Westworld is probably a lot bigger than we realized
HBO's "Westworld" continues to tease viewers offscreen too with some impressive world-building.
Caitlin PetrakovitzDirector of audience
Caitlin Petrakovitz studies the Marvel Cinematic Universe like it's a course in school, with an emphasis on the Infinity Saga years. As an audience expert, she rarely writes but when she does it's most certainly about Star Trek, Marvel, DC, Westworld, San Diego Comic-Con and great streaming properties. Or soccer, that's a thing she loves, too.
While it's up for debate as to whether this includes any major spoilers, fair warning that it does contain some images which may give away minor spoilers. So turn back now if you haven't seen through episode seven of HBO's "Westworld."
But if you're next-level obsessed, you subscribe to the creepy, cryptic, somewhat-weekly emails from "Aeden at Westworld." (One step further is living in the Westworld subreddit, but we can chat about that rabbit hole later.)
From these emails, we've gotten a lot of info that adds to the show; most recently, subscribers got a look at a Guest vs. Guest Training module (check out the image above). But there have been other reveals as the show aired (more on this below). There's also the creepy Host Intake Protocol information, a Narrative Development outline for Dolores, and a look at the offices and living quarters of Westworld's inner workings.
Basically, HBO has made a big huge push to craft an immersive online experience right alongside the show, so if you aren't subscribed to these emails head to the Westworld destination page right now. And there are some fun easter eggs on that page even before you subscribe.
Enter "whitehatblackhat" (or the reverse, "blackhatwhitehat" *while this phrase used to bring up the same welcome video as the reverse, it seems this code no longer works, interesting!) into the Access box at the top for a look at the park's sizzle reel and a chance to begin a "Prospective Guest Evaluation." Before you agree to anything though, or maybe just for some insightful reading, check out the Delos Corporation's Terms and Conditions (that's a quick link to the full text on Reddit in case you don't want to visit the HBO site).
You also can chat with the aforementioned Aeden, your park host. Sometimes he has some pretty interesting things to say, and some fans have recently discovered that you can put him in sleep mode (briefly), much like other hosts on the show. Unfortunately, my attempts to put him into any other mode (such as "analysis") has thus far returned the phrase, "I'm sorry. It appears you don't have permission to use Diagnostic Mode. Let's get back to the park. What would you like to know?"
Try asking him who he is (try it three times in a row for extra creep factor), if he dreams, or about characters such as Dolores, Maeve or the Man in Black -- asking about Arnold, however, will yield a strange response. (Have you found any particular good or creepy entries? Let me know in the comments!)
Further down the park page, there's a map of the park. Each week, as we travel around Westworld, new points of interest are added. Here's what it looks like after episode seven; on the actual site, clicking a name brings up a picture and short blurb about the place.
You won't find that training module or other "behind the scenes" info on the Discover Westworld page, though. For that madness, you can enter the access code "violentdelights" to be directed to the Delos Incorporated site.
Once there, under "Flagged Comms" you'll find "internal" emails which range from the hilarious ("we MANUFACTURED a beer bong out of a horse stomach") to more sinister-sounding ones, like this: "Please remember that Delos property does not belong to you: no 'experimenting with,' or misappropriating the host merchandise will be tolerated."
"Corp Alerts" has two emails, one from Westworld Guest Relations and the second from IT Security. Both have been on the site for a while now and allude to a security breach and leaked storylines.
Under "Corp Resources" are four pieces of content. The first is the Training module at the top of this article in which you can test your skills at diffusing situations, or not. Second is the creepy Host Intake Protocol information, a process we (sort of) saw with Maeve go through.
Third is a Narrative outline for Dolores (or rather, what her narrative should be), and fourth is a video looking at the outline of Westworld's headquarters, called Westworld Mesa Hub. The video gives you a closer look at where everyone resides or works inside the underground skyscraper (and brings up the question, what the heck is the scale of this place?!?)
After a big huge week of reveals, with three episodes left in the season it's about time for some answers. Even though we now know season two is a lock, when it will air is still up for debate and I honestly don't think I can wait a year for more answers.
The remaining episodes of "Westworld" air on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m.
This piece doesn't even begin to dive into the theories of the show. But if you want that, then over at Vanity Fair, Joanna Robinson has been writing some intricate analysis pieces each week. And on The Verge, Chris Plante has a weekly series called Predicting Westworld that dives into some of the big theories of the week. Enjoy, and let me know if there are others I should add to my reading list.