Fans have been trying to pick apart the meticulous secrets HBO’s Westworld has been hiding since the premiere, and co-creator Jonathan Nolan might have given internet sleuths on Reddit a huge spoiler as the show heads into its final three episodes.
The show’s hugely popular subreddit is chock-full of fans speculating about details from episode to episode, but Nolan himself popped into answer a question from redditor mattdezine about something we haven’t seen since Episode 1: If Dolores is supposedly on a never-ending time loop, what happens to all those paintings she makes?
Of the three regular narrative loops Dolores has, one has the option for her to ride to the river and paint horses against the park’s scenic river landscape. Considering she’s the oldest host in the park, and her loop has probably reset thousands of times before she becomes increasingly conscious and wanders off her predetermined story, there should be at least a few thousand landscape paintings courtesy of Dolores Abernathy’s programming. Nolan responded directly with never-before-seen footage in a link saying “Doesn’t look like anything to me,” aka the phrase the hosts utter when they see images that break their fake reality.
The footage is a few seconds-long GIF, either from a deleted scene or an upcoming episode, showing a Westworld cleanup technician pulling a pile of the paintings out from a cupboard at what looks like the Abernathy homestead. This means that Dolores has been storing her artwork just like Maeve did with her dream drawings of the cleanup crews in Episode 4. Though the paintings don’t hint at real world the way that Maeve’s drawings did, the fact that Dolores is keeping them at all is a sign that she’s counting the days, trying to figure out how many times she’s been through this loop already. Given Nolan’s comment with the paintings, Dolores has actively been questioning her reality for a long time.
This is only the second time Nolan has directly commented in the Westworld subreddit, the first, a cheeky “No I don’t,” in response to a fan commenting that Nolan lurks on the Westworld subreddit during Nolan’s AMA. Nolan is an avid fan of the site — he told The Hollywood Reporter, “I don’t do social media, and Reddit is sort of the non-social version of social media. I’ve been reading that website for the better part of a decade” — so hopefully he’ll be there to answer fan questions from the inevitably mind-boggling final episodes of the first season.