Season 3 Episode 6
As Westworld barrels towards its finale (there are only eight episodes this season) I was both surprised and not surprised with the return of William and his potential larger role going forward. Back in episode four I was content with how the show handled William in the aftermath of the massacre. He was clearly suffering from trauma (and teetering on crazy) but had an awareness that suggested he could be rehabilitated. I really needed nothing more out of him and with Dolores delivering the final blow ‘welcome to the end of the game’ I thought that was a fitting end to his story.
But this is Ed Harris we’re talking about. An actor of his caliber doesn’t just show up for one episode and so I half expected he would make a another return at some point. But for me, the result is a mixed bag. His scenes were great visually and quite trippy to watch (this episode was a lot more drug influenced than the last one which was supposed to be a drug trip, I digress). William going into ‘therapy’ with all the other versions of himself and James Delos was really cool but aside from the novelty we didn’t learn anything particularly new or profound. We get a brief look at his childhood where we find out that William was just a bad kid who was overly aggressive with his peers. With all the versions of himself bickering William decides to ‘kill the past’ by murdering all the previous versions of himself. He then comes to the grand conclusion that he’s actually the good guy. I don’t know what led him to that conclusion or what I was supposed to glean from his scenes this episode but that was not where I thought this was going.
In any event it gives William something to do going forward. Bernard and Stubbs help get him out of this rehab center which was even more head scratching than William’s good guy turn. How did they end up there and why? This, along with the last episode where Stubbs just so happened to be at Incite to intercept Bernard is very suspect. There may be something going on here that we’re not privy to; either that or Westworld is taking its cues from Games of Thrones post season five where characters simply appeared in different parts of the world automatically (not a good sign if true).
The best parts of the episode revolved around Hale and her complicated duplicity. Right from the beginning you can tell she is nervous but is still willing to go through with Dolores’ plan. Only now she has one more motivation to carry her through: her ‘family’. This first scene with her ex at home is filled with just the right amount of emotion to make an impact on her. Jake deciding not to read what happens to their relationship (from the Incite data dump) citing that they should be the ones to decide followed by their son sneaking a peek at the two hugging is a great little moment that you know is going to change everything.
Hale notes the struggle when she calls Dolores for help citing that they should’ve removed emotion from their programming. Dolores offers little solace and is instead cold indicating that her family isn’t actually hers. We then get some really good cat and mouse scenes between Hale and Serac as he completes the takeover of Delos. The best part between the two is when he reveals that she is indeed the mole. How? She called her family amid the lockdown. The real Charlotte Hale wouldn’t have been that concerned about her son. This is such dig at her and it should have more weight but its quickly dispensed by Hale releasing some type of nerve gas on the board and shooting Serac only to further reveal that he was just a hologram.
She has a great action set piece as she escapes Delos. Along the way she activates that mech we saw in the first episode and while the CGI was a little clunky it worked. She manages to get home and ride off with her family and then their car blows up. There are no survivors except for Hale who crawls out of the car like Anakin in Episode III. She’s completely burned and she stares at the car wistfully as a single tear drops down her face. What her next move is will be interesting. She’ll clearly want revenge but on who? Serac? Dolores? or both?
Maeve also plays a small part in the episode but she’s just waiting until her body is rebuilt. She asks Serac for back-up and what Dolores has. What this latter part meant was a little curious. She gets Hector back and speaks to Dolores (from Connell’s pearl) and the two speak only to come to the conclusion that they must face off. During Hale’s escape she manages to destroy the Hector pearl finally killing him for good. This sends Maeve into a rage and at the end she’s reanimated and with a group to help her but we don’t know who just yet.
So a mixed bag. The Hale parts of the episode were the best and I would not have minded if the whole episode was just about her because she was the most interesting part. The show has done the bare minimum to build up her plot which is fine but if we were given more time with her I think it would’ve made her scenes the best of the season. I also feel like they’ve gotten all they’ve needed out of William but we’ll see where his good guy status now takes him. I’m still not certain what all this is leading up to especially if you’ve seen the preview for the next episode which looks to go into Caleb’s backstory.