'Westworld' Podcast: A Closer Look at the Ghost in the Machine

Giancarlo Esposito as El Lazo in "Westworld" season 2 episode 2, "Reunion" - H Publicity 2018
Courtesy of HBO

"You need to let go at some point."

Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) speaks these words in the latest episode of Westworld, speaking to his colleague Arnold (Jeffrey Wright), but also to another set of ears as well — several sets, in fact.

The park's co-founder was assassinated at the end of the show's first season, seemingly putting an end to Hopkins' time on the show. As it turns out? Not quite, considering the return of Robert Ford in "Reunion," if only in flashback. Except it's not only in flashback: Ford's words fuel the actions of El Lazo, the gunslinger played by Giancarlo Esposito, the actor best known as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul villain Gus Fring. During the "present day," El Lazo speaks to the Man in Black (Ed Harris) with the voice of Ford at his disposal: "This game was meant for you, William, but you must play alone."

In the first episode of the season, characters and viewers alike see Ford's body sprawled on the ground, two weeks after he was shot to death. But since that time, Ford's words have continued to reverberate throughout the park. Indeed, Hopkins' voice has echoed throughout the new season. "Dead isn't what it used to be," the Man in Black tells Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) when they meet up again in "Reunion," and it feels like a mission statement for the show at large, and potentially for Ford specifically. 

Before the season began, Louis Herthum (who plays Peter Abernathy) supplied The Hollywood Reporter with a "fake spoiler," one of the many we rounded up heading into year two of Westworld. Recall his words: "Doctor Ford was not killed. That was the host that he was baking down in the basement. He sent his host out to actually take the bullet to the head. The reason you should have known it was the handshake between him and Bernard. That clue that you could tell a host by their handshake? That should have clued you in." When told that his story sounded eerily plausible, Herthum replied: "Trust me, I would be scared as hell to tell you something that actually happens, so I have to make sure I'm telling you something I absolutely know isn't going to happen!" 

Is it possible that those words contained at least a sliver of truth — that somewhere, lurking within the minds of the hosts and possibly beyond, the ghost of Robert Ford is waiting to become corporeal once again?

Ford's future is one of the subjects discussed this week in "Welcome to Westworld," the Post Show Recaps and THR podcast collaboration hosted by Josh Wigler (THR's Westworld beat reporter) and Jo Garfein (founder of the non-profit Cancer Gets LOST). Other topics discussed this week:

• The first new sighting of Logan (Ben Barnes) since season one, and his potential future as we move forward in season two;

• The big reveal that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and other hosts have actually left the park in the past;

• The Man in Black's "greatest mistake," the "weapon" Dolores seeks, and where the two might meet;

• The increasing disparity between Dolores and Teddy (James Marsden), not to mention Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her traveling companions;

• One possible theory about Ford's wherabouts: swimming inside the mind of a very familiar character;

• And more!

Listen to the podcast in the player below:

Make sure you don't miss an episode of "Welcome to Westworld" by subscribing to the show on iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice. Send in comments and questions in the field below, by using our feedback form, or by reaching out to Josh and Jo directly on Twitter. Keep checking THR.com/Westworld all season long for news, interviews, theories and more.

"Welcome to Westworld," and welcome to our handy guide collecting every episode of the podcast:

• Season 1 Podcasts: All found on PostShowRecaps.com
• Season 2, Episode 1: "Journey Into Night"
Season 2, Episode 2: "Reunion"