The second episode of Westworld introduced a new character: William, played by Jimi Simpson. Initially, he seems about as bland as Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores — but seeing as there is far more to her than meets the eye, we can assume there will be more to William, too.
William enters the story as a park “guest,” a man who is paying a cool $40,000 a day to visit Westworld. As the audience, we have already been set up to believe all park guests are assholes, in part because park management — in the form of the ambiguously accented, business-casual wearing executive Theresa Cullen — has outright said so. It doesn’t help that William’s friend Logan (Ben Barnes) really is an asshole, immediately and casually reveling in the “sex and murder” aspect of the world without any introspection.
But William is an outlier, breaking the mold of what we have come to expect from park guests. He is timid and uncertain, seeming highly uncomfortable with his maybe-a-robot-maybe-not host’s sexual advances.
He also seems vaguely disapproving of his friend Logan’s crass nature, though he doesn’t quite muster the energy to do anything more than look uncomfortable.
It all begs the question: if he’s not into the sex and murder aspect, then what the hell is he doing in Westworld?
The most obvious explanation is that he is there to be the audience surrogate. William is something of a blank slate, and creator Jonathan Nolan has also equated William and Logan to the main characters in the 1973 movie. And if that’s the case, William is not only the audience surrogate, but when shit goes down, he might just end up as the last one standing. If he follows the film’s path, he will get seduced by the world and use his own Wild West tactics to survive.
Time will tell how his story goes, but if he doesn’t survive, then we can bet Peter Abernathy’s eerie Shakespearean promise will come true and he’ll have a violent end.
Photos via HBO