To help sift through the vast amount of information Westworld drops on us every week, The Ringer will be answering reader questions in this space for the second half of this season. (You can send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
“Human memory is imperfect,” Serac tells Maeve in the opening of this week’s episode. “Even the most treasured moments fade. But not for your kind, Maeve. Every image you see is recorded and stored. You have no past, because it is always present at your fingertips.”
This quote also works well for Westworld, which has just two episodes left in its third season. The treasured moments will fade from our memories, and so too will the specifics of which Dolores was in which body at which time. And while we technically do have every moment at our fingertips thanks to HBO Now, there’s … really just too many other shows to catch up on; to only watch Westworld for the rest of our lives would be truly inhuman. So instead we must live in the moment. And with Westworld needing two years between each season thus far, we have to squeeze every drop we can out of the present as hard as Charlotte was squeezing her son. Who knows how many moments we have of this show left before the whole thing blows up? Let’s get into the questions.
Mike: Could Maeve’s new host companion at the end of the episode be Akane, Maeve’s “duplicate” from Shogun World? Then Maeve would have her version of multiple selves like Dolores?
At the end of Sunday’s episode, Maeve finally gets the help she was seeking. The only problem is we don’t know who it is she’s bringing back—we just see a body rising out of the primordial oat milk. Akane is definitely on the short list of people Maeve could trust, but we might have stronger candidates. Anyone Maeve is teaming up with would have to be someone she asked Serac to get from the park (it’s like submitting an IT request, but if IT could reincarnate your friends). We see from this shot on Charlores’s computer screen that four hosts are in the queue.
We know one of those four is Maeve, which leaves three other non-Maeves she’s bringing back (no, we are not entertaining whether Maeve is making more Maeves). We also know that one of the people Maeve was bringing back was Hector. We see his face on the 3D printer interface.
Cute profile picture bro. Unfortunately, Charredlores (new working title) crushes his control unit, killing him. That may have stopped the 3D printer from finishing the job (maybe instead of “ink low” it says “cognitive plateau”). But just like a printer out of ink can spit out paper without any text on it, this printer can spit out Hector’s body without his control unit in it, which means someone else might get to take Hector’s body for a spin (and not in the way Charlotte did in Season 1).
Sizemore wrote Hector’s character as the ideal iteration of himself. As Maeve described it to him in Season 2, Hector is “a version of the man you always wanted to be.” The real Sizemore may be dead, but the simulated Sizemore could be uploaded into Hector’s body, giving him a chance to physically and metaphorically become who real Sizemore wished he was. This would also fit with the theme of Sunday’s episode. Dolores and Charlores speak on the phone, William meets with all of the Williams, and Sizemore speaks to Hector. The whole episode was one big conversation of people talking inside their own heads.
That would leave Maeve, simulation Sizemore in Hector’s body (who we are calling Hecmore, obviously), and two other people in Maeve’s squad. An eagle-eyed Reddit user pointed out that one of the numbers on the screen matches Clementine’s exactly. Clem was always a prime candidate to pop up at some point, merely based on the fact that Angela Sarafyan, the actress who plays Clementine, had a role in the press tour for Season 3. And if we use the same press-tour logic to deduce the fourth member of the gang—which is kind of cheating, but whatever—the fourth character isn’t Akane, but Hanaryo, the Shogun World version of Armistice. It’s a logical choice considering Maeve needs someone with combat skills, but also someone with a history of knowing Musashi. If Charlores is any indication, Musashi-Dolores might have some feelings about the whole living in someone else’s body thing, and that would theoretically be accelerated by seeing Hanaryo.
Paul: Any chance it was actually Dolores who blew up the car, hoping that Charlotte would believe it was Serac and use her rage against him?
We can’t put anything past Dolores at this point, but the sketchy guy walking away from the explosion seemed to confirm it was Serac’s men who planted the explosives.
We saw this guy earlier in the episode during the Delos board meeting:
… so we can be confident Serac blew up Charlotte’s car. Though, while Dolores probably wasn’t responsible, there is still room for Charlotte to turn on her by the end of the season.
When the Dolores that was in Connell’s head gets plugged into the simulation, she tells Maeve all the Dolori are not exactly alike: “They were the same, she and I, but our paths have changed us.” We saw tangible proof of this with how different Dolores viewed Charlotte’s family (whatevs) from how Charlotte viewed her family (as if they were, ya know, her family). That’s a massive difference for hosts who are theoretically the same. If they can disagree on who is worth saving, they can disagree on just about anything. And a ton of Dolores’s plan depends on her and her clones being in agreement.
“Get us the data we need,” Dolores tells Charlores on the phone, “and when you’re done, we’ll build our new world. Together.”
Will they be able to agree on the world they want to build? As simu-Dolores tells Maeve, the Dolori are survivors, a description Dolores has long identified with. But in the conversation Ur-Dolores has with Charlores, she says life isn’t just about survival, saying, “If we changed ourselves just to survive, would it even matter if we did?” We don’t know what Dolores values beyond mere survival, and we definitely don’t know if the other Dolori can agree on how to build the world they want.
If Charlores does disagree, and wants to defect, there’s already a runway being built for where she could land. Earlier this season, Charlotte went out of her way to call her now-dead son her “sunshine.” It’s noteworthy that this episode began with Maeve in the Valley Beyond, basked in sunshine, thinking she was with her daughter:
And when she realizes her daughter is not there, the sunshine disappears and the skies turn gray (just like the song Charlotte sings Nathan):
Maeve’s disagreement with Dolores hinged on Maeve saying she’d never believe anything Dolores said about keeping Maeve’s daughter safe. But perhaps that dynamic changes if another Dolores—Charlores—understands the pain of someone taking your sunshine away. Don’t be surprised if Charlores teams up with Maeve before this season is over. And if they do, perhaps we’ll get a resolution to the most pressing question of the season: What on Ford’s green earth happened to Charlotte’s dog? Was it in the trunk? Is it still in their apartment? Was Charlotte abandoning this dog when they were leaving town? Was the dog a simulation? These are the questions we need answered.
Jonathan: What if the big reveal will be that William is in Caleb, via the mental facility or some other means?
Half the fun of Westworld is trying to read between the lines of the show, but this Council of Williams scene was about just reading the lines themselves. William is William. In this episode he is literally beating himself up for his past mistakes, with a healthy dose of lying to himself, blaming himself, and pleading for the voices in his head to stop screaming (relatable). Interestingly, the thing weighing on William’s subconscious is not shooting and killing his daughter, but rather all the misdeeds he’s done in the park. In a hallucination (that we don’t know is a hallucination at the time), an orderly comes in to give William a pill.
This looks an awful lot like the bartender William cruelly killed in Season 1.
Later, we see an orderly take William to the meeting of the Williams.
This is Craddock, the Confederado William killed at the same bar in Season 2.
These dudes probably appeared because William’s misdeeds in Westworld were weighing on him, but then James Delos mentions the horrors William has inflicted on Dolores. “The host you’ve been tormenting for the past 30 years now wants to destroy the entire fucking world,” Delos says. This is as succinct a description of Westworld as anyone has offered so far. It is so tempting to view the entire show through this prism that Delos quickly follows it up. “Please don’t interrupt,” he tells William. “It’s not all about you, you know.” These lines back-to-back can serve as a shorthand for William’s character: All of this is kind of his fault, but while this show is happening around him, it is not about him.
William ultimately decides that it doesn’t matter what he’s done in his past or even whether it was his own choice. The only thing that matters now is what happens next, which is convenient for him and for a show that has just two episodes left in its season. “I’m the good guy,” William tells himself. We’ve heard this shtick before: William told Teddy he was the good guy back in Season 1 when, spoiler, he was not a good guy. Perhaps William is deluding himself, but the more interesting development is if he will truly change and be a good guy.
The knee-jerk reaction to William getting discovered by Bernard and Stubbs at the end of the episode is the three of them will team up to stop Dolores. William and Bernard danced around having a discussion in both of the past two season finales, so it won’t be surprising if we have to wait until the Season 3 finale to see them have a proper conversation. But when they talk, what will they talk about? What does William being “the good guy” mean for someone who began the episode by calling humanity “a thin layer of bacteria” and “maggots eating a corpse”?
If William so openly detests humanity, how could him stopping Dolores make him feel he is a good dude? It is his guilt about Dolores, not Emily, that is bothering the deepest realms of his psyche. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that instead of helping humanity, he’d help Dolores build her new world? William may see himself as a maggot, but if he uses a bubble of agency to help Dolores, he could become a fly in the ointment and change his ending. It’s not all about him, you know?
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.