Westworld 3×01: “Parce Domine”

HBO’s Westworld
3×01: “Parce Domine”
Directed by Jonathan Nolan
Written by Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, click here.
* For a recap & review of 3×02, “The Winter Line” – click here
Father Son Holy Gore - Westworld - Gerald's Gas MaskA man named Gerald (Thomas Kretschmann) is looking to sell off stocks after the news of a bloodbath at Delos Parks. He can’t because the market’s in throttle while everything remains chaotic and nothing is fully verified. He heads to bed angry, swallowing a chip to make sure he has a proper night sleep. In the middle of the night, a bunch of the house’s systems come alive on their own. When Gerald wakes up he’s wearing a gas mask. He pulls it off, hearing the music playing throughout the house. His house has been “reduced to core functions” and he can’t even make use of all that technology. Outside, someone’s swimming in the pool— you guessed it, Dolores Abernathy.
Gerald was with a “bachelor party” at the park before he married his first wife and did horrifying things to Dolores. She knows all about him because, through Delos, she has access to his memories because of the park’s neural mapping of guests. She fits him with a pair of glasses so he can relive his awful memories, telling him: “You shouldve kept it in the park.” Dolores came for info on Incite, the company where Gerald worked. He kept valuable confidential info she’s hoping to exploit.

We meet Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul). He’s a former soldier turned trades worker, whose partner is a robot. They work together on the high steel as postmodern iron workers. Caleb’s mother is in the hospital, yet she doesn’t consider him her son. Is it Alzheimer’s? Or is it something else? What about the “implant” he doesn’t turn on anymore? He doesn’t just work in the trades, either. He has a night job. He’s busy hustling in “a meritocracy” of the future. He meets up with Ash (Lena Waithe) and Giggles (Marshawn Lynch) before they hit their target. Then Caleb collects a few ‘crime coins’ for his work.
Father Son Holy Gore - Westworld - Caleb Nichols and His Robot PartnerThe bloody capitalism continues under Charlotte Hale. She sees going private as a way to do whatever they want, and she believes the big massacre at their park is only a way of legitimising the danger they offer to consumers. She wants to start working on hosts again, hoping the park will be up and running in only 2 days. Nobody else is truly on board. Added to all that, Bernard Lowe is the one who’s been credited with orchestrating the massacre, and Charlotte’s using him as the best scapegoat she can find.
Speaking of Bernard, he’s on a farm somewhere out there living a real life as Armand Delgado. He works for a cattle company, and it’s not as if he’s entirely unknown, being recognised by a couple guys as a “fat cat murdering fugitive.” He continually checks his neural network to make sure nobody’s in there messing around, curious about whether Dolores is pulling invisible strings. He’s later attacked by the men who know his real identity. They cattle prod him, threatening they’re going to turn him in unless he pays them. So Bernard has to turn on his AI abilities, living at once as Bernard as Bernard 2.0.

Dolores is using a fake identity to get in close to Liam Dempsey (John Gallagher Jr), a hot shot at Incite. She heads to America with Liam. He shows her the program Rehoboam, a sophisticated piece of artificial intelligence working at a mile a minute. The way Dolores looks at it is the way a lover looks at the one they love, the one for whom they lust. Wonder what sort of things she could do with a program like Rehoboam? For now, Dolores a.k.a Lara keeps a close watch on Dempsey. Looks like there are issues for the man. Potential clients are worried about security problems, believing there’s a leak somewhere on Liam’s end concerning Rehoboam. Alone together, Liam and Dolores talk intimately and she nearly gets secret info out of him when Martin attacks her with a stun gun. Seems Martin knows Dolores isn’t Lara.
Note: the name Rehoboam comes from the first king of the Kingdom of Judah.

While Caleb’s previous life comes back in snippets— he and his war buddy Francis (Kid Cudi) together in the army— he keeps picking up new jobs seeking crime coins. He runs into Giggles again at a party where a guy’s losing his mind after taking drugs and claiming he’d “seen the light.” The guy on drugs makes a scene, causing Giggles to get a little violent. Meanwhile, Caleb is struggling with an obviously violent past. He likewise shows the perpetual indifference of America towards its veterans. Obviously shit hasn’t changed even in this new future. Not in some of the most fundamentally awful ways.
Father Son Holy Gore - Westworld - Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe

“Robots don’t kill people— people kill people.”

Father Son Holy Gore - Westworld - Bernard FightsOff unconscious Dolores goes in the clutches of Martin.
Right at the same time, Caleb’s out on another crime coin job. He hits the meet point and it happens to be right at the same time the other criminals there are waiting for Martin to arrive, who’s looking for “local guys” to take care of things for him with Dolores. Caleb walks off back to his regular life, taking a call from his pal Francis— despite Francis only being a disembodied voice, not the flesh and blood friend Caleb lost during his time in the army. The other criminals do Martin’s dirty work, pumping Dolores full of lethal toxins. Nothing works so he has a go himself. They’re interrupted when Dolores lays waste to them. Except Martin getting away in his car. That means he’s in for a car chase with Dolores. She eventually gets to him, getting a name: Engerraund Serac.
Then she reveals a duplicate Martin who kills the real one. The ole switcheroo.

Great use of “Common People” by Pulp here, too!

Caleb feels guilty for ignoring what was happening back at the meet. He turns up in the middle of Dolores in a gunfight with a couple men, just missing all the action. He stumbles onto Dolores bleeding in the tunnel, catching her as she collapses. He found “someone real” in the strangest kind of way. Elsewhere, Bernard is beginning a journey back towards society again— towards Westworld. And there’s a post-credits scene that shows us Maeve Millay in a strange place, where she comes to in a house with a German tied to a chair nearby. This is due to her being part of a Nazi Germany simulation of some sort. A new park? Whoa.
Father Son Holy Gore - Westworld - Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy

“The real gods are coming. And they’re very angry.”

Father Son Holy Gore - Westworld - Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy and Aaron Paul as Caleb NicholsAn utterly spectacular way to open Season 3.
The way Westworld is moving is wonderful because the scope gets bigger each season. Now we’re out in the larger world beyond the park, even if things involving the park are still occurring. Very exciting. Not to mention the great additions to the cast. Also, the plots are becoming a little less dense which is a good thing because, at times, Season 1 particularly got messy. Seems the show’s improving each year.

“The Winter Line” is next.

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