Much like the robot hosts of the park themselves, we're getting a lot of new information all at once on Westworld. Sunday night's episode introduced us to the fascinating back story of the mysterious "Arnold," who's name the hosts keep bringing up for no apparent reason. Dr. Ford told Bernard that Arnold died years ago in the park, but is Arnold actually still alive on Westworld? Something tells me that he's still got quite an important role to play in the upcoming action.
When Bernard told his mentor Ford that the hosts have been calling out for Arnold, who nobody seems to have heard of, Ford proceeded to tell the story of the origin of Westworld via flashback (Oh hey, young Anthony Hopkins!). Basically, Arnold became obsessed with creating real consciousness in the hosts, which according to Ford, was an actual nightmare. He based his hosts' awareness on a pyramid, starting with memory, then improvisation, then self-interest. The fourth tier of the pyramid he never quite determined, but imagined it as something like the voice of God within the hosts' minds. Eventually, Arnold lost his own mind, and spent the last years of his life totally in the park and speaking only with the hosts. He supposedly died there, and it was called an accident. Though Ford points out that it seems unlikely, as Arnold was "very, very careful."
There are several ways this story could go here, but a popular theory making its way across the internet is that Arnold is not dead at all. After all, Ford seems at least suspicious about the official manner of Arnold's death. Some believe that Arnold could be the Man in Black, who has been coming to Westworld for 30 years and is now obsessed with finding the deeper level of the "game." Another theory posits that Ford and Arnold are the same person. Half of him wants to explore the greater consciousness of the hosts, and the other half of him is aware that this is a truly terrible idea.
It's also worth noting that Arnold bares several distinct parallels to Bernard himself. Arnold's life was said to be "marked with tragedy" and Bernard is still grieving the death of his young son. Arnold became obsessed with the hosts' consciousness, and Bernard has been having clandestine interviews with Dolores, the oldest host in the park. Reddit user imjustapoorboi predicts that perhaps Bernard is a reincarnated host-version of Arnold himself or is perhaps fated to live out Arnold's greatest mistakes.
For now, Arnold remains a complete mystery. But I have a feeling that the more answers we get about him, the more questions his story will raise.