‘Westworld’ Season 2: What Is The Cradle And How Can Viewers Tell If They Are In It?

John P. JohnsonHBO

When Season 1 of HBO’s Westworld revealed multiple storylines, many fans were already in the know, having deduced this from, among other things, costume differences. Now, moving forward into Season 2, viewers are much more aware of what is presented in front of them on the screen and factor in differences to accommodate time changes and varying storylines. Now, Episode 6 of Westworld has introduced yet another storyline where people will have to differentiate between the current stories and time frames already present.

Called The Cradle (also known as CR4-DL), viewers were introduced to it when Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) discovered that humans were no longer able to override host commands on account of it hijacking the commands. Prior to this point in Westworld, viewers had never even heard of this system.

So, what is The Cradle?

Basically, if you’ve seen the Matrix movies, you can liken The Cradle to that. The Cradle is a program that contains “simulations of different narratives in the park for testing,” according to the Huffington Post. However, according to Refinery 29, The Cradle is more like “a backup for each of the intricately-crafted hosts; a way for Delos to preserve the work that went into detailing their appearances, their preferences, their mannerisms, the very things that make them so human.”

Regardless, while The Cradle in Westworld can offer simulations, it was never designed to control or override human commands.

The Cradle cannot be accessed remotely and Elsie and Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) had to travel to its physical location in order to work out why it was controlling the narratives when it should never have been able to.

HBO's 'Westworld' Season 2, Episode 6, Phase Space, The Cradle, Bernard Lowe and Elsie Hughes
Featured image credit: John P. JohnsonHBO

Once there, Bernard decided to have his host brain ball removed and placed into The Cradle in order for him to locate the source of what was controlling The Cradle. Of course, once there, Bernard then discovered that Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was the one pulling the strings in Westworld, such as he had done before he was killed in the Season 1 finale.

Which means that Dr. Ford is likely living on inside the coding of Westworld. If this is the case, it could be proof that he is controlling the hosts and they are not really becoming self-aware like viewers first thought.

While this is all very interesting, narrative-wise, it also adds somewhat of a problem for viewers: how do you know what you are watching is real or simply a part of The Cradle?

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Well, some clever viewers have already worked it out, according to the discussion on Episode 6 of Westworld on Reddit.

It seems that whenever viewers are seeing The Cradle reality, the aspect ratio changes for that scene, as you can see below with the image of Dr. Ford from the very end of Episode 6.

HBO's 'Westworld' Season 2, Episode 6, Phase Space, Dr Ford in The Cradle
Featured image credit: HBO

So, it is very easy now to identify when the narrative is occurring inside The Cradle while watching from now on. However, as some viewers have also noted, this aspect ratio change is not only present in Episode 6 of Westworld Season 2. Already, viewers have noted that the first episode of Season 2 shows a scene with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Bernard/Arnold that is shown in this new ratio aspect. Episode 6 of Season 2 also shows this ratio aspect in a scene involving Dolores in a wet dress, according to Redditor, beefstick86. As a result of this, it seems likely many fans will review Season 1 to see if this ratio aspect pops up anywhere else.

Season 2 of Westworld returns with Episode 7 on Sunday, June 3, at 9 p.m. ET. According to Elle, this episode will be titled “Les Ecorches.”