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What Is the ‘Westworld’ B = T Theory?

Is Bernard not who he seems?

HBO
Spoiler alert

A serious spoiler disclaimer: This post will dive headfirst into the Reddit wormhole of Westworld Season 2 Conspiracy Theories discussed on Tuesday’s episode of Westworld: The Recappables. Enter at your own risk.

This week’s “Galaxy Brain” edition of the Westworld: The Recappables podcast dove headfirst into the B = T theory first described by subvrsteve on Reddit (with help from many others), but given how complex this web is, we’d forgive you if it was hard to keep up. To help unravel the theory, here’s an explainer.

Let’s start at the beginning. Remember when Robert Ford forced Bernard to shoot himself in Episode 9 of Season 1?

Screenshots via HBO

Felix repaired Bernard shortly after that, but Bernard carries a scar near his temple. You can see it in the immediate aftermath of the massacre when he’s standing with Hale in the first episode of Season 2.

But in the timeline two weeks later when Bernard wakes up on the beach, he does not have the scar.

This glaring irregularity stands out on a show known for its attention to detail, and there’s a wild theory to explain it: someone transplanted Teddy’s consciousness—his brain, core processor, memory drive, Glade PlugIns scented oil, whatever you want to call it—into Bernard’s body. This would explain why Bernard is so confused in that timeline—he isn’t Bernard at all. Let’s look at some of the evidence Reddit has dug up to support this theory.

On the beach, Bernard is wearing clothes strikingly similar to Teddy’s.

And in the Rickroll trolling video that creator Jonathan Nolan posted to Reddit before the season premiered, we see glimpses of Bernard sitting in the same seat Teddy always sat in on the train ride into Sweetwater throughout Season 1. Here’s Teddy riding the train in the pilot:

And here’s Bernard in the video Nolan released:

Here’s Teddy getting off the train:

And here’s Bernard getting off the train:

Now, that prank video isn’t exactly canon, but those clues feel a little too on-the-nose to mean nothing. And this theory would clarify a lot. Teddy occupying Bernard’s body would explain why Dolores is so intimate with Bernard in some of the trailers for this season, like this scene in which she tells him, “There is beauty in what we are.”

But who would have gone through the trouble to transfer Teddy’s consciousness into Bernard’s body? The most likely culprit is Dolores. In Season 1, Episode 3, Sheriff Pickett and Teddy discuss Wyatt for the first time.

“The way I heard it, Wyatt is a mercenary,” Pickett says. “Forces his men to wear the flesh and bone of their enemies.”

“They’re masks,” Teddy says. “It’s the men underneath them to be afraid of.”

Rewatching the first episode of Season 2 again with this in mind offers a lot of hints. Bernard’s glasses wash away when he wakes up on the beach (metaphors!). The first words we hear in that scene are from an unnamed Delos security guard who shouts, “Who is he?” and another guard replies, “Who the fuck knows?” In the same scene a few minutes later, as Karl Strand, Bernard, and the Delos technician watch the replay of Dolores shooting the Native American host, the technician says, “[hosts] can’t just change their character profiles” as the camera lingers on Bernard. He looks down at his hands in confusion, and the scene cuts to a flashback.

In the final scene of Season 2, Episode 1, Bernard is staring at the dead hosts in the water. “I killed them all,” Bernard says. It’s eerily similar to some of Teddy’s scenes in Season 1, when he flashes back to Arnold’s death in Escalante and slowly realizes he was a participant in the massacre. When Bernard says his line, he stares ominously into the sea ...

… looking at Teddy’s body.

Bernard isn’t upset that Teddy is dead. Bernard isn’t there at all. Teddy is staring at his own dead body.

If that theory is true (quite a big “if”) it would raise a lot of questions—What happened to Bernard? What is the point to the switch? And did all of the other floating hosts in the water also swap their consciousness into other hosts?—but it would lead to much bigger ramifications for the show. If hosts can switch bodies, where do the possibilities end? What might make for great conspiracy fodder on Reddit will be inscrutable for most fans. (When I say “Reddit” to my father, he says, “Read what?” I can’t envision him following this plot twist.) Viewers already need to keep track of when Jeffrey Wright is portraying Bernard and when he’s portraying Arnold. Adding Teddy to the mix would be even more confusing. Extending the possibility that every host could be anybody would make keeping track of the show impossible. The evidence for B = T is convincing, but the possibilities are exhausting.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.