HBO

‘Westworld’ Revealed William’s Childhood & It’s Not What Fans Expected

Of all the human characters in Westworld, fans know the most about William. Initially introduced as "The Man In Black," fans have seen him in multiple stages of his life over the first two seasons. From his idealistic young days when he first started dating into the Delos family to the self-hating embittered man he is now, the show has dipped in and out of the stages of what made The Man In Black who he is today. But for the first time, Westworld revealed William’s childhood, and for those who were expecting the same-old sob story, it was a revelation. Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 3 follow.

When fans last saw the Man in Black, he was locked up in a mental health facility. Worse, he was tricked into going by one of the Dolori, the one in Charlotte Hale. The woman he once loved, who he returned time and again to the park to abuse, taking her revenge.

As Dolores' plan to drive every human off their loops went into effect around him, William was put into what the company called "AR therapy." Strapped to a chair wearing virtual reality goggles, he found himself in All-William group therapy, and the therapist was none other than James Delos, forcing him to confront his past selves.

The first glimpse of William's childhood suggests a scenario that would be standard for his type of character. He grew up poor in a tiny apartment, escaping into fantasy books. His father comes home, seemingly drunk, screaming that he wants to see his son. A terrified young William crawls into a corner to hide.

HBO

But is this really what it seems? The irony is his therapist has committed suicide, and the orderlies have stopped showing up for work. He stays trapped in this hallucination for so long that he finally breaks through his mythological creation story.

His father is not drunk, he's upset by a call from the school. William got in a fight. William says a bully called his father a drunk and made fun of them for being poor. but William's father points out the punishment does not fit the crime. "You broke his arm! You knocked out three teeth!"

William's father is no monster, just a decent man who discovered he'd raised a violent child. William's "dark urges" he kept confined to the park were not the product of abuse. They were always inside him.

Was he born that way? Or did he choose to be a monster? These are the same questions Emily asked him her Was he a victim and a fool? Or did he choose to murder his only child?

HBO

William decides it doesn't matter. He's who he is now, and he's done terrible things. He picks up a folding chair and proceeds to beat all the old versions of himself to death, leaving nothing but the present-day outcome.

One could call it a therapeutic breakthrough, an acceptance of self. And not a moment too soon. The hallucination suddenly ends, as the goggles are removed, but not by orderlies. Bernard and Stubbs have arrived to rescue him, having located him via a tracking substance Dolores put in his blood. It finally is time for the Man in Black to return to the real world.