As the 68-minute pilot of HBO's Westworld unfolded, there was a ton of information to keep track of setting up the premise. Since it takes place in the not-too-distant future, the sci-fi western had a lot of rules to put in place for how the theme park for the uber-rich works. But, of course, they also needed to leave us wanting more, so some of the finer points of how Westworld, its creators, its animatronic "hosts," and its guests work together were left intentionally confusing. The pilot's repetition may have left viewers wondering: do the days reset on Westworld? In fact, they do and it's one of the easiest ways to tell hosts and guests apart.
The hosts are incredibly lifelike, fully engineered robots, designed by the theme park's creator and continually tweaked with more and more nuanced code to make them more human-seeming. Westworld also has script writers, whose sole job it is to come up with individual but intersecting "storylines" for the hundreds of hosts inside the park. Each day, the hosts "reset" their stories and repeat their tracks, until the writers switch up goings on in the park. Guests, or "newcomers" as they're known to the hosts, pay $40,000 a day for the Westworld experience and they can only stay for a maximum of two weeks. Presumably, this is so that the park's attractions continue to feel fresh to guests who have visited multiple times.
Of course, guests can interrupt a host's storyline to satisfy their every whim (most of their whims involve killing or sex, as it turns out). But hosts are programmed with objectives, so even minor deviations or improvisations based on a guest's interference won't totally throw them off course. It's a choose your own adventure game for the guests, but the hosts have a series of scripts they follow to keep the park running smoothly.
The resets are also used by the show as a device to underscore the gradual awakening of the hosts. Subtle disturbances in Dolores and Teddy's patterns, for example, are indicative of the fact that they're beginning to become self-aware and question their reality. When Dolores repeats her morning routine, she seems not to notice that her father is being played by an entirely new host, but she does kill a fly — a living creature in the park — which she's supposed to be preventatively programmed against. When Teddy repeats his routine of coming into town by train, there's a moment where he touches his heart in the spot where he was shot the night before by The Man In Black — as if he's remembering the previous night's events.
It's pretty clear that paying attention to the day resets going forward will reveal important information to us about which hosts are becoming sentient and when something is about to go awry in the park. We'll have to stay tuned to find out just how imminent an uprising is.