What Is the Maze in 'Westworld'?
The HBO show's biggest mystery is beginning to unravel.
As if the twists and turns of Westworld didn’t already feel like wandering through a dizzying labyrinth already, it seems clearer with each passing episode that the so-called Maze will become the most important mystery of HBO’s newest hit. It’s too early to tell at this point what exactly the Maze is, be it a literal network of passages that lead to the center of the park (or out of it altogether), or some theoretical construct that will lead the brave to transcendental truths. But we definitely know that people are after it, with the Man in Black suddenly discovering a deeper level to the game, and Bernard telling Dolores to seek it out as well.
As Anthony Hopkins’s enigmatic Dr. Robert Ford said on his little desert walkabout after he came across a rattlesnake at the end of the episode “Chestnut,” “Everything in this world is magic, except to the magician.” So what information have we learned about his mysterious little faux-magic trick so far?
The pictograph of the Maze found by the Man in Black after he brutally scalped the host Kissy is a surprisingly familiar image from Westworld. In fact, it is in the show’s logo.
The simple stick figure at the middle of the Maze design looks like it matches the newly dipped hosts from the park’s manufacturing level. Unsurprisingly, it seems to hint that whatever lies at the center of the actual Maze has a fundamental connection to the inhabitants of the park itself.
Beyond that, the design is a simple 2D maze, but it’s hard to believe the actual Maze will be that simple once someone, like the Man in Black, finally gets there.
The Man in Black
After the MiB murders Lawrence’s wife and extended family in “Chestnut,” Lawrence’s daughter spills the beans about the Maze up to a point. She tells the gunslinger, “Follow the blood arroyo to where the snake lays its eggs.” Arroyo (or “stream” in Spanish) clearly references the river that runs through Westworld, and lo and behold the Man in Black finds a sort of snake there in “Dissonance Theory.”
The serpent in question is the snake tattoo that coils its way down the body of Armistice, the female desperado first seen and killed alongside Hector Escaton in “The Original.” After helping break Hector out of prison, the MiB learns that masked men with devil’s horns murdered her family, and she’s out for revenge by filling in each coil of her tattoo with the blood of the people that wronged her. The last bit she needs to fill out is the head, reserved for the leader of the band of killers: Wyatt, Teddy’s newfound adversary that Dr. Robert Ford has programmed into the host’s backstory.
The MiB found the snake which led him to Wyatt, but how does he get to the Maze?
Before it killed itself, the rogue host from “The Stray” obsessively carved wooden animals that sported the Orion constellation on their underbellies, which was a major problem for park programmer Elsie. She had never heard of it, so how was it programmed into the hosts? We know Ford has programmed literature-spouting reveries into the new host update, pushing them on their way to consciousness. Given the wonky upgrade, that the woodcutter’s knick-knacks seem to be derived from Job 6:6: “He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.”
This could relate to clues that could leads to the Maze. Bernard rightly points out that the woodcutter’s carvings were incorrect, telling Elsie in “Dissonance Theory,” “There are three stars in Orion’s Belt, not four,” meaning this host was going the wrong way.
The right way to the Maze could be Serpens, a constellation in the northern hemisphere conveniently shaped like a snake. If the MiB catches wind of this, he’ll follow the snake all the way to the Maze, but he’ll have to make a choice. The constellation is splits into two parts, Serpens Caput (Serpent Head) to the west and Serpens Cauda (Serpent Tail) to the east. Based on Armistice’s tattoo, he should head west, but doesn’t a snake lays its eggs closer to its tail? In that case, he better head east.
The other major player headed for the Maze is Dolores, but equally as important is Bernard’s knowledge that such a Maze exists. In “Dissonance Theory” he tells her, “There’s something I’d like you to try. It’s a game. A secret. It’s called the Maze.” He then explains, “The goal is to find the center of it. If you can do that, then maybe you can be free.”
Freedom at the center of the Maze could mean a number of things, all of them are fairly abstract at this point. But if she gets there, Bernard’s comment suggests it could free her from her programming by giving her true consciousness that would make her indistinguishable from a human. This would make the Maze akin to something like the Source, the omnipotent programming hub of The Architect from The Matrix Reloaded.
But most importantly, Dolores has seen the Maze pictograph in Las Mudas from Lawrence’s daughter. The only problem is, this scene potentially presents concurrent timelines just like Dolores’s reverie from “The Stray.” Did Dolores already find the Maze, or is she just now on the right track? All signs point towards her and the Man in Black meeting up to find out.