The ‘Westworld’ Confusion Index is your guide to what we know, what we kind of know, and what we don’t know about Westworld, one of television’s more confusing shows. We will make mistakes, surely, because we rarely know what is happening or why (and whenever we think we’ve figured it out, they go and change it on us), but we will try to have at least as many jokes as mistakes. This is the best we can offer. Here we go.
What We Know
Caleb’s story was darker and more complex than we thought
Man, poor Caleb. Life is just a non-stop kick in the pants for this guy. It was bad even when it was good, or at least as good as “my best friend died in war and now I’m a two-bit criminal who makes money via an app that curses at me and pays me to do felonies” can be. It was a pretty crappy existence filled with loneliness and PTSD. And that was before he met Dolores and discovered all of the following things:
- He was what’s called an “outlier”
- A hyper-powered algorithm expects him to commit suicide by heaving himself off of a sad pier
- He was reprogrammed in Serac’s creepy facility
- The outliers who are not successfully reprogrammed are locked away in these weirdo zombie cryo chambers
- He wasn’t so much “catching insurgents in Crimea” as he was “being manipulated with drugs to catch other outliers for Serac”
- He was actually the one who killed his best friend, Francis, in what amounted to a kill-or-be-killed situation set in motion by Serac and the RICO app to silence a rogue pharma developer
And so on. That’s not even everything. It feels like enough, though. And that’s before we even get to Dolores introducing him to Solomon, Rehoboam’s somewhat unhinged older brother, which he handled… pretty reasonably, all things considered.
Dude has had his entire brain fried every 30 seconds or so for the last two or three weeks of his life, ever since he met Dolores in that alley. Now he’s the one in charge of her revolution, the King Outlier out for blood. Do I foresee a future where he wakes up all the frozen undead outliers in that storage facility? My friends, I do. I will be supremely disappointed if he does not. You can’t just go around showing us a room filled with thousands of loose cannon wild cards in a state of artificially induced slumber and then not turn them loose on the world. I need this. I deserve this.
Let Aaron Paul lead a revolution.
Maybe… they weren’t so different, after all
God bless Dolores. The woman cares about two things in this life and two things only: One, leading a revolution that ends humanity’s reign over the robots they’ve created; two, explaining that other people she meets are not so different from her. She does it all the time. Last week, she described one of her clones as not so different from herself, which is just a staggering level of devotion to the premise that I would have to support it even if I did not love it dearly, which I do. One of these days an ATM is going to eat her debit card and she’s going to narrow her eyes and say “You know, you and I are not so different, really…” before she gets impatient and rips it out of the wall.
In her defense, she’s not entirely wrong, at least as far as the series goes, writ large. She wants a revolution to take down humans and set robots free. Serac wants to use robots to control the human population with algorithms. They’re both crazed ideologues who are using all the power at their fingertips to bend society to their whims. They really, truly, are not so different in a lot of ways, with the small caveat that one wants to turn humans into robots and the other wants to turn robots into humans. And then there’s William, who really just wants to murder every robot he sees, which seemingly has little to do with anything right now beyond giving Ed Harris something to do for a while. I don’t know. I support this, too. The man is a visionary in the fields of growling and sneering. Let him cook.
The funniest part of this episode, though (for me, if not for anyone else), was everyone disagreeing with Dolores about how different they are. She tried it on both Solomon, who wanted no part of it…
… and Maeve, who wanted even less of it somehow, to the degree that she later blasted Dolores’ arm off mid-bicep with a helicopter gun.
We’ll come back to this shortly.
Everyone has cool guns, except for Maeve, who also has a samurai sword
We’ll actually come back to it now. Holy Toledo, were there some impressive weapons this week. I suppose I shouldn’t be blown away by this considering it is also a world where life-like android-types walk amongst us and occasionally fly futuristic-ass hoverplanes, but still. Dolores had that drone gun that scouted out targets and then launched what I assume were heat-seeking bullets at them. Maeve showed up with a samurai sword in her hand (quite literally bringing a knife to a gunfight), only to then reveal that she was also controlling her hoverchopper’s artillery from her brain (Maeve rules).
But even with all this high-tech weaponry and space-age artillery, my favorite instrument of death this week, by a lot, was Sato’s briefcase machine gun that he used in his Jakarta shootout with Clementine, who is alive and is presumably the mystery robot that was getting boiled up at the end of last week’s episode.
It did not end well for Sato, as his torso was dragged out of the fancy club while his legs remained inside, the result of a stab-and-spin maneuver by Hanaryo — Maeve’s buddy from ShogunWorld, who was basically just a copy of Armistice, and was also apparently boiled up in the goo lab — that was almost ballet. Still, cool briefcase gun. I hope someone in the club picked it up before the cops got there. Not to kill anyone with or anything, just to show it off at parties.
What We Kind Of Know
This is probably not the last we’ll see of Dolores and Maeve
Dolores was not doing great in her fight with Maeve, a fight that has been brewing a long time and could have lasted much longer, in this recapper’s opinion. Like, the whole episode. They could have done battle for 60 straight minutes for all I care, with the two of them trading witty barbs back and forth and arguing about how different they are or are not as they slash and shoot each other’s limbs off one at a time. But that didn’t happen, in part because this show has flung open a whole lot of doors and windows that now need closing and in part because Dolores smashed what I have chosen to call “the emergency murder-suicide button.”
So there they are, passed out on the floor like lumps. On another show, that would be the end of them. Rest In Peace, badass strutting robot women. But this is Westworld. Both of them have died dozens of times. In fact, this is the second episode this season that has ended with Maeve lying dead on the floor of some weird science facility. Forgive me if I’m not buying the permanence of their incapacitation. Also, the show just got picked up for a fourth season with plans for a total of six and sweet Ford in heaven I do not see how they’re going to get three more seasons out of a show that is already waging a human vs. robots war in the streets that is tearing society apart at the seams. They’ll need Maeve and Dolores to keep this going, if only to kill time with snappy dialogue and sword fights.
Another note: This show has a whole lot of balls in the air all the time, which is probably why so many of its episodes this season have ended with a character in peril and then the next episode skipped over that character almost entirely. It happened with Caleb, with Maeve on the floor of the first science facility, and now with Charlotte, after she got seared to a crisp by the car bomb that killed her kid and lover. One assumes we’ll see her again in the finale. One assumes we’ll see everyone again in the finale. Or not. Who knows? Maybe the whole thing will just be Ford playing chess in hell against the child version of himself, who is also Satan. I dare you to rule it out
What We Don’t Know
What does Serac have in store the finale?
If there’s one thing we know about Serac, it’s that my evil hologram boy has plans. He always has plans. His plans have contingencies and those contingencies have contingencies. And now, he has a whole mess of people gunning for him. Dolores and her robot army (plus Caleb) are smashing up his facilities and trying to undo all of his life’s work. William is pissed about him stealing Delos and is already out to kill every robot he sees so, hey, why not add one human supervillain to the list. Charlotte’s family was murdered by his goons and she very much looked like a lady who did not appreciate that. There’s is a race for the man’s head. It’s very exciting.
A not-inconsequential part of me hopes Serac defeats everyone and just keeps going on with his diabolical existence and that’s what the last three seasons are about. I hope he builds a lair in a hollowed-out volcano and starts wearing an eyepatch. Lean into it, buddy.
Why would they choose the dumb default voice?
All I wanted in the entire world, at least in the moment that this happened in the show, was for the Solomon machine to ask what voice they wanted it to use and for Caleb to think about it for five full seconds of silence before responding, “Hmm… can you do Tracy Morgan?”
And then the Solomon machine would have bleep-blorped a little and said something about getting that old-school EMP robot pregnant. It would have done absolutely nothing to move the plot forward and might have even had the opposite effect. But it would have made me happy. That’s what’s important here.