The first season of Westworld — known as “The Maze” — aired during the fall of 2016, right in the midst of the last U.S. Presidential Election. Fitting then, that the show left us intrigued, a little afraid, but mostly wondering just where in the hell it was going.
Season two, “The Door,” came to us during the spring of 2018, a year and some change into the Trump presidency. While still intriguing, season two left us mostly confused as to what in the hell was actually going on. What fucking timeline were we in, anyway? A lot of people couldn’t keep up with all of the crazy shit, and decided to jump ship.
As you’re probably aware, shit has kinda hit the fan here in the real world. Nobody really knows where this will end up, but we’re all pretty sure things won’t be the same on the other side. Which brings us to last Sunday, and the debut of season three, “The New World.” If the premiere episode is any indication, the third season of Westworld is going to get absolutely bonkers, and that just might be the best thing for all of us.
Westworld is a show built on challenging its audience to really think about the story and themes within the show. The first season, albeit a bit slow to get up to full speed, wanted everyone to question the nature of the hosts’ existence and what precisely motivated their impending rebellion. In the second season, we get thrown (quite aggressively, at that) into the middle of the uprising. But instead of presenting the audience with a story meant to incite thought, the show overloads the viewer with a dizzying array of timelines. Instead of trying to figure out what pieces fit together, and by the end of the season we were left wondering what pieces came from what fucking box.
We knew three things for certain by the end of season two, and they all related to Dolores. The first is her intent, which she laid out for Bernard when she told him, “I don’t want to play cowboys and indians, anymore, Bernard. I want their world, the world they denied us.” The second is the fact that Dolores, in a Charlotte Hale host body, took five pearls (each acts as hard drive for a specific host) with her when she escaped Westworld. She used one to rebuild Bernard, and when he, rightly, questioned this decision, to which Dolores answered, “It’ll take both of us if we’re going to survive. But not as allies, not as friends. You’ll try to stop me, and both of us will probably die. But our kind will have endured.”
To put that concisely, Dolores is loose in the real world, and is out for blood. She has four pearls left after using one to rebuild Bernard, who she knows will try to stop her, though this seems to be part of her plan.
Enter “Parce Domine,” the season three premiere. Right away we get a glimpse of Dolores’ rampage, as she’s shown invading the ridiculously A.I.-integrated home of some Delos investor, robbing him of a ton of money and some company secrets he took from another company, Incite. She basically fucks with this guy until he fails so hard in his attempt to hit Dolores he winds up killing himself.
Later, we see Dolores getting chummy with some wealthy tech-CEO type, who we learn is in power at Incite… sort of. Incite built a huge A.I. brain, but this guy doesn’t really know shit about it. His dad did, but he’d dead, and son is just a figurehead at Incite. Right after Dolores learns this truth, she’s knocked out and abducted by Incite’s head of security, Martin. Important note: Martin is played by Tommy Flanagan, most famous for his portrayal of Chibs on Sons of Anarchy. I love this casting job. Anyway, he tells the dipshit son that “Laura” — Dolores assumed identity — is not who she says she is (turns out Laura is a dead teenager from Kiev), and thus must be taken care of. This does not work out in Martin’s favor. In fact, it ends with a host version of Martin killing the human Martin, as Dolores tells him, “You were free, you had no God. But you tried to build one, only that thing you built isn’t God. The real gods are coming, and they’re angry.” That’s some cold-blooded shit.
So we now know one of Dolores’ four remaining pearls is in host Martin. We also learn earlier on that one of the pearls in is host Charlotte, as we see her conducting business at a Delos board meeting. What we don’t know is the identity of the host pearls within Martin and Charlotte.
What about Bernard? Well, he spends most of episode on some isolated farm, living life as a fugitive because the Westworld incident has been pinned on him, or rather the human identity people believe him to be. As every “troubled man on the run” story ever has taught us, Bernard finds himself in some trouble with the locals, kills said locals, and by the end of the episode is on a boat back to Westworld.
Which brings us to Caleb, played by Aaron Paul. His appearance in the season three trailers led to a lot of hypothesizing amongst fans, so his story was perhaps the most anticipated. We learn a good bit about Caleb this episode: he’s former military, lost what is I assume his best friend in action (and he spends the entire episode talking to an A.I. version of this guy, Francis, via phone conversation, in some kind of futuristic therapy for vets), has a sick mother and a shitty job in construction. He keeps applying for a new job, but can’t get hired. This causes him to turn to crime, via an app called Rico, which is like a mashup of Tinder and LinkedIn for criminals. Of note, Marshawn Lynch appears in this episode as one of Caleb’s Rico crime dates, and he wears a shirt that displays his emotion. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the big picture, but I thought you should know.
By the end of the episode, Caleb comes upon a seemingly wounded woman in an underpass. Yep, you guessed right, it’s Dolores. So, now we know Caleb in a part of Dolores’ plan.
Let’s recap: Dolores is on her warpath, has control of Delose via the Charlotte host, and now has an in at Incite, via host Martin. We do not know which host’s pearls are controlling Charlotte and Martin, however. She has now brought Caleb into her web, but we don’t yet know why. Bernard has been blamed for the Westworld incident, and is on the run, but is running right back to Westworld.
Oh yeah, and Maeve’s back. Last we saw her, she was amongst a pile of seemingly-dead hosts at the end of season two. However, a post-credits scene reveals that Maeve has been brought back and currently resides in whatever Delos calls their World War II themed park.
So, all of that info leads me to this conclusion: season three is gonna be fucking nuts, and I can’t wait. Dolores is trying to destroy the world, and Bernard is trying to stop her. Their encounter from season two and teasers for season three lead me to believe we’re headed straight for a Dolores/Maeve showdown, with Bernard, Caleb and the entire world caught between them. A world that includes a giant A.I. brain… I’m sure that won’t come into play, at all.
I finally got around to watching the S3 premiere today, and I will say this: your recap and review was the best, clearest, and best of all that I read after my viewing. I didn’t realize anything going on at all with the pearls, but now I see it. Also, those pearls can be a host yet be put in a totally different host? That’s a bit…confusing.
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