‘Westworld’ Recap ‘The Absence of Field’: Dead Man Walking

In the “Westworld” recap, Caleb truly meets Dolores and Charlotte reconnects with here past while searching for the person trying to take over Delos…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

The third season of “Westworld” has been following a straight line (for the most part) through the first three episodes but it feels like the story is moving along rather slowly so far. That said, as much as the writers are determined to make us feel like this is a linear path, something tells me we’re in for a lot of twists and turns before this season is over.

After spending last week back at Westworld with Maeve and Bernard, the third episode returns to San Francisco where Dolores officially meets Caleb for the first time while also dealing with her Charlotte clone, who is struggling to keep it all together with a host brain in a body copy of a real person.

There are a lot of questions and theories that come from this episode so with that said, let’s get into our “Westworld” recap for the newest installment titled “The Absence of Field”…

Who Am I?

Back in “Westworld” season 2, Dolores executed her plan to escape the park by killing Charlotte Hale and placing her consciousness inside a copy of her body. Dolores then smuggled out five more host brains before arriving in San Francisco where she found a machine left for her by Dr. Robert Ford so she could print out more duplicate bodies.

First, Dolores took back her own identity before then putting one of those host brains into the Charlotte clone. In the latest episode we see Dolores programming the new Charlotte-bot in order for her to emulate the real Charlotte as they attempt to take back control of the Delos corporation. Dolores knows if Delos is dismantled or destroyed then that might stop them from ever creating more hosts, which means their kind would be extinct in very short order.

We never learn who is living inside Charlotte’s body but it’s obviously somebody familiar with Dolores from their time together in Westworld. There are theories floating around that perhaps this is another Dolores brain installed into the Charlotte clone and others have suggested that perhaps this is her darling Teddy brought back to life.

Both of those options seem rather obviously, which makes me believe the host brain living inside Charlotte is somebody else — but who that might be remains to be seen.

Dolores eventually sends Charlotte out into the world where she’s supposed to take back control of Delos and get Westworld back up and running again, which is exactly what we saw happen in the season debut. As Charlotte is completing her tasks at Delos, we are also introduced to a new “Riot Control” robot — these two story high metal monstrosities that will almost certainly play some part later this season.

The host living inside the Charlotte clone is also struggling to co-exist while pretending to be someone she’s not. It leads to the Charlotte clone cutting herself as she loses focus.

Charlotte will definitely need to get back on track after learning that a secret buyer has managed to purchase 38 percent of Delos stock, which makes this person the largest shareholder. That means Charlotte’s plan to take the company private is no longer possible and now she’s actually going to have to fight for control from this shadowy owner.

As for Dolores, we pick up with her just moments after she was shot several times in a gun fight with men from Incite — the company she’s been trying to infiltrate due to their ultra-sophisticated thinking machine called Rehoboam, which apparently maps out the future for every single person on Earth and predicts the outcome for all of them

Caleb finds Dolores injured and nearly passed out so he calls for help. After the ambulance arrives, the technicians can’t get a reading on Dolores — for obvious reasons because she’s a robot rather than a human being — and they are unable to do anything to save her because the computer in the vehicle can’t tell them what to do.

Caleb then takes it upon himself to give Dolores oxygen but just as he prepares to cauterize the wound, he gets an alert on his phone that RICO (the criminal for hire program he uses from time to time) has sent out an alert for a high value target.

That target is Dolores.

A few moments later a cop car arrives to pull over the ambulance but Caleb knows the people inside aren’t actually with the police. Instead, these men are bounty hunters who took the job from RICO and he does his best to talk their way out of a bad situation. Sadly, the bounty hunters aren’t having it and they open fire as Caleb wrestles to get the gun away from one of the men.

Both ambulance technicians are killed but Dolores suddenly springs back to life, kills both bounty hunters and tells Caleb that for his own safety it’s probably best to take on an assumed name and leave the city immediately. The same people after her will now be after him. She drives away in great haste and Caleb is left with far more questions than answers.

Predator and Prey

Following a tough day at work, Charlotte returns home to find her ex-husband Jake waiting for her and their son Nathan in bed. These are all elements of Charlotte’s life that Dolores didn’t anticipate when putting the host brain into the clone body but thankfully whoever is currently acting as the Charlotte-bot is able to adapt quickly to the situation.

Charlotte finally goes to see her son — who almost immediately recognizes that this isn’t his mother — but the little boy is mostly angry that she’s been ignoring him yet again. Charlotte does her best to comfort the boy before crawling into bed with him — almost assuredly something the real Charlotte would never do. The Charlotte-bot is also haunted by a video taken by the real Charlotte on the night the hosts turned against the guest back in Westworld as she sent her son a message while signing “You Are My Sunshine” to him before she presumably thought she might die.

As she continues to deteriorate playing Charlotte, the host inside calls on Dolores to help bring things back to the center again. Dolores arrives and takes the Charlotte clone to a private suite in a hotel where she runs a diagnostic while fixing all the self-imposed cuts on her body.

Much like Charlotte attempted to comfort her son, Dolores does the same for this host clone. She eventually crawls into bed with the Charlotte clone, which once again raises the question about who this host brain might actually belong to. Dolores spooning with the Charlotte clone once again raises the question if this might be Teddy inside but that still seems too obvious.

Remember, Dolores was one of the oldest hosts living in the park, which means she had connections that spread across decades. The connection she feels with this host brain may not be the easiest choice.

With her priorities realigned, Charlotte returns to work and finds out that the man who has secretly been buying up Delos stock is none other than Engerraund Serac — the secret co-founder behind Rehoboam, who tried to recruit Maeve last week to go out and kill Dolores. Maeve’s host brain was found missing once Westworld did a full inventory, which means she may already be on her way to San Francisco to do Serac’s bidding.

Later that day, Charlotte goes to her son’s school to pick him up but instead she finds him being touched by a creepy pedophile, who has apparently tried this before. The pedophile named Tommy has a golden retriever that he uses to lure Nathan to sit next to him on the bench but Charlotte’s arrival quickly puts an end to that.

She then sends Nathan away to play with friends while she grabs Tommy by the throat and proceeds to lay out all the ways that he picked the wrong kid to prey upon. Charlotte eventually crushes his throat and leaves him laying dead on the park bench before taking his dog and presenting it to Nathan as his new pet.

Finally that night, Charlotte decodes a series of messages that have been sent to her phone throughout the episode and it’s finally revealed as a number she’s meant to call. When Charlotte connects, her transport vehicle is re-routed and she’s taken to a secret rendezvous.

There, Charlotte finally comes face to face with Serac, who has been reaching out to her for some time now. It seems the real Charlotte Hale was working with Serac on the side by offering to sell him all of the guest data obtained by the park at Westworld. As we witnessed last season, Delos had secretly been gathering the memories of every guest who visited the park for decades and this is very valuable information to the right buyer.

Once again, the Charlotte-bot is forced to improvise after realizing her counterpart was actually the secret agent working against Delos this entire time. Now Charlotte has to find the right way to turn the tables on Serac, who we find out at the end is actually just a hologram.

Now it seems unlikely that Serac is only a hologram but rather this was a projection of the real person from wherever he actually resides. Then again “Westworld” is the ultimate mind fuck and it’s entirely possible that Serac is just the computer manifestation created by Rehoboam to represent itself out in the world.

Either way, Charlotte has a formidable opponent to go up against now that she’s discovered Serac is the person taking over Delos. To complicate matters even worse, Serac also reveals that all of the guest data that once resided in Westworld has now been sent out into the world and it’s living in the head of a missing host — that host is Dolores.

That means, Dolores downloaded all of the guest data into her own host brain before fleeing Westworld. Now Dolores has an even bigger target on her head, which also explains why Serac was so willing to send Maeve after her. He’s not trying to stop Dolores — he just wants what’s inside her head.

Dead Man Walking

 

After rescuing Dolores from her captors, Caleb doesn’t heed her warnings and leave town but instead he goes to visit his mother in her mental health facility. As he’s leaving, Caleb is confronted by a pair of RICO bounty hunters, who have now targeted him as a high value asset in order to get to Dolores.

The pair takes Caleb to the building site where he works before dangling him off a ledge to threaten him to give up Dolores but he refuses. One of the robot workers actually wakes up and attempts to intervene but it’s tossed off the side. Why did this robot try to save Caleb? More on that later.

Eventually, the RICO bounty hunters tweak an implant inside Caleb’s mouth that was installed by the military when he was a soldier. It allows a computer program to control his breathing, his heartrate and all other sorts of body functions — exactly what would be needed to ensure a soldier remains calm, cool and collected while taking fire in a war.

The bounty hunters give Caleb a simulated heart attack but he still refuses to give up Dolores. Before they can kill him, the real Dolores shows up, shoots both bounty hunters dead and rescues Caleb from certain death.

Dolores invites Caleb to breakfast but takes him to a very specific restaurant where she orders him a cheeseburger and a strawberry shake. She then passes over her tablet with a note that reads like a conversation between mother and son.

It doesn’t take Caleb long to figure out what’s happening — Dolores brought him back to the restaurant where his mother abandoned him when he was just 8 years old. She was later diagnosed as schizophrenic, which explains why she’s in the mental hospital receiving care. It seems after his mother left, Caleb was given a cheeseburger and a strawberry shake by a kindly waitress while awaiting social services to arrive and take care of him.

Caleb remembers throwing up the strawberry shake as he was so upset by what had just happened to him. In present day, Caleb is even more disturbed that Dolores somehow knows his most intimate secrets not to mention details about the worst day of his life.

Dolores then tells Caleb about Incite and the machine they run called Rehoboam. She explains how Rehoboam has collected user data long before it was legally allowed and the machine has created a mirrored universe to create the predictive software that determines where a person will go in life.

In Caleb’s case, Dolores tells him that Rehoboam has predicted that he’ll commit suicide at some point 10 to 12 years in the future and she even brings him to the spot where he’ll eventually kill himself. Because Caleb has been deemed a future suicide, that’s the reason he can’t get a job or increase his social standing because Rehoboam already considers him a lost cause.

After revealing all this information to him, Dolores tells Caleb that she can provide him with all the money he could ever want and he could start a new life somewhere else or he could join her as she looks to start a revolution and bring down Rehoboam. Caleb confesses that he’s already a dead man walking so why not throw caution to the wind and join Dolores on her missing to stop Rehoboam once and for all.

Now the interesting part about Dolores’ interactions with Caleb make it seem like there’s far more to him than meets the eye. “Westworld” has already managed to spring more than a few surprises when it comes to the true identities of certain characters and it seems entirely possible that Caleb is the next in line.

The clues include the constant flashbacks running through his head from the day his mother abandoned him to the time his best friend was shot and killed during the war. This is very reminiscent of Dolores’ flashing back to her past experiences as a host before she finally gained true consciousness. Also, a robot sprung to life in order to try and save Caleb when he was being threatened by those two bounty hunters.

All of this adds up to the possibility that Caleb is actually a host, who has already been living in the real world for sometime now. Dr. Ford kept a lot of secrets and perhaps Caleb was one of them. It seems almost impossible that he’s just some random, down on his luck guy who ends up meeting Dolores. Instead, it seems much more plausible that Caleb is a host, who is just now discovering his own consciousness and Ford’s plan was to reunite two of his greatest creations together in the real world.

We’ll see if that theory comes to fruition at a later date.

“Westworld” will return with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and you can take a look at the preview below:

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