Season 2 Episode 7 of Westworld was absolutely phenomenal. Not since that iconic scene between Ford and William in Season 1 have we seen such a creative display of Ford’s power – and his long-term plan. Let’s debrief on what we learned, including a few theories that fans are considering. This post, of course, will have major spoilers for Season 2 Episode 7 of Westworld.
Ford is alive. The revelation was given to us last week, but now we see just what that means. He’s not alive in the traditional sense of the word; his body did, indeed, die. But his mind still lives on in the backup Cradle framework, where he has been controlling and editing narratives and preventing hacks from Delos.
Is this truly Ford or just a copy of Ford’s mind? That’s a question that follows almost any science fiction tale that involves copying consciousness, whether Black Mirror or even teleporters in Star Trek. And we’re probably not about to resolve that question today. But suffice to say, Ford is here and acting just like Ford. So we’ll treat him as if he is the one and only Ford, at least for the purposes of this article.
Ford Is Now Inside Bernard’s Control Unit, But We Still Don’t Know What’s in Abernathy
We finally learned that yes, Ford is now inside Bernard’s control unit. Ford programmed Bernard to retrieve the copy of his mind that was on the control unit and deliver it to the backup Cradle framework. Once there, Ford was able to take control of many aspects of the framework. And now he’s residing inside Bernard’s control unit.
But we’re still not clear on what is hidden in Abernathy‘s unit. Something was added to his control unit that has been destroying him. It’s encrypted and, as Charlotte explained, it’s the “turning point for the human species.” Charlotte later described the decryption key for Abernathy’s mind as something that was only to be used in the event of total catastrophic failure. We were never told exactly what this is. But likely, this would decrypt another person’s mind or the blueprint for copying a mind onto a control unit. If it decrypts another person’s mind, perhaps it is a mind that can somehow take over the park and fix everything.
Now We Know What Was Wrong with Bernard
All along, fans have been saying that something just isn’t right with present-day Bernard. He seems off. He seems almost slower, more cautious, unclear… It turns out that the problem is a second mind inhabiting his control unit. Ford removed himself from the Cradle and placed his mind inside Bernard’s. Now he can control Bernard and talk to him. It’s not outside the realm of possibility to think that the same thing might be happening with Abernathy.
But Why Can Ford Inhabit Bernard Without Degrading?
Interestingly, Ford mentioned that he could not leave the Cradle because the same thing that happened to Delos would happen to him too. His mind would degrade in a few days if he jumped into a host body of himself, or he would just go insane like James Delos.
So that leaves us with a question… Is he risking that happening to him by entering Bernard’s control unit? Or is Bernard’s unit essentially his failsafe? If he enters a control unit as a secondary mind, rather than the primary one, does that protect him from degrading?
Bernard Is a Unique Creation, Different from James Delos
James Delos was an attempt to completely copy a human mind onto a control unit and transfer that unit into a host that was a copy of James Delos. It didn’t work. His mind kept degrading and rejecting that reality.
But Bernard is different entirely. In some ways, he was created with a similar purpose. They couldn’t actually copy Arnold’s mind, since Delos’ experiment had not begun yet. But they could “re-create” his mind through Ford’s and Dolores’ memories. And then Dolores ran the same fidelity tests on him that William ran on James Delos.
However, they weren’t seeking to create a perfect copy perfectly faithful to his predecessor. Instead, Ford was creating a unique creation based on Arnold. Bernard was created to not have the negative traits of humankind (like murdering and savagery.) Instead, Bernard was created to be more noble and just (as all hosts are created to be, according to Ford.) We certainly see that in Maeve, who seems to be living up to her purpose quite perfectly.
The Cradle Is Also a Testing Ground for Human Immortality
We learned that in Westworld, human guests are being watched and recorded all the time. This data is then transferred into the backup Cradle world. The hosts there never change because they are control subjects. The humans are the test subjects or the variables. They are being tested for “fidelity,” so to speak, until Delos can create perfect copies of its guests.
But so far, this likely won’t ever work, because they haven’t figured out how to transfer a perfect copy into a human without the mind degrading. However, humans could achieve some form of immortality by transferring themselves into this digital world, just like Ford did. That would surely be a huge moneymaker for Delos.
Ford’s Hijacking of Bernard Parallels What Dolores Did to Teddy
Ford said early on in his discussion with Bernard that Dolores was free to shoot him, even though Ford knew that was what she would do, and now Dolores is free. But in her freedom, her actions are an echo of Ford’s. I can’t help but think this will play out in a deeper way down the line.
Ford told Bernard that Bernard’s very nature would ensure that he would be devoured by humans unless “we open the door.” Opening the door, here, seemed to be a euphemism for letting Ford enter Bernard’s control unit and take away his free will.
Dolores did the same to Teddy. She said that Teddy’s very nature would cause him to die in the coming war. So she hijacked him, took away his free will, and made him something more sinister that could survive.
Dolores’ actions are a reflection of Ford, which is interesting since it was Arnold that she spent the most time with during her formative years.
Is Ford’s Door for Bernard the Same as His Door for William?
Ford told Bernard that he would not survive unless “we open the door,” and at that point, he entered Bernard’s mind and took away his free will.
Meanwhile, Ford’s game for William requires him to find the door. Could this be the same door, a means for William (or whoever wins) to lose free will and be taken over by the world’s “god”?
It’s an interesting concept, since last season’s maze was all about finding sentience and autonomy. Perhaps the goal this time around is the exact opposite, but instead achieving some kind of “union” with the world’s creator (aka Ford.)