Westworld Showrunner Jonathan Nolan Just Revealed a Major Clue About How the Park Works

Thursday, 17 November 2016 - 3:18PM
Westworld
Thursday, 17 November 2016 - 3:18PM
Westworld Showrunner Jonathan Nolan Just Revealed a Major Clue About How the Park Works
Now that the future of Westworld Season 2 is assured, we can go back to our favorite thing: creating a giant corkboard photo collage of various elements from the show connected with tacks and pieces of yarn, Beautiful Mind-style. Not since Lost have so many mind-bending theories been proposed, but one humble Reddit user posed a simple question: what happens to all of Dolores' paintings?

As watchers of the show will know, Dolores is an android "host" in the park who follows the same routine every day, which includes making a landscape painting in the luscious fields outside of town. Hosts repeat their daily activities until they're interrupted by a guest, and this means that, according to the info in the show, Dolores should have painted that same landscape about 10,000 times over 30 years (as user mattdezine so cleverly illustrated in this Imgur picture). Those paintings don't just vanish—they're real canvases. So mattdezine thought it would be fun to post the conundrum on the r/Westworld board and see what people thought.

It just so happens that Jonathan Nolan, the showrunner for Westworld, was lurking around.

Nolan, in a stunning entry for the award for World's Cheekiest Internet Comment, posted a comment saying "doesn't look like anything to me," with a link to an Imgur gif showing a park attendant in a hazmat suit collecting and thumbing through a stack of Dolores' paintings. This shows that park attendants go in after all the hosts are asleep or inactive and make little changes that allow the androids' daily cycles to continue, just as we've seen before. The difference is that the gif implies that the upkeep of the androids is constant, not just a periodic intrusion to fix big errors—which means that if an attendant forgets to take Dolores' painting from the previous day, she might find it.

Nolan's comment hints at this—"Doesn't look like anything to me" is what all the androids say when they see something that doesn't fit their Old West worldview. But the paintings are different—they fit perfectly into Dolores' world, but their pre-existence poses an existential crisis for her. They are, quite truly, a glitch in The Matrix, one that she can see. So they must be removed by hand.

Internet fans love pointing out little flaws in movies and shows, especially continuity errors—it makes them feel like they're just a little smarter than the directors or writers. But no one expects a producer to lean into a mic on the red carpet and say "Hey, ManInBlack69 of westworldforums.com: I'm calling you out! You're goddamn wrong! ROLL THE CLIP!" and then air what appears to be an unreleased scene from the show to prove that person wrong.

So shine on Jonathan Nolan, you crazy diamond. Keep answering fan theories.

The next episode of Westworld airs Friday, Nov 18th at 8:00PM ET on HBO.
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