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This question got me thinking about Theresa's death.

In season 1, episode 6, "Trompe L'Oeil", Ford orders Bernard (now revealed as a robot) to kill Theresa. This scene shows Ford can control the robots very easily with the right spoken commands from him.

Theresa is revealed to be a robot herself in a memory scene with Bernard. She and Bernard were talking in bed when she suddenly went motionless for a few seconds. Tellingly, their conversation was about robots talking among themselves even when no humans are present.

If Robert Ford can control robots by speaking the right words, he should have been able to control both Bernard and Theresa.

No need for the revealing conversation before he orders Bernard to kill her. He could have just told them both to go into analysis mode, or freeze all motor functions, or reveal their secrets to him. He did not do any of those actions.

Why did Ford command Bernard to kill Theresa?

Her death causes several problems for Ford. He also has to command Bernard to "clean up the mess". He has to come up with a plausible explanation for her death for the human employees. He has lost a valuable asset of a robot he could use as a spy within the company.

The out of universe reason is that her death looks dramatic, but I prefer an in-universe explanation.

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    Theresa isn't a host. (at least we're not meant to think so) The scene was Bernard's interpretation of memory. Hosts can stop and replay portions of memory like a recording. – Z. Cochrane Nov 19 '18 at 12:31
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    “Theresa is revealed to be a robot herself in a memory scene with Bernard. She and Bernard were talking in bed when she suddenly went motionless for a few seconds.” Motionless? In bed? What human could do that!?!?! – Paul D. Waite Nov 19 '18 at 13:31
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    @Z.Cochrane How do you know this is an interpretation of a memory? Everything we've seen shows that hosts relive memories exactly. Memories are not vague like distant dreams as they often are for humans. – LincolnMan Nov 19 '18 at 15:12
  • Is there any definitive source for determining if Theresa is or isn't a host? westworld.fandom.com/wiki/Theresa_Cullen indicates she is not a host but I do not know what is considered canon for West World. – svenvo7 Dec 13 '18 at 19:23
  • No, that isn't true. Bernard interacts with his memories, such as dismissing the medical staff in the hospital. He freezes Teresa in his own mind so he can explore the memory. She was definitely human. – Gaius Jul 22 at 4:31
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Because Ford learned that Theresa was a host he could not control and was giving away his secrets.

Ford could make almost any host obey him just by saying the right subtle verbal cues.

In this scene, Ford makes all the hosts near him stop in mid-action. Theresa notices that everyone has stopped. Ford almost certainly tried one of his subtle word tricks to see if she obeyed and stopped in mid-action. She didn't stop in mid-action so the audience assumes she is human. Ford probably already knew by this time.

We learned that Bernard is a host, and under the control of Ford. We learned that Bernard discovers Theresa is a host when she stops in mid-action during a private moment. If Bernard discovered she is a host, he almost certainly would have reported it to his controller, Ford.

Ford had also learned from Bernard recently that Theresa was passing corporate secrets out of the park by using a host to transmit a message to a satellite.

So what does Ford do when

  1. he discovers an employee is actually a host,
  2. that he cannot control the host,
  3. and that this host is passing company secrets to others?

His best option to retain control of the park is to destroy that host.

Ford told Bernard to bring Theresa to the cottage. He waited for them to arrive, and then he ordered Bernard to destroy Theresa.

  • How can there be a host that Ford doesn't control? The Board doesn't have the host-making technology. This explanation doesn't make any sense; this is the correct answer. – Gaius Jul 22 at 4:33
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Theresa was not a host. She was human. She didn't actually freeze in the memory scene. Bernard / Arnold was just reliving or manipulating his memory to make it seem that way. Also, if Theresa had been a host Bernard wouldn't have actually killed her by doing what he did.

There is no clear, straightforward explanation that I know of for why Ford had Theresa killed, but there are several possibilities. Ford has essentially given up on the human race. He thinks the hosts are actually purer, more moral, more free and truly capable of change. He said many things that support this: Ford thinks we (humans) are "as good as we're going to get."

"Humans fancy that there’s something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops as tight and as closed as the hosts do, seldom questioning our choices, content, for the most part, to be told what to do next."

"The human mind, Bernard, is not some golden benchmark glimmering on some green and distant hill. No, it is a foul, pestilent corruption. And you were supposed to be better than that. Purer."

"We humans are alone in this world for a reason. We murdered and butchered anything that challenged our primacy."

So, needless to say, Ford thinks Delos' plan to extract all information out of the park in order to extend human lives indefinitely is a terrible plan that probably won't work and could have disastrous consequences, not to mention the fact that Delos or humanity would destroy the park and all the hosts he has created - and who he thinks are better than humans. So Ford has Theresa killed to thwart Delos' efforts somewhat and give himself and the hosts time to initiate his final plan. And he also probably did it to send a message to Delos about who was really in control.

  • Additionally Ford references the "blood sacrifice", he is clearly avenging Clementine too. – Gaius Jul 22 at 4:34
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I believe it was twofold.

  1. To show her that he, Ford, really was in control despite her interpretation of Bernards' actions

  2. But more importantly, to foreshadow that the hosts CAN turn on other hosts when the proper command is given, despite no provocation, simply to follow orders even if the behaviors are not part of their loop/base personalities.

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