Westworld Is Infiltrating Our Actual Lives, All According to Plan

We’re only on Episode 2 of Westworld’s second season, and already we have been thrust into a confounding spiral; not only have the human and host worlds crossed wires on the show, they seem to be doing so in our day-to-day lives, too.

As with the precedent set by Lost, Westworld seems to be setting little Easter egg traps on the internet for its most devoted and eagle-eyed fans to suss out and thread about. In this episode, “Reunion,” we learn that the woman from the photograph that made Peter Abernathy short-circuit is in fact William’s real-life wife—and, contrary to what the internet thought, the actor is not a rando from a stock image, but is played by Claire Unabia, who you MIGHT recognize from Cycle 10 of America’s Next Top Model! Worlds and realities collide. In this edition of Westworld Conspiracy Corner, Senior Editor Joanna Rothkopf and I try to figure out what it all means, and what our chances are for being transposed into hosts ourselves.

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You know, I could have gone for that degree in electrical engineering, like my Mom and Dad wanted me to, and right now I’d have a solid, useful career with job security that’s somewhat useful to society. Or alternatively, I could have said “fuck society, me me me,” and I could have got an MBA , and I might be making enough money to buy a vacation house and a yacht. But no, I wanted to do something good, something I liked, so I ignored all the people saying “you’ll be poo-oor!” and I went into the arts.

So I did this and that, lots of fun but nothing that would pay the bills and then I found this good-paying job writing screen plays for Hollywood. “Now,” I thought, “now I’m going to do that creative good thing I wanted to do since I was a kid.” And then I got one assignment after another, writing teevee scripts.

Every time I’d sneak something I thought had a bit of artistic value into a script, I’d get it back from review with all the good stuff x-ed out and comments which basically boiled down to “Let’s get some violence in this. That’s what the viewing public loves best of all, grotesque, gruesome violence, keeps ‘em glued to their chairs so they don’t wander off during the commercials. Also, can we get some more tits-n-ass in there?”

So one day I was thinking about the actor Patrick McGoohan. He was in a fix like this. He landed a lead role in a top-rated series called “Danger Man,” and became a big star whose name was on every teevee fan’s lips. But it turned into a trap. After a while he wasn’t “Partick McGoohan, talented actor from a popular series,” he was just “Danger Man.” They gave him a number and took away his name. And then one day McGoohan finally had a shot at letting the world know how he felt about being stereotyped like that. He made seventeen episodes of the weird sci-fi series “The Prisoner.” On the face of it, it was about a secret agent whose bosses wouldn’t let him resign. Underneath it was a show about how his bosses at the Beeb, in service of the fans, wouldn’t let him escape from being “Danger Man.”

That’s where I got the idea for a new weird sci-fi series. On the face of it, it would be about a 21st century version of Disney World, except instead of the visitors being amused by the antics of funny, laughable cartoon animals, this theme park was about rape, and murder, and rape, and murder, and rape, and murder, because that’s what the visitors really, really wanted to see and wallow in. And underneath, I was thinking about the mass audiences who, by way of “entertainment,” revel in rape and murder; and what I’d like to do to all those assholes if I could get my hands on them.