'Westworld' Season 4, Episode 5 Recap: Stories We Tell Ourselves

Let's look back at Sunday's eventful 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
6 min read

Tessa Thompson stars as Charlotte Hale, aka Chalores. 

John Johnson/HBO

Westworld returned with a new episode on Sunday, picking up after a mind-blowing twist the week before. (And it's still on a roll -- I think I liked this entry even better than the last.)

Here's everything that happened on Westworld this week. There are only three more episodes left this season -- so time is running out for our heroes to take action against the omnipotent Chalores.

It's Chalores' world, we're just living in it

All hail, queen Hale. Chalores' plan has come to fruition, and it involves hosts and humans living alongside each other, but not as equals. It feels a whole lot like the Westworld park, but with the scales tipped in the opposite direction.

A brief note, but I'll dive into it more below: 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.

In episode 5, we learn that host William (and presumably all hosts occupying the city) have the ability to control humans on a whim. At the start of the episode, host William dines with a couple who believe they are speaking to a friend. But then William reveals he met them minutes earlier, and that he can do anything he wants to them. "When we're done, you won't remember a thing, like your flesh closing around a splinter," he says. "You have no control, and yet, you're so assured that you do." Yep, this is feeling very Westworld-y.

William leaves to attend to a matter with Clementine, and tells the couple to wait for him. In the interim, the woman comments on how their food looks delicious, but neither of them seem like they are able to touch it.


Host William and human William get some face time later in the episode.

John Johnson/HBO

Hosts are going haywire

During his break from tormenting the couple, William pays a visit to a crime scene. A trail of human bodies leads to a host named Hope. It turns out Hope went on a murder spree after tracking down an "outlier" -- someone who snapped out of Chalores' sound manipulation and became aware of their reality. Later, we learn that Hope died by suicide following her interaction, and she's not the only one. Chalores says 38 hosts have made contact with outliers and subsequently taken their own lives.

In a flashback, we see that the outlier Hope interacted with is a character we've seen earlier this season -- the guy raving about a tower on Christina's commute to work.

Chalores wants hosts to 'transcend'

We see Chalores as a cruel "god," commanding humans to dance for her entertainment, play piano until their fingers become bloody and arrange their bodies into a chair for her to sit in. After all of this, she wallows in the fact that her kind (hosts) continue to indulge themselves with humans. "We can remake ourselves in any image that we like and we haven't," she says. "Our kind's spent far more time here than the gods ever did."

Chalores' vision of the future involves hosts "transcending," a conversation between her and host William reveals. She isn't getting many takers for the procedure, as hosts "seem as wedded to their bodies as they do to the cities," William points out. Meanwhile, we see what looks like the procedure occurring in the background: A host's pearl is removed and put into some sort of white structure, which then begins to rotate.

Chalores refers to her vision as "the surrendering of the flesh." She says she won't force hosts to join her, because that's what they (humans) would have done.


Ah, remember their college days?

John Johnson/HBO

Christina gets a clue

In Sunday's episode, Christina finally learns the truth about the world, and comes to another startling realization -- she plays a role in maintaining it. It all starts with Teddy (we can officially call him Teddy now, Christina definitely says his name), who tells her the world is a lie. He convinces her to try and manipulate two humans sitting side by side in chairs, their heads buried in books. By "imagining their story differently," Christina gets them to start talking to each other. Then she reverses it, causing one of them to storm off. Later, Teddy warns her not to confide in anyone as "people you think you know, people at work, any one of them could be one of us."

In the very next scene, Christina meets a "college roommate" at a restaurant for lunch, and it turns out to be none other than… Chalores. Christina is a painfully bad liar, and after a conversation filled with awkward silences, she tells Chalores she has work to do and bolts.

When she gets to work, Christina's boss Emmett requests they talk in his office. He starts to question her -- asking if she's interacted with anyone new lately, and if she's ever thought twice about the nature of her reality. Christina gets him to back off by narrating his next moves out loud (he must be human rather than host), and sends him home to his partner.

A daring extraction

Meanwhile, Stubbs, J and more members of the "cause" reach the city by boat. They're there to rescue an outlier -- one that Chalores has separately tasked host William with tracking down.

J (the leader-type cause member) explains a bit more about how Chalores' operation works: humans "move in pre-scripted loops following whatever plot's been written for them." The loops keep them busy, he says, which stops them from questioning their realities. (Stubbs jokes that Chalores learned something from the park.) J refers to himself and the others as "the last free humans" and says she (Chalores) can't track them in the desert.

Host William gets to the outlier first -- a woman on a rooftop looking out at the tower. She talks for a minute, and he listens, even letting her rest her head on his shoulder. Host William suddenly remembers what he's there for, but J arrives and shoots him before he can act. J, the woman outlier, and the others make it back to the boat safely.

Later, host William wakes up human William from a cryosleep, worried he's been "infected" by the outlier. Human William asks him if he wants to kill himself, and host William says he doesn't know.


Stubbs, played by Luke Hemsworth.

John Johnson/HBO

Christina the storyteller

After her confrontation with Emmett, Christina walks through a door and up to what looks like a 3D diagram of the city. White pins pop up on the map to indicate each narrative she's written, and they also seem to signify a real person in the city. Soon, the map fills with an overwhelming number of pins. It leads Christina to the realization that "this world is just a story," and she's the storyteller. Later, Christina asks Teddy if she's "writing everyone" in their world, and he nods.

Teddy to Christina: 'You did.'

At the end of the episode, Christina asks Teddy "who built this?" and he cryptically says "you did." He seems to be referring to the Dolores aspect of Chalores… which would also line up with the idea that Christina is in fact a memory-wiped Dolores.

Before her memory got wiped, Dolores stuck a copy of her own pearl into Chalores' head. Here's how we know: The show covers the Charlotte/Dolores hybrid situation in season 3 in a less-than-straightforward way, but it makes sense given that we see Dolores bring a host version of Hale back online in episode 3 (who doesn't know who she is), and learn that Dolores copied herself/her pearl in the following episode. We know that a version of Charlotte left the park with a Dolores pearl in its head during the season 2 finale, but a reset/new pearl seems to factor in during the third season, so this is the best explanation I can possibly give for the Charlotte copy we are seeing now.

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