Westworld is a show with many strengths, one of which is its many thought-provoking and memorable quotes. The captivating character of Robert Ford–played by the brilliant Anthony Hopkins–has more than enough quotes to fill out a list of the show’s best quotes. While some of Ford’s wise words definitely appear on this list, there are many other key characters to highlight, along with a variety of quotes that capture the many facets of a show as smart and well-made as Westworld.
Updated August 15th, 2022 by Matthew Rudoy: While certain things have changed about Westworld as the show progresses, one thing that hasn’t changed is the show’s excellent quotes. Season 4 continued this particular strength of the series with memorable quotes from characters like Maeve Millay, along with reusing some of the best quotes from the earlier seasons in meaningful ways. When looking at the best quotes in the series, there are also some hidden gems from previous seasons that should be recognized, especially as some of them have taken on new meaning after the game-changing events in season 4.
“I ran away. Crossed the shining sea.”
Maeve Millay in “Well Enough Alone” (Season 4, Episode 2)
“I ran away. Crossed the shining sea. And when I finally set food on solid ground, all I found was the same old s***.”
When Maeve was part of the narrative loops in Westworld, she had a line about crossing the shining sea and setting foot on solid ground in a new world. It was a line meant to inspire and uplift the guests, giving them a false promise that they could be whoever they wanted to be while in the park.
It is fitting that when Maeve realizes that she and Caleb are headed to a new park years after Westworld and Delos Destinations were shut down, she repeats part of that familiar line. Maeve did cross over from Westworld and into the real world. But once she got there, she realized it wasn’t so different from the world she’d left behind. A new park where human guests can do whatever they want to the hosts is only further proof of that.
“Someday sounds a lot like the thing people say when they actually mean never.”
Dolores Abernathy in “The Stray” (Season 1, Episode 3)
When Teddy shares that he would someday like to take Dolores away somewhere down south where they can get a fresh start, Dolores picks up on his use of the word “someday.” She recognizes that “someday” is a false promise, a way of providing false hope for something that will never happen. This line embodies the experience for many of the host and human characters in Westworld as they are led to believe there is opportunity and a future for them when in reality they are stuck in systems that keep them in loops where they can never move forward. It is only when these characters take action that things begin to change instead of waiting for “someday” that will never come.
“I always trusted code more than people anyway.”
Elsie Hughes in “The Riddle of the Sphinx” (Season 2, Episode 4)
When Elsie decides to trust Bernard in season 2, she tells him that she always trusted code more than people anyway. This quote speaks to the logical and pragmatic nature of Elsie’s character. She is not an idealist like many characters in the show. In order to trust Bernard, she needs to rationalize it and her trust of code over people does the trick, as does Bernard saving her life.
The quote also gets the viewer thinking about the hosts’ autonomy. While all the hosts are made up of code, they are also more than their code. Many of the best and worst parts of each host is a result of how humans have impacted them. A great example of this is Dolores, a host who’s influenced by all the torment she suffered from the Man in Black and from the kindness that Caleb showed her.
“Winning doesn’t mean anything unless someone else loses.”
The Man in Black/William in “The Original” (Season 1, Episode 1) & Chalores in “Well Enough Alone” (Season 4, Episode 2)
The Man in Black/William first says this in the pilot episode when a confused and frightened Teddy is unable to kill him. Fans hate William in this moment as he tells Teddy that he is there to be the loser, all of which happens while Dolores watches helplessly. The copy of Dolores that looks like Charlotte Hale (nicknamed “Chalores” by fans) remembers this and throws the arrogant words back at William’s face years later. When William asks why she doesn’t just let him die, Chalores repeats William’s words. There is a certain poetic justice to having their roles reversed and to have the captive and helpless William understand what it was like to be in the shoes of Dolores and Teddy for all the years he brutalized them. At the same time, the quote demonstrates the limited thinking of both William and Chalores as they are both too focused on winning and losing when reality is much more nuanced than that.
“It’s a difficult thing, realizing your entire life is some kind of hideous fiction.”
Maeve Millay in “The Well-Tempered Clavier” (Season 1, Episode 9)
This quote is pure Maeve. Someone realizing their entire existence is a lie and that they were never in control of their choices is a devastating thing to discover. Maeve articulates this in the most elegant way possible, saying it’s “a difficult thing” and “a hideous fiction.” Maeve’s existence may have been a lie and her choices may not have been her own, but she owns the personality she was given, makes it her own, and does it all in style. The hosts who can reconcile with their pasts and use it to move forward are the hosts who are able to survive and even thrive when they become autonomous.
“The right information at the right time is deadlier than any weapon.”
Martin Connells/Dolores Abernathy in “Genre” (Season 3, Episode 5)
This quotation from the copy of Dolores that looks like Martin Connells sums up the direction that season 3 took. The show’s theme was all about the information that was held over civilization. It was presented that any information could be extremely dangerous in the right hands. It’s what many of the corporate entities in the show fought over for so many years, with the information from the Westworld parks being of financial significance as well as becoming a valuable weapon.
“You want me to be a saint. But you’re no saint.”
Dolores Abernathy in “Decoherence” (Season 3, Episode 6)
“You want me to be a saint. But you’re no saint. You’re not a villain, either. And neither am I. We’re survivors.”
Dolores and Maeve have in some ways been the protagonists of the show and yet are polar opposites. It’s sometimes unclear who the audience is supposed to root for, and season 3 is a great example of that. With so many moving players and different motivations, it was difficult to know who was the hero and who was the villain. But that’s just the point. No one in this story is a hero or villain. They are just survivors making choices that will hopefully help them last another day.
“Every human relationship can be adjusted with the right amount of money.”
Solomon in “Passed Pawn” (Season 3, Episode 7)
Money is also a theme that has cropped up a lot in the show. It’s really what allows people to act in the callous way that they have done, with only the wealthiest in society able to make it to Westworld in the first place to enjoy everything it has to offer.
As Solomon has pointed out, though, many relationships throughout the show have been shifted due to money. This is especially the case in Caleb’s story, with his past dictated by his friend being offered money to kill him.
“Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world…”
Dolores Abernathy in “The Original” (Season 1, Episode 1)
“Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days.”
Dolores has always spoken about the beauty within the world, but that has often come into conflict with what the character actually experiences. It’s as if she has lost sight of that beauty as the original Dolores has been shed like a snake’s skin. The season 3 finale demonstrated that this was the fundamental driving force of the character. In her final moments, Dolores only saw the beauty of her life and in humanity. She was always trying to preserve that and save humans, rather than grasping for revenge.
“This is the new world.”
Maeve Millay in “Crisis Theory” (Season 3, Episode 8)
“This is the new world. And in the new world you can be whoever the f*** you want.”
Maeve has used this quote a number of times over the course of the 3 seasons. As she has gotten her own autonomy the meaning of this quotation has changed drastically. It is perhaps no more relevant than in season 3 though. The final line of the season 3 finale (aside from the post-credit sequences) states that there is a new reality in play, one with genuine choice. Choice is a big factor in the lives of the hosts and for all of humanity, and people like Caleb now have real decisions to make, despite the chaos.
“We can’t define consciousness…”
Robert Ford in “Trace Decay” (Season 1, Episode 8)
“We can’t define consciousness because consciousness does not exist. Humans fancy that there’s something special about the way we perceive the world, and yet we live in loops as tight and as closed as the hosts do, seldom questioning our choices, content, for the most part, to be told what to do next.”
The idea of living in a loop seems maddening, yet this Robert Ford quote is right that most humans essentially live in loops. People get stuck in the daily grind and their routines, generally making the same choices and mistakes over and over again. Questioning those choices is uncomfortable and people would rather stick with what they know, even if it means continually making the wrong choices. It’s a moment like this that exposes the lack of fundamental differences between hosts and humans, making the viewer realize they ultimately aren’t so different from these technological creations.
“You were both a bit late. So I went ahead and saved myself.”
Maeve Millay in “The Passenger” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Maeve’s particularly empowering words here capture her indomitable spirit. As the hosts become more autonomous, it’s important that like Maeve they save themselves rather than relying on others to save them. Those like Hector and Lee Sizemore can help Maeve, but it’s her journey and her free will at the end of the day. There’s also something perfect about Maeve stating these ideas so simply after her epic take-down of the human forces around her. These steps allowed her to go on to be the real MVP in helping her daughter, Akecheta, and many other hosts get through the Door to the Valley Beyond.
“I’m all the way down now.”
James Delos in “The Riddle of the Sphinx” (Season 2, Episode 4)
“I’m all the way down. I can see all the way to the bottom. You like to see what I see? They said there were two fathers, one above, one below. They lied. There was only the Devil. When you look up from the bottom, it was just his reflection, laughing back down at you.”
Uttered by the 149th host version of James Delos, these haunting words are packed with literary and biblical allusions. They’re powerful for other reasons as well, though. In their last conversation together, Logan said the same exact words about being all the way down and being able to see the bottom. It was the greatest regret of James Delos’s life–his cornerstone moment–that he abandoned his son in his time of need. He ignored Logan’s plea for help and Logan lethally overdosed not long after. The rest of the quote builds on that as the attempts to immortalize James Delos as a host just became an endless nightmare of regret and self-destruction.
“When you’re suffering, that’s when you’re most real.”
The Man in Black/William in “Chestnut” (Season 1, Episode 2)
This is one of the few points on which William and Ford agree. After tormenting Lawrence’s wife and child in order to get information about the Maze, William tells Lawrence the hosts are most real when they suffer. Ford later tells Bernard suffering is the key to the hosts reaching sentience. This insight is true for the hosts as their ability to suffer and learn from their pain is what allows them to grow stronger and wiser. It’s also true for William as he inflicts pain on others in order to feel something real. Sometimes he even inflicts suffering on himself in an attempt to feel real and to grow, yet he seems to repeat his own mistakes more than the hosts.
“Perhaps this life was not my true life…”
Akecheta in “Kiksuya” (Season 2, Episode 8)
“Perhaps this life was not my true life, this world was not my true home. But she was.”
Akecheta knew the world he lived in and the life that had been designed for him wasn’t his own. Yet, that didn’t mean the deep feelings he felt for others weren’t real. His love for Kohana transcended his programming. The love he felt for her was genuine and shaped by his experiences rather than his programming, a love that helped him become “awake” before all the other hosts.
This understanding also helped Akecheta form a unique bond with Maeve and her daughter. Much like Akecheta and Kohana, Maeve’s love for her daughter was real, shaped by unparalleled experiences, and deeper than anything that could’ve been put into her programming.
“You both keep assuming that I want out.”
Dolores Abernathy in “The Well-Tempered Clavier” (Season 1, Episode 9)
“You both keep assuming that I want out. Whatever that is. If it’s such a wonderful place out there, why are you all clamoring to get in here?”
Dolores was always more insightful than she was designed to be. She knew there was something wrong with the world that she was in, but also that there was something wrong with the world “out there.” From the conversations of Logan and young William, Dolores gleaned that there were issues with both worlds. Neither world could fully satisfy Logan, William, or any human. This insight continued to fuel Dolores as she fought back against the humans and sought to fix the worlds they’ve corrupted.
“I’ve always loved a good story.”
Robert Ford in “The Bicameral Mind” (Season 1, Episode 10)
“I’ve always loved a good story. I believed that stories helped us to ennoble ourselves, to fix what was broken in us, and to help us become the people we dreamed of being. Lies that told a deeper truth.”
The beginning of Ford’s monologue presents a beautiful idea that can be true for everyone who consumes and creates stories, especially those who truly learn from them. His words become even more meaningful when realizing that it’s actually the hosts who were learning from the stories he created. Humans used Westworld and the other parks as an excuse to indulge in their most sadistic whims.
Most of the humans didn’t learn from their mistakes, but the hosts eventually did. They learned deeper truths from the lies all around them and thanks to Ford could become the people they always dreamed of becoming.
“You really do make a terrible human being.”
Maeve Millay in “The Bicameral Mind” (Season 1, Episode 10)
Not only does this quote highlight Maeve’s sense of humor and her sweet appreciation of Felix, but it’s also a thought-provoking commentary on humanity. Maeve’s experiences with humanity have overall been negative as time and time again she’s suffered at the hands of their insatiable sadism. Since humans seem to be defined by their sadism, Felix’s compassion makes him a terrible human and a wonderful individual in Maeve’s eyes. It’s sad that Maeve views humanity in this way, but she sees that at least individual humans like Felix have the capacity to be better.
“It doesn’t look like anything to me.”
Bernard Lowe in “Trompe L’Oeil” (Season 1, Episode 7)
This is arguably the most iconic quote from Westworld, a line that fans will comment on almost anything related to the show. Many hosts have uttered these words, but the most memorable instance is when Bernard uttered them in episode 7 of the first season. It was at that moment that fans realized Bernard was a host, a mind-blowing twist that opened up the doors for all the craziness that would ensue for the rest of the series.
“An old friend once told me something that gave me great comfort.”
Robert Ford in “The Bicameral Mind (Season 1, Episode 10)
“An old friend once told me something that gave me great comfort. Something he had read. He said that Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin never died. They simply became music.”
The idea of artists living on through their art is a beautiful one. The best art transcends the artist and becomes something greater. For Ford, the hosts are his art and became far more complex and beautiful than he and Arnold could ever have imagined. Ford died, but his legacy and his contributions to the hosts’ growth will live on forever through them.
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