It may be a small one in the grand scheme of things when it comes to this series, but another of Westworld's mysteries has finally been resolved by one of its stars.
SPOILERS for Westworld ahead!
The first season of HBO's hit sci-fi series ended in chaos, throwing the park into anarchy and leaving several major characters in imminent jeopardy. That made keeping track of everyone and their condition as Season 2 picked up a bit of a challenge by itself, but the time jump that opens the second season only added to the confusion. In true Westworld fashion, we started Season 2 with the sense that everything needed to be pieced together all over again, and that was made even more complicated by the fact that certain Season 1 storylines never had any real resolution, or even a nod in the direction of one.
One of the most obvious examples of this is the case of Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward), the smart and witty programmer who served as assistant to Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright). Elsie is a key player in the inciting incidents of Season 1, as she helps Bernard diagnose and track violent and unexplained behavior in the hosts and eventually discovers that one of them was housing a satellite uplink that could be used for corporate espionage.
When she attempts to investigate further, she's attacked, and it's later revealed that Bernard (ultimately revealed to be a host designed by Robert Ford to emulate his former partner Arnold; try to keep up) strangled her, and while Bernard recovers the memory of this and thinks Elsie is dead, we never actually see the body. When Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) detects Elsie's signal and goes looking for her near the end of the season, he finds the Ghost Nation instead and is attacked. Ashley, as we saw in the Season 2 premiere, is alive and well, but there's been no real word on what happened to Elsie, if indeed anyone knows at this point.
Well, we may not know how she survived, or why, or what state she's in now, but according to Simon Quarterman — who plays park narrative writer Lee Sizemore — Elsie indeed alive and she could be popping up as early as this week's episode.
“Oh, she is! … that’s out, I can say that,” Quarterman said in a new interview with EW Radio. “Elsie is alive. We’re allowed to say that, I think.”
Quarterman's remarks confirm what many fans already suspected about Elsie. In Westworld, it's a good policy to assume that unless things get particularly gruesome and/or we see a body, no one's gone for sure. The somewhat ambiguous way in which we learned what happened between Elsie and Bernard always left a glimmer of hope for her, and it seems that hope is about to be fulfilled. Now, we're left to wonder exactly what her return will mean for the ongoing Season 2 narrative. Remember, the rest of the park's staff has no idea that Bernard is actually a host, even as Bernard himself is battling malfunctions within his own system and trying to keep up the charade that he's human while he tries to get answers.
So, does Elsie remember that it was Bernard who attacked her, and if so, has she been able to piece together why? Does Elsie still remember what she was searching for when the attack happened? Is Elsie even in any state to tell others what she knows? This all remains a mystery, with one particularly intriguing wrinkle: Ashley was ambushed by the Ghost Nation while searching for Elsie, but he's alive and out working in the park now. We don't know how Elsie got wherever it was she was hidden (we can assume Bernard moved her, but assumptions aren't a good idea with this show), but does the Ghost Nation have anything to do with where she's been? We still know very little about the Ghost Nation, but their appearance last week suggests once again that they have a bigger role to play than simply some kind of tribal menace. In Westworld, there are no easy answers, but hopefully Elsie is about to arrive to fill in at least a few blanks.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.