The third episode of HBO's new sci-fi hit series, Westworld, left engrossed audiences with plenty of burning questions after the show took a deep dive into mysterious territory.
The last question might have been buried a bit behind everything else that was going on, however it's a legitimate curiousity considering we don't know exactly when or where the events of Westworld take place.
We've already assumed (based on the original film and the advanced tech) that the setting is sometime in the future, but where? This last episode, along with official Westworld maps released by HBO, offered up a few solid hints and we just so happened to connect the dots.
First, it's mentioned in passing that all employees rotate on a three-year cycle, meaning that they work and live at Westworld for a few years before they return home, leading us to believe that the park must be far away from wherever "home" is.
During this episode, Bernard goes to the very public communication room to speak with his wife. It seems as though they haven't spoken it quite a long time, and his wife complains about how difficult it is to get a line all the way "out there."
Bernard responds with, "Yeah, it's tough sometimes."
The communication rooms are very public and they are the only place to get in contact with the outside world, or wherever "home" may be.
In a recent interview, producer Lisa Joy explained further, "Regarding the comms, regardless of where they are [located], the park is very, very vast, and you don’t rotate home often. You don’t have open communication where you can just pick up a phone. Even senior people have to go to the coms room – because [the park is] protecting their intellectual property. We’re hoping to paint a portrait of the culture of the corporation."
Either employees can't just "pick up a phone and call someone" because the company wants control over all conversations or because Westworld is located NOT on Earth.
The first map can be seen on Westworlds own website, created as a tour guide and vacation planner for guests.
There are also clear cut instructions on how to arrive at Westworld:
ENTERING THE PARK
Westworld is the only vacation where you don’t have to pack a thing. The park is all inclusive, and bespoke clothing awaits you, along with everything you need to enjoy your stay. Free yourself of modern inconveniences that inhibit your ability to sever ties with the outside world. Upon booking your dates, our consultants will work with your local port authority to chart your course to the park. Bring nothing; worry about nothing.
The map below notates all of the towns in the park, as well as surrounding areas. The black portion looks to be titled, "Sea." So maybe Teddy wasn't lying when he suggested he and Dolores take off and find the ocean. Or maybe guests have to arrive by traveling over large bodies of water to some sort of secret island, much like Michael Crichton's (the writer of the original Westworld movie) Jurassic Park.
However, the massive size of the park doesn't seem to be that easy to hide, meaning there is no where on planet Earth that Westworld could technically fit. And because guests must work with "local port authorities to chart their course" they MUST be traveling very far away - like to a different plant.
Either way, the area looks like to be as large as an entire country, or world itself. In the original film released in the '70s guests arrived to the park by a hovercraft looking spaceship.
A second map shows us the innards of Delos Corporation itself, which looks like a huge skyskraper built underground with levels upon levels of operational units. The only part of the structure that is on the surface is a small platform and bridge, where we have already seen Dr. Ford standing in past episodes.
Is the Mesa Hub located directly underneath the park? How do the employees get to the park? We haven't actually seen them pop out of the ground just yet. And more importantly we haven't seen the guests board the train either, just get off when they reach the town of Sweetwater.
In the interview mentioned above, Nolan teased a bit about the parks location being on a different planet:
"I remember when [executive producer J.J. Abrams] called after watching the original film. In my memory I conflated that hovercraft sequence when they arrive in the park with the space-hotel with 2001. And I said to J.J., “Is that park even on this planet?” The important thing for us was, when you come to the series you have no idea where you are. Disneyland is in a parking lot in Anaheim, but it’s spectacular and you forget where you are when you’re inside. By the end of the first season, if you’re paying close attention, you will know where it is."
Oh we are paying very close attention and can come up with two possible locations. Westworld is either on a different planet, or it's a Virtual Reality experience where guests "plug-in" to the park - the main reason we have yet to see a guest board the train and a secondary reason as to why Westworld claims that under no circumstances can a guest be physically hurt.
There are plenty of levels to that operations building that are not labeled, a few of them could be full or rooms where guests and even hosts are resting comfortably, plugged-in to a VR mainframe.
Westworld airs every Sunday evening at 8 p.m. on HBO