Do not read this article if you have not watched the latest episode of Westword. Or, if you don't care about major (seriously, very major) spoilers for Westworld, then by all means. Read on. That said, the latest episode of HBO's new hit sci-fi drama had an insane, revelatory twist that will change the course of the rest of the season. Now, the creators of the show have shed a little light on it.
Last chance to turn back. During Sunday's episode of Westworld it was revealed that Jeffrey Wright's character Bernard has been a robot the entire time who has been controlled by Anthony Hopkins' character Dr. Robert Ford. To top it all off, BERNARD killed Theresa, played by Sidse Babett Knudsen, who was previously his lover. HBO released a video on their YouTube channel shortly after the episode aired. In it, Executive Producer Lisa Joy had this to say about the big reveal.
"Poor poor, Bernard. He thinks of himself as kind of crucial to the inner workings of the park and one of the masterminds. Not one of the people being used. Ford had been manipulating him and using him as a tool. Bernard until that moment is a faithful lover and friend to Theresa. Dr. Ford acts in his own self interests and what he believes are the interests of the park. And tragically he uses him to kill his lover."
Tragic is right. The reveal that Bernard was a robot the entire time would have been enough, but giving him the painful backstory of having a dead son and making him kill his lover was really piling it on. There is no telling what else Dr. Robert Ford has been manipulating but more importantly, nobody else in Westworld (at least that we know of} had any idea that Bernard was a robot. That actually hasn't changed since Theresa is dead, so that is a game changer. Who else is a robot that we don't know about? Jeffrey Wright also did an interview with Entertainment Weekly following the reveal and shed some light about how he felt when he found out about it.
"That was a heavy read when we got that script. There were a lot of text messages flying around between a lot of cast members. I did not know Theresa was going to be meet her end. We all have certain secrets and I did not know [what Bernard was going to do] and Sidse held onto the fact that's she's only on [the show] for seven episodes very close to her vest. But it's obviously a fulcrum scene in the first season so we were pretty focused but at the same time it all made logical sense. The aim was, from my perspective, to see all the synthetic blood rush from Bernard's being and see him as a machine and tool."
There had been fan theories flying around the internet suggesting that Bernard could have been a robot all along, but not all fan theories are right. Even Jeffrey Wright teased in this interview that no fans are "batting 1000" when it comes to their fan theories regarding Westworld right now. But even though some figured this twist out, they still feel it was well earned and wasn't just for shock value.
"I totally agree. It's woven into the logic behind the relationship of the characters and it's not done for any shock value. There are very specific reasons why he is synthetic. If fans weren't at all aware, or didn't have any suspicions, that would have been a disservice to them and undermine the quality of storytelling. But I will think they will be surprised and pleased by how it's revealed."
Part of the reason the reveal of Bernard being a robot worked so well was that Jeffrey Wright gave a very nuanced performance for the first six episodes of the show. As it turns out, even he didn't know the character was a robot when he first signed onto do the show and it wasn't until the second episode that Lisa Joy revealed it to him. Here is what he had to say about it.
"I glitched for a few moments, then I said to Lisa, "Cool." It just provided meaty additional layers onto Bernard. She also described Bernard very early on as understated. He's very quiet, he's earnest, he's flying under the radar, he's an everyman. The foil of him being a host is starker because we initially perceive him to be unvarnished and straightforward. To that extent it informed the tonality of my performance - he's steady Bernard, he's somebody not to be second guessed."
There are only three episodes remaining in season one of Westworld and after this latest episode, there is no telling what lies ahead. Westworld returns on HBO this Sunday, so be sure to tune in and see the fallout from this huge reveal. You can check out the full video for yourself below, and you can check out the full interview with Jeffrey Wright over at Entertainment Weekly.