5 questions we have after the Westworld season 3 premiere

Thandie WNewton in Westworld Season 3.. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO
Thandie WNewton in Westworld Season 3.. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO /

Westworld is back and, as per usual, we have a lot of questions about what exactly is going on. Let’s run through some of them.

HBO’s twisty series Westworld is finally back for its long-awaited third season and, in what should be a surprise to no one, it’s as confusing as ever. Dolores and some as-yet-unidentified hosts may have made it to the real world after the massacre in the park that closed out season 2, but we still have no idea what she’s trying to accomplish there. Does she simply want a taste of freedom? Or is she chasing world domination?

The season 3 premiere isn’t too clear on that point. Or any other really. The opening hour, entitled “Parce Domine,” was mostly a lot of set-up and world building, introducing us to what “real life” looks like in 2058 through the eyes of new character Caleb. (Spoiler alert: It’s…not that great, particularly for those who aren’t in the 1%.)

Where do things go from here? We don’t know, but we do have some lingering questions from the season’s first episode that seem worth pondering.

Is Caleb a Host?

As much as I’m fairly convinced that Caleb is a human being, a lot of the internet certainly isn’t. And tbh, I can’t blame them. There are hints he might not be.

One of the most obvious is the fact that he wakes up each day in the same pose and position as we’ve seen both Maeve and Dolores begin their loops in the park. (And half the point of the season 3 premiere episode is that people like Caleb – who aren’t rich tech bros like Liam – are just as trapped in a predetermined story as any of the hosts have ever been.

Plus, his injury meet-cute with Dolores at the end of the episode feels almost calculated in its timing. Are these all hints that Caleb is something more than the everyman he seems?

Who is Inside Charlotte Hale?

When Dolores escaped Westworld at the end of last season she was carrying a bag with five additional host “pearls” or consciousnesses inside. One of them she used to revive Bernard/Arnold, for reasons that are not entirely clear to us as yet. But who are the others? The show doesn’t seem in any hurry to tell us.

The current count: Dolores herself has made a copy of her original body to run around the real world in. Someone is currently using the copy of Charlotte Hale that Dolores originally escaped in, but we don’t know who. And someone close to Dolores is also currently masquerading as Connells, Liam’s head of security. That still leaves two hosts unaccounted for, both in terms of where they are physically, and who they are.

Since we see Maeve at the end of the episode, she’s immediately out, and even if we hadn’t seen her she seems like one of the least likely prospects for someone Dolores might smuggle to the real world. Her father, Peter Abernathy, whose mind pearl was such an object of interest last season, seems like an obvious choice. Could Angela have survived the explosion in the Forge? Might Dolores have somehow retrieved Teddy from the great robot heaven in the sky? All of these things seem possible at this point.

What Does Dolores Want with Rehoboam?

Rehobaom is the name of the large spherical object that sort of levitates in the middle of Liam Dempsey’s company. It’s also an advanced AI system capable of compiling millions of “strategies” – or potential outcomes – at once, which is why it’s used to predict everything from people’s best career options to global business decisions. (It’s also, not incidentally, that gray and white circle that appears every time we change location, which helps us keep track of where we are geographically in the story.)

But what does Dolores want with this massive system. If she’s already read many of humanity’s “books”, surely she knows enough to predict how they will act. What does she want to do with this – which seems like much of Westworld’s tech on steroids? And, most importantly, does she want to harness Rehoboam in order to take over the world, or to set it free?

Where is the Man in Black?

There were a few major characters missing from the first episode of Westworld season 3, including Maeve (though she pops up in the end credits scene), Hector, Clementine and Stubbs. But the most perplexing absence is probably that of Ed Harris’ The Man in Black, particularly given that the show concluded its second season run with a bizarre flash forward that showed him as a host getting tested for fidelity in the ruins of what was once the park.

So, how do we get from where we last saw William – injured but alive on a Delos beach, to..that? And how does he play into this modern-day story the show is telling? If Dolores were truly searching for money, wouldn’t William be an obvious stop? He owns Delos, after all. There’s an interesting moment during the board meeting when Charlotte indicates that a mysterious “he” has turned his board vote over to a robot proxy, and I assume we’re all supposed to believe that “he” is The Man in Black, but since he’s not at the meeting…where is he? And why is he okay with the plan to restart host production?

What’s Wrong with Bernard?

It seems pretty obvious at this point that something is very wrong with Bernard. It feels as though his body contains two personalities, who are frequently at war with one another. And given that the name Bernard is going by – “Armand Delgado” –  is an anagram for “Damaged Arnold,” it feels like we can make a pretty accurate guess about who the other personality might be.

But…what does that mean, if Arnold lives again? Will he want to help Dolores or stop her? Is Bernard trying to keep Arnold from taking control? Or what exactly is going on with the whole split personality thing? (I mean, aren’t the two of them technically the same person?) And what is Bernard headed back to Westworld to find?

We’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out.

Next. The Westworld season 3 premiere shows us humanity’s loop. dark

Westworld Season 3 continues Sundays on HBO.