Westworld season 3 episode 4 review: Meet Dolores’ new teammates

Aaron Paul and Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld Season 3. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO
Aaron Paul and Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld Season 3. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO /

The most shocking episode of Westworld season 3 to date brings back the Man in Black and tells us whose been helping Dolores in her quest.

Since Westworld season 3 is only eight episodes, we’re already at the halfway point in this season’s story, as hard as that is to believe. Which is why it makes a certain amount of sense that the twist’s suddenly start coming fast and furious, even if we don’t necessarily have the strongest handle on where the story is going from here.

One of the biggest questions we had at the beginning of this season was who, exactly, left the park with Dolores at the end of last season. When she escaped Westworld, she carried five additional host consciousnesses with her, and ever since then we’ve been wondering the identities of those “pearls”.

Now we know…and the answer is definitely not what we expected.

Earlier this season we all debated whether or not they could be the minds of Dolores’ closest allies, like Teddy, Angela or Clementine; her father Peter; or some host we hadn’t met yet. Alas, we were thinking too broadly. Instead, the beings inhabiting Charlotte Hale, Connels, Musashi from Shogun World and whoever the unidentified fourth host is inhabiting…well, they’re all Dolores.

Westworld had never hinted before that it was possible to copy a host consciousness before. Sure, we’ve seen hosts such as Bernard – and even Dolores herself- basically body swap from one physical form to another. But we’ve never seen multiple versions of the same host before, and certainly not in this way.

Leave it to Dolores to be the most extra, I guess.

The revelation that Dolores trusted no one but herself to carry out her grand plan is…well, it’s a very Dolores sort of move, so it kind of makes sense. But it also makes her earlier decision to bring Bernard with her from the park even more confusing. Perhaps it has something to with the fact that there’s something wrong with this Bernard, who seems rebuilt to be more like Arnold than any of his previous iterations. But there must be a reason, particularly since she gave up space for a sixth copy of herself in order to “free” him.

The argument that she brought him along because she needed some sort of moral compass feels more false than ever before now. So that means Bernard/Arnold must have some further role to play in her larger plan, yes?

Because it’s clearer than ever that she has one. Dolores’ carefully orchestrated trip to the billionaire bank with Caleb, her planned to the minute mission to kidnap Liam, even her honey trap effort to get close to Liam in the first place, none of these were spur of the moment decisions. They were careful choices, with a defined end goal in mind.

Which just don’t know what that goal is yet. Or, rather, we sort of do – it’s supercomputer Rehoboam – but for what reason, that’s what isn’t yet clear.

Elsewhere, Ed Harris’ The Man in Black makes his first appearance of the season in “The Mother of Exiles,” and he often feels as though he’s existing in a totally different story. He spends most of the episode alone in the house he has destroyed during violent hallucinations.

As William insists he knows what’s real and what isn’t, he nevertheless continues to argue with a vision of his dead daughter, questioning whether he chose to kill her in the park last season, or if it was the result of biological programming he had no control over.

It’s the sort of question that’s always been at the heart of this show – free will versus predestination, whether we are who we choose to be or if we follow the paths set out for us by nature, society and programming. And the answer is as unclear as it has ever been.

The premiere, it would seem, suggests that men like Caleb are as stuck in loops as any Westworld host has been, and the existence of a machine like Rehoboam indicates that as a species we’re moving further toward that level of algorithmic control not less;.

By the time William is being held in a mental institution – tricked out of his freedom and his company shareholdings by Dolores-as-Charlotte – and talking to an imaginary version of Season 1 Dolores in her blue dress, we’re all wondering what his purpose in this story is. Is he still the most human of men, driving himself insane out of guilt? Has he somehow become a host – as the final end credits sequence of season 2 indicated he would one day become?

Where does his story go from here? And does it have anything to do with Dolores’ larger mission? On some level, William’s institutionalized penance feels earned and even justified. But would Dolores have wasted time on something as small as revenge, when she’s trying to take over the world?

Next. Westworld review: "The Absence of Field". dark

 Westworld continues next Sunday on HBO.