This post contains frank discussion of Westworld Season 2, Episode 1 “Journey Into Night.” Consider this your first and last spoiler warning.

If you thought Westworld was going to get less complicated in its second season, well, you were mostly right. Though there are still multiple timelines, flashbacks, twists, and glitching, unreliable narrators, HBOs sci-fi western doesnt seem as invested this year in pulling the wool over viewers eyes. Still, every little bit helps when it comes to unpacking this show and so Vanity Fair will be running a weekly podcast in conjunction with these next ten episodes in order to break down every angle and, perhaps, launch a speculative theory or two. You can subscribe to Still Watching: Westworldhere. And listen to the latest episode here:

But speaking of speculative theories, this weeks premiere blew two major fan guesses to smithereens. R.I.P. to these two popular theories, they were too wacky to live.

Westworld is on the Moon/Mars/Somewhere Else Super Wacky

This theory was already on shaky ground last season but it feels safe to say that a scene early on in the premiere buries it six feet deep. We see new cast memberGustaf Skarsgård a.k.a. Delos honcho Karl Strand arguing with someone in Chinese military garb.

Before ordering the guy off his fucking island, Strand says: “See this? Its an official statement executed by your government giving Delos complete control over this island.” So it doesnt feel entirely crazy to think that this is all taking place on an island off of China, right? That guess is further confirmed by a few Season 1 details. First there were a conversation Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) has with an unseen person alerting her in Mandarin that Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) would be arriving soon.

Then theres the Chinese announcement that played over the loud speaker in the Season 1 finale when Maeve (Thandie Newton) was attempting to get on that train.

Even more intriguingly was a little Easter Egg discovered by some Finnish fans of the show. When the finale aired last year, the Finnish subtitles captioned this slip of paper. . .

. . .with some very specific coordinates: 9° 55N 115° 32E. Type that into a map and youll get an actual man-made island called, evocatively, “Mischief Reef” in the South China Sea. That reef is part of the larger region called the Spratly Islands which are, in fact, a contested territory that all contain structures occupied by military forces from Malaysia, Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Vietnam. Brunei also has a vested interest. Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy has said the park is “within 500 square miles.” Of course thats not accounting for the other parks like Shogun World. Could they be set on their own islands?

Now do I think Westworld is literally set on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands? No. Do I think Delos has bought some islands just off the coast of China and set up shop? I really do. Sorry, Mars truthers.

Ford Is Dead. Like, For Real.

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The most hotly contested question among the Westworld fandom in the long wait between Season 1 and Season 2: did we actually watch original flavor, human Ford (Anthony Hopkins) get shot by Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) in the finale? Or did she shoot a convincing replica? After all, Ford was building secret robots in a basement somewhere! Im not sure anyone can blame Westworld fans for going down this particular rabbit hole; after Season 1s Bernard/Arnold game changer, we would probably be wise to be on the lookout for even more secret robots. Even co-creator Jonathan Nolan stirred the pot on this one last year saying of Fords return: “Weve well established were playing in a more advanced ruleset in terms of death and resurrection than other [projects] Ive worked on. So I would say: Assume nothing.” And who wouldnt want Anthony Hopkins back on this show? Okay but now we all agree hes gone, right?

In the beach narrative, which takes place two weeks after Dolores shot Ford, we see a number of dead hosts strewn about the place. The are not in a state of decay despite one of them being dead for at least 11 days according to the black box data in his head.

The human guests Dolores killed at the party, however, are bloated and decayed and covered in flies. Last year, Lisa Joy said: “The flies were always the canary in the coal mine of where the story was going, because they were the one not-programmed creature in the park. Now, in Season 2, now that the gloves are off, were gonna see a lot of flies — and theyre not necessarily gonna be actual flies.”

Honestly who knows what Lisa Joy is talking about there but I think she was trying to allude to this big bold clue they left in Fords face.

Yep! The maggots mean this is one dead human dude. So, to recap, Ford is dead and Westworld is somewhere off the coast of China. Well go ahead and cling to those two truths as we head into another bumpy, unpredictable season.

Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Joanna RobinsonJoanna Robinson is a Hollywood writer covering TV and film for

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