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Did Westworld Make a Huge Mistake or Did It Reveal a Big Secret?

And what were those moronic guests doing in the background?

Tim Surette

This week's episode of Westworld was one of its best; a hyper-focused tale of eternal love and a spiritual look at this complicated world through the eyes of Ghost Nation member Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon). It was beautiful, moving and relatively traditional for HBO's supremely complicated drama, but while your attention was fittingly on McClarnon's dazzling performance and the emotional story, some weird shit happened in the background.

The first oddity we'll look at happened about midway through the episode as Akecheta is searching for his love. In his travels outside of his loop, he stops by Sweetwater where we see the town in its familiar bustle. But if you look closely to the left side of the screen, as Reddit user flickersense pointed out, you can see what appears to be Maeve being followed by... a cameraman and crew. Peep this GIF, and look at the right of the screen behind the horse:


And here's the still:




Before we discuss things with a cool head and common sense, I'll play the crazed Westworld fan looking way too hard into things. For a show that's so obviously all about the details, this seems like too big of a boo-boo to be an accident. And with Westworld blending reality with a made-up world, theories for a cameraman being in Sweetwater can be crammed into believability with enough force.

It's entirely possible (remember, I'm an insane Westworld conspiracy theorist right now) that the cameraman is shooting a promo or advert for the Westworld park to entice potential guests to come on down. What better way to show guests that they can totally have sex with any of these robots than get in there and record the town alive so the guests can imagine themselves in that metallic meat market? Or maybe there's a behind-the-scenes project detailing the creation of the park, or an employee training video ("Hosts are for guests to have sex, employees may not have sex with the hosts except on their birthday"). It could work, too, as it would be easy enough to program all the hosts to not see the cameraman with "Doesn't look like anything to me" code. Because Westworld is totally Westworldy, these are all totally legit theories to explain why the crew was there.

But when the bong smoke clears it's more likely that was a rare production mistake, and some dude just crashed one of the most expensive television series ever made. With (what looks like) Maeve in her Madam outfit, the best explanation is that this was footage of the town in the Cradle shot for Season 2, and several angles of the town were shot by the crew in the same session. (It's expensive to do multiple shots on this scale.) As Reddit users point out, it looks like Akecheta might actually be walking toward a green screen and he's been superimposed into b-roll of Sweetwater. Despite what you've cracked from the source code of the Delos website, this is probably what actually happened. OR IS IT!?

Westworld: Who Are We Supposed to Be Rooting For?

There was one other interesting thing of note that may have been missed by most, and this one is just funny. In the second of the three scenes in which Akecheta is playing his role and in a fight with some cowboys, if you look closely, you can see a couple of guests in the background. Apparently in this part of the narrative, guests are -- I assume -- accompanying the cowboys when they tussle with Ghost Nation, and as part of their "quest" they can kill the members of Ghost Nation to be the hero as that one dude did to send Akecheta back to the lab to search for his love on the other side of death. Again, I'm assuming here.

But in the second version of the scene, it gives a look at just how seriously some of these guests take this, which is not at all. Take a look at the GIF below and look behind Akecheta at the pair of guests dressed in Western duds in the background.


These hosts are having a goof on their Westworld vacation! One of them is trying to be Billy the Kid with a gun twirl, but instead drops the gun on the ground, leading them both to laugh at how hilarious it is to be careless with a loaded firearm (OK, it's a firearm with specific park safeties, but still).

The interesting thing is that the Ghost Nation stories in Westworld are supposed to be for high-level guests only, and these two dum-dums aren't even paying attention to the slaughter that's in front of them. I would bet money that they're Logan's cousins or some other person with connections getting VIP access to some of the tougher parts of the park and got high on the ride over.

But this bit does have some importance in understanding the park. Not everyone is there to play the game seriously, which is to be expected but hasn't really been shown in the series so far. If you're a rich asshole who's seen it all, you go to Westworld just to say you've been and disrespect the hard work and technology that went into it. At least they're not raping hosts, I guess.

Westworld airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on HBO.