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Westworld season 3 episode 3 recap: Dolores, Caleb and who is Charlotte Hale

Aaron Paul, Tessa Thompson and Evan Rachel Wood elevate a very expository episode.

In the third episode of Westworld, Caleb and Dolores get to know each other better.

On Sunday, HBO aired Westworld's third episode in season 3, giving us a closer look at Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul). The link to both is, no surprise here, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), which brings us to one of the most intriguing unanswered questions from the season 2 finale: Who is in Charlotte Hale's host body?

In episode 2, viewers got to go back to what remained of the Westworld park where we were treated to an epic Easter egg combo that referenced both Game Of Thrones and Jurassic Park. But episode 3 brings us back into the "real" world of 2058 where Dolores is methodically executing her plan and Serac is trying to stop her.

Season 3, episode 3, titled The Absence of Field, was written by Denise Thé and directed by Amanda Marsalis. But before we jump into the third episode, take a look at our recaps for the season 3 premiere episode and episode 2. If you need a refresher on the first two seasons, read our Westworld season 1 and 2 recap.

Spoilers ahead.

Who is Charlotte Hale and the mystery of the pearls

Back at the massacre at the end of season 1, Hale crawls on the ground to an injured host with which she records a message to her son Nathan. For all intents and purposes this is the real Charlotte Hale, who not only has a child but is also divorced/separated from her husband.

At the end of the second season, Bernard creates a host body for Hale populating it with Dolores' mind via a pearl (host CPU) in what is lovingly referred to by fans and the show's creators as "Halores".

She freely leaves the park pretending to be Hale along with five host pearls one of which we know is Bernard's. Dolores and Bernard are like the hands drawing each other in an M. C. Escher drawing.


Hale the host recharging with Dolores.


We see a host body being dipped from that trademark Westworld white goo and then a scene cut to Dolores bringing Hale back online with yet another host personality. Is the body being printed Hale? Or Dolores? Since there was already a Hale host body.

Whatever happened during that scene cut (which we don't see) might give a clue as to who is now inside Hale's body since Dolores has her own body -- if that really is Dolores in her body.

But how would Dolores extract her pearl from Halores and place it inside her own newly printed body? One might assume that's why Dolores remade Bernard so he could do it. But at the end of season 2, when Dolores is bringing Bernard back online, Hale is already there.

There's something off on how exactly Dolores would go from Halores into a new body all by herself. And anything that seems off in Westworld is usually done intentionally.

My theory is that Halores put Teddy's empty pearl into the new Dolores' body and transferred her mature Wyatt/Dolores personality into it. Then, she restores Hale to the default farm girl Dolores personality kind of like a clean OS install.

At one point Dolores tells host Hale, "No one knows you like I do. No one knows me like you do."

Whoever's in Hale's body is not dealing with it very well. She's self-harming, unsure of herself and constantly going back to Dolores. When she's first brought online and told by Dolores who she needs to pretend to be, Hale replies, "Charlotte Hale? But she tried to kill all of us. Why can't I be myself?"

Later when the self-injuring gets worse, she tells Dolores that, "It's like she's [real Hale] trying to take back control. Like she wants to cut into her skin and rip me out of her head."

Dolores describes the real Hale as ruthless and a predator. She tells host Hale, "Perhaps you've come to identify her too much."


Identity is a key theme in episode 3. Who is Hale? And who is the host pearl inside Hale?


Later Hale strangles a man named Tommy who she caught caressing her son's hand. As she kills him, host Hale tells the pedophile he reminded her of something.

"The harder I squeeze the more I remember what it's like to be me. You're not the only predator here."

This could mean whoever's inside host Hale is morphing with real Hale's personality by pretending to be her. There's also a tease in the episode that host Hale will have to visit an old friend. Could this be William, aka the Man In Black?

One of the most badass moments in the episode is when the giant Delos Riot Robot (one of 300) assembles and host Hale pats it says, "I'm sure we can find some use for them."

Hale and Serac, a mole made in heaven

Throughout the episode Charlotte receives machine tones on her phone, which she figures out to use as a password of sorts to meet Serac. We find out that Delos can't go private because Serac bought up shares of the company's stock through anonymous microtransactions.

We later learn that the real Hale approached Serac with a plan to give him the data Delos collected on their guests -- though we never learn exactly what the real Hale would get in return.

We also learn that Serac is a "black hole" and that any information or records about him have been destroyed. It's inferred that Serac has a personal wealth of a trillion dollars, making him the richest man in the world. Sorry, Bill Gates.

If Serac has a deal with Hale, then why is he buying Delos in tiny pieces? Perhaps it's a backup plan in case she can't come through with her end of the deal?

Also, how does Serac get Maeve's pearl? The fact that her CPU has shown up missing is mentioned in this episode, but even if real Hale was the mole, how did it get into his hands?

Caleb and Dolores take on the Matrix

We catch up with Caleb. I absolutely love Aaron Paul in this role. It's such a different role than Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad but he instills Caleb with just as much turmoil and mileage.

Caleb saves Dolores' life. Then, she saves his life with some intel from her host pretending to be Martin Conells, Incite head of security. Also, RIP George the Delos sidekick robot.

Then, things get very Matrix-y. At a diner, Dolores confronts Caleb about the time his mother abandoned him. The amount of detail she knows about him is scary impressive.

Caleb questions how she learned such detail about the worst day of his life. He says that Big Data only tracks your presence online, in social media and with surveillance in the "real" world. Sounds relevant to now.

Dolores, in a very Morpheus-like moment, explains that the founders of Incite fed their Rehoboam everyone's raw data before there were privacy laws. The machine used every purchase, call, text, job search, doctor visit and romantic choice to make a mirror of this world.

"It's not about who you are Caleb, it's about who they'll let you become."


As Hale is learning who she is, Caleb learns his entire life has been determined for him down to how and when he will die.


Last week's episode had Maeve trapped in a simulation. Now we learn there's a "real" world and a simulation world that's used to learn what a person does in the future and then apply that data to the real world.

Dolores takes Caleb to the spot where he's going to kill himself in 10 to 12 years. She explains that they -- Incite? Society? -- won't invest in someone likely to kill themselves.

"They put you in a cage and decided what your life will be. They did the same thing to me."

Dolores wants to start a revolution by destroying Incite and let the world see itself for what it really is.

Also, we get one of the greatest lines in this moment. Caleb says, "You are the first real thing that has happened to me in a long time."

Now playing: Watch this: Westworld season 3: Incite vs. Delos

We have character motivations!

To sum up, we know that Dolores wants to bring down the Incite Rehoboam machine to free the world. Serac wants all the data Delos collected about its guests and the key to that data is in Dolores' mind. My guess is the data will be fed to the machine.

Credits and Man in Black watch

There isn't a post-credits scene but I like the song at the end. And this is the third episode where the Man in Black hasn't appeared. But check out the trailer for the next episode below.

Standout moments, 2058 curiosities and Easter eggs

  • The blood inside hosts doesn't have platelets.
  • The ambulance covered with the words "emergency response unit" displayed around it on the outside is similar to Blade Runner.
  • The bad police guy's wrist gun is like a 2058 upgrade on the sleeve gun Travis Bickle assembles in Taxi Driver.
  • Police cars in the future don't use keys and instead have face identification.
  • There aren't any more elephants in 2058.
  • The Bay Bridge, Trans American building and Salesforce Tower are all still around in the San Francisco of the future.
  • Delos is located in Oakland or perhaps Alameda.
  • Booking hotel rooms is incredibly easy in the future.
  • Smart contacts are a thing.
  • Implants are placed in the bridge of people's mouths and those wafers we saw in episode one likely interact with them.