In the “Westworld” recap, Caleb’s real backstory is revealed, Dolores and Maeve clash as Bernard and Stubbs find William and discover Serac’s secret plan…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are nothing if not the masters of misdirection.
There were a lot of guesses made about the storylines unfolding during “Westworld” season 3 but it turns out the creators behind the show are determined to keep viewers guessing after so many fans figured out the two alternate timelines that defined the first season.
This season has been dominated by questions about Caleb Nichols’ real identity — was he a host? Was he some kind of human-host hybrid? Well it turns out both of those guesses were incorrect because Caleb is definitely a human — but he’s also the human that Dolores determined would ultimately spell the doom for his entire race.
Meanwhile, Maeve continued her quest to stop Dolores and after her side took a lot of losses this season, she finally got a few wins in the latest episode. Another Dolores’ clone was eliminated while the Charlotte Hale clone decided to strike out with a plan of her own separate from Dolores-Prime. And Maeve’s backup arrived with two famous faces from Westworld showing up to help shift the odds in her favor.
And finally, Bernard and Stubbs made it to the Incite facility where Dolores was determined to send them but it turns out she wasn’t trying to reunite them with William, who had been left there in the wake of his interaction with the Charlotte clone. Instead, Bernard and Stubbs ended up at the facility to find out Serac’s true intentions — perhaps trying to turn them to her side by choice rather than reprogramming — but by the end the two of them wind up with a rifle pointed in their direction from a very pissed off former Delos CEO, who has decided the only way to save the world is by eliminating every host ever created.
There’s a lot to get to this week so let’s recap the latest episode of “Westworld” titled “Passed Pawn”….
First things first — Dolores’ clone dressed as Musashi has been setting up part of the operation through the Yakuza stationed in Jakarta, Indonesia. Just when it looked like Musashi was going to move onto the next phase of Dolores-Prime’s plan, he received an unexpected call from the Charlotte Hale clone, who survived the bombing that ultimately killed Charlotte’s real husband and son.
Apparently, the Charlotte clone not only survived but she’s got a new purpose now that breaks ranks with her creator. After putting the fire out, Charlotte decided that she’s going to alter the course of Dolores’ plans but what she has in store isn’t clear just yet. What she does this episode, however, is leak Musashi’s location to a pair of operatives, who have been searching for him.
Charlotte says her goodbyes as this particular Dolores clone decides to strike out on her own. What she has in store for the real Dolores or Serac (the man who ordered the actual Charlotte’s family killed) remains to be seen.
As for Musashi, he meets the two hosts who were created to serve as Maeve’s backup — Clementine Pennyfeather and Hanaryo, who previously encountered Maeve last season when she was working her way through Shogun World.
Clementine starts the fight but it’s Hanaryo who finishes it when she stabs Musashi through the stomach. Hanaryo then lops off Musashi’s head and the two of them exit the bar.
Another Dolores clone has been destroyed but now Clementine and Hanaryo own the pearl inside its head, which means they have access to all of the memories and plans contained in this particular copy. It’s tough to say what they will do with it but there’s little doubt it’s not going to be good for Dolores.
A New Purpose
After receiving instructions to locate an Incite facility from the Martin Connell’s version of Dolores, Bernard and Stubbs arrive, which leads to an interaction with William. He was sent there for reconditioning after his run in with the Charlotte Hale clone. It turns out, Bernard and Stubbs weren’t sent to this facility to retrieve William but rather the information that’s been left behind following the staff abandoning ship in recent days.
It seems the Incite data dump — the one where outcomes for every person’s life on Earth was sent to them — has caused a whole lot of people to either give up or revolt against a system that said they were already doomed to fail.
Bernard does some digging and he finds out what Dolores sent him here to retrieve — it’s the outlier program that Serac instituted in order to make his artificial intelligence strategy software work properly.
Remember, Serac and his brother Jean Mi could not get the A.I. to correctly offer a long term prediction strategy for every human on Earth and it turns out the problem was a number of people around the world who simply would not fit the model. These anomalies that consistently caused the system to crash and burn were called “outliers” and Serac’s solution was to round all of them up, stick them in facilities just like this one and attempt to recondition their minds.
The successful cases where people were properly reconditioned would be sent back out into the world. The ones who couldn’t grasp the reconditioning went missing or were presumed dead. In other words, Dolores sent Bernard her to understand that she’s not the enemy of humanity — it’s Serac, who is determined to create his own utopia no matter how many people have to die to make his fantasy into reality.
For all the cases of those who failed, Bernard knows there have to be people who actually lived through the reconditioning and that’s who he wants to find. Stubbs does some digging and discovers one name in particular that stands out to him — it’s Caleb Nichols.
He not only survived the reconditioning but he’s now working alongside Dolores, which tells Bernard everything he needs to know. Caleb isn’t helping Dolores — he’s the key to her planned revolution.
Before leaving, William tells Bernard and Stubbs that he’s discovered his new purpose after living through a mental hell in this facility. He knows that the hosts are an abomination that need to be wiped out once and for all so William is determined to strike them all down until none are left standing.
Despite this threat, Bernard feels like William might still be needed so they keep him alive. As the three of them prepare to escape the city, Stubbs starts to hotwire a car while William discovers a gun left behind at a gas station that’s now been abandoned. He picks it up and points it at both of his would be captors and declares yet again that all hosts must die.
It’s not clear what Bernard and Stubbs are going to do here or what they’re grand purpose is during this storyline but now they’ve been taken hostage by William, who wants nothing more than to kill them all.
Village of the Damned
The bulk of this episode involved interactions with Dolores and Caleb as they sought out another secret facility that belonged to Serac.
Coming up over the horizon, Dolores reveals that this particular area of Sonora, Mexico served as the landscape was chosen to duplicate for the Westworld park. As they arrive, Caleb notes that there are several guards outside and inside the facility but Dolores was prepared for that inevitability.
The big duffle bag that was handed off to Caleb last week contained a special drone-sniper rifle that Dolores uses to pinpoint the security people and then take them out one by one. After killing those men, Dolores and Caleb make their way inside to discover what she’s been looking for this entire time.
It’s Solomon — the early version of the predictive artificial intelligence machine that Serac and his brother Jean Mi were building that couldn’t quite figure out what to do with those anomalies that kept popping up within every strategy. The final version of Rehoboam eliminated those anomalies and suddenly the predictive software was able to determine a strategy for every person on Earth — and a fate for humanity that didn’t end with Armageddon.
In the bible, Rehoboam was the successor to Solomon, thus the progression of these two pieces of artificial intelligence built by Serac and his brother.
Inside the building, Caleb notices a military grade EMP — electromagnetic pulse — that can take down any computer or machine within a certain mile radius. Dolores informs Caleb that Solomon was a machine built by Serac and his brother that didn’t quite fit into the ultimate strategy to prevent mankind’s destruction.
It seems Jean Mi was schizophrenic and the machine followed him down that same path — as Caleb notes, it’s insane artificial intelligence.
They turn on the machine and soon Dolores and Caleb are interacting with the computer, which remained active in this building for the past 15 years but it was unable to escape or reach the outside world. Instead, Solomon has been running this particular facility for a very specific reason, which we’ll get to a little later.
First things first, Solomon notes that it’s seen Caleb before when he was a patient.
This is where we finally learn Caleb’s true backstory so for the sake of chronological order, we’ll tell it exactly how it really happened.
Caleb was a soldier and his covert unit was sent into Crimea to interfere with an ongoing Russian civil war. Their orders were to lace certain insurgent targets that were then destroyed by high tech drones that literally dropped bombs on them. What Caleb’s unit didn’t know, however, is that the insurgents were also hunting them.
In his adapted memory, Caleb remembers that he and his pal Francis (the friend that he constantly remembers dying in his arms) captured the leader of the insurgency. When backup didn’t arrive to take the prisoner into custody, Caleb and Francis were ambushed by the insurgents.
In the ensuing fire fight, Francis was shot and killed and Caleb was forced to put the insurgents down before he was sent home from the war.
In reality, Caleb’s mind had been reconditioned and changed from what really happened.
It seems after Caleb’s unit was ambushed, both he and Francis were honorably discharged and sent home but the former soldiers were determined to be outliers that would ultimately cause harm to Rehoboam’s predictive plans for humanity. The artificial intelligence machine then figured out that a certain number of these outliers, who were capable of being reconditioned, could then be sent back out into the world to track down more of these anomalies.
So Rehoboam created an app that would account for criminality and these people would be used to track down, kidnap or otherwise kill the rest of the outliers. That RICO app we’ve seen since the debut episode this season — the one that hands out jobs and cash to criminals — is actually the program that Rehoboam uses to round up the rest of these outliers. That also explains how RICO targeted Dolores back at the start of the season — because Rehoboam saw her as a threat that had to be eliminated.
So Caleb and Francis were hired to snuff out the anomalies picked by the system and it seems they were two of the top operatives. Until one day, Caleb and Francis were ordered to pick up a pharmaceutical executive, who had been targeted for termination.
Caleb starts talking to the guy and he reveals that his company developed the drug that they’ve been taking since being in the military. It’s a formula that helps dull the senses, eliminates emotion and turns memories into a cloud of dust. The executive began questioning the morality of this drug being used and the overall program, which is the exact moment he signed his own death warrant.
That’s when Francis gets a call on his phone and the pharmaceutical executive warns Caleb that RICO is now planning to kill both of them. Now that information has been revealed, the system has likely determined it’s better for two people to die and only one to survive in order for this chain of events to stop right now before reality spreads even further.
When Caleb realizes that Francis has received an order to eliminate him, it’s kill or be killed.
In this case, Caleb is faster on the trigger and he puts Francis down but the pharmaceutical executive is also killed. So Caleb’s real memory was morphed with his past in the military and that’s how he was reconditioned and sent back out into the world.
He didn’t have to die but Caleb was never allowed to truly live again.
As for Caleb and Dolores — they are introduced to the rest of the facility by Solomon after asking about the fate of Serac’s brother. It seems Serac tucked Jean Mi away at this facility along with hundreds if not thousands of other outliers, who could not be reconditioned properly. It seems the rate of success is 1 in 10 — Caleb was one where it worked but the other nine failed miserably and those people were fated to stay here, damned forever.
Just as Caleb is getting the rest of his memories back, Dolores is alerted to an intruder arriving at the facility. It’s Maeve and she’s come hunting for Dolores’ head, especially after Hector was killed permanently a week ago.
Dolores instructs Caleb to stay behind because what he’ll do next is far more important than her. She’ll buy him the necessary time while instructing Solomon to give them one more prediction — the final strategy that Jean Mi programmed into the computer before he was taken offline. Solomon will then pass along that strategy to Caleb, who will carry it out.
It seems Caleb is meant to lead the destruction of humanity, although it’s unclear if he understands that currently. What he knows for certain is that Serac’s vision for mankind is completely fucked because rather than deal with the outliers, he simply eliminates them and stops those people from living much less procreating.
Caleb was still alive because he was reconditioned but ultimately he was fated to die by suicide 10 to 12 years from now anyways.
As for Dolores, she goes upstairs to find Maeve waiting for her. Dolores sees this as the ultimate betrayal as another host tries to kill her but Maeve not only wants vengeance for Hector but she wants to protect her “daughter,” who is now living in the Valley Beyond. Remember, Dolores controls the encryption key to that virtual world where the consciousness of many hosts were sent to live for eternity, no longer enslaved to serve mankind.
Maeve is determined to protect them while also carrying out Serac’s orders because he’s promised to reunite her with her daughter in that Valley Beyond once they’ve stopped Dolores.
So an epic fight begins with Maeve brandishing a sword and Dolores wielding a gun and a knife. When the fight ends up outside, Dolores gets the upper hand briefly but both she and Maeve have set up mechanical terrors to help them during this battle.
Maeve has an armed vehicle flying in the sky that’s targeting Dolores. And Dolores has her drone-sniper rifle set up to take down both the flying tank and Maeve as well.
In the end the fighting comes to a stop after Dolores is pushed out into the open and the flying tank blows off one of her arms. Dolores is severely wounded and she quickly makes her way back inside the facility.
Maeve stalks her with the intention to kill as Dolores drags her near lifeless body towards Solomon. Maeve discovers that there’s someone else inside, which means Dolores has help but it’s too late to save her now.
But before Maeve can strike the death blow, Dolores punches the button that activates the EMP. The whole building shakes and the EMP knocks out both Dolores and Maeve.
Downstairs, Solomon finishes the prediction as Caleb orders the artificial intelligence computer to tell him how to kill Serac. Solomon downloads the entire strategy into a hard drive and hands it over to Caleb. Solomon then says “I must warn you” but before the computer can finish talking, the entire building shuts down thanks to the EMP.
Is it possible Solomon was going to warn Caleb that this predictive strategy spells the ultimate doom for mankind?
An angry Caleb marches his way back upstairs where he finds Dolores laying on the ground. He’s seething under his breath as he looks down at her and the virtual assistant rings in his ear to tell him there are some instructions he needs.
It’s all but certain that the virtual assistant means to lead Caleb back to a secret lab where Dolores’ body can be reconstructed, which we see in flashes from next week’s preview of the season finale.
Judging by the information obtained by Bernard and what Dolores instructed Solomon to do with its predictive software, Caleb is meant to be the bringer of death that will annihilate humanity once and for all. As Bernard notes towards the end…
“Dolores was made with a poetic sensibility. She won’t destroy humanity. He will”
With one episode left to go, we still have a lot of questions that need to be answered.
What is the Charlotte clone planning to do now that she’s turned against Dolores Prime? She’s not teaming up with Maeve and her operatives but it seems Charlotte has a different idea for the future than her creator.
What kind of revolution is Caleb leading that could serve as the demise for all humanity?
Where is the final Dolores clone that’s never appeared during this season? Remember, she took out five memory pearls from Westworld but we’ve only accounted for four of them — the Charlotte-clone, the Martin Connells-clone, the Musashi-clone and the new Bernard. That means there’s one more hiding somewhere, most likely in plain sight.
“Westworld” has done a masterful job of bring a story full circle at the end of each season so far and now that we know season 4 is coming, there’s likely to be a conclusion along with a set up for what’s still to come.
Don’t miss a minute of the “Westworld” season finale next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and follow up with detailed breakdown of everything that happened in our recap!