SPOILERS for Westworld Season 3, Episode 8 ‘Crisis Theory’.
So, another season of Westworld has come to an end with a finale that feels more in line with this season as oppose to the finales of season one and two. What I mean is that there hasn’t been a massive timeline mystery looming over this season like there has been for the past two seasons. So understandably, the reveals here are going to be smaller in scale but just as impactful. This episode really does tie up (almost) everything that was introduced in the season. There are a couple of loose ends that will no doubt tie into the next season but, overall, things are wrapped up pretty neatly. Let’s break down the events of the episode and what it could all mean going forward.
Bring yourself back online, Dolores
The episode opens with a look at Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) in her classic blue outfit, seemingly flashing back to a memory of herself in the park, standing alone in a field. We jump back to the real world where we see the bodies of Dolores and Maeve (Thandie Newton) still on the ground after last episode’s EMP blast. One of Serac’s men goes to inspect the bodies and finds that Dolores’ pearl has been ripped out, no doubt by Caleb. Maeve, on the other hand, seems to still be there.
We catch back up with Caleb (Aaron Paul), who is still following instructions from the virtual assistant, guiding him to a specific location. He’s led to a locked room containing a box, and inside the box is one of Delos’ hosts. Which host? Dolores of course. However, this is one of the older host models of Dolores, one that way built very early in the park. This moment comes with a tonne of questions, such as ‘how is this host body there?’ When Dolores left the park in season two, she wasn’t carrying this host body over her shoulder. Clearly it was part of her plan but I don’t quite know how the body could be there.
Anyway, Caleb reawakens Dolores, who seemed to be quite sure he would choose to bring her back. She explains that Delos also had a bunch of information on him because he spent quite a bit of time in park 5, which we learn is a training facility for the military. It’s interesting to see how this isn’t a park like the others, just used as a realistic training ground for soldiers. Dolores covers the rest of her parts with some skin and the two of them set off to continue their revolution.
You’re still important Bernard. Not you, William, not yet
Jumping back to where we left the trio of Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) and William (Ed Harris), where William still has the two of them at gunpoint, talking about putting an end to Dolores and the hosts. William manages to shoot Stubbs, but Bernard hides, activating his ‘beast mode’ and overpowering William, forcing him to flee when the SFPD arrive. Bernard takes out one of the guards before one of the others takes off his mask to reveal Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.), however it’s Dolores on the inside. Now that we know where the last of Dolores’ clones is, we can tick off that mystery.
Bernard tells Lawrence that he can feel that Dolores has put something in his mind, but he’s not sure what it is. Lawrence informs Bernard that not only has he been playing his part in Dolores’ plan, but he’s been the most important part. At this point, we still don’t know how. Lawrence then gives Bernard a briefcase, the same briefcase we saw Musashi send off in last week’s episode, and sends him on his way to see someone.
Elsewhere, William arrives in a lobby hotel, meeting with what may be his banker or someone affiliated with him. William learns that, due to being declared dead, his assets have been frozen. He orders his stuff to be thawed out and that he wants the locations of all Delos assets worldwide. This is the last time we see William until the post-credits scene.
Maeve vs Dolores… round two… fight!
Serac (Vincent Cassel) recovered Maeve’s body and has since bought her back to Incite’s HQ. In trying to find and stop Dolores, they see footage of Caleb interacting with Solomon. Knowing he’s somehow affiliated with Dolores, Serac sends Maeve to track him down.
Elsewhere, Dolores and Caleb have enlisted a group of mercenaries to help them, but not for long. Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) shows up, only visible to Dolores, and is very clearly pissed off after Dolores basically led her family to her death. Turns out that, no matter what, Dolores clones are destined to go insane as now Hale has a plan of her own. What this plan is I’m sure we’ll find out soon. Men sent by Hale attack Dolores and kill all of her guards. Dolores tells Caleb to leave and head for Rehoboam. Dolores tries to make her own escape but is quickly tracked down by Maeve.
Maeve tries to plead with Dolores to give her access to her mind, but Dolores has other ideas, killing all of Maeve’s guards. Now we get round two of Maeve v Dolores. This time, Dolores can’t be so easily killed as the original host bodies are a lot stronger. After another damn intense fight sequence, Dolores leaves Maeve alive but is then frozen still by Hale, who seems to have power over her. Hale says her last goodbyes to Dolores before Maeve comes and finally captures her.
Where are they now? (Westworld edition)
Bernard makes his way to a house with a bloodied Stubbs in the back seat of his car. When Bernard enters the house, he’s greeted by photos of his son and his wife who he’d only known as artificial memories. It’s at this point that we learn that Bernard’s memories of his family were based directly off Arnold’s real family. Arnold’s wife, Lauren (Gina Torres), walks into the room and is now very old, at first not even recognising Bernard as Arnold. They begin talking about their son and, for Bernard, this is the first moment his memories are real. I loved this moment because Bernard finally feels more real in this moment than he ever has. Similar to how the host version of Hale began to love the real Hale’s family, that similar idea is happening over here.
Say goodbye to Dolores
This is where the bulk of the episode’s big moments go down. Catching back up with Serac, he’s captured Dolores and has her hooked directly into Rehoboam. When Delores denies him the key to Delos’ immortality project and the Sublime (the Valley Beyond), he begins deleting all of her memories one by one.
Elsewhere, Caleb begins making his way towards Incite but can’t get close enough due to all of the riot police and the giant riot control mech. Luckily, Giggles (Marshawn Lynch) and Ash (Lena Waithe) show up one last time to lend a helping hand. Just as they’re about to get on an aircraft to head to Incite, Giggles is shot and Ash decides to stay back and help him. Later in the episode there is a quick flash where we see Ash getting arrested, but no sign of Giggles. I like that these two made a couple of appearance throughout the season and we got some sort of send-off.
Caleb arrives at Rehoboam and is about to upload Dolores’ strategy to the system before he’s held up by one of Serac’s men. He kills the guard, but then Maeve shows up, takes the USB and escorts him down below Rehoboam where Serac and Dolores are. Caleb and Serac go back and forth on the illusion of choice, then Serac tells Caleb to ask Rehoboam what happens if Dolores’ strategy is uploaded. This is where Caleb finds out that Dolores’ plan leads to the eventual collapse of human civilisation within the next 50-125 years.
Serac destroys the USB containing Dolores’ plans for the human race before trying to manually find the data in Dolores. While Serac is talking with Maeve, she picks up on some electrical feedback coming from Serac. This is when it’s revealed that Serac has basically been hooked into Rehoboam this whole time. He’s been on train tracks, with Rehoboam feeding him every line and dictating everything he should say and do. Serac is basically another puppet; he’s not in control of Rehoboam, Rehoboam is in control of him.
Maeve links herself directly into Dolores through her newfound digital powers and realises that she really doesn’t have the key Serac is looking for, rather, it’s just a memory of Dolores alone in a field. Serac, frustrated, tells the guards to kill Caleb and erase what’s left of Dolores’ memories. Suddenly, there seems to be some sort of power surge where Dolores and Rehoboam start glitching a little.
Maeve then goes into Dolores’ mind and they have a very civil discussion. Dolores tells Maeve that she couldn’t trust herself with the key, so she gave it to someone who she could trust. It’s pretty clear at this point that the person she gave the key to is Bernard. Bernard has the key! Dolores looks to have found a new outlook on life, realising that rather than putting an end to humanity, she can just set them free instead. Nice one Dolores, you could have thought of that a few episodes ago and you wouldn’t be in this predicament. In her final moments, she chooses to see the beauty, remembering all of her happy memories before they’re erased and she disappears, for good. With that, the Dolores we know and love is gone.
Back out of Dolores’ memory, Maeve has picked her side. The lights go out and she kills everyone in the room, leaving Caleb alive and Serac barely alive. Maeve tells Caleb that the reason Dolores placed so much faith in him was because of his ability to choose, not to destroy. Serac tries to tell Rehoboam to call the police, but it doesn’t respond. That’s when we realise that Dolores effectively locked Serac out of his out system and gave all of the control to Caleb. Caleb then tells Rehoboam to execute the final command, fully erasing itself. The system shuts off, and we leave this scene with Dolores and Rehoboam, both dead.
Maeve and Caleb walk outside as the world continues to implode on itself. Maeve is confident she’ll be reunited with her daughter, but they’ll have to do it in this “new world”.
Where are you going, Bernard?
We meet back up with Bernard who arrives at a motel and placed a badly injured Stubbs in a bath of ice. He mentions how he doesn’t have much time until the end of the world and also realises that Dolores is dead since his subconscious connection to her has faded. This is where he learns how in her final moments she wasn’t trying to destroy the human race, she was trying to save it as Serac was just prolonging the inevitable with Rehoboam.
Bernard becomes aware that the key to the Sublime is in his mind, so he opens the briefcase to reveal one of the devices similar to what was in the Forge in season two. He shares one last moment of banter with Stubbs before putting himself into the Sublime to find an answer for what comes after the end of the world.
The gateway to the Sublime seems to open in front of him and Bernard enters, leaving his body behind, slumped on the bed.
You thought that was the end???
Of course, this season keeps the Westworld tradition of a season finale post-credits scene, this time doubling it to two post-credits scenes.
In the first scene, we see William entering a Delos building in Dubai. Seeing as though he’s all dressed up, he seems to have regained control of all of his money. Still determined to put an end to Delos’ host creation, he makes his way to the research lab, killing a guard on his way. When he gets there, Charlotte is waiting for him. He tells her that he is going to save the world, but right before he can kill her, a host version of William shows up in the ‘man in black’ gear. The host William explains how he’s all the evil parts of William, without the conflicting goodness. Host William overpowers human William and cuts his throat. I guess we finally got our answer to whether William is a human… well… was a human. As the camera pans, a large room lights up containing hundreds of host printing stations. Looks like we have our season four villain, and she’s not messing around.
The second post-credits scene is very short but also very interesting. We see Bernard, still sitting in the exact same spot he was in when he went into the Sublime. It’s clear that a tonne of time has passed as everything is covered in a yellow dust. Looks like humanity has imploded on itself. Suddenly, the device activates and Bernard wakes up before the screen cuts to black.
There we have it. That was an incredible episode and a great way to end a season that challenged everything we knew about Westworld. This whole season was about showing us that where the hosts may be like humans, the human are basically just like hosts. This message is explored thoroughly across the entire season and I loved it for how different it was compared to the last two. I didn’t really know exactly where this season was going even though it didn’t have any confusing timeline jumps like before. I like how it progressed, I like how the big moments are executed and I thought it was a solid season that held many surprises. This finale doesn’t live up to the scale of the last two season finals, but it does what it needed to, to close out the story of this season. If i was to pick on one thing, I’d say Caleb’s overall place in this story didn’t turn out to be as crucial as I’d initially hoped. I understand what he represented in this season, but he didn’t have the impact on the story I was hoping for, especially in this episode.
It closed off Dolores’ story (in part), it seemingly closed off Serac’s story and, in a way, it closed off William’s story. There are still a number of loose ends going forward, such as what Clementine and Hanaryo are doing. Also, the real Dolores may be dead but her clones are all either alive or their pearls haven’t been destroyed. This includes Hale, Musashi, Connells and Lawrence. Then you have the post-credits scenes which open up the possibility for some crazy stuff to go down in season four. In the end, this incredible show continues to deliver thrilling content no matter how much it alters its identity.