Westworld is full of unexpected twists and confusing narratives to the point where, midway through Season 2, the allure is starting to fade. However, Episode 6 — which was the first episode of the season that TV critics did not get a chance to see before it aired, and for good reason — ended with a truly shocking reveal.
Spoilers ahead for Westworld Season 2, Episode 6 ahead, y’all.
Robert Ford, the park’s creator, is back. And, more shockingly, so is the actor who played Ford. Anthony Hopkins has returned to Westworld.
A lot went down in the sixth episode of the season, including the end of the show’s exciting visit to Shogun World and an (intentionally) runaway train. However, the most unexpected twist came when Bernard and Elsie visited the Cradle, which can perhaps best be described as the physical location of the “cloud” where all of the Hosts of Westworld reside. The Cradle has been thwarting any attempts to get Westworld back under control, even though it shouldn’t be able to do that, so Bernard, being a host, offers to go inside.
It seems like a painful process, but Bernard is able to enter the cradle, which looks like a version of Sweetwater in the past. Everything seems remarkably calm and normal — it’s a throwback to Season 1, before the Host uprising. Bernard enters the saloon, and sees a familiar face at the piano.
“Hello, old friend,” Ford, once again played by Anthony Hopkins, says as the episode ends.
The preview for next week’s episode reveals that this is not a trick or a one-off appearance, as Hopkin’s Ford is seen giving an ominous warning.
“What is about to happen will not be your fault,” he says.
This being Westworld, there are still a ton of unanswered questions. How did Ford get there? Earlier in the season, the show made it very clear that Ford, the man, is dead. That’s why we got that gratuitous shot of maggots crawling in his corpses hallowed-out eyes. However, it appears that he was able to successfully upload his consciousness to the Cradle. Is this a spin on what William/The Man in Black was trying to do with his father-in-law, James Delos? It seems possible, but it’s too early to say.
As for how in the heck Westworld got Anthony Hopkins to come back for round two and keep it a secret, I have no idea. Hopkins always seemed like he was only in Westworld to begin with because it was only going to be a one-season commitment. He’s an old and very big-name actor who gracefully made his exit from the MCU’s Thor movies only to return to HBO. Honestly, the reason why Ford’s reappearance is such a shock has less to do with the character returning than it has to do with Hopkins making a comeback.
Be on the look out for the inevitable Entertainment Weekly interview with Hopkins (or at the very least with Westworld co-creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan) that explains how this all happened.
Westworld Season 2 airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.