Headscratchers / Westworld

    open/close all folders 

Film

    Hiding from the Gunslinger 
  • How did Peter hide in plain sight from the Gunslinger robot, when it had heat vision? Also, the robots must have very advanced cooling systems for them to be cold.
    • A case of Science Marches On - most writers of the time figured robots would be "room temperature", not realizing that a lot of transistors would give off a lot of heat (less than a similar number of vacuum tubes, but still).
      • So then again, shouldn't sexbots be warm to the touch?
      • Possibly the distribution of heat within a robot's body is different enough for the sensors to tell the difference, and saying the weapon sensors key in on "cold" is shorthand for "cold in different areas". We never actually see the Gunslinger view an active fellow-robot with thermographic vision, so have no way of knowing what a functional robot's heat-image looks like.
    • The impression I got was that the Gunslinger had the infra-red vision as a backup and only started using it when its "real" vision was damaged by the chemicals thrown in its face (it isn't shown using it before that point, and is only shown using it afterwards). The heat vision was probably designed to detect the warmest things around (i.e. the guests) and ignore everything else, so the torches in that room were significantly warmer than Peter, allowing him to remain undetected.
    • The scene in which they gave the robot infrared vision suggests it was nothing more than a routine upgrade, intended to make him a bit more challenging (being able to find a guest faster) as a designated adversary. Of course, when the robots went berserk, this turned out to be a feature Gone Horribly Right as he proved very challenging indeed. Incidentally, one can see him using the vision before he got burned with acid in order to track Peter's footsteps, so presumably it was intended to be used at all times.
      • Alternately, the thermographic sight could've never been intended for use during a scenario at all - if a storyline requires the Gunslinger to track down a guest, the park's staff who monitor events via CCTV can just radio in and tell the robot where its next scene should be - but rather, to facilitate cleanup after an encounter has played out. Guest and Gunslinger play out gunfight at saloon, Gunslinger goes down, guest gets drunk celebrating and passes out on the floor, set lights go dark so guest can sleep it off, "dead" Gunslinger gets up and walks out under cover of darkness without stepping on visibly-hot guest.

    Real guns vs. fake guns 
  • Why does the park use real guns? They could have just put squibs in the robots or something, would have been a lot safer.
    • As part of the attraction to the theme parks, the guns are real to heighten the thrill of shooting someone, even if it's an artificial someone.
    • There's also a real reason to that. The guns use thermal sensors, hence why when John asked Peter to shoot him, it didn't work (what John exactly said, I forgot, but it had something to do with body temperature). Maybe when the park's control system went out of whack, the thermal sensors started being indiscriminate towards human and robot-kind.
    • Using real guns also allows guests to take potshots at props, like bottles or whatever, without having to rig every inanimate object in Westworld with embedded blasting caps.
    Swords 
  • What about the swords? The guns can't harm humans but what's to stop a visitor from accidentally stabbing a guest with a sword?
    • It's not much of a defence, but you can't exclude swords from Themepark Middle Ages. The vacations were 100% about the experience, and the experience in Medieval World would be inauthentic without them.
    • Considering the lack of security, the technicians probably considered the danger of one guest "accidentally" stabbing another with a sword in Medieval World to be as likely as a guest "accidentally" bludgeoning another with a liquor bottle in Western World. Any object is potentially dangerous in the hands of a human being, but the main concern of the technicians was making sure they weren't potentially dangerous in the hands of a robot.
    • The swords could potentially have been very blunt as well, similar to the swords reenactors use, you can swing them with a lot of force and do only minor damage, therefore only the robots could be set to react to them.
    • Remember the bar fight where everything in the room suddenly started breaking as if it were made of foam. Considering how easily the chairs break, they could never have supported a person's weight. The obvious answer is that nothing in the room is merely what it appears to be. Instead of solid wood, the chairs must have had a mechanism that made them solid when they need to be solid, and soft when they need to be soft. Something similar must apply to the swords to give them the same safety as the guns. Delos would never have knowingly put guests at risk by giving people truly dangerous weapons.

    They should've waterproofed the bots 
  • The fact the robots are not waterproof or at least able to consume liquids. It seems the moment a tourist tried to share a drink with one of the robots it would immediately short circuit. This is more glaring when the viewer would have already seen some of the machines drinking. Does this indicate some had the ability whereas others didn't? Why would you make them acid resistant but not able to swim without breaking?
    • Perhaps the girl in the dungeon is damaged in some way. The brothel madam in Westworld is seen drinking and smoking.
    • For one thing, they weren't especially acid-resistant; the Gunslinger was looking very blistered indeed after he got splashed. There just wasn't that much actually thrown on him, and whichever acid Peter used, the acids shown being available to him were all "strong" acids, meaning they would not burn much beyond where they hit before the reaction was complete. ("Weak" acids can actually be more dangerous in this regard, as their reactions are never entirely complete.)
    • As for the drinking and waterproofing, this might well vary from one robot to another as a bit of financial corner-cutting: the capacity for eating and drinking would cost extra, so the technicians would try to have it installed only in robots that needed to do this for social reasons. Robots intended as sex bots (such as that poor girl in the dungeon) or purely for fighting (such as that black knight) wouldn't ever be called upon to eat or drink, and therefore wouldn't normally need these capacities. It's an in-universe case of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich. The Gunslinger, as part of his program, was intended to order a drink and down it as part of picking a fight, so naturally he had these capacities. So would any robots called upon to swim, though it's doubtful there were very many situations of that sort outside of Roman World with its pool parties. Otherwise, it's strictly optional and there's no money in the company's budget for it.
      • At the risk of being crude; but a sex bot surely should be the most waterproof of them all. A sex bot that short circuits after consuming a bit of liquid is a risk to the patron if nothing else.

    Martin and the Gunslinger 
  • How did exactly the Gunslinger plan to kill Martin anyway after his gun ran out of batteries ?
    • He's a robot programmed to be a westerner. If he couldn't shoot his target, he would either try to hang him or beat him to death.

    Competent horse tracking 
  • The horses are also robots, but the Gunslinger manages to track Peter on horseback by seeing the horse's footprints in infrared. Oddly, the tracks are only of the horseshoes.
    • One word: friction. An animal's bodyheat doesn't stick around long enough to stick to the footprints, anyhow. The friction heat caused by the steps themselves might.

    The control room 
  • Who the hell designed that control room?
    • Probably the same one who designed Jurassic Park.

Series

    Hiding the illusion during resets 
  • Assuming the, for lack of a better term, daily quests reset each day, where do the guests go while everything is brought back to normal?
    • In the film, it's shown that the maintenance work takes place in the middle of the night while the guests are asleep. It's also possible that there aren't daily resets but resets after a group of guests leave and a new group arrives. Alternatively, only a small group of hosts are reset daily while others are reset as needed out of view of any guests.
    • Then again, it's shown that the Hosts' interface is through voice and wireless tablets, therefore resets can occur quickly and seamlessly.
    • The most of the Narriatives will most likely be made so that they run in a cycle: For Example the towns doctor get's up on the morning, eats breakfast with his family, walks to work, talks with the people, treats patients, goes on a small trip with his family after work and then goes to bed at night. So as he is reset while sleeping, nobody will see his reset.
    • Also, any hosts that are traveling with guests will not be reset.

    Westworld doesn't seem very family-friendly 
  • Who would bring their kid to Westworld? One wrong turn and you could be watching someone's cannibalism or gang rape fantasy.
    • Possibly there are children-only sections of the park that are safe to visit for short durations; we only see the child and his parents for that single scene with Dolores who is doing nothing more than painting. The hosts in close proximity and the human staff (as well as their parents, we hope) would likely keep a close watch on any children and actively keep them away from any inappropriate activity.
    • Alternatively, they could be the kind of parents who seem to view the violence of Westworld as no different than what's seen in a violent video game.
    • The show has the parents say "not to cross the river." They say it's because there's inappropriate material there, which implies there's an Adult section of the park and a Family-Friendly section. A guest on the train also says his first visit was a harmless gold-mining trip with his family before going alone a second time and went "pure evil".
    • "Dissonance Theory" shows that the staff keep track of all of the guest families in the park and schedule events so they won't encounter any of the violent or family unfriendly ones.

    Flies in the lab 
  • Why are there flies in what is presumably a highly sterile lab?
    • One possibility is that the room where the flies are isn't meant to be sterile at all but an area where hosts can be examined and minor repairs and reprogramming made. The manufacturing areas would definitely be sterile; and during that scene in "The Original" there were no flies.
    • Alternatively, that there are flies where there shouldn't be and areas of the park that are neglected (such as cold storage) is another way of showing that management is not entirely proactive in upkeep. Besides the failing cooling system mentioned, the fact that the staff knew there was unauthorized activity in cold storage but had no specifics (that Dr. Ford was there, what host was in operation or even any cameras in the area) illustrates how management doesn't have the control they think they have.
    • The presence of flies may also act as a sort of security system, like a canary. Hosts are programmed not to harm a living thing, so any host that tries to swat away a fly is either actually a human, or is acting against its coding.
    • Or the flies could be wireless security cameras.
      • In a EW interview with creators they said "...the animals aside from the flies are hosts..." Granted, they didn't say flies were not in fact security cameras, but I took as an indication that flies are actual flies. Especially seing how a whole bunch of them were all over those half-dead men hanging on the trees in Whyatt trap in episode 3.
    • Another possibility is that the lab conditions aren't as sterile as they should be — like the malfunctioning cooling system in the cold storage area, conditions are beginning to deteriorate as the size of the operation has grown beyond what can be sustained.
      • Or resources that are supposed to be used for such work are being diverted for whatever Management is ultimately up to.
      • Or the flies are a clue that, say, there's a dead body hidden under the lab floor.
      • Possibly averted in if that were the case, there'd be a lot more flies and a horrible smell.
    • Chestnut demonstrates that the Hosts have organic components (with some techs mentioning that Maeve somehow contracted an MRSA infection from one of the guests), and its these organic components that are attracting the flies.

    A host on an automatic piano 
  • Why does the intro show a half-made's host's hands playing the piano, but the piano in the series is automatic and has no player?
    • Aethestics.
    • Symbolism. The intro has the piano string being laid out by machine, cutting to a host's artificial muscle being laid out to a bone by a similar mechanism, drawing a similarity between the piano and the hosts. The piano starts off being played by the host's hands, but the hands later lift away and it continues playing itself, like the hosts starting off under the control of the humans but later becoming autonomous.

    Guns that don't harm humans? 
  • What is preventing guests from harming another? For example what is to prevent a guest coming across another in the outlying areas, assume the other is a host without questioning first and then attack them with a knife or rape them against protests like we seen the Man in Black do?
    • Nothing, but the fact that everything you do is on camera is a big encouragement to make sure you know before you try. Best case scenario, the guest yells out that they're a guest. Worst case, someone does get raped/killed and criminal charges are filed.
    • It's also unclear how the weaponry works, per se. The Host's guns seem to be selectively lethal: Teddy is able to gorily gun down other Hosts, with his bullets tearing gaping holes in his opponent's body structure, but the moment he turns his guns to a Guest, the bullets act as pellets. It's possible the Guests receive guns with the exact same properties (lethal when up against Hosts, harmless when up against humans).
      • According to Word of God, everyone uses sim-munition that the military uses in real-life that is mostly harmless to humans but the bodies of hosts are programmed to act like it is a real bullet and set off small squib-like charges and pain/death signals.
      • And yet Maeve had a full bullet inside her. How does the sim-munition explanation explain that?
    • "The Stray" makes clear that only certain Hosts are allowed to handle dangerous tools. For example from the group of men caught in a loop in that episode, only the one who vanished could handle the axe, thus causing the loop, as the others were able to do it in theory but not in practice.
      • But literally everyone has access to at least cutlery (if not outright bladed weapons). We see Logan stab a host in the hand with a fork. Presumably, a guest can mistake another guest for a host and stab them in the eye. Creators said there's a good Samaritan device in place, where a nearby host will sense that something like this is about to happen and will take the harm instead or will try to intervene seamlessly to prevent it. But what if something like this happens in a remote area with no hosts nearby? Some guests are pretty violent AND drunk, so yelling in their face "I'm not a robot" might not work quick enough to stop them...
      • There's no situation involving others in which the possibility of harm can be completely negated. You can only take reasonable precautions and have severe penalties for those who aren't careful.
      • In Sweetwater the guests are always surrounded by hosts and under constant surveillance by the staff. A guest trying to harm another guest in town would be stopped under most circumstances. The further from Sweetwater the guests travel, the more intense the experience gets and more dangerous it gets to the guests. eg. in Pariah, hosts are allowed to beat up guests though not in a way that would do permanent harm. By traveling into the more dangerous areas, the guests seem to implicitly consent to the fact that they will not be protected as well and could get seriously hurt. Guests who want to go there have probably signed some sort of legal waiver.

    Saloon shooting problems 
  • If a guest shot up everyone at the saloon in the middle of the day, wouldn't that ruin the narrative for everyone who wanted to visit there? I recall Sizemore mentioning hosts are programmed to take over a story if a character is killed but they have limits. What if a couple of particularly dickish guests just gunned down everyone in Sweetwater?
    • The staff can disable the guest's guns if they feel a shootout has gone too far and/or will interfere with other guest's storylines. After the Man in Black kills an entire posse, a staff member suggests shutting him down but is overruled because as a VIP, the Man in Black gets away with stuff normal guests do not.
    • And in another situation, when a guest participates in Hector's saloon robbery, the staff end it prematurely because they know a guest family will be arriving in town soon, so they disable the guest's weapons and have the hosts or disguised staff physically subdue him.
    • Well, who says becoming a rampage killer can't be a narrative? Maybe the army comes to town to arrest you and you have to flee.

    Designing hosts that look human 
  • We currently have enough trouble with the Uncanny Valley when modelling real human faces with CGI and animatronics where the result inevitably looks glassy-eyed and dead. We are terribly bad at creating and modelling a human face from scratch that never existed in real life without borrowing elements from other real faces. Part of what makes a human face so distinct are the years of history and life lived by its owner that can't be replicated well by a designer. So are the hosts designed from scratch? What if they're modeled on real people, living or dead?
    • The hosts are literally alive, so the problem of outward appearance benefits from that right off the bat.
    An Emergency that Requires Outside Help 
  • Granted, there is a sizeable number of people running the park and constantly monitoring everyone, but what if there was a natural disaster or a terrorist attack? Or, I don't know, an employee that is sabotaging the park? If you're a guest, you're miles away from the nearest city, you can't call anybody or even trigger an emergency beacon because you voluntarily gave all that up. You didn't even get an orientation of any kind so you're on your own. It seems your only alternatives are either to walk out of the park without even a compass or a map, or go to back to Sweetwater, follow the railroad tracks back to the Mesa Gold, and hope for the best.
    • The show has demonstrated that Delos has constructed a vast underground tunnel network that can access pretty much any area of the park, paired with an advanced surveillance system. Not to mention, all of the hosts can act as eyes and ears for the park staff and can have their programming adjusted to act as an impromptu security force, and we're not even getting into the fact that Delos has its own fully armed, professional security force to counter threats. In the event of something like a terrorist attack, Delos certainly would have evacuation plans that would incorporate all of these factors. As for natural disasters, deserts typically have very stable weather patterns and usually do not experience and geologic activity. You can be sure Westworld was deliberately placed to minimize the impact of natural events.
      • This does not take into account one important fact: any system can fail. It also does not take into account a malicious person or group with the "keys to the kingdom" (admin access to all the Park's networked computer systems and Hosts) that could deliberately shut down, change or damage key systems. Without all that technology, any security team could be spread thin and the Guests would be on their own. On foot. With no means of calling the outside world for help.
      • And these are dangers that are not unique to Westworld. What happens if a cruise liner sinks the middle of ocean, or an airplane crashes? What if you go vacationing in a country that suddenly gets engulfed in a civil war? Every kind of vacation has some kind of danger connected to it, and it's up to each guest to decide if the risk is worth the trip.
      • Yet those above activities have one thing in common; informing the people of the risks. Airliners have mandatory safety briefings on the location of the exits, the oxygen masks and floatation devices. On Cruise ships, they have GPS locator systems, life jackets and life boats with food, water and radios along with safety drills. That equipment and information can make the difference between you walking away and dying. In the United States, the US Department of State maintains a website chock full of information about International travel, including a list of travel advisories and warnings about other countries. There's also the news as something like the possibility of civil war breaking out would be newsworthy.
      • By contrast, both explained by the viral website and by Angela, there is "no orientation, no guidebook." Delos repeatedly states that you are in no real danger and that if there's an emergency they'll whisk you to safety, but there are no other details. Granted, there may be discussion groups, blogs and walk-throughs in the real world and it would be up to the guest to weigh the risks involved. But the lack of "what to do in an emergency" from the company selling you the vacation itself should be a red flag. In other words, Delos is deliberately downplaying the risks and providing no meaningful safety information. In light of recent events with Dr. Ford, it seems that there's little to no interest in truly safeguarding the lives of anyone.
      • It may be worth noting that from the scant descriptions we have of the world outside, things like terrorism, for example, may simply not be a problem anymore. Ford's monologue to Bernard makes the world sound fairly utopian. Obviously there's a dark underbelly to it, but it's quite possible that in many cases the kinds of dangers being discussed simply don't occur to people anymore, because they've been all but eliminated in the "real world."
      • Other than the fact that both Dr. Ford and the Man in Black should be considered Unreliabile Narrators for obvious reasons, that may actually be the case. But for some customers that pay $40k+ per day, they may insist on details or having a secure line of communication available 24/7 on hand.
      • Episode 7 indicates that the difficulty of outside communication is a deliberate move on Ford's part, since he wants to keep all of the host data and research firmly in the park and out of Delos' hands.

     Felix & Sylvester 
  • Why don't either of them run to Security or Behaviour to tell them about Maeve despite her threatening them both repeatedly? Why does Felix follow her every suggestion? Why did they amp her intelligence and lower her loyality instead of the very opposite and undo her as a threat?
    • Felix has a For Science! thing going on. He appears to legitimately be interested in (and terrified to an extent, but still fascinated by) Maeve's sentience and development. Sylvester is more of case of self-preservation. He was at first bullied into helping her because Maeve literally had him at knifepoint, after that it was case of them having crossed a line: if they told management, they'd be fucked either way because of what they already did. So now they're just digging themselves deeper.
    • It is not confirmed but it is possible that the butchers are also hosts who don't know they are hosts.
      • It's doubtful the butchers are hosts however— they have too many human mistakes. Who would program a butcher host to have sex with the deactivated hosts? Who would program a butcher host to make a profit on that? Who would program a butcher host to try to become a behavioral tech?

     Loops Causing Continuity Errors for Guests 
  • Some guests visit the park for a few days or a week, and many host's loops seem to reset for their benefit. But other guests appear to stay for an extended vacation. So what happens when a guest watches everyone in Sweetwater get killed during the floor show with Hector, then they go on a week long trip to a distant place like Pariah, only to return to Sweetwater and find everyone alive and well again?
    • They get a chance to repeat quests or take new ones they didn't earlier. I don't see why that would bother anyone more than starting a videogame again from the beginning.

     What narrative would employ morbidly obese hosts? 
Not that I want to indulge in fat shaming, but in the scene where Peter and Walter are put in cold storage, there are at least two hosts that did not just put on a few extra pounds, but that are really very heavy. Obviously they would have have to be made like that. I have trouble imagining a Wild West narrative that would benefit from having hosts so heavy that they would have to have trouble moving and maybe even breathing to be realistic.
  • Fat people did exist in the 1800s, so it's not anachronistic. As for narratives, perhaps they played Big Fun or Fat Bastard characters, like the Railroad Baron.
  • It's not like every single host is superbly attractive. The Confederate general, that malfunctioning sheriff in the first episode, etc. As noted, fat or unattractiveness can be an important narrative trait.

     How does Maeve know how the storylines go? 
It's unclear exactly how much time has passed since Maeve got her core stuff boosted, but how does she know how every storyline in the park will go (down to Armistice's "you damn fool" line)? Is she somehow connected to the other hosts? Is there a big database of storylines she has access to? Has she actually lived through all the storylines, like in Groundhog Day, so she knows what will happen because of that?
  • We don't know exactly how Maeve reprogrammed herself. It's conceivable she installed herself with detailed knowledge of every narrative in Westworld. If escape is her goal, then knowing precisely how the Hosts are scheduled would play into that.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Headscratchers/Westworld