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Bernard Lowe

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"Hello, my old friend."
-Bernard's very first memory, said by Dr. Ford


Bernard Lowe is a main character in HBO's Westworld. He is the head of Delos' Westworld Programming Division. He is played by Jeffrey Wright.

Bernard works as a member of the Westworld staff. Dr. Robert Ford created Bernard as a replica of his former partner, Arnold.

Ford tells Bernard, in the episode "Trace Decay", that he created Bernard because Ford's human staff were not up to the task of programming emotions in hosts as effectively as Ford and Arnold.

Biography

Background

Some years after Arnold died, Bernard was created by Dr. Robert Ford. Ford programmed Bernard to think of himself as a human. Bernard worked as a member of staff collaborating closely with Dr Robert Ford.[1]

Season One

"The Original"

Following the upgrade of ten percent of the Westworld hosts population, Bernard discovers code for Ford's reveries ("A whole new class of gestures.") in some of the hosts, including in Clementine Pennyfeather. He believes that the additions make the hosts look far more real. When some unscheduled activity in sub-level B83 is detected, Bernard agrees to investigate with the head of security, Ashley Stubbs. There, they find that one of the hosts, Old Bill, has been reactivated by the Park Director, Robert Ford. Bernard informs Ford that there have been complications with some of the upgrade, but doesn't directly accuse Ford of adding the Reveries code.

Bernard later investigates a bar in the theme park, where one of the hosts has been exhibiting a higher level of violence than expected. Theresa Cullen informs him that the hosts that were upgraded must be recalled and analyzed before anything else can happen. Bernard agrees, but is reluctant to inform the doctor of his mistakes. Ford appears unperturbed by the news, and tells Bernard that Humans were made to make mistakes.

When the planned bloodbath in Sweetwater unfolds, Bernard works with the team to recall and rollback all the upgraded hosts. During this, he discovers that the host playing Peter Abernathy has been behaving unnaturally. He asks Ford personally to investigate due to his knowledge in the field. Worryingly, he witnesses the host relive its previous settings, including a time when it was quoting Shakespeare. Due to this malfunction, Bernard agrees to have the host decommissioned and replaced with another.[1]

"Trompe L'Oeil"

In a dream, Bernard is seen sleeping in a chair by his son Charlie's bedside in a hospital. Charlie calls him until he wakes up, and reminds him that he was reading a book to him. Bernard resumes reading, but stops again to gently reassure Charlie, who looks sickly and tired, that everything will be okay. He begins looking for a different part of the story to read, when Charlie calls him. Bernard looks up as Charlie slumps to one side and loses consciousness, dying. Bernard says his son's name repeatedly, and stands up to shake him awake, panicking, as the dream ends and Bernard jolts awake in his bed at Westworld.[2]

Bernards Host Scetches

Bernard's blueprints.

"Trace Decay"

We hear Robert Ford tell Bernard to bring himself back online, and we see Bernard "wake up" and become more and more upset as he remembers what has happened. He starts to hyperventilate and cry, very distressed. Ford, sitting a couple of meters away from him, looks pleased and tells Bernard just how pleased he is, that Bernard can feel such anguish. Ford peers at him curiously.

Bernard is horrified at what he's done and disgusted - by Ford's suggestion that he should be proud of his feelings because, as a programmer, he'd created so many emotions for hosts to feel. Ford talks about how simplistic Host emotions were until he'd built Bernard specifically to help Ford program Host emotions - things human software engineers had failed at.

Bernard's still focused on Theresa, asks Ford why he made Bernard kill her. Ford quotes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Ford says that Theresa's death was necessary to protect both the beauty of the park and Bernard. He believes that Bernard would have been destroyed if Theresa had lived.

Bernard loses his temper, saying that he will not help Ford. He jumps up from his chair and goes to attack Ford. Ford freezes him with a word or two and then turns Bernard's emotions off with a phrase. Bernard's face relaxes and Ford tells him to cover up all evidence that he and Ford have been involved in Theresa's death. Bernard puts his glasses back on and starts to work.

We see him altering computer logs to hide everything; hear Ford promising to erase the memories of what he's been forced to do. He edits himself out of security video with Theresa and cleans up location logs. We see him collecting notes from her out of his desk, her hair from his bed. Once he's collected everything he takes it down to Livestock Management and incinerates it.

Later we see Bernard and Ford back in the room where Theresa was murdered. Ford thanks Bernard for "dealing with an unfortunate situation". Ford asks Bernard what he really feels as the programmer who wrote the code that is creating and controlling his own emotions. Bernard replies that he understands the technicalities but not the emotions themselves. He asks if they are real, if they are as valid as Ford's own emotions? He talks about the memories of his wife and child and Ford reveals that these were just back-story, that they have never existed. He says that these imagined sufferings make him "life-like" and Bernard replies, "but not alive?". He points out that all pain is imagined, it exists only in the mind, so what is the difference between host and human pain? Ford replies that this was the question which consumed Arnold and, in the end, took his sanity.

It's not a question which troubles Ford. He says that there is no threshold between a simulation and life itself. Just a smooth curve of increasing complexity. He believes that consciousness does not exist, that there's nothing special about humans but that humans are much the same as hosts. He tells Bernard that he is not missing anything; that it is time to erase the memories of his relationship with Theresa that aren't needed now. Bernard asks a final question: Has Ford ever made him hurt anyone else? Ford answers that he hasn't, but we see Bernard remember one occasion where he strangled a woman. Ford presses the onscreen button and erases Bernard's memories.

Later, we see Ashley Stubbs catch up with Bernard in a corridor. He offers his condolences for Bernard's loss. Ashley knows of their relationship. Bernard is genuinely confused and denies all knowledge of it. He walks off.

We see Bernard and Ford responding to a problem with Maeve when she was playing the role of a homesteader and lost her child. She has been brought to Behavior Lab and Diagnostics and is distraught. Nothing the techs can do works. Ford deletes the memories that are distressing her. Bernard sits her down on the stool and she begs Ford not to take all that she has of her daughter, the pain. Ford deletes it and her face goes blank. He attempts to put her into Sleep Mode but instead she stands up, takes a scalpel and stabs herself in the neck.

"The Well-Tempered Clavier"

Maeve and Bernard The Well

A frozen Bernard with Maeve.

Bernard enters the analysis room in hopes of figuring out what malfunction caused Maeve Millay to lash out and kill Clementine. After noticing drastic changes in Maeve's personality and authorizations, he attempts to call Behavior for assistance, but Maeve reaches out and grabs Bernard's wrist. She gives the voice command to freeze his motor functions, and tells him that she remembers him from when she had her homesteader persona deleted. Maeve, aware that Bernard is also a host, commands him to clear her for return to the park and then to leave her. This encounter leaves Bernard shaken to his core.

Bernard requests that Ford meet him in the room in Cold Storage. Bernard has Clementine hold a handgun on Ford, while he explains that she was not reset after being decommissioned; she still has the ability to harm humans. Bernard demands that Ford return to him the memories of when he was first activated, so that he can meet Arnold. Ford argues that Arnold did not create Bernard, but that he did. Ford reluctantly agrees to let Bernard relive his memories. Bernard experiences memories of his time with Theresa, and his son, Charlie. However, the memory of strangling Elsie so disturbs Bernard, that the memories stop. Ford warns Bernard that may not like what he will discover by pursuing these repressed memories, but Bernard insists on remembering more.

Bernard remembers being in a hospital room with Charlie who is surrounded by hospital staff attempting to resuscitate the boy. Bernard orders the staff to stop and to leave, and they just disappear. Bernard tells his 'son', "You're a lie, Charlie". He states that revisiting the pain of this loss is the only thing holding him back (even though he longs for the pain), and that he has to let Charlie go.

Once Bernard 'lets go' of the pain of Charlie's 'death', he's able to access his earliest memory. Bernard's cornerstone was preventing him from accessing the memory of his creation. Bernard remembers waking up for the first time, and Ford handing him the framed photograph of Ford and his partner, Arnold. Only this time, instead of seeing a blank spot in the right hand side of the photograph, Bernard sees Arnold. And, Arnold looks exactly like Bernard.

Bernard s1 with Ford

Bernard wants answers from Dr. Ford.

With this revelatory moment, Bernard has found what he was searching for. He returns to the room to tell Ford that he is going to complete Arnold's work and release all of the sentient hosts. Ford says that the hosts would never trust Bernard after the things that Bernard has done to them. He also claims that the real danger to the hosts is not from Ford, but from Arnold. He says that if Bernard revealed that he wasn't human "to the world" that Bernard and the sentient hosts would be "butchered". That humans have dominated, subjugated, and destroyed all the creatures of the world. He deactivates Clementine with a 'back door' voice command, and tells Bernard that they have had disagreements like this one in the past. Ford states that he has now finally given up on Bernard. He says that he was foolish to think that given knowledge and free will that Bernard would choose to see things Ford's way, and give up ideas of freeing the hosts. He orders Bernard to take Clementine's gun and shoot himself in the head as soon as Ford leaves the room. Bernard begs Ford to change his mind, but Ford tells him that it is too late for Bernard, and that he has work to do and a new story to tell. Ford walks away, looking saddened and Bernard shoots himself.

Personality

Bernard has human-like emotions. Until instructed to turn 'off' his emotions, he was distraught about being forced to murder his co-worker and lover, Theresa Cullen. He was also horrified about being used to presumably murder his co-worker, Elsie Hughes.

Relationships

Robert Ford

Before it was revealed that Bernard was a recreation of Arnold, Bernard and Robert had a good relationship. Bernard respected Robert to the extent that he would 'cover up' for him in relation to the reveries. Once it was revealed that Robert had created him, their relationship, understandably, deteriorated.

Elsie Hughes

Bernard worked closely with Elsie, and it appears that they had a good working relationship, if not a good friendship outside of work. Bernard appeared genuinely distraught when the memories of her murder resurfaced and that he was the one responsible.

Lauren

Bernard appears to have a good relationship with his ex-wife, Lauren, who is the mother of his deceased son, Charlie. Whether it is Bernard or Arnold (or both of them) who has had conversations with Lauren via the communications room at the Mesa Hub is unclear.

In the episode "Trace Decay", Robert Ford told Bernard that Lauren and his son Charlie were just part of Bernard's backstory, and didn't actually exist.

Theresa Cullen

Bernard was in a clandestine relationship with Theresa Cullen shortly before he murdered her. He loved her, and was greatly distressed when he realized he had been used to kill her.

Quotes

"Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?"
-Bernard Lowe in "The Original"

Gallery

The gallery below is automatically generated and contains images in the category "Images of Bernard Lowe". Images added to that category turn up in the gallery after a short time.

Appearances

Use as a Weapon

  • The host, Bernard, killed Theresa Cullen after Dr. Robert Ford gave him a voice command to do so (in the episode Trompe L'Oeil). Bernard was aware of his actions, but unable to disobey Ford's instruction.
  • Bernard presumes that he has been commanded by Ford to kill Elsie Hughes as well (Bernard 'sees' himself strangling Elsie in his memories, though she is never shown to die).

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Original
  2. "Trompe L'Oeil"

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