Westworld has no shortage of tragic characters. But perhaps the most tragic of all, as fans are quickly learning, is Bernard Lowe. Once thought to be a normal human and a behavioral specialist at the park, last week's episode revealed that Bernard was secretly a host — one controlled by his "mentor" Robert Ford. Horrifically, Ford is using Bernard to do his dirty work, in the most literal sense. Viewers already saw Bernard commit one murder on "Trompe L’Oeil." But did Bernard kill Elsie on Westworld too?
By far the most disturbing scene so far on Westworld is the visual of Bernard emotionlessly killing Theresa, his former lover. Of course, Bernard had no idea what he was doing — one line from Ford and the bespectacled technician was casually breaking Theresa's head open against a wall. Despite not being a robot, but rather an ordinary, villainous man, Ford was completely unmoved by ordering Theresa's death. That alone suggested that this wasn't the first time that Bernard had been forced to "take care" of someone on Ford's behalf.
Shortly before her death, Theresa questioned whether Ford had used Bernard to eliminate Arnold. Ford claimed that Bernard hadn't been around when Arnold was killed. Though Ford is a phenomenal manipulator and liar, his assurance that Bernard hadn't killed Arnold seemed legitimate. On the flip side, when Bernard later questioned Ford generally about whether he had ever forced him to kill someone else, Ford did have a moment of hesitation — followed by Bernard's heartbreaking flashback of what seemed to be a memory.
Feeling that Bernard's guilt and pain over Theresa's death was unnecessary, Ford decided to use his control over his robot-protege to remove the memory of the murder. Right before he did this, Bernard asked him that fateful question. Ford, obviously lying, said Bernard hadn't been used to kill anyone else before. However, Bernard then had an extremely brief, half a second flash of himself strangling Elsie to death.
Suffice it to say, Twitter was distraught over the apparent confirmation of the brainy, self-assured behavioral specialist's death. Especially the horrible manner in which she went.
Of course, just because fans saw a few seconds of Elsie being strangled, this doesn't necessarily mean she is 100 percent dead — although the odds are extremely, extremely high that she's gone for good. There's a very minor chance that Bernard managed to break Ford's control over him before actually killing her and warned Elsie to flee before he lost control again. That would explain her absence for the past few episodes.
Unfortunately, that idea is a stretch. Elsie is probably dead and gone, and the only way she'll be seen again is if Ford decides to create an Elsie-host to take real-Elsie's place. Though her death is undeniably tragic, there are a few bright sides. For one, the fact that Bernard recalled Elsie's murder, even for a moment, suggests that he is beginning to recall his erased memories, as the other hosts have been doing.
Even if Bernard doesn't make much headway in breaking Ford's control over him, there's also the chance that Ashley Stubbs might put two and two together. After Ford erased Bernard's memory of his affair with Theresa, Bernard acted overly nonchalant about her death. This tipped off Stubbs, who knew that Bernard and Theresa were involved. During the last conversation between Stubbs and Bernard, it was clear that Stubbs thought something strange was going on.
Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before he figures out Bernard's true nature and what Ford is up to — though I still would have preferred if Elsie had gotten that plot herself.