These days it's almost hard to imagine what watching TV would be like without the brilliant minds of Reddit trying desperately to figure out the outcome with a vast arrya of possible theories. HBO's new show Westworld, for example, definitely invites speculation, and the internet has been abuzz with theories about it since it began. In fact, a couple of them have become very popular. For example, the Westworld theories about different timelines will blow your mind.
Personally, I'm inclined to take the Occam's razor approach to television, and tend to believe that the plotline with the fewest complicated twists and turns is most likely to be true. However, I just can't seem to shake the idea that the events of the show happening on different timelines might just be accurate. The theory is that Ed Harris' Man in Black and Jimmi Simpson's William are actually the same person that fans are watching in two different time periods. This theory supposes that something happens to the 30 years younger Man in Black, William which eventually turns him into the violent and sadistic creature who takes pleasure in torturing and raping Dolores as well as murdering almost every host in sight, except the ones who can be of use. It is quite a leap as far as character arcs go, but certainly not unheard of.
Redditor AphoticAutumn has compiled a pretty impressive list of evidence pointing to this theory being true, many of which include some suggestive editing by the show, which deliberately compares the Man in Black and William, especially as concerns Dolores. For example, in Episode 2 the voice of Bernard is heard asking Dolores if she remembers, transitioning directly to a shot of William as he first arrives. Parallels are drawn again between William, the Man in Black (and Teddy) in that they all pick up her can of condensed milk at some point.
Other Redditors, such as cmdrNacho point to the changes in the Westworld logo as evidence that the action is taking place is alternate timelines. They argue that the logo William sees is more old fashioned than the present day timeline. It's a subtle detail for sure, but one that could make all the difference in regards to what's really going on here.
Some, like Redditor _TommyDanger_, argue that Episode 4, titled "Dissonance Theory" essentially shut down this theory, as it is clearly in the present time that Dolores is having her issues and has gone off of her loop. Others remain unconvinced, however, and are determined it's simply a misdirect to throw us off the scent. As always, we'll just have to wait and see.