Have you ever questioned the nature of Westworld's reality?
The answer is a resounding "yes," for anyone watching the new HBO series. Set in a future where humans pay top dollar to visit a theme park populated by sophisticated robots, Westworld has invited an instant and intense amount of theorizing and speculation, the likes of which have been seen by few other freshman shows. (Fellow Bad Robot series Lost comes immediately to mind.) Viewers are right to wonder whether what they are seeing onscreen is what's happening in the story, leading to a vast amount of theories about how the show uses time as a narrative tool, whether some of the human characters are secretly hosts, the true nature of the mysterious "maze" and much more.
As the series approaches its seventh episode, expect many if not most of those questions to remain unanswered for the time being. But that's not to say that huge pieces of the puzzle aren't starting to come into focus. In that regard, Frederick E.O. Toye, who directed last week's "The Adversary" and this week's "Trompe L'Oeil," promises an imminent sense of "clarity" starting with episode seven.
"I think episode seven is a huge game-changer in terms of the story," Toye told THR during an interview last week, previewing the show's seventh installment. "I think a lot of the reality that we're seeing is brought to clarity. It brings a whole new perspective on what we've been watching for these past six episodes. I think we reveal a lot of information that will make this show incredibly rewarding moving forward. For me, it's a very powerful chapter."
It's an ominous tease, one that could portend several different developments. For instance, perhaps the show's single most popular theory involves Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) - and more to the point, her traveling companion William (Jimmi Simpson). Fans speculate that their story is playing out 30 years prior to the main events of the series, and are witnessing white hat William's transformation into the gunslinging Man in Black (Ed Harris). If the theory pans out, it certainly qualifies as a step forward in "clarity," even if some might argue whether it's a "game-changer."
But really, the list of possibilities is long, considering the different spinning plates in play. Will episode seven clarify Robert Ford's (Anthony Hopkins) new narrative? Will it elaborate on why Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) has been smuggling information out of the park? Will it answer the question of who captured Elsie (Shannon Woodward), and potentially unmask Arnold in the process? Perhaps the old prospector will finally convince someone to join him on his treasure hunt? Whatever the question, the answer is only one episode away.
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