Westworld season 3 episode 7 recap: Caleb learns a horrible truth

Aaron Paul's ex-soldier unravels the mystery around his traumatic flashbacks. This season's penultimate episode is, thankfully, full of answers.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
7 min read

Caleb has a lot of baggage to unpack.


Following last week's standout episode bringing about heart-wrenching turns for the Man in Black and especially Charlotte Hale, this week Westworld centered on Caleb: Finally he pieces together the truth behind those traumatic flashbacks.

Episode 7, titled Passed Pawn and written by Gina Atwater, brings a fair few payoffs, from the Maeve-Dolores battle of two powerhouses, to the reveals about Caleb and the reeducation centers. A few twists set up an intriguing finale, and with the most compelling character -- Halores -- still in play, Westworld may stick the landing.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Halores and Dolores have well and truly broken up

Pushed over the edge by the horrific deaths of Charlotte's son Jake and ex-husband Nathan, Halores (Tessa Thompson) fulfills an arc that's been teased all season. Touching base with Yakuza boss Musashi (a Dolores copy in the Shogun World host's body), Halores confirms she's no longer on Dolores' side, finally rejecting Dolores' seemingly selfish plan that involves so many casualties.


Hello again, Clementine.


Along with using either Dolores' or Delos' printer to build herself a new, noncharred body, Halores also seems to have aligned herself with Maeve's crew.

And Maeve's crew is becoming stacked: In another blast from the past, Clementine, Maeve's protege at the brothel of Sweetwater, appears in the same Jakata restaurant as Dolores-Musashi and kicks off a brawl with him and his Yakuza gang. Keen eyes would've spotted Clementine's host ID on the computer in the Delos lab last episode, where Serac (Vincent Cassel) was printing hosts for Maeve's crew.

Then another surprising figure steps out of the shadows: Hanaryo, the Shogun equivalent of Armistice, with a dragon tattoo on her face. Winning kill of the week, she runs her katana around Dolores-Musashi's body, slicing it in two.

Dolores reveals more of her grand plan

Caleb and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) ride horses in what looks like the Westworld theme park, but no, it's Sonora, Mexico, in an area Caleb seems to have been to before.


That's not Westworld.


Caleb questions Dolores' vague plans to start a revolution: "What kind of revolution are we waging here?"

After revealing the Westworld theme park was modeled after this open land, Dolores finally lets us in on her slightly less murder-filled plan: She wants to build a new home for the hosts to live freely, and maybe this could be the place to do it.

Surprisingly, she also implies she wants to help humans too. Her kind is almost extinct thanks to Serac, but people still have a chance to live freely from Rehoboam's designs. And she wants Caleb, reluctant as he is, to lead them.

The Man in White discovers he's 'deceased'

Tinkering with the mental institution's computers, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) clears up what the deal was with the tracer Dolores (via Halores) placed in the blood of William (Ed Harris), aka the Man in White. When the doctors at the mental institution took it to their lab for testing, it allowed Dolores to infiltrate the rest of their system, including the Sonora reeducation center. That's some pretty special blood tracer tech.

Meanwhile, Stubbs and William bicker about William's dodgy morals, leading to a William zinger: "Don't lecture me, you fucking can opener."

Then Bernard pipes up with some life-changing information about William: According to the computers, he's "deceased." While normally troubling, that could be useful for William -- maybe it could hide him from Dolores.

Who is Caleb?

Throughout the season, Caleb's flashbacks and grief over his dead army pal Francis (Kid Cudi) have hinted at something even darker hidden in his memories. Thanks to a trip to the reeducation center in Mexico, a place Serac created to reform society's "outliers," Caleb and Dolores find answers.


Great glasses.


In a flashback, Caleb is strapped to a table and interrogated by Dr. Greene, with the augmented therapy glasses clamped to his face. He explains he was sent to Crimea during the Russian civil war to hunt down the last of an insurgent group. After their unit was attacked by Russians, Caleb and Francis (somehow) captured the leader.

Keeping the man hostage, the two wait hours for evacuation, but it never comes. Leaving the warehouse, they're ambushed by Russians -- and that's when Francis is shot dead.

But, in true Westworld fashion, those memories hold more secrets.

Solomon has answers

Back in the present, Caleb and Dolores go further into the military base-like center and find Solomon, one of the first iterations of Rehoboam. This is where Serac and his brother Jean Mi had been developing their big red Death Star-looking supercomputer. The reason Serac abandoned this version: It had inherited Jean Mi's schizophrenia. Solomon, Caleb suggests, is insane.

Coming off very Space Odyssey HAL with his creepy enunciation, Solomon explains that Caleb was one of the first to receive the center's "revolutionary" treatment. But the success rate is low, and ominously, Dolores and Caleb set off to find out what happened to the casualties.

The big Caleb reveal

Caleb and Dolores come across a Serac hologram message meant for Jean Mi. Intriguingly, Serac says, "I wish I could be there with you, Jean Mi, but the man I was no longer exists." That's weird. It sounds like another hint confirming the theory that Serac has been a hologram all along.


A real memory of Caleb and Francis.


In what looks -- again -- like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dolores and Caleb trigger the lights on a cavernous storeroom filled with thousands of people who didn't make it through the reconditioning, encased in glass coffins for their long cryogenic sleep.

Solomon then reveals the big secret to Caleb's fractured memories: They're not real. They've been altered by the "limbic" tablets Caleb had been using to numb his feelings whenever he had to kill as a soldier.

Serac's "elegant" solution to the outlier problem involved using recovered outliers like Caleb to help round up other cases. Using the seemingly fun crime moneymaking app, Rico, they could do something called "regulate criminality."

And Francis? He never died in Russia. The insurgent leader, he was really Whitman, a representative of the pharmaceutical company that makes the limbic tabs. Caleb and Francis had been deployed by Rico to kill him, simply because he didn't fit the "system's" plan anymore.

But when he told Caleb and Francis too much, the system, which is always listening, sent them each an alert to assassinate each other for a big reward.

It was shoot or be shot, and Caleb fired just in time to kill Francis, his friend, dead.

Dolores and Maeve showdown

Hearing Maeve's (Thandie Newton) helicopter land, Dolores knows it's time for her reckoning. Caleb wants to go with her, but she tells him he's still got a job to do, one that doesn't seem to need her... and that's when your heart clunks. Is Dolores going to die for good?

Solomon agrees to help Dolores and Caleb; he has a new plan for the human race, one where the greatest number of people will survive. For the first time, now that we know Dolores wants to help humans, she comes off as more sympathetic than Maeve.


Dolores in a spot of bother.


Maeve is salty after Halores destroyed Hector last episode under Dolores' instructions. She also still believes her daughter and the rest of the hosts who escaped to the Sublime aren't safe as long as Dolores is alive.

The Dolores-Maeve fight has been coming all season. Does it deliver? Even though we knew Dolores would lose an arm at some point thanks to the promo trailer, the way it happens is still a heart in mouth moment.

Dolores and Maeve cleverly set up their own backup robot shooters -- Maeve using her helicopter and Dolores using a makeshift AI-powered rifle setup. Dolores seems to have the upper hand for most of the fight, quickly disarming Maeve from her katana.

But now that our guard's down, it's time for Maeve's big comeback: She stabs Dolores, who stumbles into the helicopter's firing line and has her arm blown off -- all in one quick moment.

A struggling Dolores, still alive, drags her way back into the room with Solomon's system. Just about to have her head sliced off by Maeve, she hits the button on a handy ECG (electromagnetic pulse) machine and triggers a pulse that deactivates herself and Maeve.

The Man in White is 'good'

After facing all his demons, i.e., killing his past selves in augmented therapy, William resolves to fix his wrongs and make it up to the people he loves -- by wiping out every host from the face of the Earth and blotting out his "original sin."


The Man in White has a new modus operandi.


Yep, William's really lost it now.

Stopping at a gas station, Bernard, having found information about Caleb in the reeducation center's files, thinks he knows why he's part of Dolores' plan. Dolores, built with a "poetic sensibility," won't destroy humanity. But Caleb will.

Meanwhile, letting their guard down, Bernard and Stubbs allow William to arm himself with a discarded gun from inside the gas station. He threatens Stubbs and Bernard, but does he shoot? We'll find out in the finale.

What to expect for the finale

While still in the cryogenic sleep chamber, Caleb orders Solomon to tell him how to end everything and kill Serac. Solomon puts something onto a USB drive for Caleb, which he'll presumably use against Serac next episode.

Judging by the look on Caleb's face, having found out his life has been a lie and that Rehoboam forced him to kill Francis, he's all in to carry out Dolores' plan and destroy Serac.

Will Maeve and Dolores be there with him? Or are they totally out of the picture for the finale? It would be intriguing to see Halores, Clementine and Hanaryo have bigger roles to play -- hosts other than Dolores taking their fate into their own hands.

Watch this: Westworld season 3: Incite vs. Delos

Deeper into the maze

  • Dolores-Musashi's briefcase that turns into a gun Optimus Prime-style is some ultracool futuristic weapon technology Westworld is incredibly good at coming up with.
  • Where can I get Dolores' new black ear cuff?
  • Sonora, Mexico, has meaningful history: A place of real-world cowboy culture, it shares a border between Mexico and the United States. Maybe the hosts really could build a new world there.
  • Why is Serac's hologram speaking in English and not French to his French brother?
  • The vehicles this season look really cool, if stupidly jacked-up on steroids. Maeve's helicopter is a slightly sleeker addition.
  • We can't go a season without memories holding secrets, can we?
  • Maeve and her allies should be called the "Katana Crew" or something cooler.

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