gang of murderers, but in terms of being Ford’s final boss for the Man in Black and guarding the maze, she fits it to a tee (to the point she arrived at the entrance mere moments before him); the woman who William almost threw his life away for and the memory of whom ruined his marriage is quite possibly the only person who could stop him on his quest.
It would be as gleefully complex as we’ve come to expect from Westworld, a highly character-driven turn that could only happen in the sci-fi constraints of the show. One more episode in which to find out.
Westworld returns for its season finale, “New Narrative,” on December 4th, 2016.