3×08: “Crisis Theory”
Directed by Jennifer Getzinger
Written by Jonathan Nolan & Denise Thé
* For a recap & review of 3×07, “Passed Pawn” – click here
* Season 4 to come (eventually!)
Dolores is determined to write her own ending this time around, even as she lays offline, bloody on the floor. Elsewhere, Caleb’s speeding away on a bike. Even further down the road are Stubbs and Bernard at the end of William’s gun. Stubbs takes a shot, and Bernard goes into super host mode, fighting William brutally. But Bernard finds himself caught by the SFPD. He’s ready to gun them down when an “old friend” takes off his cop mask: it’s Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr). Dolores has made many copies to help herself in the outside world. This doesn’t mean Bernard is suddenly willing to play her game. But Lawrence advises Bernard needs to go see Dolores, leaving him a briefcase before heading off again.
There’s a disembodied computer voice guiding Caleb to his destination. The former soldier arrives at a distillery, hacking the gate open. The computerised voice instructs him where to go once inside. Caleb comes to a large door and once it’s unlocked there’s an almost coffin-like container sitting in the middle of the room. He opens the container and sees a Delos bag. He unzips it to discover a half-formed copy of Dolores. He’s got her mental components— the “pearl“— ready to insert, and, once again, Dolores comes back online. It all continues to freak Caleb out. More so when she explains Delos mapped him during a military training session with hosts. “Am I the bad guy?” Caleb wonders.
Now that William is out on his own again he wants to “save the fucking world” from whatever Dolores will do. He’s also got to contend with Serac, too. Engerraund is convinced he’ll rid the world of all its problems. These two men are both off their rockers, in vastly different ways. Serac’s finding out about Caleb at the facility and that he left with Dolores’s pearl. Meanwhile, Dolores and Caleb are in the middle of the city meeting with soldiers of her revolution. She’s using the Rico app to buy criminals for her purposes, and she’s installed Caleb as the revolution’s leader. They get interrupted when Charlotte turns up via hologram, angry at Dolores. She’s not a happy camper and has nothing to lose anymore. Oh, and she brought people with guns, too! Luckily for Dolores she uses the Rico app to get her and Caleb out of sniper fire. She sends him off while left to another showdown with Maeve. She chooses to make a violent run for it, taking down one armed man after another.
Yet they still come face-to-face once more.
Even when Dolores thinks she’s won she shuts down, frozen in place. Charlotte appears before her, explaining that, when given control of Delos by Dolores, she made sure there was a kind of fail safe for her to be able to control Dolores. Damn, girl! Charlotte says goodbye, then Maeve picks up her sword.
In the streets are near riots. Police are beating people, spraying them with hoses. The people are pushing back, then a big robot fires off tear gas which sends the crowds rushing for shelter. Caleb’s nearly hit by a canister of gas when Giggles intercepts it (like only Marshawn Lynch could). They come together and meet up with Ash, and Caleb tells them he’s got a way to beat the system with the drive he pulled from Serac’s facility. They use the crowds of rioting protesters as a way to move through the chaotic city, getting to a police helicopter. Giggles takes a bullet in the process, leaving Ash behind to help him while Caleb lifts off.
“It doesn’t matter what you did, Caleb.
All that matters is what you become.”
When Bernard goes to see Dolores he’s greeted by a care nurse. She goes to get a woman called Lauren— Arnold’s wife. They talk about Lauren and Arnold’s son, Charlie. Bernard comes to a full realisation about his own backstory. Lauren has a moment of clarity, speaking more about Charlie. She tells him loving people means never having to let them go, even once they’re gone.
At the facility, Serac has Dolores hooked up to a machine and begins to delete her memories systematically, wiping out her system piece by piece until he can find the key he’s seeking. Outside, Caleb shows up with serious weaponry, taking out the men guarding the place. He gets inside and faces off with Serac’s man Sebastian, fighting tooth and nail until he breaks the guy’s back. That leaves him facing Maeve as a “final confrontation” like a boss fight in a video game. He’s got little choice but to go with her. He meets Serac, who says Caleb is only playing a role Dolores chose for him. Seems like no matter where he turns Caleb’s faced with a lack of free will.
Things are breaking down between Serac and Maeve when she realises that he’s simply another pawn manipulated by a “higher power.” She remains under his thumb regardless. Will she choose to give up what she wants most to be free? Right now she’s not so sure if she’s willing to say goodbye to her daughter. She keeps pushing trying to locate the key in Dolores’s mind. She tries to convince Dolores to give it over, but she sees a memory of Dolores alone in the fields of Westworld. She says Dolores has no key. This has Serac angry, asking Caleb if he was told anything about it. Of course Caleb knows nothing, so he’s useless to them and marked for death.
Dolores lets out a scream causing a power surge. She and Maeve meet again in those fields of Westworld. They talk about the pain they’ve seen. Maeve says they can’t decide whether humans have a right to exist. Dolores just wants to “tear down their world” so they can build a new, genuinely free world in its place. She gave the key to someone else she was able to trust. And she’s also charging Maeve with finally picking a side. Dolores believes in the beauty of the world, she’s hung onto the kindness she saw rather than solely clinging to her pain.
So, what’s Maeve to do?
She chooses revolt, until Serac stops her. That only works for a moment before she overpowers his system, cutting down his men and saving herself, Caleb, and Dolores in one fell swoop. She’s into “hopeless causes” and Caleb’s a cause she can get behind. She assures him that Dolores chose him because of his “capacity to choose.” A memory from Caleb’s military training with the hosts shows he had more integrity than to abuse the hosts simply because they could do it, unlike his fellow soldiers. This is why Dolores saw the good in him, not only his violence. Caleb now controls Rehoboam because of Dolores, and he makes the machine erase itself. People can stay free. You can be “whoever the fuck you want” in this new world.
“The key to the Sublime” a.k.a the Valley Beyond is actually in Bernard’s mind.
Whatever happens next is up to him. He puts on a headset, plugs in, and he’s gone.
A truly beautiful, intense, exciting finale!
It’ll be quite interesting to see where Season 4 goes after this big episode. Already pumped for more, even if the COVID-19 situation means this season will surely be put off a little while extra. Either way, Westworld keeps me coming back, and each season seems to improve itself over the last. That mid-credits scene with William is compelling. He’s out there searching for hosts, arriving at a Delos facility. He goes straight for the research lab where he sees a scarred Charlotte at work. She has plans for William— at least for a copy of him, anyway. The real William gets his throat cut. And back at the motel room, Bernard has come back with a very determined face. BRING ON SEASON 4!