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
Westworld is, in many ways, a show about female robots striding confidently into battle
Westworld is many things in its third season. It is a continued examination of free will and how much of our lives are predetermined by outside forces. It is an action movie in a televised form in which long conversations about that first thing are punctuated by furious blasts of gunfire and sword-related bloodshed. It is a puzzle box that reveals its true intentions piece-by-piece until the fuller picture becomes clear. But it is mostly, if you want to be technical about it all, a show about lady robots waltzing into battle with the confidence of mid-90s Michael Jordan.
It’s undeniable. It happens at least once or twice an episode and it is maybe my favorite part of the show now. Maeve came back this week after an episode off and promptly marched into a crowd of Nazis, dropped a few very brassy one-liners, and then dismantled every one of them, for no real purpose other than to get them out of the way so she could talk to Lee in peace. Dolores has done it at least a half dozen times this season, occasionally in a ball gown. Charlotte spent half of this episode doing it. Just gliding down a hallway with menace in her eyes, waiting for some goon or series of goons to accost her, fully prepared to smash their faces into or through walls. It’s a lot of fun.
It’s also an enjoyable way to watch the show, stepping back and watching the action like that. It can be easy to get very deep into the show’s various mysteries, worrying about who wants what and why. You’ve seen Reddit. And while that can be fun, all the theorizing and decoding, it’s nice to also remember that all that stuff will sort itself out as the show progresses. Like, we’ll find out if we don’t figure it out first. There’s no need to put pressure on yourself to beat the show to the payoffs. Pay attention, follow along, try to notice things, but also try not to get so far ahead of yourself that you lose focus on the fun stuff. Like, for example, Maeve defeating Nazis in hand-to-hand combat, or Charlotte and some robots running amok through a corporate facility, or Dolores doing… Dolores things. That stuff is cool. Do not lose sight of it. We’ll get to the rest of it soon enough. I promise.
I love my big boxy robot boys
When Charlotte was running around Delos HQ, after Serac had completed his takeover and outed Charlotte as the hidden host and vanished into thin air when she tried to put him down, and after she got cornered in a hallway by his guards, she used her phone to wake up the company’s riot control robots and I squealed with delight. I love those guys. I love watching them just smash and crash this way and that. I love that Delos has enough futuristic technology to build science androids that look and behave exactly like real human beings but they also have these big dumb faceless Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots that burst through walls and heave dudes into swimming pools.
These things are now my favorite characters on the show. I hope they get fed up and start their own faction in this war. It would be profoundly funny to me if all this subterfuge, all this stuff about Rehoboam and corporate takeovers and clones of hosts waging multi-layered battle against each other, ends with two huge brainless hunks of metal just bopping everyone on the head so hard that they end up submerged in the dirt like carrots. Serac, Dolores, Maeve, Bernard, all of them. Charlotte, too. My sweet metal boys fed up with all the chicanery and planting the participants in a harmless garden.
Everyone would be so mad and I would never stop laughing.
Never underestimate this show, not even for a second
Serac booted up a previous version of Dolores for Maeve to interrogate and learn from before they face off in battle. The two of them had a discussion in the laboratory, with Lee and Hector along for the ride, at least until Hector disappeared forever (probably?) when his pearl got crushed. It was a lot and probably something that will come up again and I’m not going to talk about it until then because I have more important business to get to. Important to me, at least.
As we’ve discussed in earlier Confusion Indexes, Westworld has an impressive history of using some variation of the classic phrase “we’re not so different, you and I.” They did it in the first two seasons and kept it alive with a third usage this season. It brought me unending joy. And as this scene developed, it looked like we were headed for another one, either said by Maeve to Dolores or by Dolores to Maeve. The clues were all there.
Dolores said the thing in the screencap up there. About herself and her clone. It was incredible. I had never even considered this as a possibility. I’m so proud of everyone involved in making this happen. Truly a groundbreaking moment in television history.
What We Kind Of Know
Something is happening with William
Well, William is back again, tucked away in some secret psychiatric facility in Mexico where he’s wearing all white and ruining group therapy sessions by talking about humanity as maggots and bacteria and all sorts of other fun things. He’s not doing great, in a lot of ways, but he did have a busy episode. Let’s run down some highlights:
- Was signed up for “AR Therapy” by a doctor who later hung herself in her office after her husband saw her Rehoboam future profile (opioid addiction, multiple affairs with patients, etc.), which is not ideal
- Bit some guy on the finger real hard
- Was given some crazy hallucinogen that made him picture a group therapy sessions with all the various versions of himself, from child through present, including ones we’ve seen throughout the show
- Murdered all of them with steel chairs and his fists
- Declared himself “the good guy”
- May or may not have some secret stuff in his blood that is vital to the plan Dolores has in motion
- Was discovered by Bernard and Stubbs
We’ve all been there.
What We Don’t Know
Who is this and what does he or she want and/or bring to the table that will be valuable to Maeve and/or Serac?
Toward the end of the episode, we saw the results of Maeve and Serac’s plan to build her an army. It looked like there were five hosts being built, total. One was probably Hector, but he’s gone now. Another appeared to be a clone of Maeve. The last one we saw being built remains a mystery, though. We saw eyebrows being threaded and color added to the skin and a nose emerging from the chalky life-giving muck. Who is it? Whooooo is it? Is it one of the people we’ve already seen this season, like Lee the Mostly Useless Writer who is still hanging around despite bringing very little to the table in the way or strategy of combat skills? Is it the samurai boss who later became a Yakuza boss who drapes his coat over his shoulders without putting his arms through the sleeves? Is it another Maeve?
All fair questions. My suspicion is that it is none of these, though, only because, like, why draw it out and leave it on a cliffhanger for something as anticlimactic as a person we’ve seen earlier this season? I hope it’s a bigger throwback, like Armistice the Snake Lady, or Clementine, or another William. Or Ford. Or, just hear me out… Teddy. Bring back that naive cowboy. Try to bring him up to speed and watch his simple brain just melt as he tries to comprehend it. I miss Teddy and his confused face a lot. I would like to see the earliest version of him attempt to grasp the finer points of Serac’s entire existence.
It would also be cool if the new host was just, like, The Rock, and now The Rock is on Westworld, running around and choking out Nazis with Maeve. It’s a longshot, I admit that, but until we see who is really in there, until we have undeniable confirmation that it is not The Rock, I’m going to keep pretending. Let me have this one. Just for the week.
Where does Charlotte/Dolores/Charlores/Dolorlette go from here?
I could write all of this out. I could get way into the way Charlotte is becoming less like a Dolores clone and more like the human Charlotte she replaced. I could dig into what it means going forward that she tried to abandon the plan and flee with her family. I could do a whole bunch of speculating about her state of mind after an episode where things went sideways for her in a bunch of ways and left her charred to a crisp on a San Francisco street.
Or, alternatively, I could just post a series of images from the episode’s final scene that sum up everything better than any clunky words I string together. Yes, let’s do that instead.
Yup. That’ll do it.