'Westworld' Podcast: What's Next For the Man in Black

Is Ed Harris' gunslinger a human or a host? THR digs into that theory in the latest 'Westworld' podcast.
John P. Johnson/HBO

Forget a shot in the arm; this week's Westworld stuck a huge knife into the thing, prying the lid open on a question many fans have been asking since the start of the series.

In "Vanishing Point," season two's penultimate episode, the Man in Black (Ed Harris) completely loses his mind… or does he? There's no question that his acts of violence are twisted and disturbing, chief among them murdering his own daughter Emily (Katja Herbers) in broad daylight. When he realizes that Emily might not be a host sent by Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) after all, the Man in Black treks off to a field, points a gun at his own head, and stops just short of pulling the trigger. Instead, he drops to his knees, takes out his knife, and starts digging into his forearm. The implication is that the Man in Black has lost his grip on reality, and believes it's possible that he himself is a host — and given that it's such a front-and-center idea in the episode, it's worth considering that he's right about the true nature of his reality.

How would the Man in Black as a host practically work out? In this week's Westworld podcast, hosts Josh Wigler (THR's Westworld beat reporter) and Jo Garfein (co-founder of the non-profit Cancer Gets LOST) dig into the possibilities, with one particular idea standing out. In his first scene of the season, the Man in Black emerges from a pile of bodies, the morning after the shootout at Escalante. Is it possible that the man we see here is a host, and the real William died the same night Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) first turned on her human oppressors? That's the theory thrown out by your friendly neighborhood hosts (at least the ones in charge of the "Welcome to Westworld" podcast), though in fairness, both of them are skeptical of the possibility. 

Beyond the Man in Black's true nature, this week's Westworld podcast focuses on:

• The final ride of Teddy Flood (James Marsden), and the possibility of a comeback;

• Whether Ford is actually gone after being purged by Bernard (Jeffrey Wright);

• What's next for Maeve (Thandie Newton) now that her core permissions have been unlocked;

• Final theories about what resides on the other side of "The Door";

• And more!

Listen to our full recap and theories 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 using our feedback form or 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"
• Season 2, Episode 3: "Virtu e Fortuna"
• Season 2, Episode 4: "The Riddle of the Sphinx"
• Season 2, Episode 5: "Akane No Mai"
• Season 2, Episode 6: "Phase Space"
• Season 2, Episode 7: "Les Écorchés"
• Season 2, Episode 8: "Kiksuya"
Season 2, Episode 9: "Vanishing Point"