Is Westworld prepping for another big reveal: is Future Bernard really Ford in a host body? In Season 1 of Westworld, everyone was shocked to learn Bernard was just a host version of Arnold. Now, in Season 2, everyone is following Bernard's story through a series of multiple timelines. If those timelines aren't confusing enough, there's now the introduction of simulations.
During last week's episode "Phase Space", Elsie and Bernard discover someone is changing the code of The Cradle - a computer that stores and tests all possible Westworld storylines before they go live. Bernard, having a foggy memory of bringing the red ball of someone's consciousness to this room, takes it upon himself to upload himself inside The Cradle. Once inside, he finds an "old friend" playing the piano in the Mariposa Saloon in the little town of Sweetwater. Dr. Robert Ford had uploaded his consciousness inside the Cradle and was the culprit behind the changing code (and communicating with the Man in Black).
As confirmed by the Delos Destinations website, the control unit that Bernard collected was actually the AI version of Ford. Ford's chatbot says that he got into The Cradle via "A simple solution that fits in the palm of Bernard’s hand." This has led to another theory involving Future Bernard, the version of the character seen two weeks after the rest of the show's current events: Ford has downloaded his consciousness into a Bernard host.
It's definitely possible in-universe. The teaser for next week's Westworld episode "Les Écorchés" includes a shot of Charlotte Hale standing next to different versions of Bernard, confirming both that other bodies of "Arnold" exist and - as one of the clones even has a mechanical jaw like the first generation of hosts - they've been in development for a while. Does this mean that Ford was actually working on a way to solve the "cognitive plateau" that troubled the Man in Black's father-in-law James Delos' attempt at immortality via human-host hybrid?
Added evidence that Future Bernard is somehow part of Ford's plans came from the shocking opening of Episode 6: we start with the now-familiar Dolores and Arnold conversations, only for it to be revealed that "Arnold" is actually some form of host. This may just be Bernard, but given the direction of the season, a solid conclusion is that she's performing a fidelity test with a Bernard host containing someone's mind. It could, of course, be Arnold, but as we know Ford's consciousness has been transferred to the Cradle, it's not out of the question this is his bid at immortality in the new narrative.
This could all be the explanation as to why Future Bernard appeared to be a little confused when he woke up on the beach. He looked down at hands as if they weren't his own and no longer wore his glasses once he was rescued by the QA team. It also goes some way to making sense of why Bernard believed he was the cause of the all the dead hosts floating in the water.
Of course, none of this answers the question as to why Bernard, not Ford, was used as a host body for this. What we can say with some degree of confidence is that Ford's return to Westworld won't be incidental but have some serious ramifications for the new narrative, The Door, and the Valley Beyond. Bernard better be careful.
Westworld Season 2 continues on HBO at 9pm EST.