'Westworld' Season 4, Episode 3 Recap: 'Années Folles'
Let's take a look at what happened in the third episode of the 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.
What's up with me, you ask? Oh, not much. Just trying to forget the Westworld scene where a child's robot face splits apart and a bunch of infected flies spill out. Not much at all.
Released Sunday, the third episode of season 4 is a strange one. Bernard returns from the Valley Beyond (aka The Sublime) with mysterious prophetic abilities. We get an up-close look at Chalores' fly factory, and then, as I described above, a host posing as Caleb's daughter unleashes a wrath of the insects on him.
I'm assuming you, like me, are thinking about everything that might happen next. As we wait for an update on Caleb's fate, let's take a look back at the rest of episode 3. There will be eight episodes total in this season of HBO's mind-twisting sci-fi series, and I'm itching to see how all of these different storylines intersect (assuming they even do). Grab your trusty flyswatter, and let's get into it.
Bernard is back
Finally, we see a main character who hasn't been around since the season 3 finale – Bernard! At the start of episode 3, he's in the Valley Beyond, a digital plane of existence we saw a bunch of Westworld hosts enter in season 2, leaving their physical bodies behind.
When Bernard returns to his world from what seems like a brief encounter with Westworld host Akecheta in the Sublime, his loyal pal Ashley Stubbs is there, and tells him years have passed. It appears Stubbs has been by his side all that time, waiting for their next move. (Bernard did change Stubbs' core directive to help him back in season 3, but it would be wrong to call this bromance a forced friendship).
It's eventually revealed that Bernard brought something back from his journey into The Sublime (nope – not a snowglobe). While there, Bernard could see "the worlds that might have been, and all the worlds that could come," meaning that now, he can kinda predict the future. Also, he's on a mission to save the world.
The goal is to make sure they stay on the right track, he tells Stubbs. Most worlds end in disaster, but if he can "trigger a certain series of events," then they might make it through. A note: While in the Sublime earlier, Bernard admits that no paths end with him still living.
A mysterious weapon hidden in the desert
Bernard uses his newfound prophetic powers to easily take down two men outside of a diner in the desert. A car pulls up, and Bernard shows the woman driving it an image of the famous Westworld Maze, which leads her to recognize they are "with the cause." Things in the car get a little tense, but then Bernard presents a severed host head (from one of the guys he confronted earlier) and explains "they" have been trying to infiltrate her group. He asks that she take them to "the condemned lands" and she reluctantly obliges.
Later, after driving through the desert, Bernard, Stubbs and the woman from the organization pull to a stop. More people emerge, and a leader-type character questions Bernard. Bernard explains that the guy (read: the head) was looking for the organization, and they are in danger. Bernard says he wants to help the mysterious group – he knows they are looking for a weapon buried in the desert, and he can direct them to it.
Trouble in '20s world
Meanwhile, Maleb (the duo of Maeve and Caleb) are still in the '20s theme park. We see a little more of it in the episode, and learn that it's home to knockoffs – or as Maeve puts it, "shabby imitations" – of Westworld hosts like Maeve, Dolores and Hector. Maeve uses this to her advantage, waiting for the imitation of Hector (her ex-lover) to come in and do what he would have done in Westworld – rob the Butterfly Club (in Westworld, it's the Mariposa Saloon), then sneaking underground with the deceased hosts.
Soon, they realize it's not the place they are looking for. Instead it's another level to the game – a reenactment of "the Westworld massacre," with a gun-toting Dolores knockoff there to please some annoying guests. Reaching another floor via an elevator, Maleb finds themselves in the midst of something… strange. Drone hosts (the white Delos worker bees we've seen in previous seasons) are doing something with flies. Uh oh.
Following a sound only she can hear, Maeve accesses a sort of control room, where she and Caleb can see people on multiple screens arranging blocks in sync. Maeve says the sound is coming from a cone-shaped device in the center of the room, and Caleb notes that the sound seems to be controlling them somehow. The people (not hosts, Maeve says) proceed to raise a gun to their own heads and pull the trigger. Then, Caleb sees his young daughter Frankie sitting in a cell.
In a heart-pounding scene, Caleb runs to find his daughter and desperately tries to pry the door to her cell open. Maeve finally gets through the system in the knick of time. But things aren't exactly as they seem.
I can't believe we have to talk about this scene again. Well, here goes. While Caleb talks to his daughter in the cell, Maeve fights host William. It quickly becomes clear that something isn't right with Frankie. In a cut-away scene, we see that Caleb's daughter and wife got away from a Chalores goon posing as their safe house driver. The little girl with Caleb? 100% a robot. (Chalores is a nickname for Charlotte Hale. In the past, Dolores made copies of herself -- the "self" that exists in her pearl, or control unit -- and put one into a host version of Hale).
Robot Frankie tells Caleb that Chalores wants him. Then her face breaks apart, and flies pour out of the gaps. We see one of them crawl into Caleb's ear, and the episode ends with him shrieking painfully. What happens now? Sunday can't come soon enough.
In this week's "behind the scenes" breakdown (these play after the credits roll), a Westworld art director explains that flies eat a parasite, become infected and transmit the disease to humans. Nice.
It took a lot for me not to throw the pun "fly-jinks" into this story.
OK, am I imagining things, or is Maleb... flirting? In that elevator scene, when Caleb fixes her shoulder after she takes a bullet, I sensed something there. She even grabs his hand, guys. A reminder: Caleb has a whole wife.
Kind of fun fact: Manny Montana, the actor who plays Carver in this episode (the guy who is supposed to take Caleb's wife and daughter to a safe house but is killed and replaced by a clone) is going to be a main character in the upcoming Disney Plus Marvel series Ironheart.