The following contains spoilers for Westworld Season 2
The hosts have taken over Westworld and are slaughtering obscenely rich human beings by the dozens. That seems like the kind of thing that might necessitate an extraction protocol from the security team.
But on Westworld Season 2, there will be no extraction protocol. At least not until a very important host is recovered. That host’s name? Peter Abernathy.
“It’s not just a host,” Charlotte Hale tells Bernard in the premiere “Journey Into Night.” “It’s an insurance policy. It’s the only thing that matters here. They want it secured no matter the cost.”
Peter Abernathy must be secured and sent back to the mainland (Westwolrd is on an island as it turns out) before anybody can be rescued. So what is so important about Peter Abernathy? And more importantly, who is the guy?
Peter Abernathy was one of the very first hosts introduced to viewers in WestworldSeason 1. His role in the park was to portray Dolores Abernathy’s father. The script written for him by the park’s writers involved him being a once-decorated lawman turned gentle father who now spends his days tending to his herd and looking after Dolores.
Peter, however, was one of the first hosts to go off script. Remember that old phrase in the marketing materials from season one – “these violent delights have violent ends?” Yeah, that was a Peter Abernathy joint (by way of Shakespeare, of course). Peter was happy to spend his days tending to his flock but he comes across an interruption in the form of a photograph he finds in the dust.
Hosts are programmed not to be able to view media from the outside world (“looks like nothing to me”) but for some reason Peter is able to see this one, of a smiling woman in a bustling city. Due to Arnold and Robert Ford’s metaphorical maze, Peter Abernathy’s primitive bicameral mind is able to somehow break through his programming to view the photo (which in reality is a photo of William’s fiancee and Logan’s sister, that William dropped during his first trip into Westworld).
The experience of viewing this photo awakens Peter Abernathy’s mind and slowly drives him insane in a way. He spends all night looking at the photo and instead of greeting Dolores in the morning whispers “these violent delights have violent ends.” William is then recalled along with several other hosts who received an update that appears to have corrupted some of them.
While Peter Abernathy is being studied in the lab the actor who plays him, Louis Herthum, displays some of the finest, most eerie acting of the series.
Robert Ford theorizes that Peter is accessing fragments of memories of a previous build when he was a leader of a cannibalistic cult and orders him to be “put down.” Peter Abernathy is fully decommissioned and lobotomized.
Later on in season one, Charlotte Hale brings writer Lee Sizemore to “Cold Storage” where all decommissioned hosts reside. She tells Lee that she needs to upload 35 years of data to a host for safe keeping. Peter Abernathy is arbitrarily chosen. Charlotte instructs Lee to give Peter just enough of a personality to be able to get on a train and leave the park.
That’s where Peter Abernathy is left by season’s end. He’s a host who malfunctioned (or more likely began to experience the beginnings of sentience), decommissioned, and then put roughly back together again. The Delos Corporation likely needs access to that 35 years of data inside of him.
What’s in that data? Well, that remains to be seen. Looks like nothing to me.