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The ‘Westworld’ Season 3 Finale Exit Survey

As a revolution broke out in Los Angeles, Hale returned as a hologram, Dolores and Maeve faced off, Bernard put a headband thingy on—and the Ringer staff sat back and wondered about the nature of humanity

HBO/Ringer illustration

With the teams set—Dolores, Caleb, and Marshawn Lynch versus Serac, Maeve, and a slew of guards with horrible aim—Westworld came to a head in its Season 3 finale. We finally found out what Dolores wanted; Maeve finally had to make a choice; Bernard finally … saw something? And William finally met his match. Now the show hurtles toward an unknowable future. But first, some reactions. After watching the finale—and TWO end credits sequences—a handful of Ringer staffers unleashed their innermost thoughts.

1. What is your tweet-length review of the Season 3 finale of Westworld?

Daniel Chin: It was a season full of head-scratching and eye-roll-inducing moments—at some point I began thinking every character could be Dolores—but Westworld saved its best episode for last.

Danny Heifetz: “I see why Anthony Hopkins dipped,” my brother said as the credits rolled.

David Shoemaker: Serac was just a dude, William was just a dude, Caleb was just a soldier, Charlie was just a kid, and Dolores was the hero all along.

Andrew Gruttadaro: Some people choose to see the ugliness in this show. The disarray. I choose to see the expensive sets and scenes of Marshawn Lynch single-handedly bowling over riot walls.

2. What was the best moment of the episode?

Shoemaker: Either Maeve’s lights-out sword fight or the post credits scene with Charlotte.

Chin: Marshawn Lynch coming out of nowhere to catch a tear-gas canister one-handed. It was just so smooth, so effortless. Coupled with him busting through riot shields like a weak defensive line moments later, Marshawn went full Beast Mode in this episode—and I am extremely thankful for it.

Gruttadaro: When Stubbs said, “Fuck you, Bernard.” Great bromance moment. Luke Hemsworth had a great season and there wasn’t enough of him.

Heifetz: The beginning of the episode, when I thought the finale would answer my questions.

Screenshots via HBO

3. What was your least favorite part?

Heifetz: The end of the episode, when I realized the finale would not answer my questions.

Shoemaker: Emo Caleb in the police helicopter.

Gruttadaro: You can’t just keep telling us that a character is important. If Bernard is really that important, make us feel it. Let us spend substantial time with him. Let us invest in him. Tell us what’s going on with him. Everything that happened with Bernard in the finale that was supposed to be momentous just felt meaningless, because the season hadn’t done the necessary legwork.

Chin: The post-credits scene when William gets killed, but at the same time, is still alive as the Man in Black again. While I love grumpy Ed Harris—“That’s not chaos; that’s just pissants yellin’ and moanin’” is just iconic—I was disappointed by William’s character arc this season. It seemed as if he was going to become important to the plot at some point, but his whole resolve to be “the good guy” and wipe out all the hosts never amounted to anything, and his death was merely an afterthought.

4. Dolores wanted to save humanity … your thoughts?

Shoemaker: Well, she sure has a funny way of showing it.

Gruttadaro: I guess that’s … nice of her? And pretty representative of the core ideal of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s show (i.e., people are inherently good and capable of positive change; it’s society’s systems that prevent them from improvement). Mostly, though, I wonder whether she’d have been able to live through the revolution if she had just been nicer to people.

Heifetz: Dolores decided that humankind’s collective sins were outweighed by the time that guy picked up her soup.

Chin: The scene with Dolores and Maeve when Dolores finally explains her motives, interwoven with flashbacks from previous seasons, was one of my favorites since the first season. With that being said, I don’t buy it. Last season and even this season, she was ruthless and lacked empathy—from her many John Wickian onslaughts to sending a copy of herself to die. After another human, Serac, wiped out most of the remaining hosts, I don’t really believe she still had enough faith in humanity to want to sacrifice everything for it.

5. Is Dolores gone forever? Is anyone on this show ever gone forever?

Shoemaker: Is Dolores dead? Like, Evan-Rachel-Wood-has-left-the-building dead? Like Dr.-Ford-in-Season-3-not-Season-2 dead? My guess is no, if for no other reason than she’s the throughline connecting us to the first episode of the show. (Sure, we have William and Bernard, too, but after Season 3, William isn’t, well, himself, and Bernard needs a little character rehab.) I love the idea of a constantly renewable cast, but Dolores IS Westworld. She’ll be back.

Chin: Nope! Lawrence seems to be another copy of Dolores—assuming that Bernard was right and Lawrence was built with the final pearl that Dolores smuggled out of Westworld—and then there’s at least one more Dolores pearl lying around after the death of Musashi. Between the three of them, plus Charlotte, there’s a very high chance of Dolores coming back to life again. What is dead may never die, I guess?

Gruttadaro: No. Bernard still remembers her; he can, and probably will, rebuild her.

Heifetz: I remember her, therefore she is not really dead. I will rebuild her from my memory.

6. What is the biggest loose end left by the finale?

Chin: This has been bothering me for episodes: What happened to Caleb’s mom? Caleb seemed very concerned about her well-being early in the season, but once he met Dolores, my guy completely forgot about his own mother. Maybe she wasn’t actually his mom and Incite planted her in his mind—that would explain why she told him “you’re not my son” at one point—but we never got that moment of clarity from Caleb. If that was his mom all along, the leader of the human revolution is going to have some explaining to do.

Heifetz: Did the show steal the end of Fight Club on purpose or by accident?

Shoemaker: Wait, you mean all of those editing continuity errors were … just errors? That, and I’d like to know where Bernard went when he put on the headset.

Gruttadaro: What the hell is going on with Charlotte Hale? What is Bernard even doing? Why did they kill off one of their central characters in a post-credits scene? At what point did this show become so obsessed with elaborate action scenes? Why did the guy who protected himself all season by only appearing in hologram form decide to actually show up in a city that was in the process of being burned to the ground? Why didn’t they use an orchestral version of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” for that last scene that was clearly ripped from the end of Fight Club? Is it because Mr. Robot beat them to it? Sorry—is that more than one loose end? Hm. I guess Westworld has a knack for ’em.

7. Approximately how much more Marshawn Lynch could Season 3 of Westworld have used?

Shoemaker: They should have just given him the Caleb role. Give the man the ball.

Gruttadaro: I will say it was a pleasant surprise when he showed up in the finale—a moment of relief. But I could still use about 100 percent more of him.

Chin: A fantastic question, I’m glad you asked. On the one hand, I wish Marshawn was the leader of the human revolution. (The Marshawn and Kid Cudi flashbacks would have just melted my brain.) But at the same time, the small doses of Marshawn here and there is what kept me going all season, a hope that Giggles would grace my television screen once again. I think Westworld got this one right.

Heifetz: He did his job. Even Westworld knows to let Marshawn Lynch break through the line at the end of a season.

8. Where does Westworld go in Season 4?

Chin: The Sublime appears to be a major key moving forward, and Charlotte seems to be gearing up for a war between her new host army and a human society under the new leadership of Caleb Nichols. But honestly, I just hope we get to see Stubbs and Bernard drink some more beers together.

Heifetz: All of next season will be made up entirely of end credits sequences.

Shoemaker: Where should it go? Back to Westworld, honestly. You wouldn’t set Jurassic Park 2 in San Diego, would you? You get my point. As for where will it go—probably into a “Who’s the Cylon?” futuristic Clue game.

Gruttadaro: To … a human revolution? While Hale starts a host revolution? And while Bernard remains cloistered in dusty motels? Therein lies Westworld’s biggest problem: It still wants to be a mystery show, leaving morsels of information for its legion of redditors. But eventually, you hit the point at which you have to reveal what’s going on and address its fallout. We’re at that point now—so does Westworld finally become a more straightforward show, or does it continue to introduce new Big Bads and twist itself into knots for the sake of “shocking” reveals? Unfortunately, the answer to that mystery is one of the only ones I think I know.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.