By Episode 2, Redditors had already noticed that we're shown two different logos for the park, indicating that we're seeing it at different time periods.
The first logo is the one we see as William and Logan first enter the park, while the latter is from Dr. Ford's (Anthony Hopkins) modern storyline. Significantly, the only other time we see the first logo is in a flashback with Ford some 30 years prior.
Redditor Where_isJessica_Hyde also picked up on the significance of William being given white and black hats to choose from, and questioned whether some trauma he experiences in the park causes him to "turn evil" as the Man In Black following Episode 2. Another Reddit user, CQME, agreed, pointing out that the "83rd subfloor where all the malfunctioning androids are put down looks like a run-down version of the subway William takes to initially arrive at Westworld."
Still others noticed the extreme similarity between the knives William and the Man In Black carry, and another Redditor, Paxmagister, noted that both men perform the exact same action when Dolores initially drops a can from her horse.
Outside of the Reddit-verse, journalists have identified some major pieces of supporting evidence proving William = MIB, too. Folks over at Thrillist started building a case for this theory following Episode 3, "The Stray," when they identified that Maeve (Thandie Newton) hadn't yet been seen in William's timeline, and that it's actually Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) who's the brothel owner when he visits Sweetwater. The town's de facto bounty hunter also seems to be played by different hosts in William's and the Man In Black's storylines, and the narratives offered to guests are different, too — for Teddy (James Marsden) in Episode 1, a sheriff is seeking recruits for his posse, while in Episode 2, it's the US Army who's hoping to recruit William and Logan. Plus, as the eagle-eyed Thrillest writer identified, the town's conflicting "Wanted" signs seem to indicate inflation over time — the poster William looks at in Episode 3 offers a mere $100 reward, while posters in the Man In Black's narrative promise $500.
Hitflix also raised a good point — in Episode 5, we hear Logan talk about Westworld co-creator Arnold's death and the park's subsequent financial issues as if they'd just recently happened. But later in this episode, the Man in Black refers to the same dilemma as something that sounds like it was resolved long ago — thanks to him.
The fact these Redditors are almost certainly correct shouldn't come as a surprise — HBO President Casey Bloys himself recently remarked how impressed he was by the internet's fan theories; specifically how close they were getting to the truth.
“There are a lot of theories out there, and with some of them, I’ve been very impressed with how they’ve constructed the guesses. I’ll just say, they’re getting close," Bloys told Variety on Thursday (October 27). "I love reading the fan theories online ... I think people will get the answers they’re looking for by the end of Season 1. A lot of the ones that people are buzzing about."
He also went on to tease that viewers "will see how Ford and the Man In Black play out by the end, story-wise."
But if what we're watching is, indeed, two separate storylines — why is Dolores the same in them? Redditors figured that one out, too.
As we've seen, Westworld's creators recycle the same hosts again and again as different characters with different storylines (like with Lawrence/El Lazzo). Dolores was referred to by Bernard as the oldest host in the park, so it's entirely plausible that she fits into both time periods. But why would they keep her as the same character for 30 plus years?
According to Redditor YoPhatMama, that's because her "violent loop is punishment."
"Being the oldest host in the park, you would think Ford would give Dolores a better loop. Her loop with her parents being killed, sometimes Teddy and her being possibly raped and killed could be punishment for Arnold asking her to destroy the park before he died," they wrote. After Episode 5, we know that Arnold did, indeed, ask this of Dolores, and that Ford had a strangely volatile reaction when Dolores asked him if they were "old friends." So this is yet another Reddit theory that totally checks out.
A lot about the show's trajectory remains unanswered (like with Bernard — is he Arnold? A robot himself?), but one thing's for sure — we'll be checking out Reddit for more clues in weeks to come.