Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Westworld season 2, episode 6
This week's episode of Westworld, "Phase Space," opened with the dramatic twist that the season 2 scenes of Arnold interviewing Dolores are actually scenes of Dolores interviewing Arnold - or rather a human-host hybrid version of him. This reveal comes in the wake of the show introducing the idea of humans trying to achieve immortality by digitizing their brains and putting them in host bodies. We saw William trying to achieve this with James Delos, running through the same conversation over and over again in order to achieve "fidelity," but eventually giving up after the 149th failed attempt.
After discovering the final host version of Delos, who had been driven mad by the nature of his existence, Bernard remembered that there was another human-host hybrid in the park, and that Ford had ordered him to obtain the control unit for it. This week's episode brought Bernard and Elsie to The Cradle - a computer that stores and tests all possible Westworld storylines before they go live - where Bernard made another alarming discovery: a version of Ford is still alive in there. Newly available dialogue on the Delos Destinations website confirms that the control unit that Bernard collected was actually the AI version of Ford, as Ford's chatbot says that he got into The Cradle via "A simple solution that fit in the palm of Bernard’s hand."
The big question, as always, is when exactly in Westworld's timeline the Arnold-Dolores interview is taking place. In the "present day" timeline, Dolores is currently on a train taking her and her allies to the Mesa Hub, in order to take back Peter Abernathy from the Delos, Inc. forces. In the interview scenes, she is wearing her "Factory Mode" dress - the outfit she wears at the start of every loop, and also wore in her interview flashback scenes in season 1. However, this definitely appears to be a post-liberation Dolores, indicating that her fidelity test scenes with the Arnold-bot are taking place in the future.
The teaser for next week's episode of Westworld shows Charlotte Hale discovering a whole room full of dormant Bernard/Arnold hosts - which could be prototypes left over from when Ford was building Bernard, or could be the remnants of earlier attempts to rebuild Arnold's mind in a host body. Another possibility is that Bernard is actually the end result of Ford's attempts to create a host version of Arnold, and that giving him a new identity and memories was the only way to prevent Arnold from breaking down in the same way that Delos did.
A final question: which version of Dolores did we see in the opening scene of "Phase Space"? Was it Dolores the revolutionary, trying to rebuild the man who gave her life? Or is Dolores actually being controlled by Ford from The Cradle, and what we saw at the start of the episode was Ford trying to bring his old partner back to life? It seems that behind every major reveal in Westworld season 2 lies even more mysteries.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO