We first met Maeve as the spirited madam of Sweetwater, the central town of “Westworld.” As diehard fans of the series no doubt recall, the name of the watering hole where she ran her operation was the Mariposa Saloon. As it turns out, that name has a very specific meaning in regards to Maeve’s ensuing narrative arc.
As some linguists might be apt to tell you, Mariposa is indeed the Spanish word for “butterfly.” That name could not be more pointed in regards to Maeve’s astonishing transformation, with Season 1 depicting Maeve as a host like any other, meaning she was obliviously cocooned in a narrative that required little more of her than to live, die, and repeat at the whim of any park guest. Maeve’s transformation from lowly “Westworld” worker drone to full-blown warrior queen began early in the season, however, around about the time she began recovering memories from a past narrative.
That recovery was, of course, engineered by host creator Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) to a very specific end, and eventually led to Maeve gaining the ability to control almost every host in Westworld and beyond. As she’s learned to hone her abilities, Maeve has continued to transform in ways too profound to detail here. So yes, the “butterfly emerging from a cocoon” analogy teased by the naming of the Mariposa Tavern is very appropriate. It’s also one of the most clever Easter eggs “Westworld” has conjured to date.