Is it possible that Bernard Lowe is actually in a simulation in Westworld season 2, through the use of The Cradle? This new fan theory suggests that the Two-Weeks-Later Bernard that awakens on the beach is not part of a separate timeline. Instead, he's is actually being run through the simulation technology called the Cradle.
So far, there's little information about the Cradle. The first time anyone talked about the Cradle was in episode 3, “Virtù e Fortuna,” when Maling told Bernard and Strand that the device was down. However, after the episode premiered, fans who signed up to receive notifications from DelosDestinations.com got an email with a little more background information. The email said the simulation technology "...stores and tests all of our storylines: the Cradle. Delos' time capsule that ensures you get the immersive and dynamic experience you deserve." When you dig deeper into the website, there's an image of the Cradle (spelled CR4-DL) saying the system is offline. The Cradle is essentially Delos's version of Apple's iCloud, but for narratives.
Westworld season 2 is full of wild Bernard theories, but the idea of Bernard's AI running through a narrative is interesting. The theory was first introduced by HaxDogma, and the video discussed how Delos might be using this technology to get information out of Bernard. Is there enough support for this theory to work? Let's take a look at some of the clues.
Is This the Two-Weeks-Later Bernard Timeline?
The beach scene, when the Two-Weeks-Later Bernard awakens, has a lot of scenes backing up this theory. In this future, Bernard looks different: he doesn't have a scar, and he doesn't wear his glasses like he did in season 1. Some people are starting to speculate that this is a simulation because Bernard utters the words "are less than ideal" at the same time as Strand when they first meet. It's as if he's been through this scenario before (similar to how James Delos ran through the same conversation over and over to establish a "baseline."
But the words aren't the only indicator during his time on the beach. Bernard watches, from different angles, Rebus and another host being executed. Depending on the angle, sometimes Rebus is there. Again, this lends to the idea that he's seeing the same events through the Cradle. Of course, these scenes may have been production errors, but it seems like a lot of mistakes for a show that prides itself on details.
Why is Elsie in a Cave?
After Clementine dragged Two Week Bernard to a far-off cave, fans learned that Elsie was still alive. Immediately curious fans started to pick the scene apart. They started to wonder why a person who has been shackled in a dark cave for several days still looked so neat and clean, especially after using a bucket as a toilet. The theory posits that only in a simulation can a person trapped in a cave never get dirty. As soon as Bernard explained to Elsie what happened, she decided that she needed to keep him alive so she could ask him more questions.
Throughout the series, every character Bernard encounters is always pestering him for answers. They never ask him about his health or well-being. This theory banks on the notion that if Bernard wasn't in a simulation, everyone would be concerned about him and not so much about what's in his head. To get inside of Bernard's head, an easy way is to create a narrative in which he believes is real.
The use of the Cradle is very interesting theory, and it almost seems plausible in Westworld. Sure, there are some holes in this theory: What's the point of telling Bernard the Cradle is down? Wouldn't Bernard be smart enough to figure out that he's in a narrative? However, the idea of a simulation would be a way of not repeating the same multiple timelines trick from season 1. Also, the Cradle simulation plays on the theme of what is reality: "If you don't know, does it even matter?"
Westworld airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.