'Westworld': A Simple Guide to What's Going On Before Season 4
Here's everything you need to know before diving into the new season.
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Have you started the new season of HBO's Westworld and found you have no idea what each character is doing? What is it they're after? It doesn't help that the previous main character -- Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) -- now appears to be a completely different person. A human, not a host from the infamous Westworld theme park.
At least some of that can be explained by the ending of season 3. Let's dive into everything that happened and get you back online.
The third season introduced us to Caleb Nichols (Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul), a war veteran who's haunted by a memory of losing his friend, Francis, in combat. In episode 1, we learned he's a construction worker and low-level criminal who takes jobs through an app. When he met Dolores, he joined her on her mission.
Eventually, we found out that Caleb is considered to be an "outlier" by a machine called Solomon and its successor, Rehoboam. Because of this status, he underwent reconditioning therapy, a "treatment" that altered his memories. It was "effective," according to Solomon, and Caleb was allowed to re-enter society. Not everyone was so lucky (more on that in the "pods" section).
It's revealed that Caleb and Francis (played by rapper Kid Cudi) both survived the war, and that Caleb was the one who killed Francis. Solomon offered each of them money to take out the other, and Francis turned on Caleb, forcing Caleb to shoot him. Another twist is that the crime app, Rico, was created so that outliers like Caleb would round up other outliers.
Maeve and Caleb are working together
Maeve reluctantly teamed up with a new character named Engerraund Serac in season 3 after Serac told her that the key to the Sublime -- where Maeve's daughter exists -- is in Dolores' mind. Serac is a trillionaire who created Rehoboam with his brother, Jean Mi, and came to serve as a mouthpiece for Rehoboam. Serac and Rehoboam wanted the trove of guest data collected by Delos Incorporated, and they believed the key to it was also in Dolores' mind.
In the season 3 finale, Maeve switched sides at a crucial moment and helped Dolores and Caleb. She said she realized why Dolores "chose" Caleb to help her -- not because of his capacity for violence, but because of his capacity to choose. Dolores left it up to Caleb to decide the future. He told Rehoboam to "execute the final command" -- putting a new strategy Solomon gave him into play -- and brought about the apocalypse. More details on that big move below.
Dolores is no more-es. Well, maybe
In the season 3 finale, Rehoboam destroyed Delores' memories in an attempt to find the key to the aforementioned Delos data. It wasn't there. It sure seems like Dolores as we know her may be gone for good, but with this show, I'm not ruling any possibility out.
'Charlotte Hale' is building hosts
It's not the end for this Dolores duplicate. Season 3 confirmed that Dolores made copies of herself (the "self" that exists in her pearl, or control unit) and stuck them into the bodies of Charlotte, Musashi, Martin and Lawrence. Pseudo-Charlotte helped Dolores by impersonating Hale, but she was eventually found out, and it cost her. The last time we saw new Charlotte, it was in the finale's post-credit scene, when she was joined by a host version of William and looked to be building more hosts.
Host William has replaced William
Season 3 was a doozy for William. He had hallucinations of the daughter he murdered, was tricked by the new version of Charlotte and endured some unconventional futuristic therapy. When he emerged from all of that, William declared that his "original sin" was building hosts, and he was going to wipe out all of them. However, in the finale's post-credit scene, William was fatally wounded by another version of himself -- one who answers to fake Charlotte.
A bunch of humans are still in those weird pods
Solomon revealed in episode 7 that the treatment given to Caleb only works on one in 10 people. So what happens to everyone else? Apparently, they get put to sleep in pods, where they "aren't even allowed to live or die," as Caleb put it. In episode 7, we saw what looks like hundreds of the eerie, gray, human-sized containers.
Caleb ushered in... the apocalypse
So back to that whole apocalypse thing. When Caleb made his final move in the season 3 finale, he says he's doing it to give the world a choice, like Dolores did for him. The show shifts to Bernard, who shed some much-needed light on Dolores' intentions, and the consequences of Caleb's move: "She wasn't trying to exterminate the human race. She was trying to save it," Bernard said. "What's about to happen was always gonna happen. Serac and his brother were just holding it off. Humanity never reckoned with its own sins." He added: "Our world had to burn down before we could be free."
So the reckoning is now. Stubbs, who was with Bernard in that scene, called it the apocalypse, and Bernard didn't correct him. At the end of the finale (before the post-credits), we see Caleb and Maeve looking out at some skyscrapers, which are shaken by explosions.
Bernard is headed into the Sublime
Bernard, not Delores, has the key to the Sublime, the place occupied by hosts including Maeve's daughter. In the season 3 finale, Bernard used it, announcing that he was looking for an answer to what comes after the end of the world.
We may see Engerraund Serac's brother, Jean Mi in season 4
We saw Jean Mi in season 3 flashbacks, and it's implied he was sitting in one of the pods we saw in the penultimate episode. In the season 3 finale, Engerraund basically admitted he podded (pod-ded?) his brother, under instructions from Rehoboam. Maybe we'll see him once more when the show addresses those chilling capsules again?