What to Know About Westworld’s “The Riddle of the Sphinx”

By Olivia Armstrong


Showrunner Lisa Joy’s directorial debut gets up close and personal with James Delos, the Man in Black gets a heroic opportunity and Bernard realizes he’s still not in control in Season 2, Episode 4.

Who is James Delos? Or, perhaps more accurately, what is James Delos? The fourth episode of Season 2, directed by executive producer and co-showrunner Lisa Joy, explores the enigmatic figure at the center of Delos’ secret project. We also see the Man in Black play the hero, while Bernard grapples with what Ford has made him do in the past. Here’s what you need to know about “The Riddle of the Sphinx” to prep you for the next installment: Episode 5, “Akane No Mai.” For an extended recap, check out our full episode guide.

  1. 1

    James Delos is part-human, part-host.

    In Season 2, Episode 2, “Reunion,” we met James Delos, the man behind Delos Incorporated. William, his son-in-law, convinces him to invest in Westworld with the goal of getting to know their customers for “who they really are.” That mission has evolved since we last saw the foul-mouthed Scotsman (played by Peter Mullan): now a hybrid of his former self. Through revealing visits with William — and discoveries made by Bernard and Elsie — we learn the company has been experimenting with immortality, using technology and data to prolong the life of their dying (and eventually, dead) leader. Unfortunately, his mind (uploaded onto a control processing unit) continuously rejects his new, printed body.

  1. 2

    Bernard printed a control unit for “someone else.”

    There’s another control unit — referred to as a “pearl” — that has been printed for a different human. Through bloody flashbacks, Bernard realizes he’s the one who printed this pearl at Ford’s command. But why, and for who? Elsie, who has pieced together what Delos is really after, aims to find out and is ready to put aside the unsettling fact Bernard once attacked her and left her to die.

  1. 3

    The Man in Black gets a blast from the past.

    After following Ford’s ominous path to Lawrence’s hometown of Las Mudas, the Man in Black gets the chance to stand up to evil in the form of Major Craddock. Upon saving the townsfolk from Craddock’s torturous ways, the Man in Black gets a message from Ford via Lawrence’s young daughter: reminding him one good deed “doesn’t change” who he is and that if he’s looking forward, he’s “looking in the wrong direction.” It seems only fitting, then, that in the last scene of the episode, the Man in Black comes face to face with his past: his daughter Emily, the same mystery woman from The Raj in Episode 3, “Virtù e Fortuna.”

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Read the Full Synopsis

For a more in-depth read about Episode 4, “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” check out the official synopsis.

Interview With Lisa Joy

The executive producer and director discusses her directorial debut and the visual choices she made in one of the series’ most revealing episodes yet.

Episode 3 Recap

In case you missed it: A new world comes into focus, a battle at Fort Forlorn Hope and broken Peter Abernathy were at the center of the third episode, which was full of surprises.