SXSW Westworld Hinted at That Cowboy Hat Reveal from Season 2 Episode 9

HBO Westworld hat

If you haven’t seen Season 2 Episode 9 of Westworld yet, then don’t read any more. Yet. This post has a pretty big spoiler for Episode 9. But if you have seen the episode, then keep on reading. I think HBO might have dropped a really subtle hint about Season 2 during the SXSW Westworld Experience, and we all missed it.

Major spoilers for Season 2 Episode 9 below. You’ve been warned. 

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from HBO to attend their Westworld Experience at SXSW in March. We were told there might be hints for Season 2 during the experience, but I never found any. I did, however, find a ton of Easter eggs for the show, which you can read about in my story here.

But now, after watching Episode 9, I’m wondering if there was a very subtle hint left for us at the Westworld Experience.

When we first arrived at the Experience, we were each given a cowboy hat. I was given a white hat and my husband and videographer, Derek Dwilson, was given a black cowboy hat. Here’s Derek wearing his hat and facing down against host Bodecker in a pretty tense moment in Sweetwater:

DwilsonDerek Dwilson and Bodecker

And here I am with my white cowboy hat, posing against a wall quite reminiscent of the one Ford had set up in his office:

Derek DwilsonSXSW Westworld Experience

They were really high-quality cowboy hats with the Westworld logo inside, and each guest was allowed to take their hat home after the experience. At the time, I thought that the hats weren’t a clue. But inside the lining at the top of each hat there was a slot where you could store a card. I later learned that non-press guests’ hats had bloody cards with a table number (or other clues) inside them. One attendee told me that a card in one hat simply read: “Lee Sizemore.” Some guests were able to use these clues to complete quests and win coins that they could exchange for drinks. (Those of us who were lucky press guests were given free drinks for the whole night. And some of those drinks were delicious!)

Well, now that I’ve seen Episode 9, I’m thinking the hats and the clues inside were quite subtly pointing to another reveal. We learned tonight from Emily and William that in the parks, the hats had scanning equipment built inside them. When you’re wearing the hats, they scan your brains and make copies, allowing Delos to save those scans in the servers stored at the Valley Beyond (aka the Forge), creating a “Cradle” similar but much bigger than where Ford was hiding out.

The cowboy hats were scanning brains and making copies of the guests. OH MY GOSH.

But now I’m thinking that SXSW’s Westworld Experience was subtly hinting at this by hiding a card in the top lining of our hats. It was a hint that there was far more to the cowboy hats than meets the eye. There was a hidden meaning inside the hats, a hidden purpose. And I’m just now seeing it.

Wow. I hope HBO has an event at SXSW next year too. Maybe I’ll realize the hints before the episodes air this time around, for season 3.

Want a feel for just how realistic Westworld SXSW felt? I still love to relive that experience. Here are two videos to give you a taste. Read the story here to learn more.

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