Well, at least now, we know why Dolores kept Bernard all season.
Photo: courtesy of HBO
The third season of Westworld ended with a burst of action and monologization on the beginning or the end of the world, depending on how you see it. In “Crisis Theory”, Maeve and Caleb joined forces to destroy Roboam, freeing mankind from its predetermined chains in the same way that Dolores Abernathy did for his kind at Westworld. Bernard held the key! Serac has been defeated! William was killed by himself! Typically, Westworld ended with a lot of noise and fury, while leaving a few big questions open for season four already announced – although the biggest question of all right now may be when exactly this season will go into production. Fortunately, Westworld fans are used to long stretches between seasons, and we’ve had a lot to meditate on in the meantime, starting with…
The final revelation that Dolores never had the key, and it has been with Bernard from the start, answers one of the biggest questions of season three: why did Dolores even keep Bernard? It turned out that she needed someone to keep the “Holy Grail” of this season and knew that she couldn’t trust him. While Stubbs is bleeding in a bathtub, Bernard looks into the Sublime and has a pretty magical moment before stopping. What did he see there? And why did it essentially freeze it in space and time for who knows how long? (See next question).
After William’s big action scene – we’ll get there – Westworld throw another log on the fire on the bulletin board as we return to Bernard, still in the room where we left him, but covered in dust. Two questions here: how long has Bernard been there? And what just happened in the basement of Delos with William “waking him up”? Here’s something else to consider: did he come back alone? If we buy that Bernard can put on a nifty helmet and tour the valley beyond for what feels like a hell of a long time, wouldn’t it be the real Bernard who returns in this form of host in the final plan? We have a headache.
Echoing the controversial post-credits scene after the season two finale, Westworld returns to William’s Arc again after the episode ends. We see an angry William going to the Delos facility, which already raises the most constant question on this show: When does this happen? We last saw Maeve and Caleb watching the chaos of a world in a state of revolution, but things seem pretty normal in Delos, right? In fact, most people out there don’t seem to know what’s going on in the basement. But William does. He finds his way to the research laboratory, where he sees Charlotte working on a big project that includes… a host version of The Man in Black! William is fighting his evil twin, and it looks like he is losing. This sheds new light on the second season finale, which makes it even clearer that William who sees his daughter in the Flooded Forge is a host. So, is the man William really dead?
After William’s conflict with his host version, we see a large room filled with host creation units. It seems that Charlotte is building an army, but for what purpose? Are they all based on real people like host William – and if so, should we expect the return of familiar faces? Or could they be entirely new creations?
Replicating a human in a host body is not as simple as just hitting impression, so where does this host William come from in the post-generic scene? Did Charlotte access the data from the original Delos project to create her vicious version of the man in the dark? Or is there more than that?
He finally revealed that the last pearly copy of Dolores was placed in Lawrence, who appears in the confrontation between William, Stubbs and Bernard near the start of the episode. Seeing Lawrence is cool and all, but what has he been doing all season? Have you just gone out and made friends at SFPD? Waiting for his cameo?
The answer here is an obvious no considering how much Evan Rachel Wood is the face of Westworld, but it’s interesting that the episode ends with it in a pretty disastrous state. Bernard even notices that he’s no longer connected to Dolores, and it’s not like she stumbles with Maeve and Caleb. We probably haven’t seen the last of Dolores, but it is natural to wonder if this is a major turning point. Perhaps the best question is how do the writers find a way to bring it back?
Dolores gives a talk about how all of the hosts were really based on her, and Charlotte seems fairly independent in both the episode and the post-credits scene. And with all these hosts in the other room, it is safe to say that even the “Dolores clones” are now independent thinkers, freed from their origins. Charlotte’s host may have been built from Dolores, but it’s safe to say that she thinks and acts on her own now, spurred on by the death of her family. Maybe we should stop calling her Charlores?
When Maeve and Caleb left to have their Fight Club moment to end the season, Serac was seriously injured but not dead. The characters in this major don’t die off screen, so we probably haven’t seen Serac’s latest, but how he fits into the narrative in the future remains an open question. Will he come back like the big bad guy again? He is still a major figure in the world and still holds a share of control of Délos.
At the end, season three of Westworld felt something like a bridge, a transition from the world of theme parks from the first two seasons to the revolution of the whole human race. And now? The rubble and dust on Bernard suggests a long time and a lot of chaos, but the relative normality in Delos suggests the opposite. Have parts of the world returned to control of Delos? After all, the freedom of one controlling force often means only the domination of another. It looks like there are dozens of routes that the writers could cover through a fourth season of Westworld. Hopefully they will have the opportunity to do so soon.