Westworld Just Explained A Lot About How William Turned Into The Man In Black

Spoilers below for the second episode of Westworld Season 2, so be sure to watch before reading on.

After a magnificent first episode full of dread, horror, mystery and dark humor, Westworld stuck to its guns and bandoliers with "Reunion," which offered up a Smorgasbord World of reveals, and it not only cleared some things up about Arnold and Delores, but also provided major clues about how William turned from Season 1's bright-eyed and naive romantic into the cold and callous gunslinger roaming the park's countryside in search of The Door. Perhaps the biggest new piece of information we learned is that William is the one behind Delos' true purpose with Westworld and other parks: data mining.

In "Journey Into Night," when Bernard accompanied Charlotte down into her secret hub, he (and viewers) discovered that Delos has actually been logging all of the data that has come in through the hosts, specifically all the horrifying sexual and murderous acts that guests are performing during their excursions. While Charlotte didn't delve into any details about it, "Reunion" revealed how and why this mode of operation came into being. And that without it, the entire shebang might never have existed in the way it does now, which adds tons of relevance to the concept, both within the show and as a reflection of modern society.

Viewers saw that William is actually the one that convinced Logan's father James Delos to invest so heavily into the park. He accomplished that by discounting Delos' assumptions that Westworld was merely a theme park for sadists, and by selling him on the idea that all of this information and data-mining that the park could provide should be a pot of gold for a business man like Delos. Which is what sealed the financial deal, even though it's later hinted at that William's initial pitch was sorely short-sighted in what kind of data would be pulled in.

Having a drink with Lawrence prior to his failed attempt to sway El Lazo, the Man in Black revealed earlier in the episode that he was keenly aware of the way the park was logging visitor experiences, and he applied some religious context to it, saying people's sins were being tallied. But he also says that they had something else in mind entirely, which stands to reason that he actually did think that Westworld might merely be a good way to, say, find out what brands of alcohol people liked most within the park, or other more "innocent" capitalist tactics. So perhaps it's precisely that information that informed Robert Ford's work as Westworld evolved, meaning William is as much to blame for all of this chaos as anyone else.

Of course, it was also revealed that even though his attempts to gain El Lazo's assistance ended in a mass host exodus, The Man in Black has an ace up his sleeve of sorts. He revealed he's on his way to his greatest mistake, and we're under the assumption that what he's referring has something to do with what Delores is currently looking for, which she calls a "weapon." And that likely ties back to the scene earlier in the episode when Arnold was showing Delores around and showed her that one thing he built that he said would answer a question that no one had thought to ask yet. Which all likely will end up resulting in the watery mass grave of hosts that includes one Teddy, who learned all about his real story during the episode.

During those final minutes, we saw William have what will probably turn out to be a very important conversation with Delores within the Delos labs. Having caught her looking slightly jealous upon seeing him and his wife together, William gave Delores his super-frank confession that his infatuation with her in Season 1 was not about her sophistication as a host, but in unlocking the potential within himself to be something more. That confidence, along with the subsequent evolution within Westworld, is obviously what ends up driving his ongoing quest to find meaning within Robert's Westworld puzzles. Along with whatever happened to his wife and child, of course.

While William is thriving in his efforts to turn Westworld into a working reality, Logan offers another reflection of Season 1 characteristics. Though he showed off some of his signature bravado when the hosts are all demoed for him, Logan was later shown to be the substance abusing shell of the man we'd been introduced to, as he developed quite a distaste for all things artificially intelligent. His was the first brutal slice of reality Delores got in the episode. And we also have questions about what the Argos Initiative is, but that's for another time.

Even though we know a bit more about how William fits into Westworld's origins and downfall, there are still plenty of unknowns to theorize about, both within The Man in Black's current quest and beyond. Episodes air on HBO every Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see what shows will hit primetime soon without .as much A.I. to get confused by, head to our summer premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.