‘Westworld’: All of the Clues That Led to Last Night’s Big Twist

     November 14, 2016


If you’re anything like me, then as soon as Westworld revealed that programmer Bernard has been a sleeper host all along, you wanted to go back and watch all of his previous Westworld scenes to a) see which clues the show dropped tipping their hand and b) see if any new insights can be gleaned given our new knowledge. Well, we’re one step ahead of you. Here are the 14 biggest things you may have missed about Bernard in the first 7 episodes of Westworld, as well as some Bernard moments that might be worth a second look now (plus, does it all make sense?)

Ford tells Bernard he is the product of mistakes. (Episode 1)

Westworld was already dropping Bernard-is-a-Host hints back in Episode 1. During a conversation with Ford about the new reveries and their issues, Ford tells Bernard: “You’re a product of a trillion [mistakes].” He goes on to talk about evolution, effectively covering what now seems like an obvious clue that Ford made Bernard, but now the meaning is much clearer.

“I know how that head of yours works.” (Episode 2)


Image via HBO

Yep, Ford said this to Bernard in Episode 2. He wasn’t being figurative. He literally knows how Bernard’s head works… because he built and programmed it. (Keep in mind too how fascinated he is by people’s ticks and small motions, like he is studying them not as humans …)

Theresa and Bernard talk about “practicing” being human. (Episode 2)

When we first learn that Bernard and Theresa are sleeping together in Episode 2, we’re privy to a pillow talk conversation involving musing about why hosts talk when there aren’t any guests around. Bernard explains that they are practicing. “Is that what you’re doing now? Practicing?” Theresa asks Bernard back with a chuckle, though he doesn’t reply. Yeah, that scene is pretty tragic and telling in retrospect. (Run, Theresa.)

Bernard doesn’t know who Arnold is. (Episode 3)

In Episode 3, Ford tells the story of Arnold to Bernard. This is jarring in two ways: First, it seems odd that, given Bernard’s long history in a position of power at the park that he wouldn’t already know about Arnold, since that it seems like relatively common knowledge. Does this fall under the kind of thing that might “hurt” Bernard, therefore he cannot remember it so clearly? Second, Ford isn’t a sharer. The fact that he is letting Bernard is on the (vague) secrets of the past implies that he has some measure of control over him. Interestingly, one of the things Ford says to Bernard is: “Don’t forget: the hosts are not real. They’re not conscious. You mustn’t make Arnold’s mistake.” An odd thing to say to a host, no?

Bernard doesn’t get in Ford’s way.

One of the biggest clues that Bernard might be a host probably came in his general attitude towards Ford: one of fond enabling. Sure, you can’t chock that up to sentiment, but Bernard is borderline not doing his job when he keeps Ford’s dangerous secrets and lets Ford dictate the latest updates, despite so many of the reservations voiced by his own staff. More than leniency, Bernard has given Ford his admiration. “I saw the new gestures, the reveries,” he tells Ford in Episode 1. “They’re beautiful. The distance you’ve traveled from then til now, it’s remarkable.” Side-eyeing the “when” in that statement, too. Just how long has Bernard been around?

Ford’s father can hurt Bernard. (Episode 6)


Image via HBO

When Bernard first learns about Ford’s family, Ford’s host father attacks Bernard. We’ve seen hosts attack guests before (i.e. William getting beaten up in Pariah), but there is a real sense of danger to the interaction. At the time, it seemed like Ford’s father might simply be a host who is able to hurt humans. Now, it seems more likely that the danger was there because Bernard is a host and, therefore, doesn’t have the same protection as the human guests.

“You’ve been here forever, right?” (Episode 6)

In Episode 6, Elsie mentions that Bernard has been at Westworld “forever.” Yeah, she’s pretty vague about what that means, but now we know it may have been a very, very long time.

Ford’s repeated mention of Bernard’s son.

Throughout Westworld, we see Ford use voice commands to prompt the hosts to do something. It’s how he gets them to kill, i.e. when he mentions to Bernard that Theresa is getting weary and must be helped. It seems likely that one of the ways Ford keeps Bernard in check when out and about is by mentioning his son Charlie, like in Episode 3: “Forgive me, but I know that the death of your son Charlie still weighs heavily on you.” Ford brings up Charlie whenever Bernard is playing his role as Head of Programming too well and questioning Ford about something he doesn’t really want to answer.

Bernard isn’t worried about Elsie. (Episode 7)

The latest episode, which ends with the reveal that Bernard is a host, is filled with an increasing amount of clues that Bernard is a sleeper. A big one is the lack of concern about Elsie. At the end of last episode, Elsie was snatched by someone (now, it seems likely that it was Bernard) while out investigating the Westworld data leak. Bernard was the only one who knew where she was and what she was doing. When she doesn’t show up for work the next day, Bernard asks where she is. An employee tells him that she has left for leave. If Bernard didn’t have anything to do with Elsie’s disappearance, then he would probably be much more distressed about her sudden disappearance.

“What door?” (Episode 7)


Image via HBO

This may have been the moment when a sense of dread and understanding started to build inside of you. Once in Ford’s family’s house, Theresa notices the door to the basement, while Bernard does not. Classic host behavior. There are certain things that they cannot see: the things that will hurt them.

“The more I work here, the more I think I understand the hosts. It’s the human beings who confuse me.” (Episode 7)

As Bernard and Theresa are heading to investigate Ford’s family, Bernard tells her that, sometimes, he understands the hosts better than humans. Cue warning bells. (Run, Theresa.)

Ford actually likes him.

Does Ford like anyone besides Old Bill? No, and Old Bill is a host. This should have been the biggest clue that Bernard was a host. Ford is too much of a narcissist to give credit to anyone besides a creature of his own making (which is really like giving credit to yourself, one degree removed). In the second episode, Ford tells Bernard: ”The problem, Bernard, is that what you and I do is so complicated. We practice witchcraft. We speak the right words. Then we create life itself out of chaos.” Compare that to how Ford talks to Lee Sizemore and get back to me.

OK, now that we’ve discussed all the moments that have come into even clearer focus since the Bernard reveal, let’s look at some of the Bernard moments that still don’t make sense:

Bernard whispers in Peter Abernathy’s ear. (Episode 1)

Yeah, I’m still curious about the moment from the pilot that sees Bernard whispering something inaudibly into Peter Abernathy’s ear after he has been decommissioned and added to the livestock being stored in the lower levels of Westworld. Did Bernard’s mission come from Ford or is it a clue that Bernard might be taking some actions on his own?


Image via HBO

Bernard looks at a picture of “Arnold.”

A big Westworld moment that has been making the Reddit rounds is when Ford shows Bernard the picture of Arnold. The photo shows two men, one of them Ford and the other, presumably, Arnold. The thing is, since we were first shown that picture, we have met the host meant to be Ford’s father and he looks exactly like the second man in the picture. So, where’s Arnold? Or, more pressingly, why can’t Bernard see him?

Reddit-ers have pointed to the suspiciously empty rightmost third of the page as the place where Arnold could be standing in the picture. The leading theory? Bernard is a replica of Arnold therefore Bernard can’t see Arnold in the picture because it would hurt to learn that truth. Add it to the running tally of things Bernard can’t see… like that door. Of course, it could easily be a picture of someone else Bernard knows who would break his understanding of reality. If Bernard isn’t Arnold, then which other host might be?

Bernard’s conversations with Dolores.

OK, let’s talk about those conversations Bernard has been having with Dolores because, now that we know Bernard is a host, they make less sense. The conversations seems to take place in the basement of the Ford family home, but Bernard is unable to see the door to that entrance. If that is the case, how is he able to have the conversations with Dolores there? Solution: Those aren’t conversations between Bernard and Dolores, but rather Arnold and Dolores, many years ago. (This would check off the Two Different Timelines theory nicely.) We know that Arnold tried to convince Dolores to help him take down the park. Think about this “Bernard” quote in the context of that theory: “I need your help, Dolores. I need to decide what to do with you. I think I made a mistake. I was just fascinated. I was being selfish, but I think it would be better if I restored you to the way you were before.”

We could be barking up the wrong tree here. Perhaps Bernard’s conversations with Dolores in Ford’s basement isn’t an Arnold clue so much as a clue that Bernard has found ways to subvert his creator’s rules and expectations. Is he discussing host consciousness with Dolores because he is desperately trying to understand if he can have free will? Are there moments when he is aware of his host nature and is able to “see” what he wants? Is Arnold’s voice in his head, too? Some questions to chew on as we move past this big reveal and head into the final stretch of Westworld episodes.

For more, check out our breakdown of all of the current Westworld theories.