Before you continue reading, know that this ain’t your Redditor conspiracy theorist Westworld post. I’m not going to talk about cradles or mazes or doors or the Valley Beyond or WTF is going on with Bernard. I’m especially not going to talk about the room full of Bernards just waiting to be switched on and messed with (poor Jeffrey Wright seems to have one default facial expression on Westworld: extremely confused). If you’re looking for that kind of Westworld post, might I direct you to Refinery29’s helpful timeline explainer and roundup of theories? They might be more your jam.
Anyway, this Westworld post is for the animal lovers out there. It’s also for those of us who watch Westworld and just shrug and say “okay, sure, why not” out loud to our televisions, because that’s really all you can think about this show a lot of the time. On Sunday night’s batshit crazy episode, “Les Écorchés,” Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) made his return in the form of a simulacra of himself implanted in a Westworld server, and, later, in Bernard’s host consciousness. As part of this return, Ford the simulation did an exposition dump about the true purpose of the park (to steal visitors’ DNA, basically taking what Cambridge Analytica did to Facebook users and levelling up the concept to grapple with actual life and death stakes). That’s not what I’m here to talk about, though. I’m writing this because I would like to discuss Robert Ford’s dog.
When Ford appears as the piano player in the Mariposa saloon, he’s accompanied by a gorgeous dog, which appears to be a greyhound. A story he told in season 1 might serve as confirmation that it is, in fact a member of this glorious breed. It’s a creepy story that involves the dog murdering a cat because, well, he’s Ford. He basically invited humanity’s demise when he launched the Game of Life version of Disney World. Please relish in the creepiness of this story with me. It’s from episode 5 of season 1.
“A greyhound is a racing dog. Spends its life running in circles, chasing a bit of felt made up like a rabbit. One day, we took it to the park. Our dad had warned us how fast that dog was, but we couldn't resist. So, my brother took off the leash, and in that instant, the dog spotted a cat. I imagine it must have looked just like that piece of felt. He ran. Never saw a thing as beautiful as that old dog running. Until, at last, he finally caught it. And to the horror of everyone, he killed that little cat. Tore it to pieces. Then he just sat there, confused. That dog had spent its whole life trying to catch that... thing. Now it had no idea what to do.”
Might the dog on Sunday night's episode be the same greyhound from the story? Might it be a host? Who knows! I’m not here to do any analysis. Plus, if it is the greyhound from the story, I don’t want to think of this gorgeous dog that faithfully follows Ford around as brutally tearing apart a cat. Let’s just leave him as the pure creature he currently is, accompanying Ford and Bernard on their exposition walk through Sweetwater and Arnold’s mansion.
Is this the last we’ll see of what is basically Ford’s patronus? I sure hope not, because things are about to get So Real on Westworld that we all deserve to see a cute dog in random scenes.