Since Westworld’s premiere, fans have been wondering if we’re seeing more than one timeline at work. Now that Episode 8 has premiered, that seems more and more likely. Episode 8 confirmed the multiple timeline theory, although fans still have a lot of pieces to put together. This article has spoilers through Episode 8 of Westworld.
Here’s what you need to know about the timelines in the show.
Talulah Riley & the Church Prove Multiple Timelines Exist in Westworld
We now know for certain there are at least three timelines in Westworld. First, we know this because of Talulah Riley’s character. On Reddit, shine_o shared this photo which illustrates the proof:
She’s appeared in multiple different timelines. In Episode 8, the Man in Black saw her and commented about how he couldn’t believe she was still around. She also just happened to be the host who first welcomed William to Westworld.
This could also be further confirmation that William is the Man in Black. MiB said to the host, “I thought they would have retired you by now.” He might have remembered her from the first time he visited the park. However, it’s also possible that Logan is the Man in Black and would, thus, remember her too.
The church in the “beta town” also provides clues that we’re dealing with multiple timelines:
In Episode 8, we saw Dolores in the “beta town” while hosts were being taught to dance. Ford had said in an earlier episode that the hosts had problems acting human, and the show flashed back to a scene in the same beta town. In this town, the church is whole and in great shape. So it appears the church was “whole” before the park even opened:
But in present day, we’ve seen Ford visit the church and it’s now buried after being torn down to its scaffolding:
In Episode 8, after her flashback to the beta town, we saw Dolores and William standing together, looking at the church in the now-empty town. The church was torn down to its scaffolding, but not yet buried. This is one of the clearest signs yet that we’re dealing with at least three timelines.
Westworld Has at Least Three Active Timelines
So it appears that Westworld has at least three active timelines that we’re watching. Here are fans’ best guesses as to how these fall:
Timeline One: 34 to 36 Years Ago
This first timeline happened before the park was opened, when hosts were still being trained in the beta town. In these scenes, the town’s above the ground. Ford once referred to this town as being in the “early days” of the park. Dolores was in the town during the early days.
We were once told that Arnold’s bicameral mind experiments made some hosts go crazy. It’s possible that Dolores was one of them. This may be the “incident” from 30 years ago that has been referenced before in the show. She went crazy and killed hosts in the town, possibly even people, too. As for Arnold’s death, it’s not yet known where that falls in the timeline. But it probably happened before the scene where Dolores was in the town and remembering the massacre.
Timeline Two: 30 Years Ago
Then 30 years ago, William and Logan visited the Westworld park. At this time, they talked about the park falling on hard times and Logan mentioned that his family’s business was going to buy a lot of shares in the park.
William connected with Dolores and she had some flashbacks with him, retracing her steps back to the beta town. At this point in time, the town was empty and the church was just a torn-down scaffolding.
William wasn’t married yet, but he was supposed to get married as soon as he got back from the park. Interestingly, the Man in Black says that he got married 30 years ago, which could lend more evidence to MiB and William being one and the same.
Timeline Three: Present
Present-day with Robert Ford, Bernard, and Theresa’s death are all part of timeline three. Elsie’s death/disappearance also happened in Timeline 3. Dolores also had some kind of revelation moment, after the Man in Black kidnapped her. She shot her would-be assailant and began retracing her steps all over again.
Maeve’s awakening is happening in this timeline too. The scenes with her daughter, where the Man in Black killed them and she had her first sign of being human, happened in between Timeline Two and Timeline Three.
In this timeline, the church is fully buried, but Ford may be digging it up again and resurrecting some old memories.
Possible Fourth Timeline: Future
There are some disagreements as to whether the Man in Black and Teddy’s adventure is happening in the future or the present. This picture is one reason for the confusion:
In the above scene, you can see elements from the Man in Black’s journey with Teddy in Episode 8. This is a narrative that Sizemore is working on in the present day. It shows “Act 1 Lure,” “Act 2 Incident,” and “Act 3 Assault.” Act 2 happened in Episode 8, where the disheveled blonde host was found. They were also attached by a minotaur, as seen in this narrative storyboard.
A big question is: can a narrative be running in the park while it’s still being worked on? This could help us decipher if the Man in Black’s scenes are happening in Present Day or in the future. Considering his talk with Robert Ford, his scenes are more than likely happening in the present timeline, but the narrative is being updated in the park in real-time.
Of course, this is Westworld, so you never know for certain.
How many timelines do you think are in the show?