In HBO's Westworld, scientific advancements have blurred the line between man and robo-man, making robots so lifelike that it's near impossible to tell them apart from their human counterparts. For Westworld, the park the rich go to in order to live out their wildest fantasies, these people facsimiles are exactly what makes it so immersive for its flesh-and-blood guests. But that's exactly what can give us a headache trying to figure out who is a living, breathing person and who is a bag of bolts disguised as an actual human being.
Because believe you me, at some point during the series' run, someone we've thought was a human all along will discover that they're a robot. It's the Battlestar Galactica rule! The show has made a pretty clear delineation between who is human and who is bot when inside the park -- the ones who die when they get shot are the bots, as we saw with Teddy (James Marsden) -- but what about outside the park in the master control room? They can't all be humans!
Let's take a look at the major players controlling things inside Westworld and make our best guesstimates about who and who isn't an android.
Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins)
Just because he's the creator of Westworld doesn't automatically disqualify him from being an android. On some level wouldn't it make sense that a park full of robots should be created by a robot? Yeah on some level, and that level is stupid! Of course he's not a robot! Not only did we see flashbacks of him as a younger version of himself -- robots don't age, otherwise O.G. host Dolores would be getting AARP junk mail by now -- but he clearly exhibits the consciousness that these other robots are just on the verge of achieving. Don't tell me he was always a super-advanced robot, because he's not.
Is he a robot: Absolutely not, but did anyone actually think that?
Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright)
The head of programming at Delos Incorporated is a master at studying human expression, incorporating the ticks and wrinkles we make into the robots he works with in order to make them seem even more real. If that doesn't scream "I AM A ROBOT WITH THE POWERS OF ROBO OBSERVATION" then I don't know what does. Suspected by many to be the best bet to be a robot, I'll point to Episode 3 for more favorable evidence. In that hour, a lot of stress was put on the pre-programmed backstories of these 'bots, and in that hour we also learned of Bernard's backstory -- his son died at an early age and he has an ex-wife. That's the kind of backstory that would be implanted to keep a robot's nose in his work and not into the idea of starting over. In reality, he never had a kid, and he never had a wife.
Why would someone want a robot to think that? Because Bernard is a creation of Arnold, the co-creator of Westworld who died (and whose death remains a mystery). Arnold wanted to continue his research into breaking the wall of artificial intelligence and planted Bernard at Delos to do that, and Bernard has obliged by holding secret meetings with Dolores in which he charts her progress and encourages her mental evolution. Heck, Bernard is probably sitting in the middle of the maze everyday waiting for a robot to show up.
Is he a robot: Yup.
Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman)
The director of narrative (the guy who writes the stories the robots follow) is a bit of a jerk. Now, that doesn't automatically disqualify him from being a robot, because there's no reason a robot can't be a jerk. Just ask my Roomba which refuses to clean under my bed! But if my theory that any robot who works at Delos was purposefully planted in there -- I don't think any robots walked in off the street and went through the job application process just by chance -- making the robot an arrogant Brit wouldn't be the best way to keep it employed. No, Lee exhibits too much of the worst of humans for him to be a box o' wires.
Is he a robot: No way.
Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen)
A senior manager at Delos, Theresa already seems like a robot since we've yet to really see her loosen up and have a little fun. C'mon, lady! You're in the business of pleasure and fantasy realization, don't be so serious! And now whenever someone talks about their childhood or past, as Theresa did with thinking she was sitting at the same table during her meeting with Ford that she sat at with her family as a child, an alarm goes off in my head that their memory is merely a programmed backstory. But beyond that, there are other reasons to believe that Theresa is an android masquerading as a bean counter. Everyone have their tinfoil hat ready? Good. Strap it on and let's go.
Let's say Arnold really did want his work to live on past his death (and I'm putting my neck out there that that is indeed the case). The natural idea is to plant Robo-Bernard and his pro-consciousness agenda in there to keep Arnold's life's work going. The second thing to do would be to protect Bernard's job by adding a second robot in a powerful position who can keep Bernard where he is, and what better place to be than in corporate management? Theresa can take advantage of corporate hierarchy and counter any differences Ford and Bernard might have, ensuring Bernard is always working in the programming division.
And how about making Theresa and Bernard's bond even stronger by making them predisposed to being in a relationship together? Upload BernardIsHot.exe and blammo! They're practically entrenched in Delos with no way to be let go.
Is she a robot: Probably.
Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward)
The idealistic budding star in the programming division loves robots, I mean really kiss-on-the-mouth-when-no-one-is-looking love. There's no reason to believe that she would be a robot, and you won't hear an argument from me that she is. If anything, she's the most human person in the building (next to those two techs who freaked out when Maeve woke up in the middle of her repair).
Is she a robot: No.
Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth)
The head of security, Ashley is the most interesting case of the whole bunch. He could be a robot as his job is pretty straightforward (as well as dangerous). See someone out of line? Put 'em back in line. It's a rather binary type of situation. On the other hand, the nature of the job means he has to outthink robots, which is a job for a human. This could go either way, really, but unless there's something big coming down the line for Ashley, it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference to the story if he was a robot.
Is he a robot: It's a 50/50 shot.
Westworld airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on HBO.