Who is “The Adversary” of Westworld? Despite being the title for episode 6, few concrete answers were given. In its current state, the park looks to be getting pushed and pulled from a variety of sources. Thanks to Elsie (Shannon Woodward), Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babbett Knudsen) has been caught meddling with the hosts and transporting vital data outside the park. Unfortunately, the head of Quality Assurance division isn’t the only one running counter to Dr. Ford’s masterplan.
During her investigations in Sector 3, Elsie finds further evidence of sabotage and calls out Arnold as the source. Bernard, hearing the news via phone, claims Ford’s old partner is dead before Elsie quips, “Yeah, well he’s a pretty f****** prolific coder for a dead guy.” Be he a human, a host or the ghost in the machine, Arnold is alive and well. Yet, there is another, more violent threat to the stability of Westworld: the subject of Teddy’s new narrative, Wyatt. Who is he? We’re told he’s a mass murderer and a raging vigilante, but for showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, that’s likely too simple.
Until we get concrete answers, here are the best current fan theories about Wyatt.
Wyatt is the Minotaur
Even when taken at face value, the logic of Westworld is a lot to process. There are (likely) multiple timelines at play and a bevy of red herrings to negotiate. Thanks to mythology master Tasooka over at Reddit, there’s a new prism to help anchor the themes of the show. This theory rests on visual clues from the show to enhance the notion that Wyatt is at least a supporting villain in Westworld, if not the primary adversary himself.
In Greek lore, the tale of Theseus and the Minotaur follows the heroic journey of a man hellbent on freeing Crete from a half-man half-bull monstrosity. After disobeying Poseidon, King Minos and his people were cursed with the presence of this hybrid-creature who feasted solely on humans. Unable to slay the Minotaur, the King hired the cunning Daedalus to build a maze as a prison for the beast. The labyrinth would become the Minotaur’s home until the valiant Theseus volunteered to infiltrate the maze and kill him. When Theseus returns home to his father, Aegeus, he is filled with pride and joy. Despite his instructions to do so, Theseus neglects to change the ship’s sails from black to white (an interesting theme, considering the significance of colors in Westworld), thus signifying his death. Unable to the bear the presumed loss of his son, Aegeus hurled himself into the sea and perished.
Those are the rudiments of the classical myth, and when expounded, the parallels to Westworld and Wyatt become pronounced. On a purely aesthetic level, recall the harrowing encounter of Teddy (Theodore - a Theseus stand in?) and Wyatt’s armed men. The fiercest of them all was dressed as a half-man half-bull, impenetrable to gunfire and grunting like a beast. If this Minotaur is Wyatt, then he certainly appears to be guarding something, as if Teddy and his crew had entered into a forbidden area.
In episode six, the band of soldiers that Teddy and the Man in Black encounter have been brutally attacked. Mere killing hasn’t satiated Wyatt’s thirst for violence, so he has taken to maiming and dismembering instead. These are the traits of no normal man, but perhaps the Minotaur of Westworld.
On a more circumstantial level, we know that the Nolan brothers are legendary storytellers who use time and trickery to manipulate audiences. In Inception, mazes are essential to the success of Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his crew. Who does he rely on for these designs? Ariadne (Ellen Page), the labyrinth-maker, who in the myth of the Minotaur is responsible for helping Theseus survive the maze. Arming him with a ball of yarn, Ariadne helps Theseus not only enter the deathtrap but find his way back out again.
In Westworld, much is made about getting through the maze, but little is discussed about getting back out. Is Wyatt merely an obstacle along the way, or is he the taurine threat at the center of the maze? More importantly, could Dolores become the Ariadne of the park, helping Theodore and others enter and survive the labyrinth?
Wyatt is Arnold
Perception is reality. Through the episodes of the show, Arnold remains a major wildcard. The only person to rival his enigma is Wyatt, which is why there is cause to believe they may be one and the same. Whether he’s interviewing Dolores or the young boy, it’s clear Dr. Robert Ford is quite concerned about the growing presence of his old partner. Arnold's hosts are not only following his voice, but they are actually articulating his name. Arnold is an existential threat in the park, and Ford must quell the insurrection before it overthrows his grand creation.
Perhaps this is why Ford builds the next narrative around the allegedly bloodthirsty Wyatt. He revitalizes Teddy’s life purpose and turns him into a bounty hunter seeking justice. In this instance, Wyatt may be an alias for Arnold, with Ford employing Teddy to track down his old ally whether her's in his original physical form or now living in the body of a host. The Man in Black is no fool and also uses Teddy to track the man down, believing the warpath will lead him to the mouth of the maze.
If Wyatt is not Arnold in a literal sense, then he may instead possess his violent psychology. Recall the threatening message on Discover Westworld, warning, “Arnold will come for you.” When Ford interviews the young boy who killed the dog, the child blames the murderous impulse on Arnold. “These violent delights have violent ends,” and indeed, Wyatt is a clear symbol of bloodshed himself.
On the other hand, it may be revealed that Wyatt is a disciple of Arnold’s brilliant mind. Recall Teddy’s monologue about his former sergeant: “He claimed he could hear the voice of God…went missing while out on some maneuvers. Came back a few weeks later with some pretty strange ideas.” During his wandering in the wilderness, it appears Wyatt was indoctrinated by some foreign source, his code rewritten by a third party. If Arnold did not make Wyatt in his image, then perhaps a vindictive and still-thriving Arnold repurposed him to take revenge on Robert Ford.
Teddy is Wyatt
Westworld specializes in sudden changes and shifts of character. We’ve seen both Dolores and William move from the submissive to the subversive, and in episode six, we saw Teddy become a one man army. From pistols to cattle prods to Gatling guns, Teddy shuffled off his good-guy motif and became a killer that impressed even the likes of the Man in Black. Indeed, the veteran gamer mused, “You think you know someone…”
Where did this surge of violence come from? After all, Teddy first spoke of Wyatt’s killing sprees like they were a sin against humanity. Surely Teddy is cut from a different cloth? That may turn out to be a ruse, as Teddy may actually be Wyatt himself. We know Ford imbued Teddy with a “formless guilt,” a nebulous sorrow for crimes he apparently never committed. After all, we're told Teddy never had a backstory. If we always took Ford at his word, however, then there would be little substance to the show. Something is rotten in the state of Westworld.
There are further inconsistencies with Teddy’s recollection of Wyatt himself. After having the narrative uploaded to his consciousness, Teddy states that “[Wyatt] was a sergeant.” Later, he calls him “my sergeant,” despite Teddy’s uniform reflecting the same designation of rank. If they are equals, why even mention his military classification? In episode six, when the Man in Black and Teddy are in bondage, the surrounding men speak of Teddy as if his crimes were tantamount to Wyatt’s. Though he denies their allegations, Teddy suddenly retaliates and massacres the army in a matter of seconds. We have seen only fleeting seconds of Wyatt in the past (which may be a faulty recollection), yet we have just seen Teddy commit the very crimes Wyatt had been accused of perpetrating.
Who is Wyatt, and what is purpose? Only time will tell.
Westworld returns on HBO next Sunday at 9 p.m. with “Trompe L’Oeil.”