'Westworld' Season 4, Episode 4 Recap: The Big Twist, Explained

Here's what you need to know about Sunday's jaw-dropping Westworld episode.

Meara Isenberg Writer
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.
Meara Isenberg
5 min read
Aaron Paul stars as Caleb.

Caleb, played by Aaron Paul.

John Johnson/HBO

What a time to be a Westworld fan. Episode 4, released Sunday, surprised us with a massive twist that changes what we thought we knew about the season. 

Here's what the mother-of-all-twists revealed. (Take a pause here if you haven't watched the episode yet… it's totally worth checking out for yourself.) Caleb and Maeve's attempts to take down Chalores, which appeared to be happening at the same time as Bernard and Stubbs' exploits, actually occurred two decades earlier. In Bernard's future timeline, Chalores' scheme to gain control over humans has pretty much succeeded, Caleb is dead (or at least appears to be) and Chalores has replicated him as a host. The woman Bernard met who is with "the cause" is actually adult Frankie, Caleb's daughter.

To sum it all up in a line: The situation is more dire than we thought. But grownup Frankie, Bernard and now Maeve -- who they just dug out of the desert -- seem poised to strike back. Let's examine this exhilarating episode up close, including that bomb-drop in the last 20 minutes. There are eight episodes total in this season, and the rest will premiere on Sundays. 

Chalores versus Maleb

We see Caleb early in the episode, and he's still in pain after his encounter with a swarm of parasite-infected flies. Chalores is there, and reveals more of her plan to him. The park is the origin point for a superspreader event -- visitors will leave with her parasite and then spread the disease to others, she says. (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). 

Meanwhile, Maeve is still fending off host William. She uses her mind to mess with the cone-shaped machine making those odd mind-control noises and the machine shatters glass and sends William flying. Maleb (the duo of Caleb and Maeve) escape the building with Chalores, and make for the border of the park, where Caleb says his friends are going to meet them.

Caleb gets stabbed while they try to snag a vehicle to escape in. Still, they manage to make it to their desired location -- an area labeled by a sign as an "active demolition site," part of a project to expand the park. William, unfortunately, is also there, and Maeve keeps him busy while Caleb, with Chalores in tow, attempts to contact his allies.

Caleb is still quarreling with the thing in his head. In a crucial scene, he resists it and shoots William instead of Maeve, defying Chalores. The impenetrable host William withstands the gunshots and shoots Maeve square in the chest. Maeve uses her mind to set off the area's explosives, decimating everything surrounding the building Caleb and Chalores are in, and seemingly destroying William and herself.

A new suitor for Christina

Christina's roommate, Maya, convinces Christina to spend another night out on the town. (Considering all she's been through, Christina would much rather stay home.) She's not unimpressed by the man Maya sets her up with, though. In signature Westworld style, Christina drops a lipstick and it rolls toward a familiar friend -- dashing, chivalrous Westworld host Teddy.

As a refresher, the original Teddy had a romantic relationship with Dolores in the park but eventually shot himself because of changes she made to him. It's unclear if this Teddy is a Chalores dupe... Or if he even goes by Teddy. We saw this new version of him in the first episode of season 4, standing outside of Christina's apartment at night without making his presence known.

Based on his and Christina's conversation in episode 4, we know that he is aware of Teddy's role in Westworld. In the past, he says, he was "something of a bounty hunter with a heart of gold."

James Marsden returns to Westworld

James Marsden, absent from season 3, returned to the show this season.

John Johnson/HBO

The big twist

After Maeve sacrifices herself to rid the world of host William, Caleb vows to kill Chalores for it. He says he won't rest until everything she's built is destroyed. Caleb's allies are closing in, yet Chalores seems unsettingly smug.

Chalores asks Caleb if he remembers "what happened now." He's confused. Chalores says that it's not his men who are outside, but hers. We see them burst in and shoot Caleb.

Eventually, the truth becomes clear. Caleb died in the park 23 years ago, Chalores says. He is currently a different version of himself (presumably a host) and Chalores has spread her parasite to what appears to be at least a city's worth of humans. She explains that some adults resisted the parasite, but she found a path through by infecting children. The parasite grew "in perfect symbiosis with their minds." Once those children matured, Chalores gained control over Caleb's world.

And what does that look like, exactly? Caleb suddenly finds himself in the present, in the office building for Olympiad Entertainment, the company Christina works for. We see, unmistakably, the tower from drawings Christina observes during her visit to the mental health clinic (she also draws a tower herself earlier in episode 4). It's looming near the city and appears to be a supersized version of the machine we saw previously. Crowds of people rushing about outside freeze instantly, and Chalores emerges to claim responsibility.

The desert 'weapon'

We learn through conversations that the woman who brought Bernard and Stubbs to meet with her organization (aka "the cause") in last week's episode is called "C." C and another member of the cause called "J" argue about what to do next, which results in Bernard and Stubbs getting separated. Bernard and C head into the desert to look for the weapon hidden there.

While Bernard digs in the spot he identifies as obscuring the weapon, we learn that C has a different motive for seeking it out: her father supposedly died there, and she wants to see if there's a body. Meanwhile, this digging scene is playing out as host Caleb hears the truth about how things really turned out from Chalores. Bernard uncovers a sign -- one that looks similar to what we saw earlier at the active demolition site -- and then he finds a body. It's not Caleb's, but Maeve's, and Bernard identifies her as the weapon they are looking for.

Aurora Perrineau.

The mysterious "C" is Frankie, 20 years later.

John Johnson/HBO

Lingering questions:

  • Is "the cause" a group of people who have survived without getting infected by the parasite?
  • Is Christina living in the present? Wouldn't she notice the tower?
  • How does Christina factor into everything? She is a video game designer who writes nonplayer characters. Is she somehow unwittingly contributing to Hale's new world order?

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