SPOILERS for Westworld Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Generation Loss’.
We’ve officially hit the halfway point of Westworld’s fourth season, and what better way to commemorate the occasion than with one of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s signature twists designed to completely flip the series on its head. We learn a lot in this episode, and it’s all leading to what may be one of the most mind-blowing and well-executed twists in the show’s history. These huge narrative developments thrust the remainder of the season into a completely new direction – call it season 4.5 if you will. Just when you though you knew what was going to go down within the rest of the season, they swept the rug from under us and said “you don’t know shit” – delivering a flawlessly-hidden twist that isn’t clear until the moment it’s revealed. With that in mind, let’s get into the bulk of the episode – one that surprisingly doesn’t begin with a cold open.
Lord of the flies…
The episode opens by giving us more insight into what exactly happened with Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) at the lighthouse. We learn following season three’s finale, they set off to destroy the final remnants of Rehoboam – with the last of its backup systems located in a remote lighthouse. We see the full sequence that we saw pieces of back in episode one, where Caleb is near-fatally shot and begins to bleed out. Maeve uses her abilities to hack into his limbic implant and show him what freedom feels like – a memory of her daughter.
Meanwhile, Caleb wakes up after being infected by Hale’s (Tessa Thompson) parasite and realises that she’s using the new park, Temperance, to spread her infection to everyone who passes through. Elsewhere in the facility, Maeve realises that William (Ed Harris) is now a host and continues to bring the fight to him. As Host William is tracking her down, we see a diagram of The Tower on the background computer screens, all but confirming the idea that this blaring sound machine is a small version of what will eventually be found at the top of The Tower.
Maeve switches to a more ‘mental’ form of combat – infiltrating Host William’s mind to gain access into the system and overload the sound machine. She deafens herself then sends it so high that it creates a blast that knocks down both Host William and Hale. Caleb and Maeve then apprehend Hale and attempt to escape from Temperance.
As they make their way onto the streets of Temperance, it’s clear this won’t be an easy getaway as the machine has been reactivated and is dishing out orders to the hosts and/or humans running around outside. It should be noted that there’s little ‘speakers’ linked to the sound device perched on lamp posts – similar to how the lamp posts in Christina’s storyline resemble The Tower. Coincidence? I think not! As chaos ensues and they try to commandeer an escape vehicle, Caleb begins to bend to the will of the parasite and is influenced to kill Maeve. His resilience shines as he fights it off long enough to be stabbed by a host, snapping him out of the temporary trance and allowing them to drive away from the mayhem.
While bleeding out in the car, just like in the lighthouse memory, Caleb and Maeve shed some more light on what happened afterwards. We see that Maeve sat by Caleb’s side for weeks while he lay in a coma, but she ultimately left so that Caleb could live a normal life. It’s a heartwarming moment – seeing that she basically locked herself off the grid in order to keep Caleb safe. We also learn that on the night she caused a power outage, she was foolishly trying to see what Caleb was up to – ultimately alerting Host William to her presence.
Caleb, Maeve and Hale all arrive at a dig site somewhere on the edge of Temperance where Host William is waiting for them – because of course he is. Maeve and Host William get locked in to a gunfight, while Caleb takes Hale into a control room and ties her up – something be telling me this isn’t going to end well. Caleb attempts to communicate with who we assume are his allies, letting them know of his coordinates. Hale then uses the power of her sound machine, one I just remembered was known as Project Chrysalis, to control Caleb and force him to shoot Maeve. Somehow, he defies her forced orders and shoots Host William instead – to the surprise of Hale.
Unfortunately, Host William doesn’t go down without a fight – he shoots Maeve and then stabs her. In Maeve’s final moments, right before dying, she gets close to Host William and holds him steady, all the while using her powers to detonate explosives that surround them – seemingly killing both Maeve and Host William.
Let’s switch to what’s been going on with everyone else in this episode before continuing on to the juicy stuff.
It’s a date x
Catching up with Christina (Evan Rachel Wood), she’s returned from her little trip to the abandoned hospital back in episode two. Waking up late, it seems she was up late at night painting a seemingly normal landscape, only there’s a really rough black drawing of The Tower imposed over the top. Maya (Ariana DeBose) begins to recount a horrifying nightmare she had – she was having a picnic with her family as a kid, suddenly flies began attacking them, killing her parents before they attacked he. To her it’s just some dream, though we can piece things together and see that this probably did happen to her. I do love the use of “Does it look like anything to you” as a nice callback quote.
Later that night, she goes out with Maya, who has set up another date for her. She drops her lipstick and the hero of the day, Teddy (James Marsden), shows up uttering the same famous quotes he utters to Dolores whenever they would first meet in Westworld. On their date, it seems like he’s subtly prodding Christina to see if there’s any remnants of Dolores in there. That could be what’s going on, but it could also be a little misdirect to make us think that’s the case – not everything is always as it seems. I’d like to think this is somehow the real Teddy, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
Hey Bernard, do you C what I C?
Early in the episode, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) are still camping out with the mysterious C (Aurora Perrineau) and her organisation – though their leader Jay (Daniel Wu) isn’t all too fond of Bernard randomly showing up. Whatever weapon they’re after, some of the crew think it’s a myth and aren’t convinced of its existence. After some deliberating, Stubbs goes with Jay and crew to protect an outlier, while Bernard goes with C to track down the weapon.
They drive to where the weapon lies and evade a drone that’s circling above – with Bernard saving a beetle and revealing the weapon is just over a ridge. They use the big wind machine they commandeered to blow a heap of sand out of the way and get to digging. Bernard knows exactly where to dig because he used trial and error while living out all the timelines in the Sublime. While digging, he begins talking to C about the fact that the real reason she’s out there is to look for her father, the same father she believes is dead.
What in the multiple timelines is going on?
Now we get to the big moment of the episode – a reveal with insane ramifications that alters how we view every single character’s arc throughout the season.
Back with Caleb and Hale, she begins asking him all these strange, cryptic questions about memories. Caleb’s reinforcements arrive – only they’re not his reinforcements, they’re Hale’s. They storm into the room and plug Caleb with rounds of bullets – instantly killing him. This is where we switch to the future – we aren’t watching the real Caleb anymore – he’s long dead, this version of Caleb is a host!
Struggling to understand what’s going on, he begins asking where he is, but Hale tells him he should be wondering “when” he is. As soon as she mentions she’s trying to establish a baseline – you know what’s coming… she’s establishing a baseline for fidelity! Just like how we’ve seen William testing James Delos, and how we saw Host Emily testing William (at some unknown point in time), it turns out Caleb is yet another faithfully-recreated human “Delos” is trying to perfect. In fact, this is the 278th time Hale has attempted to recreate him.
Hale reveals some huge news – basically her parasite was met with resistance when used on adults (hence Caleb being able to fight back against its orders). So instead, she used it on children, allowing the parasite to grow in perfect symbiosis with their minds, to the point where Hale was able to eventually gain complete control of the world. It’s now been 23 years since Caleb died at that dig site, with a whole generation of infected children now adults. With that realisation, Caleb becomes fully aware of his surroundings – he’s inside a futuristic glass room being tested by Hale.
This time jump revelation has huge implications on Bernard’s narrative – that means Bernard’s content within this season has been taking place 30 years after entering the Sublime, not the seven years we previously thought. With that, it becomes clear that C’s father is actually Caleb, and we’ve been looking at an adult version of Frankie this whole time. She’s out there looking for Caleb at the now underground dig site. Unfortunately for her, he’s long dead, but Bernard manages to uncover the weapon they’ve been looking for – Maeve!
Back with Caleb, he runs out of the glass room to reveal he’s inside the Olympiad Entertainment building that Christina works at. It seems that in the last 23 years, Hale has simply rebranded Delos to Olympiad in order to hide its shady history. That explains why the company has been so shady this whole time. It also confirms that Christina’s arc is happening in the future – exactly 30 years after season three. When he gets outside, he sees The Tower looming over the city in the distance. Suddenly everyone stops at Hale’s command and it becomes evident that she won. This is her world now and she’s in complete control.
Well, that was one of the most flawlessly-executed twists I’ve ever seen. Basically, the Maeve and Caleb content we’ve been following has been the only content in this season taking place seven years after the events of season three. With Caleb and Maeve both dying at the dig site, and Bernard still inside the Sublime at that point, Hale (and presumedly a revived Host William) were able to go about their evil plans entirely uncontested. As Host Caleb puts it simply, she won. She infected all the children with her parasite, waited for the generation to grow up, and now reigns supreme (over this city at the very least). Basically all of the people around Christina, including Maya, are humans that have been infected by Hale’s parasite – all operating on Hale’s command thanks to the presence of The Tower.
So, everything we’ve seen from both Christina and Bernard has taken place 30 years after season three. Meaning Bernard was stuck inside the Sublime for even longer than we thought, and Stubbs really is the MVP for watching over him that whole time. It also explains that these ‘outliers’ are people (mostly adults) who have been able to resist the influence of The Tower, including Frankie. Going way back to my analysis of episode one – the moment in which Teddy attacks Peter makes even more sense. Just as I thought, Hale must have frozen everyone (including Christina), cleared the trouble and then unfrozen everyone – I’m a genius.
This whole thing completely changes the core goal of the season. We initially thought it would be about stopping Hale from executing her plan for world domination, now it seems it’s going to be about figuring out how to stop Hale’s ongoing rule over infected humans. I’m sure there’s still tonnes of thrilling narrative beats to come, with more reveals about how exactly Hale’s new world order functions. On top of this, we still don’t know why she’s trying to recreate Caleb of all people – I understand she’s fascinated by the fact that Dolores and Maeve saw something in him, but surely she has an ulterior motive.
This reveal got me thinking more about my season four predictions post I uploaded over two years ago. I mentioned my desire for there to be a massive time jump in this season since every single one of our main characters, except for Caleb, were hosts. Now that’s happened and we still have Caleb in the show since he’s also joined the host crew. I also called the use of some ‘multiple timelines’ structure, something that’s not too out of the ordinary for a show like Westworld.
In the end, this episode got me even more hyped for a season I was already loving. I can’t wait to see more of Bernard and Frankie as they inevitably revive Maeve and continue on Bernard’s mission. I want to see how Hale’s world operates and what Host William is doing now. I also want to see how Christina’s narrative will develop now that we know when and where it’s set. A tonne of questions were answered in this revelatory episode – but there’s still a long way to go if we’re to achieve a full understanding of everything going on. This is a perfect episode – one I’d give higher than a ten if possible.