SPOILERS for Westworld Season 3, Episode 3 ‘The Absence of Field’
Westworld is back on track with its new ‘out of the park’ storylines and things are beginning to move quickly now with Dolores’ plans coming to light and Engerraund Serac getting more and more involved in the story. With this episode, this season has established that it is not only very different but also a spectacular revamping that is just as engaging as ever. Let’s get into the episode, where one specific mystery is at the forefront, and another is revealed.
Who the Hale is she?
The beginning of the episode acts as a bit of a catch-up for Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), or who we will refer to as Hale as we don’t yet know who is in her body. We glimpse a moment that takes place right after the season one finale where the real Hale leaves a video message for someone named Nathan, at this point it’s unclear who this is. Flash forward to Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) printing a new Hale body for this mystery person to live inside. Whoever it is, seems to be struggling a little with remembering who they are, but whoever it is, Dolores seems to trust. In the scene, we see Bernard’s pearl and three other pearls sitting unused, it should be noted that Bernard’s pearl is black with some speckles of red, presumably a representation of that part of him that is Arnold.
Now we catch back up with the present timeline where Hale is looking over a massive riot control robot which will surely come into play at some point this season. They key of this scene is that we learn someone has been gradually buying shares in Delos in an attempt to buy them out, and now they are the majority shareholder.
When we next catch up with Hale, who has been cutting herself in some sort of identity crisis, we learn that the mysterious Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassell) is the one trying to buy out Delos… surprise, surprise. We also learn he’s effectively wiped himself from the internet, he’s a trillionaire and he’s essentially a ghost who’s been plotting on taking Delos for 20 years. Hale continues to receive these mysterious audio messages that just sound like static. When she returns home, a man named Jack is waiting for her, presumably an ex boyfriend. We then find out, and Hale also finds out that the real Charlotte Hale has a son named Nathan… revealing the message we saw in the beginning of the episode was for her son. The fact that she has a son must be off the record as Hale seems to be just as shocked that she has a son as we are, this also makes sense since it clearly wasn’t in the book Dolores read.
Back in her office, Hale finds out that a number of control units are missing from the park (Dolores’ stash), including Maeve’s. This is when it becomes clear there must be a mole within Delos who is working for or helping Serac. She then tries to contact Dolores, but Dolores doesn’t respond as she’s been a little busy trying not to die, so Hale leaves a message that she’ll come to her.
Dolores is doing all of the saving
We pick up with Dolores and Caleb (Aaron Paul) exactly where we left off, with the ambulance arriving to take her to a hospital… a little difficult to save someone who doesn’t have any vital organs. The ambulance is quickly pulled over by some thugs posing as police who are after Dolores. Luckily for Caleb, Dolores wakes up in time to kill the thugs, hijack the police vehicle and leave Caleb in the dust… I’m sure they’ll cross paths very soon.
From here, Dolores finally meets up with Hale, who has been trying to call her for the entire episode so far. She realises that whoever it is inside Hale is beginning to go a little insane, to the point of cutting herself, as the task of pretending to be someone else is taking its toll. They go up to a hotel room where Dolores heals her while trying to calm her down, remind her who she is and what her goals are. This is maybe one of the most interesting scenes of the episode as we get some notable hints to who might be in Hale’s body.
The way Dolores talks to Hale in this scene is very intriguing as she says things like “No one knows you like I do. No one knows me like you”. This gives the indication that whoever is in Hale is someone very close to her… could this be Teddy? This is my best bet right now, but there’s also another moment later on that gives us a little more insight into who it could be. On top of this, Hale informs Dolores that Serac is trying to take control of Delos and that he has a mole within the company. Dolores then informs Hale that she needs to “pay a visit to an old friend” in order to convince the board to counter Serac’s attempts to take control. I think this old friend is going to turn out to be William as he’d have influence over the board for sure. This also hints at the fact that whoever is in Hale is aware of William’s colourful history in the park, assuming the mystery man is William.
Dolores then makes contact with another unknown host in the body of Martin Connells (Tommy Flanagan) to get as much information he can about Caleb. Once she finds out that he’s been taken by a couple of thugs, she tracks him down to do the saving once again. The thugs are seeking information on Dolores, but he won’t give anything up. Right as they’re on the verge of killing him, Dolores shows up and rescues him. Guess that reunion came sooner rather than later.
Dolores makes it her goal here to expand her team and get Caleb on board with her mission. They go out for breakfast and Dolores begins to blow Caleb’s mind. Not only does she know exactly what he wants to order, but she shows him a transcript of a conversation he had as a kid and details all of the information she knows about his troubled path with his mother. Visibly freaked out, Caleb also learns about Rehoboam and how it has been gathering data on every human to lay out a specified path for their life. This turns into a cute first date as they walk to a nearby pier. This is where she tells Caleb that this is where Rehoboam predicts he will kill himself in 10-12 years, and that no one will hire someone with this information on their profile. The plan works as Caleb agrees to team up with Dolores and put an end to what Rehoboam is doing… at least we think that’s her plan.
There’s a mole in the house
Following her catch-up with Dolores, Hale is looking over a video file that was discovered, it’s the video the real Hale made for her son that we caught a glimpse of at the beginning of the episode. I really love what they’re doing here, giving Hale a more emotional arc that contrasts the very serious role she’s played up until now. It will be interesting to see how this idea of having a son to look after affects this host version of Hale.
After receiving another static message, Hale picks up her son from school, who she finds talking to his “friend” Tommy. This man, who is certainly a pedophile, has conveniently disabled the cameras, which allows for Hale to choke him to death. What’s interesting about this scene is when she mentions “I remember what it’s like to be me”. What does this mean for who it is inside Hale? Who do we know from Dolores’ past that was close to her and brutal enough to enjoy killing? This is going to be a reveal I can’t wait to see.
Hale continues to tear up while rewatching the clip of real Hale singing ‘You Are My Sunshine” to Nathan, perhaps she’s going to start feeling some sort of remorse for pretending to be this kid’s mother. Upon leaving the office, she realises that the static messages she’s been receiving play the tune to ‘You Are My Sunshine’ when played in sequence. It’s revealed to be a password that connects her to an unknown individual who she informs she would like to meet.
The car she’s in suddenly locks and reroutes her to a heavily armed house where, surprise, Serac is waiting for her. Here is where we get the big twist of the episode, Charlotte Hale, aka the real Charlotte Hale, has been the mole inside Delos all along. She was trying to gather the guest data in season two to deliver it to Serac, not to take it back to Delos. Not only do we learn that she’s the mole and that it was her idea to leak info to Serac, but it’s also implied that Serca predicted the Westworld massacre using Rehoboam. Hale learns that the key to finding the location of the guest data lies with Dolores, what Hale does with this information will be very interesting. I think she goes right back to Dolores and gives her a breakdown of everything she’s just learnt as she clearly has a long-standing affiliation with Dolores. On top of that, it will be interesting now as Dolores technically also has a connection within both Delos and Incite.
We didn’t get anything from Maeve this episode and we also still haven’t gotten anything from William, however, it’s all coming together with Dolores setting her plan into motion and Serac becoming more of a main player in the story. Finally getting an episode largely centred around Hale was great as it gave Tessa Thompson room to really go deep into exploring what it’s like for a host to impersonate someone else and how that affects their mindset.