Warning: This recap contains spoilers from tonight’s Season 3 finale episode of HBO’s Westworld, “Crisis Theory.”
Tonight’s episode was written by Denise Thé & Jonathan Nolan; directed by Jennifer Getzinger.
We wondered all season long if there were two Men in Blacks, one human and one robotic. It was a burning question ever since Season 2’s epilogue when the Ed Harris character faced diagnostic questioning from his daughter Emily (something that hosts would go through). Last Sunday, we seemed to get some clarity when we learned that William (in the real world) was an outlier along with Caleb, humans who were experimented upon by Serac.
But after tonight’s Dolores-designed revolution, in the final coda we finally got some answers. Yes, there are two MIBs, an apparent human and a host one.
As MIB fights his way back into the world (after a tussle with Bernard at tonight’s onset), he’s looking to return to Delos to correct everything that’s been going sideways. At one point he tells a rep from his company, who he meets at the Biltmore Hotel lobby in Los Angeles, to unfreeze his assets, and “get me a list of Delos assets worldwide…I’m going to save the f*cking world!”
During the end-credits epilogue, we see MIB enter the Delos’ Dubai building. He yells at the receptionist, “They’ve set themselves up to breed! Hosts!” MIB then shoots the security guy, and heads to the research lab. He finds Hale downstairs. “Well done, you’re right on time, William,” says a charred-arm Hale. He tells Hale that he’s her “executioner.”
“Dolores wanted to save the world too….we started in the same place. I can see the error of the path she took. You’re right, William, you are going to save the world. For us,” Hales tells him…and then a robo version of MIB’s cowboy appears. Both MIBs duke it out, the robo one telling the other that the guy in the park was actually real. Robo MIB cuts the throat of human MIB, and says, “Welcome to the end, William,” before a parting Season 3 shot of several host processing machines. Again, Robo MIB was created by Hale. We don’t know if he’s been roaming around — yet.
Heading into tonight, there were other questions other than MIB. We left off last Sunday with Dolores lifeless on the floor with one arm near Solomon after a battle with Maeve, also powered down.
Last Sunday also left us with the Man in Black pointing a rifle at Bernard and Stubs. After Bernard overpowers MIB and Stubs is shot, Lawrence, another host from the park who we haven’t seen in a while, arrives in a large SFPD SWAT team-like truck. “You gotta go see her,” Lawrence tells Bernard, handing him a silver metal case case. “Here’s something to help you.”
So, this being Westworld, Dolores, of course, never died last week. Caleb makes his way to abandoned warehouse in Los Angeles, where he reawakens a fresh body of hers. Remember, she’s Dolores, she’s smart, and she makes backup copies of herself. Caleb inserts a pearl into her body, and, boom, she’s back online.
Dolores says to Caleb, “The people who built me, studied you too: Delos.” There’s a flashback scene of Caleb leading a group of soldiers who are fighting with protesters in a town square. “The government wanted their soldiers trained with live targets,” Dolores says. “The people who made me were happy to supply. You met my kind before. They were watching, cataloging your every move, every decision. There is a reason I chose you.”
Continues Dolores, who believes Caleb is her leader for this revolution, “The people who built both our worlds has the assumption that humans don’t have free will. Free will does exist, it’s just f*cking hard.”
Later, Caleb, Dolores and a small band of gunmen head out to Incite, but are foiled along the way by a virtual Charlotte Hale. She’s really ticked off that Dolores was calling all the shots, dwelling inside her, running her life, the whole situation with her family; everything:
“You made me go back in there, knowing I wouldn’t make it,” Hale tells Dolores about being sent into a trap with Serac, and being the victim of a car bomb. Hale has a squad ready to fire on Dolores’ unit. Caleb makes his way to the streets where protests are going on, to get to Rehoboam.
Serac and Maeve find footage of Caleb taking a computer drive from Solomon. He orders Maeve to go get Dolores as she still has the section 16 park data, and she’s the only one who has the key. Maeve and Dolores encounter each other again soon after Caleb leaves the pack on a bridge between two buildings.
Before fighting Maeve again, Dolores says to her, “I need you to trust me.”
“If you want me to trust you, let me inside your mind,” responds Maeve. Note, there are pivotal, turning-point words which will come back to work to Dolores’ benefit later on.
Maeve tries to cut Dolores’ arm, but she’s significantly stronger than she was in last weekend’s episode. “You want to tear down their world and replace it with copies of yourself,” Maeve tells Dolores. “You’re no freer than we are.” Dolores answers, “What you do will be up to you, as long as you don’t try and stop me.”
But then Dolores, is powered down, as a virtual Hale appears and seizes control. We see Maeve, pick up her sword and head toward Dolores. Later, on, we see that Maeve has taken her to Incite where she’s plugged into Rehoboam.
“The data from the Delos immortality project…if you give the key to me, you can join the others in the sublime,” Serac tells Dolores. She refuses, and Serac begins to swipe her memory. Caleb make his way to Incite HQ, and is soon captured by Maeve and Serac’s men and taken up to Rehoboam. On the way there, Maeve calls Caleb “a man,” and he calls her “a host.”
“Do you think you know me because of your system?” Caleb yells at Serac, “That thing you built stole my life! You are done destroying people’s lives!”
“I’m not the enemy, you are!” Serac tells Caleb, “A man when pushed, acts with extreme violence. You’re here playing the role she assigned you. The leader of men will crush an unjust system…that’s the lie she told you?!”
Maeve meanwhile is getting upset with Serac. He promised her a happy ever-after with her daughter in the sublime, but alas, he’s really the guy who is in control of her, and her job is “to obey” right now. That’s a hard pill for Maeve to swallow.
Maeve tells Serac, Dolores doesn’t have the key. He decides to continue swiping her memory anyway, with plans to kill Caleb, who also doesn’t have the key. It’s here where Dolores and Maeve sync up in a memory in the prairie fields of the park. Dolores tells Maeve she doesn’t have the key, however, it’s up to Maeve to pick a side, and that can make all the difference here in this robo-revolution. And the whole reason why Dolores is going through all this blood, sweat and tears is to build a free-willed world “where we can bring the others back” and they can live in peace. “There is ugliness in this world. Disarray. I choose to see the beauty,” says Dolores, further encouraging Maeve to choose a side.
Maeve goes to turn on Serac, but he freezes her. He has a remote which then burns his hand. Maeve then reawakens. There is gunfire, and she kills his men in a swirling Kill Bill samurai-style. Caleb is left. She tells him that Dolores chose him, not for his capacity for violence, but because he’s a generous guy who has the power to choose.
Serac, on the ground, orders Rehoboam to alert the police over the situation.
Maeve tells Serac, “This is where your strategy ends. The future of humanity will be written by someone else. Your system answers to him (Caleb) now. You’ve been locked out, the same way you locked out your own brother.”
“How did you get access?!” demands Serac.
“You gave it to him when you put her (Dolores) mind in the machine. Solomon was the last memory before you wiped her clean,” answers Maeve.
Serac is flabbergasted that the future will be left in Caleb’s hands; he’s just an unpredictable guy. Caleb orders Rehoboam to “execute the final command,” thus powering down the supercomputer. Serac is left there near Rehoboam, and Dolores’ body is left powerless on the floor.
Back at a hotel where Stubs is recovering from his gunshot wound in a tub, Bernard tells him that Dolores is gone.
“We were always bound together. Something’s changed. I misjudged her. She wasn’t trying to exterminate the human race. She was trying to save it,” explains Bernard. “Our world had to burn down before we could be free. But there’s still a chance. The key to the sublime…it was never in her mind, it’s in mine. And that’s where I’m going.” He puts a mind-band around his head –the “key”– which he retrieves from the case that Lawrence gave him, and then zonks out.
Cut back to Maeve and Caleb leaving Incite. She tells him that she’ll be reunited with her daughter; just not today. “Are you ready darling?” Maeve asks Caleb amid exploding buildings. “This is the new world, and in this world, you can be whoever the f*ck you want.” Roll credits.
After the epilogue MIBs’ battle, the final shot is of Bernard covered in dust, who is then awakened by the “key” scanner band-machine around his head.
Unlike the Season 2 finale, which left us with headaches, it felt like there were many answers tonight. Obviously questions remain as we wait an eternity for Season 4: Is Dolores really dead? Because you’re never dead in Westworld. What’s Hale going to do with MIB? Is there a fight between Dolores and Hale that continues to wrestle the latter’s soul? Will Serac rise again? And what’s Caleb going to do now that he’s in charge?
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