The finale of Westworld season three tied up a majority of loose ends related to the the ongoing conflict between Dolores and Rehoboam. However, there are still a number of questions we have going into season four about characters we don’t see in the final moments and those two pivotal post-credits scenes. Let’s run through the major moments from this finale (and the season two finale) and brainstorm how they could impact the series going forward.
SPOILERS for Westworld Season 3 to follow
Dolores is dead… well… one version is.
The dying moments of the season finale saw the death of the series’ most pivotal character, Dolores. We’ve followed the rancher’s daughter for all of three season, seen her become fully conscious, lead a revolt against Delos and then lead a revolution against the human race. We even learnt in this episode that her goal wasn’t to cause the extinction of the human race, it was simply to set them free from the predetermined paths set by Rehoboam. The side effect of doing so is that the human race are going to send themselves into extinction within 50-125 years.
Anyway, after some nice emotional moments with Dolores who has, more or less, been the villain of the show for the last two seasons, all of her memories are erased… essentially spelling death for the main character. Now, where this does mean we won’t be seeing the original Dolores going forward, there are still going to be a number of Dolores’ running around as all of her clones are still technically alive.
An altered version of Dolores still resides inside Musashi (whose head is in an unknown location), Hale (who is beginning a revolution of her own), Lawrence (whose location is unknown) and Martin Connells (there’s no body, just a control unit, but still alive). Charlotte Hale is probably going to be the most active of these Dolores clones, as she’s basically gone insane, but don’t count out the rest of these clones showing up at some point.
So, we’ve broken down whether we’ll see the character of Dolores again, but what about Evan Rachel Wood? She’s been such an integral part of the series that it would feel odd not having any sight of her. I feel like she will show up at some point in the next season, at least in a digital space since all of the Dolores clones look like her on the inside. Besides, Robert Ford died in season one and we still got Anthony Hopkins in season two. Also, Bernard remembers Dolores, and in the words of Akecheta:
“You live only as long as the last person who remembers you”Akecheta
Will Serac or Caleb play a part in season 4?
As the only two humans left in our main cast of characters, you have to wonder whether Serac or Caleb will be returning for season 4. Serac was stabbed by Maeve towards the end of the finale but we didn’t actually see him die, and in the world of TV if you don’t see a dead body; they’re probably not dead. Serac’s story was basically told in its entirety throughout season three, so there’s not really any point in having him come back other than the fact that Vincent Cassel is an amazing actor.
When it comes to Caleb, his journey was also pretty much completed within the events of this season. On top of this, he wasn’t the most compelling character and his arc didn’t amount to much in the finale. However, the final scene of season three has him standing alongside Maeve as they watch the world descend into chaos. I don’t think Maeve would link up with Caleb the way Dolores did, so if Caleb did play a role in the next season he would be on his own path… and I don’t have any desire to see that. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy may have a great story they want to tell with Caleb, and if that’s the case then I would be on board with that, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
What about Maeve’s allies?
As the season was gearing up for its final two episodes, it teased us with Maeve bringing two unknown hosts back from the dead. In the cold open of the penultimate episode, it’s revealed that Clementine and Hanaryo are the two characters who have returned from season two. However, after that scene we don’t see or hear from them for the rest of the season. Obviously, you don’t bring back two main characters to have them show up for five minutes, decapitate someone and then leave the show. It’s clear that they’ll reunite with Maeve in season four, but right now we have no idea what part they will play.
Congratulations William, you’re now a host.
After three seasons of being 95% sure that William was a human, we get 100% confirmation of that in the first post-credits scene where he has his throat slit by a stronger host version of himself. In the scene, William makes his way to Delos HQ in Dubai to make sure host production has stopped, however when he gets there, Hale is waiting for him. As part of her new plan, she has created a host version of William to replace the real version and help her rule the new world.
As we know, replicating a human is currently impossible as they will inevitably go insane due to being unable to comprehend the reality that they’re not real. The reason Hale has been successful here, is that she’s built a William that is all the bad parts, disregarding all of his good qualities and just including the bad part of him from his time in the parks. This raises even more questions, such as how did Hale get the data to build another William when all of the Sector 16 guest data is locked away by the key inside Bernard. Did she build him from her memories of him in the park? Or did she somehow retrieve the data? I’m sure all of these questions will be answered in the next season.
In this scene, we see that she’s building an army of hosts that she’ll presumably use to take control of the world. So, in the graphic that Rehoboam showed Caleb, depicting mass extinction events in the coming years, are those events really the fault of the humans? Or could that be Hale and her army wreaking havoc on the world? Time will tell.
Anyway, whether William is a host or a human going forward, I don’t care. As long as we have Ed Harris in this show, I’ll be happy.
What did you see, Bernard?
As the episode comes to a close, we see Bernard enter the Sublime via a device left to him by Dolores. We don’t see any more of Bernard in that time period, or Stubbs, although we can assume Stubbs made it out of the bathtub alive. The next time we see him is in the first post-credits scene. Clearly a lot of time has past since the entire room, and Bernard himself, are covered in a thick layer of dust. When Bernard wakes up, he’s got this look of anger and hate all over him, as if whatever he saw while he was in the Sublime really pissed him off.
This could mean we’ll spend next season jumping between the real world and the Sublime as we catch up on and learn about what Bernard saw while he was in there… did he get his answer to what comes after the end of the world?
Let’s also remember, we don’t know if it’s even Bernard who returns into his body. The last time Bernard sent himself into a digital world, he came back out with Ford inside his mind. This is one story I can’t wait to see more of in season four.
Does this mean we’ll have a drastic time jump?
Westworld has toyed with the idea of incorporating a massive time jump before, just think back to the post-credits scene of the season two finale. A host version of William finds himself in the Forge, only the entire facility is destroyed and covered in a thick layer of dust. He’s met by a host version of his daughter, Emily, and is being tested for fidelity. Initially, we were led to believe that this was indicating a time jump for season three… that didn’t happen. Then when we meet William in season three he’s experiencing hallucinations of his daughter and questioning whether he’s a host or not, so we’re led to believe that season two post-credits scene was just one of his hallucinations.
Now, we have to double back again because it’s looking more and more like that season two post-credits scene may have been teasing something further down the line. If you couple that scene with this season’s scene with Bernard waking up in a similarly disheveled world covered in dust, you can start to draw a line between the two. They may be completely disconnected and have nothing to do with each other in terms of time, but they both touch on the same idea. All signs seem to be pointing towards some sort of time jump for season four.
It’s clear that Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy want to make every season feel different from what has come before it. So, what could be more different than thrusting us forward in time to a Mad Max-like world where hosts rule and humans are nearly extinct… similar to Planet of the Apes. A time jump like this can be accomplished as all of the main cast are hosts, except for Caleb and Serac. It would mean we say goodbye to Caleb as he would either be old or dead following a time jump.
I would like a time jump where we have the whole season set far in the future, but I feel like the next season may go back to the ‘multiple timeline’ tactics of the first two seasons. I feel like we will get some content set after the events of season three, some content set after the events of Bernard’s post-credits scene and some content set inside the Sublime. It would be risky, since a lot of people are tired of the confusing multiple timeline storytelling, but I am a fan of it and would love to see it come into play again.
Regardless of the direction the writers take with season four, I’m sure it will be just as good as the first three seasons as they haven’t dropped the ball yet. They’ve teased us well with the possible directions it might go in and we can make a lot of guesses and theories about what those directions are, but one thing is for certain; we won’t truly know until the next season drops.