Season 3 Episode 4
So far each episode of this season has spent its time building up particular characters one by one: Dolores, Maeve and Hale in that order. This week get an abridged version of this style with William/The Man in Black. I say abridged because while the episode’s central focal point is William a lot more happens than in previous episodes making this installment more crowded.
Which isn’t really a bad thing, the plot needs to move along. It does lack a bit of the power and gravitas of previous offerings but not by much. Instead the episode opts for thriller/heist with drops of drama/introspection. By the end I was on the edge of my seat.
The episode begins with William in his house, tormented by his own thoughts specifically the image of his dead daughter goading him to question his reality. Hale arrives and updates him on the situation with Cerac. She needs William’s vote and influence with the Board to take Delos private and stop Serac. William agrees and cleans up but is very suspicious of Hale.
Meanwhile, Dolores and Caleb steal all of Liam’s money. Caleb dresses up as a rich man and Dolores has a neat line about humans using plumage to disguise themselves. They get access to a meeting with a bank teller and bluff their way (along with biometrics) to Liam’s money. The sequence is suspenseful and really puts us in Caleb’s shoes. His shock and confusion makes it clear that he’s still very much in the dark about what Dolores is up to and makes him a real audience identification figure in the process. Dolores’ plan still seems confusing, what does she need with all of Liam’s money and why (later in the episode) does she plan to kidnap Liam.
Which leads up to Bernard and Stubbs. We find out that Stubbs swam the two of them to shore and as a result has exacerbated his injured shoulder. The banter between the two is good and I like the pairing. Unfortunately, the two are outmatched by Dolores who knew they would try to intercept Liam.
(sidenote: the Liam scenes take place in a lavish masquerade which also doubles as a creepy sex auction/drug party via USB key’s. Is this what the super rich do with their money?)
Bernard has been one of my favorite characters on the show but its hard to ignore that he always seems to come out on the losing end of everything. I would really like him to get a win once in a while and that may yet still happen. Dolores brought him back for a reason and I hope that pans out.
Maeve, on the other hand, is a lot more competent and militant in her methods. She proves her worth in her first mission for Serac. The episode does a good job in setting up Serac as a somewhat complicated figure. He’s clearly a villain in the sense that he sees himself as humanity’s ultimate savior by any means necessary. But we also learn that his hometown of Paris was destroyed some time ago by what appears to have been a nuclear attack. He offers Maeve a compelling reason to help him: Not only does Dolores have the key to the park’s data which he wants, she also has the key to the the Valley Beyond where Maeve’s daughter now resides. Maeve gets to work and after some diggin around, quickly infiltrates the Yakuza who helped her smuggle bodies. Maeve’s powers to overload and control technology have transferred over to the real world which she uses with relish.
She too is ultimately beaten by none other than Musashi, from season 2. Maeve figures out that its not actually him. Which leads to a stunning part of the episode where all the story lines merge. The big reveal, as it turns out, is that all the pearls that Dolores took out of the park were copies of herself. The scene played out with Maeve, Bernard and William all figuring it out at the same time. William realizes that Hale/Dolores is the mole and freaks out but Hale uses this to commit William to a mental asylum and take over his voting share.
The last scene has William in said institution, downtrodden and defeated. Dolores appears in her old garb (as an apparition?) and gloats to William “welcome to the end of the game.” At the beginning of the episode William was very much trapped in his own personal hell and at the end he’s trapped for real.
Another solid episode. Departing from seasons past Westworld is not dragging out its reveals which is refreshing and makes me think something big is bound to happen for the finale.