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Major spoilers below for the third episode of Westworld Season 2, titled "Virtu E Fortuna."
Another Westworld installment, another round of stretching one's mind around the various mysteries and oddities tied to the titular location (and its surrounding areas). The third episode finally brought back host Peter Abernathy, whose artificial brain is filled with information dire to the safety of whatever humans remained in the park after Delores' chaotic mission was put into overdrive. Peter and Delores had an emotionally poignant reunion, and Bernard found out that all the information inside Peter's head is trapped beneath a complicated encryption. (Not to mention everything else that happened with Maeve, Armistice, Delores, the Man in Black and more.)
CinemaBlend spoke with the always excellent Louis Herthum about Peter's big return to Westworld, and even though he obviously couldn't divulge all the big answers -- since creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy aren't so forthcoming with details -- he did share what he could. So without further ado, let's dive in.
Will We Find Out Why Peter Never Got On The Train?
Back in Season 1, Peter seemed destined for a revolutionary storyline that would take him out of the confines of the park and into the real world, similar to how Maeve's first big arc concluded. Unfortunately, we never learned what happened to Peter after that, and his appearance in "Virtu E Fortuna" didn't clear it up very much. When I asked Louis Herthum if we'd learn what happened there, he started off predictably vague, but in a way where hope and optimism can be inserted between the lines.
As viewers noticed, Peter was definitely talking about that planned escape during Episode 3, as he kept talking about needing to get to the train. When I voiced my assumption that something detrimental occurred that stopped Peter from reaching his transport, Louis Herthum continued:
Having heard that, fans might not have to reach too hard to figure out what happened here. Peter seemingly isn't able to realize when he's in major danger, and can only temporarily keep focused when Delores visits him. So what are the chances that he would have been able to make it all the way through his train mission without having his attention broken by any number of outside influences? (Such as someone humming "Battle Hymn of the Republic.") Peter was probably his own biggest obstacle there.
Why Does Delores Still Love Peter, Despite All She Knows?
If you're only watching certain Westworld scenes, you might think that Evan Rachel Wood's Delores is on a mission to destroy everything and everyone, with Teddy's hesitance growing all the more troublesome for her. But then when she's back in front of her Sweetwater papa Peter, her emotional core rears its tearful head. I asked Louis Herthum why Delores still holds that connection so high, despite understanding the true nature of the hosts. In his words:
That makes a lot of sense. For Delores, there are far more false aspects of "reality" than there are genuine ones, so her relatively newfound mega-sentience can be considered quite the depressing evolution. But she obviously has pure-ish love for Teddy, despite all that, and she similarly holds a big spot in her heart device for Peter, with whom she's shared many fond memories. Along with a ton of heartbreaking ones that likely strengthened her devotion to him, since humans are to blame for all of it.
The actor spoke a bit more about how close his relationship is with Evan Rachel Wood, which made their emotional moments in this most recent episode all the more palpable. I figured it might be a little harder for Herthum in these scenes, since Delores is able to emote freely, while Peter is caught in an endless loop of personalities. Here's what he told me about that.
The scene definitely inspired viewer flashbacks to late in Season 1, from Dr. Ford and Peter's big scene, in which the actor expertly flipped between his various storyline personas from the past. I could watch Herthum do those kinds of scenes all day long, assuming I wouldn't have nightmares all the time.
Does Host Peter Have Any Real-World Connections?
Once it became clear that Bernard was actually the host version for Westworld's co-mastermind Arnold, it kicked open the door for theories about other park hosts whose personas and/or looks were based on those of real life people. After all, Delores was created as a pseudo-substitution for Arnold's dead son, despite assumedly not looking anything like him. And considering how important Peter has been in this story -- he was the first to utter the "violent delights" line, after all -- I had to ask Louis Herthum about that potential reveal.
Similar to the train answer, this response is one that comes with a winking shrug. Louis Herthum humorously chided me for wanting to know too much, and I couldn't deny my curiosity coming from both professionalism and from personal fandom. Regardless, though, it does sound like we might get to learn some secret origins behind how the Peter host first came into being. And we only have about 375,000 guesses as to what that origin story might be.
Is Keeping Westworld's Secrets Hard?
While the performance aspect will always be the most challenging part of being an actor, there's something to be said about the efforts made to keep spoilers from reaching the public. Especially on a show like Westworld, where seemingly every detail reveals something major about someone. Louis Herthum found out in December of 2016 that he was being tapped to return for Season 2, which he stayed quiet about. And all in all, he apparently doesn't worry too much about that side of it. Here's his response.
Because there are so many secrets brimming in Westworld, it might actually be easy to avoid spoiling them by just not talking to anyone about anything. That might complicate personal relationships, but on Westworld, all personal relationships are complicated. So it all works out, right? Well, maybe not for Peter.