In the “Westworld” recap, Charlotte faces off with Serac, Maeve looks for help and William is forced to deal with his demons…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Alliances are a funny thing on “Westworld.”
Over three seasons, the show has forced viewers to question just about everything they’re watching not to mention the partnerships build throughout the series. A few have been unbreakable — Maeve’s attachment to Hector, Teddy’s unwavering loyalty to Dolores — but just about every other relationship on this show has come under question.
The latest episode added even more wrinkles to the who’s on who’s side question that we’ve been asking ourselves all season long. We know the ultimate battle brewing comes down to Dolores vs. Serac but who they have each secured to help them remains a mystery.
It turned out Serac had used the real Charlotte Hale as a mole in Delos to help him stage a corporate takeover except this season she’s been replaced by a Dolores clone. Meanwhile, the Man in Black aka William spent the better part of 30 years torturing Dolores after he fell in love with her during his first trip to the park only to find out she was programmed that way. Now William has found his true purpose but he’s rescued by Bernard and Stubbs, who were sent to find him by Dolores’ clone that was posing as Martin Connells.
If William is supposed to be one of Dolores’ greatest antagonists, why would she send somebody to a mental institution to find him? Did Dolores need William to undergo the treatment there to find himself so she could then use the version that came out on the other side?
And finally, the Charlotte clone faced a whole slew of new realities including her compassion and love for the real Charlotte’s family only to watch them burn to death. Now we can’t help but wonder is the Charlotte clone going to be more determined to kill Serac or perhaps go after the real Dolores for putting her in that situation in the first place?
We’ll try to answer a few of those questions as we recap the latest episode of “Westworled” titled “Decoherence”…
Save Me If I Become My Demons
A tortured William had been living with the regret of killing his own daughter before Dolores sent one of her clones to his house to gain his proxy vote in the attempt to keep Delos out of Serac’s control. In the end, Charlotte Hale aka Halores revealed herself to William just before injecting him with a needle and then sending him to a treatment facility in Mexico.
As it was revealed last week, Serac has built numerous facilities just like this one where he deals with patients who don’t fit into his model for total predictability. His machine Rehobaom was built on the principle that it could strategize the most likely result for every person on Earth but there were always a few poison pills that could not be computed and thus it threw off the system.
So Serac’s plan to eliminate these unpredictable people is to lock them away in treatment facilities to see what makes them tick. William ended up in one of those places, which is where we find him this week in the middle of a group therapy session where one of his fellow patients is pondering God’s plan for him.
William is none too sympathetic.
“God. God’s fucking plan? Do you believe in Santa Claus, too? My thoughts? OK. I think humanity is a thin layer of bacteria on a ball of mud hurdling through the void. I think if there was a God, he would have given up on us long ago.”
His dystopian view aside, William doesn’t seem to be getting much better, which is why his therapist decides to put him into several rounds of AR (augmented reality) therapy in hopes of finding out what makes him tick. His therapist ultimately takes her own life after her Incite profile was sent home and it revealed that she had been sleeping with her patients and she was hooked on opioids.
In the end, the therapist got a note from her husband telling her not to try to find him or the kids and she hangs herself after jumping off her desk with a noose around her neck. Further proof that Rehoboam’s predictive software is quite destructive when revealed to the users.
As for William, he gets plugged into the system thanks to an implant installed in his mouth — the same kind we know Caleb has as well — and the facility prepares to “test” him. After the implant is installed, the system reads an unknown protein in his blood and we see computer blink with a transmission being made to the outside world. This would seem to indicate the marker left in his blood during that initial encounter with Charlotte before he was sent to this facility earlier in the season.
In his augmented reality sessions, William first confronts his childhood where he remembers reading books and often cowering in his room to hide away from his abusive father. Later, William’s treatment wakes him up to a different kind of group therapy when he’s confronted with various versions of himself from the past.
There’s the Man in Black — the cowboy’d up killer from the park. There’s corporate William — the man wearing a tuxedo, who did a lot of good in the world as the head of Delos. Then there’s young William (played by Jimmi Simpson), who we met in the first season of “Westworld” as the sweet, unsuspecting brother-in-law to a sadistic Logan Delos. And finally there’s the youngest version of William — the bookish kid who supposedly lived in terror from his father. And then there’s the current version of William, who is dressed all in white as a patient of the facility.
The moderator for this whole session is none other than James Delos, who served as Williams’ conduit to this entire twisted reality.
Over the course of the session, the different versions of William blame each other for their downfall. The corporate William knows he did so much good in the world while the younger William was the best version of himself before going to the park when he fell in love with Dolores. Nobody could blame the youngest version of William though, right?
Well a flashback shows that this younger William wasn’t the sweet, book-reading kid he’d been made out to be. Instead, the youngest William was actually already giving into his violent tendencies after a kid picked on him at school and he proceeded to viciously harm the boy in a fight. His father confronted him but William was already finding out that these violent delights have violent ends.
In other words, William was never the sweet, bookish kid he remembers in his own head — he had these violent tendencies from a young age.
Finally, William confronts all of his demons by literally beating to death the former versions of himself. When he comes out of the bloody haze, William has an epiphany that the past doesn’t matter much less what brought him here. He just knows it’s time to change the future for the better.
“I finally understand my purpose. I’m the good guy.”
Now it’s tough to say if William is actually the good guy or if that’s just what he believes. A lot of people throughout history have thought they were doing good but in reality, they were carrying out atrocities. In this case, however, William might be willing to do some good because when he finally awakens from his AR session, it’s Bernard and Stubbs who find him.
It seems in the wake of the Incite download where all of these people received their profiles, the entire building has been abandoned and William was just left there alone. Now Bernard and Stubbs have rescued him after they were sent there by Dolores (as Martin Connells), which makes you wonder if he doesn’t have a larger part to play in her revolution.
One more thing — it’s been noted online that Dolores (as Connells) told Bernard and Stubbs to go find this treatment facility where William was being held. She obviously knew it existed but maybe she didn’t know the location. Thanks to that protein marker in Williams’ blood, the location was then forwarded to Bernard and Stubbs.
But why would Dolores send Bernard and Stubbs to find that facility and William unless she knew that would play into her larger strategy? Remember, Serac has been building these facilities to weed out the people who don’t fit into his predictive artificial intelligence machine. Perhaps this was just a way to make Bernard see that she’s not the enemy after all.
Also it must be mentioned that the augmented reality sessions that William undergoes are the same ones that Caleb has seen in his flashbacks. Doctors noted that the AR sessions have been used for people suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and that would fit perfectly with a soldier returning home from war. So how much of Caleb’s past has been reality versus what he imagined in these AR sessions that are apparently floating back to the surface?
A Helping Hand
After she was stabbed to death by the Dolores clone dressed as Musashi, Maeve wakes up in that same simulation where she was at earlier this season. Her “pearl” — the memory globe that contains her entire personality — is back at the Delos corporate headquarters in San Francisco, but her “reality” is back in this simulation.
There she remembers her daughter again before Serac reminds her how she failed him the last time. He’s willing to give her one more chance to go after Dolores, which will be rewarded by uploading her consciousness to the Valley Beyond aka Sublime aka the virtual world where many of the hosts were transferred and now live a life of their own, free from their human masters.
Maeve agrees but if she’s going back after Dolores she’s going to need to attain a few more skills and she’s going to need help. Serac agrees and Maeve is transported back into WarWorld where she’s in the middle of a Nazi interrogation in occupied Italy.
Rather than talking her way out of the situation, Maeve uses the opportunity to learn how to fight as she battles all of the Nazi soldiers until the last one is dead. Maeve wasn’t able to best Dolores when they fought so she obviously needs a few more skills for when they meet again.
Later in a bar, Maeve meets up with Lee Sizemore, who is still living in this simulation despite the real human version being dead. She tells him her plans to stop Dolores and how Serac is now outfitting her with some allies that can help her in the real world.
The first person to join them is her beloved Hector, who is having his body re-assembled in the same location where Maeve is also being recreated. The next gift given to Maeve is a one-on-one with Dolores in this simulated world after it turns out Serac was able to rescue the charred remains of Martin Connell’s body and the Dolores copy living inside. He’s now plugged in that pearl to have Dolores’ consciousness streamed to Maeve’s simulation.
Maeve then sits and talks with Dolores about her plans — or at least the version she was orchestrating before this latest clone was destroyed. Maeve wonders why Dolores was determined to give the hosts a new world yet she’s the one wielding all of the power. Dolores not only uploaded all of the information from the guests who had visited the park into her own brain but she also did the same with “the Valley Beyond” so she’s the only one who knows how to reach the rest of the hosts who were “rescued” a season ago.
Dolores tells her that she’s trying to save the hosts while Maeve has teamed up with a man determined to destroy them all. As far as the lives lost in Dolores’ mission, she reminds Maeve about the many people she’s sacrificed for the sake of saving her daughter.
Now the two of them are left at odds — Maeve only wants to save the hosts living in the Valley Beyond while Dolores is determined to save all of them and give the hosts a new world. When she refuses to hand over the encryption key to Maeve, the former madame says she has no choice but to help Serac stop her.
Of course, Dolores knew this was the most likely outcome so she would have planned for Serac’s next move as well as using Maeve to stop her again. Maeve soon gets a glimpse through her mind’s eye of what’s happening in the real world where her new host body is being made and she’s terrified by what happens next…
A Divergence in the System
The copy of Dolores living inside Charlotte Hale has been struggling to adapt all season long. As we saw in earlier episodes, Charlotte has clawing at her own skin trying to play a different role while still living with the Dolores brain in her head. Charlotte has faced further trials and tribulations thanks to a real life family that she didn’t expect after meeting the real Charlotte’s ex-husband and their son, Nathan.
Judging by the Charlotte we met during the first two seasons of “Westworld,” she didn’t care much about either of them.
But the Dolores version of Charlotte is different and she’s beginning to feel real emotions for both of them, which only further complicates her mission.
Later that day, Charlotte heads to Delos to hopefully get enough votes from the board of directors to take the company private and thus stop Serac’s attempted takeover. Unfortunately, Serac was one step ahead of her and he assassinates the board member working closest to her, which means the swing vote is actually dead.
Serac tells Charlotte to prepare for his arrival as he plans to finish his corporate takeover and then destroy everything Delos has built. He was only interested in one thing and that’s stopping Dolores and by taking control of Delos, he’s at least slowed her down.
A panicked Charlotte calls Dolores Prime to tell her what’s happened. Dolores tells her to download the files about host creation and send that to her before Serac can wipe the entire system. At least this way, Dolores still has a way to use the technology first developed by Dr. Ford and Arnold to build a new group of hosts.
Charlotte is scared and she’s frightened by what might happen to her family. Dolores calmly reminds her that this isn’t her family and that she won’t get caught so long as she’s cautious. Mostly, Charlotte is angry that Dolores allowed her to keep these emotions, which have been tormenting her all season long as she grows more and more attached to the family that belonged to the real Charlotte Hale.
Dolores reminds her that tampering with their emotions would change them at a fundamental level and that’s exactly what the humans have done to them for years. Last season, Dolores tampered with Teddy’s emotions — turning down his love and empathy and ratcheting up his primal instincts fueled by vengeance and ruthlessness. In the end, Teddy came to realize that Dolores had messed with his emotions and he ultimately took his own life rather than live the one she forced upon him.
Following that encounter, Dolores has obviously decided that arbitrarily changing emotions takes away the free will the hosts have fought to obtain. So no matter how much it hurts, Dolores tells Charlotte that she has to focus and get the job done.
Back inside Delos, Serac lays out his plans to dismantle the company but he informs the board that Dolores likely placed a host spy inside. Now he’s determined to root out the host who has taken over for the human and Charlotte offers to help him.
Instead of questioning employees, Charlotte downloads the information Dolores needs to make more hosts and she kills one of Serac’s men, who discover what she’s doing. She then uploads that information to Dolores before making a call home to tell her husband and son that she’s coming for them and they will leave together.
Unfortunately, Charlotte never gets to escape because Serac has discovered that she was the mole inside Delos. He knew because the real Charlotte would have never bothered to call her family during the middle of a corporate crisis.
But Charlotte remains one step ahead of her enemy after packing a gas cannister in her purse that lets off a deadly toxin that kills everyone in the room except for Serac. It turns out he was a hologram projecting himself from another location but that still gives Charlotte the opening she needs to escape.
Charlotte then makes her way to research and development floor where she finds several chambers activated with new hosts being made inside. She realizes that these are the four hosts that Serac was making to help him stop Dolores. One of them is Maeve, another is Hector and a third one has been identified as Clementine — the former prostitute turned pale rider of the apocalypse that killed every host she came into contact with a season ago. A fourth host was also being built but we don’t the identity.
Perhaps that Armistice — another member of Maeve’s brood that helped her in past seasons? Or could this be a host version of Lee Sizemore, who has been helping Maeve in the simulation world all season long? Obviously this is another mystery yet to be revealed.
Before the host copies can finish being animated, Charlotte quickly snatches Hector’s pearl and smashes it into a million pieces. Back in the simulated world, Maeve is horrified to watch the man she love crumble and die in front of her.
A moment later, Charlotte does the same to the charred remains of the Dolores clone that was living inside Martin Connells, which was fueling the conversation she was having with Maeve in the simulation world. Sadly, Charlotte wasn’t able to get to the rest of the pearls as she’s interrupted by more of Serac’s security forces.
She dispatches several of Serac’s guards but she’s eventually outnumbered so Charlotte calls in reinforcements. The Riot bots that we saw back in the debut are activated and one of them saves Charlotte and kills all of the rest of Serac’s security team. The Riot bot helps Charlotte make her way out onto the platform where she flies away to safety.
Back at home, Charlotte is reunited with her family and she tells them to get into a waiting car as she plans to drive them to safety. She holds her son’s hand and promises that mommy is going to take dare of everything.
Back at Delos, a fully re-animated Maeve emerges from the white goop and after watching Hector die, she has a new reason to go after Dolores — good, old fashioned revenge.
As for Charlotte, she clutches her husband’s hand as they drive away but before they can even make it to the end of the street, the car explodes into a ball of flames. We see one of Serac’s men run from the apartment after initiating the bomb inside that was meant to kill Charlotte and her entire family.
Both Jake and Nathan are killed instantly but from the pile of fiery rubble emerges a half-burnt but still very much alive Charlotte, who has survived the inferno. With her skin still in flames, a charred and smoldering Charlotte looks back with a different kind of fire in her eyes — the kind meant for the person who caused this massacre.
Now it’s been theorized that Charlotte might go after the real Dolores for putting her and her family in harm’s way by opposing Serac but that just doesn’t seem possible. Ultimately, this version of Charlotte is still Dolores at her core, which means she remembers 30 plus years of programming and torture suffered from the humans.
It’s hard to believe this one incident would make Charlotte turn on her creator and try to kill Dolores, especially considering the horrific way her family died.
Before, Charlotte was just following orders but now she has a real vested interest in not only stopping Serac but seeing him dead for all that he’s done.
“Westworld” will return next Sunday night for the penultimate episode of season 3 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Take a look at the preview below: