Robert Ford's return was not a surprise because the clues were always there
Even though we will not get to see Robert as himself, we know that he has managed to survive in the true Westworld fashion- as a code which manages to run the game.
For all those who have seen the latest episode of Westworld, you will probably know that Anthony Hopkins is back on the show as Robert Ford. Surprise surprise! He never really died. However, was it really a surprise that was enough to drop your jaws? Maybe not. If you happen to be someone who watches each and every episode very closely, you will know that Robert's entry in the season was pre-planned and all the signs were always there.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robert's appearance in the latest episode wasn't the first time we see him since his death. In fact, he had always been there, playing with the minds of the hosts and not to forget, the viewers. To begin with, he made his presence felt as the young host who was meant to resemble a lot like young Robert himself. The boy could be seen next to the Man in Black (Ed Harris).
While many might have missed this but there was one thing quite peculiar about the way the boy spoke. He had wisdom in him, something one would say only comes with time, at the same time, he spoke highly about the creator of the Westworld, who is Robert himself.
The second time that Robert makes an appearance was through the avatar of El Lazo which is played by actor Giancarlo Esposito. While he does not have major roles to play in these episodes, it is the subtle idea of him being there and passing comments that make all the difference at the end. He also makes an impression by way of Lawrence's daughter. By this time, it is safe to say that he never left.
In fact, Robert does make a clearer appearance which is for a brief moment that could be missed by anyone. The actor's voice and appearance are seen in the second episode of the show. During one of the scenes, a reflection of younger Robert is seen and one could say it was the biggest hint that Robert's return is bound to happen in the upcoming episodes.
Even the stars on the show had hinted in a joking manner that Robert would make a return. Previously, in an interview with the website, Peter Abernathy actor Louis Herthum spoke about Robert never dying. "Doctor Ford was not killed. That was the host that he was baking down in the basement. He sent his host out to actually take the bullet to the head. The reason you should have known it was the handshake between him and Bernard. That clue that you could tell a host by their handshake? That should have clued you in," they said at that time.
Even though we will not get to see Robert as himself, we know that he has managed to survive in the true Westworld fashion- as a code which manages to run the game. Looks like even after his death, Westworld remains truly his.