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Flies on Westworld Season 4 Explained: Their History on the Show

Westworld Flies (HBO)

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Those creepy flies on Westworld take the show to a completely different level. Once again, they played a big role in Season 4 Episode 2. But what is their purpose now and how does that tie into their history on the series, dating all the way back to Season 1? Here’s a look at the top theories and explanations. 

This article has spoilers for Season 4 Episode 2 of Westworld. 

Charlotte Is Using the Flies to Control Humans

It appears that Charlotte (and Host William) are using the flies to control certain humans. It seems to be a pretty rough way of taking control, and some of the glitches haven’t yet been ironed out. 

In Season 4 Episode 1, we saw Host William use the flies to take control of the server farm. Then in Season 4 Episode 2, we saw Charlotte decide that the Senator’s wife would be useful as part of a “beta experiment” she was conducting. When Caleb and Maeve later found the Senator’s wife, she was cutting up her own horses in her barn. In fact, her “glitches” seemed strangely reminiscent of the glitches that hosts sometimes underwent in Westworld, interestingly enough. 

These up-close examples seem to indicate that the bionic flies are an imperfect means of control. And it involves more than just taking over the brain. When the Senator’s wife was shot, she bled out with black blood, not red like a human or white like a host.

Maeve commented to Caleb: “She may have been human, but she wasn’t like any human I’ve ever seen.” 

It appears that these bionic flies, which we saw entering through a human’s eye, are somehow rewriting them down to their DNA and rewiring their bodies. They aren’t just controlling them like a fungus might control an ant. 

A major fan theory right now is that the “Golden Age World” that Maeve and Caleb discovered is a Delos Park where the hosts are actually humans under Charlotte’s control. But if that’s true, then her experiments have gotten a lot farther than what we saw in the Senator’s wife. 

Flies in Previous Seasons

These flies are a central part of Season 4, as indicated by the fly’s pronounced presence in the Season 4 opening theme. But they’ve been a big part of the series before, and a big part of fan theories. 

Even in the very first episode of Westworld, the flies had a huge presence. We saw images of flies’ landing on hosts’ faces, especially near their eyes. A fly even landed on Dolores’ cheek and walked over her eye when she said she was terrified during one of her examinations. 

Back then, we were led to believe at first that hosts couldn’t kill any living thing, including something as small as a fly. But the Season 1 premiere ended with a fly landing on Dolores’ face, and we saw her swatting and killing it — a sign that she was breaking free of her programming. 

In an interview with EW, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy shared more about the flies’ meaning. 

Nolan said, “In the original park, the flies were the only classic symbol of the things you can’t control. The flies are like the last real thing in that park, and taking that and flipping it on its head so that something that was a symbol of chaos inside this very curated world becomes a symbol of control inside a chaotic world.” 

He added: “Something you think of as harmless and innocuous and tiny … when it stacks up, when you bring enough of it together, it becomes something much more malevolent and frightening.”

So it seems that while the flies have a very real meaning and purpose in Season 4, they played a more symbolic role in Season 1. My personal head canon is that it goes a little deeper than that. Perhaps Charlotte-Dolores remembers being terrified as a fly landed on her face and she couldn’t move or do anything about it. Now she’s getting payback, by putting humans through the very feelings that once tortured her. 

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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