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44 Big and Small Questions About the End of ‘Westworld’ Season 3

Some people choose to see the ugliness in the world—one writer chooses to see all of the loose ends left by an HBO show

HBO/Ringer illustration

For the past two seasons, Westworld has been stuck in a loop. Like many of the hosts cycling through various lives (and bodies), the series continues to struggle to find its identity. The third season saw Dolores lead her kind outside of the parks for the first time, and yet many of the confusing plot points left behind by the previous season—such as the Sublime—bled into the show’s next chapter without any resolution. Even now, with Season 3 all wrapped up, many of the same unresolved questions linger. And worse yet, it’ll be at least a year-plus until the show returns—and there’s now eight more episodes worth of head-scratching storytelling choices and bait for Reddit sleuths.

All of this is to say, I have questions. A lot of them. If we covered everything I’ve been wondering about dating back to last season, we’d probably be here until the fourth season starts. So instead, I boiled it down to the biggest ones. Here are my [checks notes] 44 questions left over from Sunday’s season finale:

1. Is Dolores gone forever? Characters are rarely truly gone in Westworld, and I can’t imagine that will be the case for the series’s protagonist, especially given all of the copies of her still lying around somewhere in the world. Charlotte-Dolores branched off onto a path of her own after Dolores sent her and her family to die, but within her mind still lies all the memories that Serac erased in the finale. Dolores may live on, but is this really the last we see of Evan Rachel Wood?

2. When did Dolores decide that humanity was worth sacrificing everything for? You’re telling me she forgot about all the times she was abused over and over again at Westworld because of that one time Caleb was like, “Hey, raping people is bad, guys”? Or that one time William picked up that can of soup for her? Dolores, that guy ended up killing you! Many times!

3. Was Lawrence built with the fifth pearl that Dolores smuggled out of Westworld? Was he just another copy of Dolores? Or was he actually brought back just to blow stuff up?

4. What happened to the Dolores pearls that were implanted in the bodies of Connells and Musashi?

5. Why did Delos allow Dolores—the original host—to be used as a test dummy during U.S. military training exercises in Park 5? Was Teddy busy that day or something?

6. What is Charlotte planning to do with her new host army? Is she going to pursue the kill-and-replace scheme that Bernard thought Dolores was planning?

7. Caleb was told several times that he would be able to write the new script for humanity and that the future was in his hands. Is his job finished now that he shut down Rehoboam, or is he still humanity’s leader?

8. What have the world’s governments been doing this whole time? How do they feel about this Caleb Nichols guy?

9. What popular songs will emerge in classical form in Season 4?

10. Are Caleb and Charlotte going to fight now or what?

11. Did Caleb forget about his mother? In the third episode, he paid his mom a final visit in the hospital, dropped off some books, and told her he was going to be away for a little while. And, well, it’s been a little while since then and everything in Los Angeles is on fire now.

12. What did Bernard see in the Sublime? As we learned in the finale, Bernard apparently had the key to the virtual world all along. The last we see of him before the credits roll, Bernard is entering the Sublime in order to find “an answer to what comes after the end of the world.” But, based on what we saw of the Valley Beyond in the second season, what answers could he possibly find in host heaven?

13. Wait, did William actually die in a post-credits scene? If you happened to turn off your TV immediately after the finale ended, whether out of frustration or because, like, the episode was over, then let me be first to tell you: William got his throat slashed by a Man in Black host. So did anything William do all season even matter?

14. Clementine and Hanaryo are working with Charlotte, right? The two hosts had brief, confusing roles this season, only appearing in the present timeline for one Episode 7 scene in which they chopped off Musashi’s head.

15. Speaking of which, where were Clementine and Hanaryo in all the chaos of the finale?

16. Why did Maeve switch sides? She didn’t turn on Serac all season long, and all of a sudden, after one conversation with Dolores, she’s ready to give up on seeing her daughter—the one thing she cares about—in order to fight for the humans?

17. Was Maeve working with Charlotte? Did Charlotte shut down Dolores in the finale to help out Maeve? Or did she just want revenge on Dolores, and happened to take it at a very convenient time for Maeve?

18. So, Charlotte and her family got blown up, and Charlotte escaped looking a little crispy. The next time we see her, she’s on the phone talking smack to Dolores-Musashi, and the time after that, she’s a very angry hologram in the finale. What happened in those gaps?

19. And speaking of holograms, how did those even work? The first time we saw a hologram in the third episode, Charlotte was handed some Incite glasses in order to see a projection of Serac in crystal-clear quality. But the hologram tech quickly evolved: By Episode 6, Serac was calling into Delos conference rooms and hitting up Dolores from his private jet without any need for glasses.

20. Why didn’t Serac just use a hologram at Incite in the finale rather than put himself in any danger?

21. How is Charlotte working for Delos again?

22. What was with Dolores’s virtual assistant all season? Her personal Siri was an extremely valuable tool from the jump, but how did it work and how did it grant so much power and access?

23. What did Bernard’s remote do exactly? He kept on talking to himself whenever he turned it on to go Hulk-mode, almost always telling himself to remember who he is before beating people up. But what was it and how did he acquire it?

24. Is Stubbs … OK?

25. Why did Bernard have to just leave his boy in the tub like that? What was the rush to go into the Sublime? Bernard said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have much time” before “the end of the world.” My guy, it takes two minutes to patch Stubbs up, we’ve seen you do it!

26. Where is Charlotte’s golden retriever?!

27. How far into the future were the two post-credits scenes? The society we saw looked to be doing pretty well, all things considered, showing no effects of the Armageddon that everyone was anticipating. And Bernard was dusty as hell; unless Stubbs got up at some point and poured a bucket of sand over him out of spite, it seems as if he’s been sitting there untouched for quite some time.

28. Is Marshawn Lynch still alive? Marshawn, the true king of Westworld, put on a hell of a performance in the season finale, making one-handed catches and tackling through riot shields. Without him taking a bullet for Caleb, the plan to destroy Rehoboam and free humanity would never have succeeded. We didn’t get to see a dramatic dying moment from him (damn you, Westworld), so maybe Giggles isn’t done for just yet.

29. Is Lena Waithe going to return in Season 4? Ash was last seen being hauled away during the riot after her partner went down, but will she return for a bigger role in the future?

30. No, actually though, a main character died in the post-credits sequence? EXCUSE ME?!

31. How exactly did Caleb gain access to Rehoboam in order to shut it down? Even Serac asked this very question to Maeve, to which she explained that he gave Caleb access when he uploaded Dolores’s memory of Solomon’s access into Rehoboam. But, like ... how?

32. When Caleb told Rehoboam to shut down, why didn’t it just, I don’t know, politely decline?

33. What happened to the outliers stuck in cryo-chambers at Incite’s Sonora facility? Are they still asleep or did they suffocate when Dolores initiated the EMP at the end of Episode 7? Could they just be wandering around Mexico confused as hell right now?

34. What actually happened on the pier with Caleb? The ominous shot of Caleb sitting on top of the railing at the Santa Monica pier appeared over and over again throughout the season, but we never saw the significance of it in the end. Was that a purposeful decision that will be addressed later on?

35. Will we ever return to the parks again, or will future seasons be set solely in the human world?

36. How did Maeve’s telepathic powers conveniently return in the finale? If she could’ve destroyed Serac’s remote this whole time then why didn’t she?

37. So Rehoboam doesn’t have a backup? Look, I get that it was an impressive piece of technology—anything capable of fixing global warming and eliminating Los Angeles’s pesky traffic problem deserves all the praise in the world. But Serac, my foolish friend, you didn’t consider having some insurance for your life’s work? You just planted a massive orb in your company’s lobby and decided it’d be safe forever?

38. For that matter, why the hell was Incite even based in Los Angeles? Serac’s just a big Silver Lake guy?

39. Was Serac controlling Rehoboam, or was Rehoboam controlling Serac? One of the more puzzling twists of the season was learning that Rehoboam had been guiding Serac all along, dictating his every word. Which, if that’s the case: Was Dolores really running circles around an omniscient supercomputer all season?

40. Will other hosts we haven’t seen in a while be returning in Season 4? Bring back the Milk Gang.

41. Did Serac bleed out or is he just moping next to Rehoboam still?

42. Is Drogon just flying around in Costa Rica right now?

43. Is Bernard still a wanted man? He was global news after being blamed for the 100-plus deaths at Westworld as of the season premiere, and he was even threatened by some coworkers while hiding out at a remote meat-packing plant somewhere in the Philippines because of it. Did he clear his name at some point, or did nobody—including the all-seeing Rehoboam—notice him walking around California?

44. Are Felix and Sylvester doing all right? We only saw the clumsy Delos technicians in a simulation this season. I wonder what those fools have been up to.

Despite all of the continuity errors, shaky writing, and truly shameful wastes of the talented Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, and Jeffrey Wright, in its third season Westworld still showcased some incredible visual effects, well-choreographed action scenes, and an ability to tackle compelling concepts regarding human consciousness—at least when the conversations didn’t inevitably turn toward the matter of free will. (We get it, it exists but it’s fucking hard!) With a rumored two years until the next season—which could be even later given all of the production delays across Hollywood due to the pandemic—cocreators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have plenty of time to figure out how to break Westworld out of its loop of convoluted storytelling and cheap twists. The show is due for another reset—let’s just hope it’s one that can start providing answers.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.