Fan Theory Recap: That Pesky Fly in ‘Westworld’

In case you’re still trying to cope with the season finale of HBO‘s Westworld, we’re diving into the show’s peskiest clue as to what the hell has been going on. Throughout the first episode, we witnessed a series of creepy, crawly flies. What was up with that? Since the premiere, we’ve counted on fans for an analysis into these insects’ meaningful symbolism.


– The “wouldn’t hurt a fly” theory: Aside from getting to play dress-up, the theme park’s draw is getting to interact with a bunch of life-like robots who can’t harm you. Though humans can wreck havoc on hosts, the androids aren’t supposed to be able to physically harm back. Inquisitr predicts that flies (living things) fall into that ‘untouchable’ category as well. Until, of course, the end of episode one when Dolores ominously smacks that fly.


“…what was learned in the first episode of Westworld was that a host cannot cause harm to another creature. Once again, by showing flies landing on hosts and them not reacting to the annoying distraction is a great way to portray this concept. The hosts can, literally, not hurt a fly in Westworld.”

The “life not death” theory: While this one is a little more far-fetched, we definitely think it might be valid (because what about Westworld is NOT complex?). Inverse published an article stating that, despite fruit flies’ usual representation of death and decay, Westworld‘s bugs actually denote life and its very real struggles.


“…flies represent a minor problem or obstacle that someone needs to overcome. For the robots, their obstacle is that they’re trapped in a world in which they have no agency. The hidden truth — that their world is not real and they’re slaves to something they can’t control — is a growing pest in their minds, a buzzing fly that they can’t seem to shake. Heck, the first fly crawled directly over Dolores’s eye — her biggest obstacle is literally right in front of her.”

The “less host, more human” theory: When the park’s oldest host concluded the pilot by viciously murdering a fly (okay, she basically just killed a fly like a normal person), we totally all gasped. Even if we weren’t sure why. This simple theory, posed by an article on Romper, seems pretty sound. The android hosts are very life-like in many ways; however, they aren’t “human” enough to have the reflex of swatting away an annoying pest. The show explores ‘self-awakening’ revelations for characters like Dolores and Maeve, and this theory says that flies foreshadow that.


“It could be that Dolores is actually feeling human reflexes and impulses now that she’s questioning her reality, which leads her to notice the fly and kill it. Or, it could be that the hosts have become so technologically advanced that they’re actually capable of picking up and mimicking human behaviors from the newcomers, which could eventually help them blend in with other humans, should they ever plot an uprising against their creators. Whether or not the flies continue to be significant past the first episode, they definitely served a useful purpose in helping us witness the shift between a happily functioning robo-host and a confused, semi-woke humanoid who may pose a threat to all humankind.”

Have another ‘pesky fly’ Westworld theory? Share it in the comments below!