‘Westworld’: What Was With All Those Flies In Episode 1?

Episode 1 of HBO’s Westworld creeped out plenty of viewers when flies kept landing on the eyeballs of the robots, or “hosts.” But was there a bigger meaning behind the recurrence of them?

Spoiler alert: This article discusses Episode 1, plus the upcoming Episode 2, of HBO’s Westworld. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid spoilers.

Viewers got to repeatedly see flies landing on the eyeballs of the hosts in Episode 1 of Westworld. It was a gruesomely spectacular way to show just how inhuman the hosts really were. After all, a robot would not feel flies landing on them in the same way a human would. They are also not likely to try and blink away an obstruction landing on their eye as we would. But was there a deeper meaning to the flies in Westworld?

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, are the flies important?
HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, the fly on the sheriff [Image by HBO]

In Episode 1 of Westworld, viewers discovered that an update performed on 10 percent of the host population was causing anomalies or glitches. As Heavy pointed out, it looked like one of the instances of a fly landing on a host’s eye could have been the trigger for him to glitch. So, are the flies a trigger?

It seems unlikely the flies are a trigger for the anomalies that occurred in Episode 1 of Westworld. While instances of the flies were only shown after the advent of the update, many times the flies landed on a host’s face or eyes and didn’t cause them to glitch. Although, it could be argued that these hosts were ones that had not received the update yet in Westworld.

Also, what was learned in the first episode of Westworld was that a host cannot cause harm to another creature. Once again, by showing flies landing on hosts and them not reacting to the annoying distraction is a great way to portray this concept. The hosts can, literally, not hurt a fly in Westworld. This idea is also displayed in other ways. For example, when Teddy (James Marsden) tried to shoot the Man in Black (Ed Harris) to prevent him from attacking Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), he could not actually kill him because the Man in Black was human. When Teddy fired his gun, it did not hit the Man in Black. As yet, it is unclear exactly how the mechanics of this works in Westworld. It is possible the gun is created like the host and works in a loop with them. Or, perhaps, there is a computer chip inside that blocks the weapon firing if the host has control of it.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, Evan Rachel Wood stars as Dolores
HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 1, the fly on Dolores [Image by HBO]

By the end of Episode 1 of Westworld, though, something interesting happened. Against what all the viewers had been told about how hosts could not harm other creatures, Dolores managed to swat a fly that was buzzing around her neck. The implications of this are huge.

Throughout Episode 1 of Westworld, Dolores was questioned in regard to her father as well as her perception of reality. She was asked if she had ever told a lie (because hosts also cannot lie). Dolores responded that she had never lied, nor had she harmed another creature. Yet, here she was at the end of Episode 1, swatting and, presumably, killing flies. Considering Dolores is the oldest host in Westworld, has she glitched like her father did and was now lying. Or did she glitch after she was restored and then become like her father once she was returned home? Alternatively, could she actually be smarter than anyone else thinks? Only by tuning into Episode 2 of Westworld will reveal the answers.

What did you think of the flies in Episode 1 of Westworld? Let us know your thoughts and theories by commenting below.

Episode 2 (entitled “Chestnut”) of Westworld will air on HBO on Sunday, October 9, at 9 p.m. The synopsis is below.

“Lee pitches his latest narrative, but Dr. Ford has other ideas; Bernard and Theresa debate whether a recent host anomaly is contagious; The Man in Black conscripts a condemned man, Lawrence, to help him uncover Westworld’s deepest secrets.”

[Featured Image by HBO]