SPOILERS for Westworld Season 3, Episode 7 ‘Passed Pawn’.
The penultimate episode has arrived and has not disappointed when it comes to drastically moving along the story and setting up what should be a massive finale. Most of the time the penultimate episode is the largest of the season and that is the case here, however, this time it’s in terms of how much information we get not in terms of the scale. I do like that approach but, at the same time, it’s not what I expected from the episode. This episode is riddled with new information that gives us an indication of where things are going while also clarifying Caleb’s mysterious past. On top of that, it also leaves questions as to how certain arcs are still relevant. There is a lot going on and a lot to digest so let’s break down the events of the episode.
Another one bites the dust
The episode opens in Jakarta, Indonesia with an awesome scene that sets the tone for the rest of the episode. We catch back up with the Yakuza’s Dolores clone, Mushashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) who instructs one of his men do deliver a suspicious package to their friend. This could be a red herring or we could see this package come into play in the finale, I think it will be the latter. Suddenly, he gets a call from the Dolores clone in Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), who has since healed part of her face. We learn that, since being blown up at the end of the last episode, she’s had a change of heart and leaked his location to someone who really wanted it.
Waiting for Musashi is Clementine (Angela Sarafyan), who makes her long-awaited return to Westworld after being bought into the real world by Maeve. A fight ensues, with Clementine initiating her real world body count, and Musashi tries to make a quick escape. That is when he’s stabbed through the torso by none other than Hanaryo (Tao Okamoto), who is the other host Maeve bought back to life at the end of the last episode. Clementine and Hanaryo take Mushashi’s body as a souvenir and leave the bar, most likely to retrieve the Dolores clone’s control unit.
So, without officially teaming up, it’s looking like Maeve and Hale are mostly on the same side now, both going against Dolores and her revolution.
William hits Ctrl+Z on his creation
Still inside Serac’s ‘Inner Journeys’ facility, William (Ed Harris), Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) are accessing some of the computer systems. This is where William finds out that Stubbs has been a host this whole time… he’s a little shocked but at this point he can’t be too surprised. Bernard tells William that Hale injected him with a virus so that she could locate one of Serac’s facilities in Mexico. However, we learn in this episode that this ‘Inner Journeys’ facility is actually in San Fransisco and it’s another larger facility that’s in Mexico, the one Dolores and Caleb are making their way to in this episode.
Through analysing the computer systems, Bernard learns of how Serac is using these facilities to recondition people and that those who are unsuccessful appear in the system as missing or dead, just like William. Within the system, Bernard locates Caleb’s file which lets them know he’s been through this process.
William and co. make their way outside the building to the chaos Dolores has left behind and William enlightens Bernard with his newfound purpose in life. He says his purpose is to undo the only sin he’s failed to stop, wiping hosts off the face of the Earth and putting an end to the company that he helped start. Later on at an abandoned gas station, Bernard comes to the realisation that Caleb is not only part of Dolores’ plan, he is Dolores’ plan. Suddenly, William draws a gun on Bernard and Stubbs saying they should have killed him when they had the chance.
What’s weird and interesting here is that Bernard’s journey this season has seemed to become less important as we near the final episode. We’ve understood from early on that he somehow falls into Dolores’ plan, but we’re yet to see that happen. He pulled William out of Serac’s facility and recovered a file on Caleb, but it’s unclear where this is taking him. I honestly have no idea how either of these three characters play into the main plot of the finale.
Tonight’s main event: Maeve vs Dolores
We catch back up with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) as they ride through the middle of Mexico in a scene very reminiscent of Dolores riding through Westworld with Teddy. Caleb seems to have figured out exactly who she is, a murderous robot from Westworld, as it looks like they had a bit of a heart-to-heart on their flight to Mexico. There aren’t many hosts left after Serac seemingly destroyed them all, so Dolores is putting it all on the line. This whole time we’re seeing flashbacks of Caleb’s false memories which I’ll break down here:
Basically, Caleb fought in the Russian Civil War, hunting down insurgents along with his team. One day they were attacked, leaving just he and Francis alive. So, the two of them captured the Russian leader of the insurgents and Caleb refrained from letting the man speak. They were then ambushed, resulting in the death of Francis and the death of the insurgency leader.
After arriving at one of Serac’s facilities, Dolores unboxes her package, which is a futuristic sniper rifle equipped with a drone, and wipes out every guard at the facility. Upon entering the facility, Caleb is beginning to remember he was a patient here who underwent AR therapy. They go further into the facility where they find Solomon, the AI precursor to Rehoboam which was abandoned by Serac but left active. As it was built primarily by Serac’s brother, and his brother was a schizophrenic, Solomon inherited similar ways of thinking… so basically it’s an insane AI… great. Serac made sure the AI can’t escape by installing an EMP.
Dolores begins talking to Solomon, trying to convince the system to end the world order it helped create. Solomon then informs Caleb that his reconditioning therapy was a success and that he was one of the first to receive the treatment. Dolores takes Caleb further into the facility to show him what happens to those who aren’t successful. After being greeted by an automated message that Serac left for his brother, they enter an expansive room filled with thousands of people held in cryosleep chambers.
Turns out that it’s safer to keep the outliers held on ice than to kill them or let them live, that way they can’t affect the algorithm. This is where we get the big reveal that Caleb was one of the main players in capturing outliers. In a series of flashbacks we learn the true series of events that unfolded, bringing Caleb here:
Caleb and his team were attacked in the Russian Civil War, however, Caleb and Francis both returned to the US alive. They were then tasked with using the Rico app, built by Serac and Rehoboam, to round up individuals, little did they know they were actually capturing outliers for Serac. It turns out that the man they captured wasn’t a Russian insurgent, rather he represented a pharmaceutical company that made a drug that suppressed emotions. In this version of events, Caleb let the man speak and he told Caleb everything about Incite, Rehoboam and how they’re being manipulated to turn on each other. Caleb then notices that Francis is acting suspicious, realising he was offered money to kill Caleb, but Caleb was also offered money to kill Francis. Caleb shot first, revealing he was the one who killed Francis.
While Caleb is delving into his memories, Maeve (Thandie Newton) arrives at the facility via aircraft sporting a new outfit and a katana. Dolores instructs Solomon to create a new strategy for the future of the human race, one based on the last one made by Serac’s brother. She tells Caleb to be the leader of this new revolution before leaving to go and face Maeve.
After a brief back and forth between Dolores and Maeve, with Maeve communicating via her mind powers, the two of them finally fight. This is one of the best one-on-one fights in the entire series as it pays off a season of waiting for these two opposing powers to clash. It’s an awesome sequence as there’s a tonne of hand to hand action as well as both of them using their respective technology to wipe each other out.
Meanwhile, Caleb has come to the full realisation of what he’s done and how the AI is responsible for basically controlling him and having him lose his memories. At that moment, Solomon informs Caleb that Dolores’ new strategy is ready. Caleb accepts, taking the strategy on a USB and looking pretty determined to take command of Dolores’ revolution.
Dolores and Maeve are still going at it with some great fight choreography really turning this into the set-piece of the season. Dolores has her arm shot clean off, causing her to flee, crawling back into the facility with Maeve right behind her. Dolores crawls up to the EMP and right as Maeve is about to kill her, she activates the EMP, shutting down Solomon and causing both her and Maeve to collapse to the ground. They’re not going to be dead, most likely just need a bit of a jump start. Interestingly, Solomon tries to tell Caleb something, saying “I must warn you…” before being shut off.
That episode was a lot. There was a lot of “we learn”, “they learn” and “it turns out that” moments throughout this entire episode. It drops a lot of information while setting the stage for the big finale, and I still don’t know how this whole thing is going to end. The episode didn’t feel that fast paced, but it dropped so much information that it was almost exhausting by the end of it… in a good way. We finally got the big Dolores and Maeve showdown and also finally learnt what’s the deal with Caleb and his hazy memory. It will be really interesting to see what Caleb does now that he’s essentially the leader of Dolores’ revolution. On top of this, there’s still a couple of questions that may be answered in the season finale, or rather, that I hope will be answered.
I still don’t know how Bernard factors into Dolores’ plan, so It’ll be great if we see that finally pay off. It’ll also be interesting to see how William’s journey ends as it has seemed like like he’s been heading for a big reveal for a while now. There’s still one Dolores clone we haven’t seen yet, so I’d imagine that plays a part in the finale. On top of that, the package Musashi had sent to a “friend” is something that could play a part in this finale. Too much of a focus was placed on it for it to be nothing… of course unless it’s a red herring. I’m very curious to see how this all plays out after this great penultimate episode.