Jeffrey Wright and Sidse Babett Knudsen Discuss Their Game-Changing ‘Westworld’ Scene


Every Westworld episode is a combination of revelations and perplexities that likely lead many of those watching into a frenzied Googling-state immediately following. [Spoiler Alert for Season 1 Episode 7: “Trompe L’Oeil” ahead]. Last night’s episode, despite the illusion-oriented title, was a bit more revelation-heavy than usual, as a major Internet fan theory actually proved to be true. A scene where Bernard attempts to let Theresa in on a secret of Ford’s escalates in a reveal that Bernard has been a Host all along, and is actually not acting against Ford, but is rather under his control, and had been programmed to become intimate with Theresa, earn her trust, and bring her to this lair where Ford would now command that he kill her. And so Bernard, whose humanity is suddenly momentarily nullified by a mere command, is ordered to murder his former lover. With Theresa gone and Bernard now officially a Host, it’s confirmed that “Team Host” — which actor Jeffrey Wright (Bernard) revealed in an interview with A.V. Club that he texted his co-stars about having joined — is now completely more interesting/developed than the smattering of human characters on the show. Today, a bunch of publications (including in that aforementioned interview) have been talking to both Wright and Sidse Babett Knudsen, who played Theresa, about the reveal/death.

A.V. Club also happened to ask Wright whether one of the main clues people kept coming back to in the fan theory — that Bernard seldom looks at the world through his glasses, which rest at the bottom of his nose — was played by him for the purpose of suggesting Bernard was a Host all along. But Wright explained that knowing that Bernard was a host didn’t really impact his physical performance of the character, as Bernard is likewise ignorant to this aspect of his existence. Wright’s response: “Those theories come from people too young to understand how reading glasses work.”

He explained to them that he didn’t know that Bernard was a host at all until after the Pilot, when he came back onto the show to start filming the rest of the season. He described finding out:

[Co-creator] Lisa Joy called me into her office. Lisa is a ridiculously articulate person, who stumbled around for about 45 seconds to a minute trying to figure out how she was going to tell me the truth about what I was to be doing, saying, “Okay, Bernard’s very complicated. How do I explain this?” Finally she did, and I think I had a bit of a Bernard moment, but it ended with me saying, “Ah, that’s cool.” I sent Jonah [Nolan] an email, just to tell him that I was coming onboard with the show and that I was looking forward to going on this clearly wide-open journey with him as we built this thing, and I said, “A journey in which we’ll discover that Ford is a creation of Bernard Lowe.” And he emailed me back saying, “Close, colonel, but no cigar.”

Meanwhile, speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Wright detailed way people had begun catching onto the twist. “It’s woven into the logic behind the relationship of the characters and it’s not done for any shock value,” he said. “There are very specific reasons why he is synthetic. If fans weren’t at all aware, or didn’t have any suspicions, that would have been a disservice to them and undermine the quality of storytelling.”

And it seems like Knudsen didn’t know that Bernard was a Host, while Wright didn’t know that Knudsen’s character would die, let alone by his character’s doing. “We all have certain secrets and I did not know [what Bernard was going to do] and Sidse held onto the fact that’s she’s only on [the show] for seven episodes very close to her vest,” he said to EW. ‘But it’s obviously a fulcrum scene in the first season so we were pretty focused but at the same time it all made logical sense. The aim was, from my perspective, to see all the synthetic blood rush from Bernard’s being and see him as a machine and tool.”

Knudsen (previously of Borgen), spoke to Indiewire about what was and wasn’t known, as well:

Oh, man, it was so weird because when we started shooting, I thought there was something in the way [Wright] looks kind of in my eyes but not really in my eyes — the way Jeffery would act in those intimate moments. The first scene I said, ‘God, you’re a robot, aren’t you?; And there was no reaction, there was no reaction at all, and then I thought, silly me, of course he’s not, come on.’

She also praised the choice on the creators’ part not to portray the murder graphically, but rather through a reflected, distorted image and a disturbing sound:

I thought a lot about the sound, you know, I thought it needs a good sound, the sound of the life not being there anymore. I think there’s some sort of crack and then she’s out…And I like the fact that her last appeal, when she says, “Please, please don’t,” it’s to Bernard, it’s to the robot. Her instinct is still to try to make a connection with him, even though she knows now that he’s a robot and is programmed. She appeals to that humanity that she saw in him. I think that’s very interesting as well.

Now, of course, you’ll need to wait a week to see what’s in store next for Bernard — though presumably he’ll just be reprogrammed to forget (not that that seems to be working for the Hosts very well) that Theresa ever existed. At least it seems like with this series, crazy fan theories may not always be as out of the question as you’d expect, so turning to those in the next week may be fruitful.