SPOILERS for Westworld Season 3, Episode 4 ‘The Mother of Exiles’
Just when it seems the pieces are beginning to fall into place, Westworld manages to sweep the rug out from under you with a crazy twist that completely changes the game for the rest of season 3. I was not ready for a twist of this scale to happen midway through the season, but it sets the stage for what is now an even more intriguing and even more thrilling story. Let’s get into the events of this very busy episode that merges together almost every character’s storyline, saving the massive twist for the end.
Welcome back, William
For the first time since the crazy post-credits scene of season 2, we catch up with William (Ed Harris) who is very much unhinged, going crazy and losing his mind. He’s still seemingly wrestling with the nature of his reality, flashing back to events from seasons one and two and being haunted by a hallucination of his daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers). The conversation he has with Emily is all about control, choice and whether he is real or not. Emily hands him his keycard and pressures him to cut open his wrist and potentially find answers to his burning questions. Before he can do that, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) walks in, confirming William is the “old friend” she was told to visit in the last episode.
Hale informs William that Serac is attempting to take control of Delos and that she need his vote in an emergency meeting, but he doesn’t seem to be all that keen on going back. However, once he finds out that Serac is after the guest data William was gathering… or what’s left of it… he seems intent on going back to his place on the board.
This whole sequence doesn’t necessarily provide answers to that final scene of season two. That scene could still be implying that at some point in the far future William is a host version of himself. However, I believe that scene is part of his hallucinations of this episode and was teasing the whole idea of him going completely insane. I could be wrong, but that’s where things stand at the moment.
Throughout the episode, William is seen getting ready for his return to the board. While he is shaving, Hale reiterates to William and us that the guest data was erased by Dolores, but Serac doesn’t know that, so he’s essentially chasing data that doesn’t exist. William is still convinced that there may be evidence of his secret project that Serac could uncover, and since Hale is the mole, it’s possible some of that data still exists.
We’ll return to this story once we get to the major twist that ties everything together.
Bad Boys on a mission
Having returned to the US, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) are laying low while making their plans to capture and interrogate Liam Dempsey. However, they believe Dolores has replaced him with a host version, so Bernard has forged a button that can put other hosts into analysis mode. Little do they know, their plan isn’t going to work on a human Liam Dempsey.
Dolores and Caleb go shopping
Now that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) has Caleb (Aaron Paul) fully hooked on this revenge journey that he doesn’t fully understand, they go suit shopping… what a cute first date idea. On their way out of the suit store, Dolores identifies her target, knocks him out, takes some of his blood and injects it into Caleb. This will allow Caleb to use this guy’s identity for a limited period of time. Meanwhile, Dolores has Martin Connells (Tommy Flanagan) collect Liam Dempsey’s (Liam Gallagher Jr.) hash key and transfer it to her. This is all part of her plan to withdraw all of Liam’s assets from his account, which she and Caleb pull off successfully at the bank. Now that she has all of his money, it’s time to take him too.
Maeve begins her mission
Maeve (Thandie Newton) is once again woken up by Serac (Vincent Cassell), this time in a fancy restaurant, surrounded by other people. Through their conversation we learn a bit more about the outside world, specifically that Paris was wiped out in some sort of nuclear explosion many years ago… there goes the city of love. Serac provides another explanation of his motivations, saying that through his creation of Rehoboam, he tried to create the most comprehensive picture of the human mind, but it was incomplete. That’s when he discovered that there is a complete version of the human mind made by Delos and William in Westworld, and that he believes Dolores has the key to all that data. In an attempt to get Maeve more on his side, he says that Dolores also has the key to The Valley Beyond, the digital world where Maeve could see her daughter again.
Serac takes Maeve to Arnold’s house, were Rehoboam first picked up Dolores’ presence when she escaped from Westworld. While examining the printer in Arnold’s home, we see that Dolores printed five unknown bodies. It’s unclear whether her body counts in these five, but if we do count it and consider Bernard, Connells, the new Hale body she built and one other revealed later in this episode, that leave one printed body still out there. Through interrogating a man Serac captured, they find out that Dolores has five people under her control, assumedly not including herself, and she got the bodies she needs from someone known as ‘the mortician’. So there could be one or two more hosts out there, it’s unclear at the moment.
As Maeve wanders through the streets of what I believe is Singapore, it appears that she can use her mind powers to disrupt any and all electronic devices around her. Surely that will come in handy in the fight against Dolores. Upon finding the mortician, Maeve learns that this is where Dolores obtained the blood of Lara Espen (the identity she used to get close to Liam), but the bodies she needed she got from the Yakuza.
Maeve arrives at Yakuza HQ, hacks her way in, kills all the guards with her mind powers and finally tracks down the Yakuza boss. As she approaches the Yakuza boss, she hears an odd whisper, like a host is speaking to her. After dispatching one more guard, the Yakuza boss reveals himself to be Musashi (Hiroyuki Sanada), who we last saw in Shogunworld in season two, episode five. Initially we are led to believe that Musashi is one of the five hosts that Dolores bought out of the park, but Maeve quickly realises it’s not actually Musashi in the body.
More on this in a moment.
Everyone has come together and it’s a party
Liam Dempsey arrives at a fancy party with masks, resembling a sequence straight out of one of the parks. One of the greatest things about this sequence is the music. Ramin Djawadi’s instrumental version of ‘Wicked Games‘ by The Weeknd is an incredible piece of music that makes this entire scene ten times more thrilling. Soon after, Dolores and Caleb also arrive at the party with the aim of abducting Liam. Once Liam realises his account has been cleaned out, Dolores and Caleb try to make their move, but in a massive shock, Bernard and Stubbs are at the party too.
Bernard and Stubbs take Liam, first attempting to use their button on him before realising he’s still human and then taking him the old fashioned way. Dolores manages to hinder their escape, letting Caleb chase after Bernard and Liam while Dolores deals with Stubbs in a fist fight. I love that we get this Dolores and Stubbs reunion but it doesn’t last long as, after an intense fist fight, Dolores throws Stubbs off a balcony. I don’t think Stubbs is gone just yet, as we never saw him die… so expect to see him back.
Wait, so how many Dolores’ are there?
In a moment of pure genius that phenomenally blends all of the narrative arcs in this episode, we get the biggest reveal of this season so far. As William is finally ready to go back to the board, leaving his house in his classic all black attire, he’s confronted by Hale, who says she’s been watching him talking to his dead daughter this whole time. She tells William that she knows him down to his very bones, and once she tells him that she is his “oldest friend”, William realises the big twist, that it’s Dolores in Hale.
Elsewhere, Connells catches up to Bernard, Liam and Caleb, letting Liam and Caleb escape while Connells stops to talk to Bernard, revealing that Dolores is the one inside Connells as well. Then, if you haven’t already made the assumption by now, Dolores is the one inside Musashi too, with Maeve realising that all five of the pearls Dolores took out of the park were just copies of herself. This is like a penultimate episode-level twist occurring midway through the season. At the end of this reveal, Liam finally ends up in the grasp of Caleb and Dolores, Bernard is in the grasp of Connells (also Dolores) and Maeve is killed by Musashi (also also Dolores) but her pearl is left intact as Musashi leaves her behind.
“Welcome to the end of the game“
William’s descent into madness seems to be complete at the hands of Hale (also also also Dolores) who’s plan all along was to see him admitted to a mental hospital so that all of his power on the Delos board transfers over to her. Before she sends William on his way to the hospital, she pricks him in the neck, drawing a tad of his blood for a reason we don’t quite know yet.
William now wakes up in a mental hospital inside a cage of his own, having fully descended into madness over the course of the last three seasons. He’s greeted by what is either another vision of Dolores in her classic blue dress or the actual Dolores coming to him digitally, either way she indicates that William has finally reached the centre of his maze. Finally, William asks Dolores the question he’s been searching for the answer to for so long; “Am I me?”. Dolores’ response doesn’t give us or William any more closure, simply responding with “Welcome to the end of the game” before vanishing.
There we have it, the midway point of the season has bought with it one of the biggest twists of the series to date and answers a number of the burning questions of this season, all while furthering the story of every single main character in the season. This may be the end of William’s story as he seems to be locked away in that mental hospital for good, having completely succumbed to his delusions. However, Hale pricking some of William’s blood gives the indication he may be back… just maybe not as a himself. We also discovered that there are up to six versions of Dolores roaming the Earth. One in her body, one in Hale, one in Connells, one in Musashi and one or two that are unaccounted for. It also seems that each of the Dolores clones can think for themselves as we saw the Hale version struggling with her reality in the last episode. So, it would be interesting to see if, down the line, one or more of the Dolores clones turns against the real Dolores, thwarting her plans. All this episode did is make me even more excited for what is to come.