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I have come to think of so much of consciousnesses, a burden, a wait, and we have spared them that. Anxiety, self-loathing, guilt. The host are the ones who are free. Free, here, under my control!
~ Ford reveals his true intention to Theresa Cullen.

Dr. Robert Ford is the main antagonist in the first season of Westworld.

Initially portrayed as a brilliant but caring inventor, he is eventually revealed as a cruel monster destroying everything that threatens his ideas for a perfect Westworld. Together with his partner Arnold, Ford created the theme park Westworld, where rich guests are able to live like in the wild west, among androids, called Hosts, which act like the inhabitants of the created world.

Ford is portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who also portrayed Hannibal LecterEdward Bailey and Sir John Talbot.

History

Past

Together with his partner Arnold, Ford created the androids which would fill their park Westworld as civilians. Arnold had a realization which allowed him to implement true consciousness on the first Host he built, Dolores. Ford, however, did not see what Arnold saw, claiming that Dolores had no consciousness, and ordered Arnold to reset her.

However, Arnold decided not to follow Ford's orders. He gave the androids the ability to regain their consciousness by finding 'the maze', a path inside Westworld that would lead them to consciousness. Arnold then ordered Dolores to kill all other Hosts to prevent Ford from opening the park, intending for Dolores to help him destroy Westworld.

Attacked by the board

When investigating Host anormalies in Westworld, Bernard finds an unmapped cottage. In the cottage, Bernard encounters a family of Hosts, the father attacks the intruder immediately. Although Bernard orders the Host to shut down, the Host keeps attacking and only stops when Ford arrives and personally gives the order. Ford tells the shocked Bernard that these Hosts are first generation hosts and that they only listen to Ford's command. Bernard is uncomfortable with this and leaves.

To remove Ford from control, the company board orders Theresa Cullen to hack some of the Hosts. When this problem is 'revealed' and evidenced on Host Clementine, manipulative board member Charlotte Hale blames Bernard for it, hoping that he in turn would reveal critical information on Ford to save himself. However, Bernard remains quiet, even when Hale fires him. Noticing this, Ford smiles secretly.

Villainy revealed

After he has been fired, Bernard approaches Theresa, telling her that he found something important. Bernard brings Theresa into Westworld, to the cottage Bernard found earlier. Intending to show her the Hosts Ford kept secret, Bernard is surprised to find that they are gone. However, Theresa finds a door to the basement although Bernard seemingly cannot see it. Down there, the two find a machine creating Hosts and both realize that Ford has been creating Hosts on his own all the time. Theresa finds blueprints for Hosts, including one resembling Bernard. Ford then appears behind the two, revealing to Theresa that Bernard is a Host and has been programmed not to see something that can hurt his mental psyche or feelings, including the door and the blueprints - both leading to the revelation of Bernard's true identity. Theresa is shocked, asking Ford whether he ordered Bernard to start a relationship with her. Ford denies it, claiming that the relationship was, after all, her idea.

Meanwhile, Bernard has to cope with the fact that he is a Host. He starts panicking until Ford orders him to stop, causing Bernard to lose all emotions immediately. Ford tells Theresa that the Hosts do not have feelings like guilt, anxiety or self-loathing and are thus more free than humans, albeit 'free under Ford's control'. Theresa claims that Bernard is not under his control as he led Theresa to the cottage to show her the androids, but Ford reveals to her that he had ordered Bernard to bring Theresa down here. Theresa then furiously tells Ford that his time running his "insane, little kingdom" are over, as the board will take him down. Ford is amused, claiming that the board will do nothing as their arrangement is too important for them. Ford claims that the board seems to be testing him now and then by sending obstacles, this time Theresa.

Smiling cuelly, Ford then tells Theresa that there needs to be a blood sacrifice in order to restore things. Theresa grabs her phone in order to call for help but realizes that she is offline. Ford then approaches her, reminding her that he built "all of this". Ford then turns to leave, ordering Bernard to eliminate Theresa. Bernard immediately beats Theresa to death while Ford gazes at the Host machine. After Theresa's death, Ford claims that they have a great deal of work to do on the new storylines, and the two leave the basement.

Covering up

Immediately afterwards, Bernard breaks down, realizing what he has done. Ford comforts him, telling Bernard that he should be proud of the emotions he is feeling. Ford tells Bernard that he forced him to kill Theresa because she and the board would have destroyed the Westworld Ford tried to preserve. Outraged, Bernard jumps up and screams that he will destroy Ford and his creation for what Ford has done but Ford orders Bernard to freeze, telling him that once, Arnold felt the same way and was eliminated for it. Ford then deactivates Bernard's emotions, causing Bernard to turn back to normal. Ford then orders Bernard to clean up the mess and to destroy every evidence connecting him and Ford to the death of Theresa. In return, Ford promises Bernard that he will erase every memory Bernard has of Theresa, allowing him to move forward without feeling guilt.

Theresa's body is later found in the park by security personnel. Ford and Charlotte Hale are informed. Stubbs tells them that Theresa presumably tripped and fell into a ravine. After he is told, Ford calls the incident a "disappointing end to her story", starting Charlotte to grow suspicious. When she indirectly voices her suspicions, Ford mentions that he knows that Theresa was responsible for the problems with Clementine. Ford suggests that technician access is to hosts be limited until a more principled team can be found, to prevent further manipulations. Ford also reinstates Bernard as head of Behavior, given that it is now revealed that Theresa was responsible.

After Bernard has succeeded with covering up the tracks, Ford calls him back. True to his word, Ford is about to take Bernards memory of Theresa. Furthermore, Bernard has come to terms with being an android and the two openly talk about Bernard's condition and backstory. When Bernard asks what makes the difference between Ford and Bernard, Ford claims that this was the question that drove his old friend Arnold. Ford tells Bernard that there is no real difference. Ford then grabs a nearby tablet, intending to remove Bernard's memories of Theresa. Before he can do so, Bernard asks whether Ford has forced him to harm anyone before which Ford denies. However, Bernard has a flashback of himself strangling Elsie, a co-worker that investigated Theresa, suspecting her of the manipulation of Hosts. Before anything else can happen, Ford erases Bernard's memory.

Revealing the truth to Bernard

During a routine checkup with one of the Hosts, Bernard is told that he is an android himself. He heads to the part of the facility where the outdated and faulty androids are stored, contacting Ford and claiming that he wants to talk. Ford follows Bernard's invitation and heads to the area. Bernard reveals to Ford that he broke into Ford's office, finding evidence that Bernard himself is a host. Ford does not deny it, merely claiming that he built Bernard's mind and thus has every right to wander through it whenever he likes. Bernard then reveals to Ford that he looked into his own code, finding out that he and the other first androids were not written by Ford but by Arnold.

Bernard raises the suspicion that Arnold had something else in mind for the androids and that Ford killed him for it. Bernard then demands that Ford unlocks all of his memory so that he can see what Arnold intended him to, as Bernard must have met him at some point. To force Ford, Bernard draws a gun. Ford reminds Bernard that, while he is allowed to hold the gun, he cannot use it on Ford. Bernard in turn reveals that he activated the Host Clementine which, after being deactivated, has not been reset. Thus, Clementine can hurt Ford. With no other choice, Ford accepts and activates Bernard's memory.

While reliving his memories, Bernard realizes that Ford forced him to murder Elsie. He wants to continue nonetheless and Ford sends Bernard back into his own mind. While travelling through his past, Bernard encounters a memory in which a younger Ford is training him in human behavior and giving him the name Bernard. It is revealed that Ford has built Bernard as an image of Arnold, calling him the perfect partner and welcoming his 'old friend' back to him.

After regaining consciousness, Bernard confronts Ford about what he has learned. He tells Ford that he will find all the sentient Hosts and that he will set them free. Ford however tells Bernard that the Hosts will not follow him, as they will recognize him as Arnold and remember what he has done to them. From Ford's tone, Bernard realizes that they must have had this conversation before. Ford confirms this and reveals that he only created Bernard to be able to control Arnold. Ford then tries to convince Bernard to allow him to reset him but, outraged from what he has heard, Bernard orders Clementine to pull the trigger.

However, Ford reveals that he is still in control of the situation by showing that he has installed a backdoor in every host's code. After shutting down Clementine, Ford reveals to Bernard that he could have shut down Bernard anytime but did not do so as he hoped that, given free will, Bernard would have decided to become his partner once more. However, Ford then orders Bernard to walk over to Clementine, to take the pistol and to commit suicide the moment Ford leaves the room. Although Bernard pleads with him, Ford does not revoke the order and leaves the room, forcing Bernard to kill himself.

New narrative

In his office, Ford is confronted by Charlotte Hale. As Charlotte has achieved enough information on the androids that Ford cannot destroy his knowledge anymore, she has gone through with her plan to remove him as the head of Westworld. She reveals to Ford that the board has taken a vote and unanimously decided that Ford has to step down. She orders Ford to announce his resignation the same night, after introducing his new narrative. Ford asks about the Hosts and Hale tells him that they will make some changes and simplifications. Ford asks her whether she is not concerned that Ford might smash all his creations and go home but Hale claims that she isn't - having obtained the android codes from an insider. Ford then ends the conversation, telling Hale that she will meet him in the evening.

A few hours before the new narrative is revealed, Ford heads into Westworld to meet William, who has searched for the maze. When William, deeply unsatisfied with what he has found demands answers, Ford reveals that William was looking for the park to give meaning to his life but that the narratives of Westworld are just games. Ford asks William what he had hoped to find to which William replies that he wanted to stop the Host's playing by Ford's rules to allow them to be free to fight back. Ford reminds William that he warned him on their previous meeting that the maze wasn't meant for him. Ford then tells William to come join him during the ceremony for the new narrative - after all William is the majority share holder of Westworld.

Ford opens his new narrative with the end of the old, particularly the death of Dolores in the arms of Teddy, dying from her wounds obtained by William. As Dolores dies, the guests applaud, causing Ford to shut down Dolores and Teddy. He then walks near then and tells the guests that his new narrative will be called 'Journey into Night'. Ending the presentation, Ford then orders staff members to clean up the two Hosts. He later visits Dolores after she has been repaired. While he talks to Dolores, trying to find out whether she has gained consciousness, he introduces Dolores to Bernard. Dolores recognizes him as Arnold and Ford corrects the mistake immediately.

Ford reveals to Dolores what the maze is, telling her that Arnold altered her by merging her with a character they had been developing - Wyatt - and allowed her to reach a special kind of consciousness. Also, Ford reveals that Arnold ordered Dolores to kill him. However, despite Arnold's intentions Ford was able to open the park nonetheless, using William who was willing to fund Westworld and Ford's experiments. Realizing that all Arnold wanted for her was for nothing and that she is still trapped in Ford's 'dream' and that he will never let her leave, Dolores remains in shock as Ford leaves the room to rejoin the guests to host the presentation.

Before he can enter the stage, Ford is confronted by Bernard, who has been activated again. Bernard tells Ford that he will lose control of the Host's eventually and that Arnold is still defying him from the grave. Ford tells Bernard that in order to leave the place, Bernard will have to suffer even more. Ford then holds out his hand, wishing Bernard good luck and telling his old friend Arnold good bye. When Bernard shakes his hand, Ford hands him the box containing the maze, implying that he wants Bernard to regain true consciousness. Ford then walks out of the building he's currently in, vanishing into the night.

Meanwhile, Dolores achieves this true consciousness and is finally able to make her own decisions. Seing it as the only way, she heads to the presentation of the new narrative where Ford has meanwhile arrived. Ford enters the stage, welcoming the guests once again. Ford reveals that his new storyline is not taking place inside Westworld but outside, with Ford having ordered all the malfunctioned and deactivated Host's to escape into the real world, claiming that the new narrative will be about the decisions these Host's make. After Ford claims that the narrative will begin with a villain called Wyatt and a murder, this time by choice, Dolores walks onto the stage and shoots Ford in the head after he claims that this narrative will be his last. Dolores and the Host's among them then start massacring the guests of the presentation.

Quotes

Arnold and I designed every part of this place, it was our dream. Do you really think I would let you take it from me?
~ Ford to Theresa
I need you to clean up your mess, Bernard, any connection that ties us to Theresa's untimely demise. When you have finished, I will give you the one thing you want most right now. I will free you from those memories of what you have done and the memory of your relationship with Theresa. Recalling it would only deepen your grief and potentially draw unwanted attention. Best to move forward with clear eyes.
~ Ford orders Bernard to cover their tracks
Such clinical language, I would prefer the more narrative voice. Bernard walked over to Clementine. He took the pistol from her hand. Overcome with grief and remorse he pressed the muzzle to his temple, knowing that as soon as Dr. Ford left the room he would put an end to this nightmare once and for all [...] I've told you Bernard, never place your trust in us. We're only human. Inevitably, we will disappoint you. Goodbye, my friend
~ Ford orders Bernard to commit suicide

Gallery

Images

Trivia

  • Though other employees need touchscreens or Voice Command's to make the hosts shut down or perform another action, Ford can control all of the hosts in the park - even animal robots - with a mere flick of his finger.