We can all agree that the timeline of HBO's new hit sci-fi series Westworld is extremely complex. Since Dr. Ford, the park's creator, uploaded "reveries" to the host's current programming, they are having visions, flashbacks, and possibly flash forwards.
Reveries, as Dr. Ford explains them, are slight slivers of a past narrative. In other words, they are memories in AI terms. It's already been revealed that both Dolores and Maeve are having plenty of "memories" and are clearly ahead of the game.
Questions concerning the existence of a second timeline were definitely brought up in Episode 4, thanks to the scene with William and Dolores in Las Mudas. Dolores has a past/present/future moment as she is talking to the little girl at the fountain.
The girl appears, tells Dolores they are from the same place, asks if she remembers, and then promptly dissappears leaving behind a map of the elusive maze in the dirt. A host appears to escort Dolores back to her home in Sweetwater, until William shows up and claims that she is with him.
This is just one example of how Westworld has incorporated two seperate timelines into the same plot in a very clever fashion. So clever, that it's difficult to tell when certain scenes are actually taking place. Showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan said,"It's up to the viewer to decide [when events are taking place]."
We can at least assume that Westworld is not an example of traditional chronological storytelling. In an interview, EW asked Joy and Nolan if viewers should not assume that everything they are seeing is taking place at the same time.
"I think you want to assume as little as possible when watching this show.Part of the fun is people speculating about what they’re are seeing. There’s some amazing speculation out there. There are some theories that are so elaborate and beautiful that you wish you thought of them yourself. I think we want to burden the audience as little as possible with expectations of what we think the show is...the best thing to do is get out of the way of the audience and let them play with it. And there are some things in Westworld that are intentionally ambiguous."
Well guess what? There may be some very tangible yet well-hidden proof that there are in fact two seperate timelines - in the form of the theme park's official logo. That would count as ambiguous, right?
When William and his soon to be brother-in-law Logan first arrive at the park in they are each greeted by a host to assist them with their journey. William and his host are riding an escalator as she explains a bit about Westworld.
In the background of this scene there is a huge digital screen displaying and older version of the theme park's logo. This particular logo is not the current logo that we see a few scenes later during a narrative presentation to Dr. Ford. See the comparison below:
To us, this looks like two distinct timelines. The first timeline takes place in the past with the old logo and follows the storyline of William and Logan.
The second timeline is current, uses a new logo, and follows the storyline of Dr. Ford, Bernard, and the Man in Black.
The hosts have free reign within both of the timelines. They do not age and have looked the same since they were created they are not confined to either one - which blurs the lines heavily. Hence the scene between Dolores and the disappearing little girl at the fountain and the quick cuts to her talks with Bernard.
In a recent interview with Jimmi Simpson who plays William, he explains his thoughts on Westworld theories:
“We only got each script per episode, and sometimes per scene, so all these theories going on right now reminds me of when we’d get the scripts and sit around going, ‘Oh, my God, what does this mean?!’ More often than not, we were wrong, but sometimes we were half-right. And I’m seeing a couple of fan theories now where I’m like, ‘I remember thinking it was that, and then it turned out to be this. But that’s the right direction!'”
Of course with each mind-bending episode of Westworld, we learn more about the complexities of the park and the main plot point. Keep it locked on ComicBook.com for all the latest on HBO's Westworld!