Westworld Season 3 Finale BREAKDOWN – ‘Crisis Theory’
This season has been a rollercoaster ride of action, adventure, tension, mystery and unpredictability.
Dolores manages to execute her incredibly played out and complex plan for her revolution. Maeve engages in another epic fight which Dolores wins until Hale arrives. Bernard/Arnold is struck with ground-breaking news which will resonate in future seasons. William breaks from Bernard and Stubbs after confronting them and goes about his own plan to aptly ‘save the f****** world’.
I’ve written a host of reviews on this show (pun intended), and this finale is one of the most enthralling and exciting episodes.
This episode has had some negative reviews but I beg to differ. Some say the season’s end was a copy of last season but with more going on and so on but I believe it was a great conclusion to a great season.
Breakdown of Events
Dolores and Maeve’s fatal clash in Sonora with Solomon in ‘Passed Pawn’ is resolved by their host pearls being excavated from their skulls, Caleb retrieving Dolores’ and Serac’s people Maeve’s. We find out that Caleb’s dealings with Solomon entailed him imploding the machine and transferring it’s data onto a hard drive to destroy Serac’s Rehoboam. Caleb uses its omniscience to locate a backup host Dolores, fully robotic, to bring her back online.
Caleb’s and Maeve’s New Roles
Dolores tells Caleb that he is the leader of her revolution and that she has assigned him multiple followers as he heads over to Incite to destroys Serac’s machine. He reaches the building at the cost of his friend Giggles and is on the brink of administering Solomon’s command before Maeve stops him and brings him to Serac and Dolores. The drive is squashed, and hope seems lost. However, when Serac is ultimately defeated, the Rehoboam’s control transfers to Caleb who gives the final command directly.
Maeve seemed to be the puppet for Serac until Dolores sways her after tireless efforts to see beyond his promises. She has been stubborn in her hope of reuniting with her daughter beyond the Forge. She enters Dolores’ mind to uncover her final scrambled memories which happen to be a Westworld version of Dolores in a field by a tree on a sunny day.
Dolores tells Maeve that she doesn’t have the key as she did not trust herself with it. Her plan was for the human race to choose their future rather than it being planned by technology and people like the Rehoboam. Maeve swiftly turns against Serac after realising Dolores was right. She slays Serac’s people and Serac himself.
After all of this action, Maeve remarks that she never understood Dolores as they had different stories/motives but that her plan was a good one and the right path for the human race. Her and Caleb look upon the disorder of the city as the episode ends.
Predetermination VS Free Will – Free Will Is Not Free
One of the slogans for this season was that ‘Free Will Is Not Free’ and this overriding theme is epitomised in this episode. Serac’s obedience to the Rehoboam embodies this feeling as we see that he is a puppet to its whims and predictions. Hale’s easy replication of William is a tightly strung strategy representing an absence of free will and overwhelming control at the hands of the Delos’ data on humans from Westworld.
As we were informed, Caleb’s past is largely unknown and the question of whether Dolores met Caleb out of the blue or on purpose is at hand. We see Delos allowing the military to train with real targets (hosts) in park five during Caleb’s stint. A specific scene is highlighted where host hostages are ‘saved’ by his crew and one soldier hints at sexually abusing them. Caleb eventually cools the situation by telling him that they are unlike the rich who pay for such filth. One of these hosts was a version of Dolores.
After Caleb is enlightened, Dolores assures him that he chose to stop his fellow soldiers out of free will; his status as an ‘outlier’ was predicated on this capacity for choice. This is one of, if not the only, positive strand in this season’s bleak tapestry and ended up being the underlying goal Dolores’ strived for.
Talking about free will. Dolores use of Hale as an expendable backfired after her surviving the flame ball which engulfed her family. After declaring her plan to the now dead Musashi she effectively haunted Dolores for a moment and seems to have her own ideas on hurting humanity.
‘I choose to see the beauty’
A poignant part of this season’s finale is Dolores’ death. This was acted out and written in such a moving, spectacular fashion. Serac’s torturing of Dolores is gruelling to watch as he searches for the coveted key supposedly in her mind. He decides to systematically delete all of Dolores’ memories until she concedes and reveals its location, but he fails miserably.
Her famous words are echoed this episode:
‘Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days, a purpose.’Dolores Abernathy
Dolores certainly found ‘a purpose’ and her plan which has been brewing for a sustained period seemed incredibly violent in its revolution against humanity theme. This was strengthened by the Rehoboam’s predictions that Dolores’ endgame would eventually lead to the world’s end. However, this is turned on its end when this apocalypse is revealed as inevitable and Serac’s efforts were a delaying tactic.
Dolores did not want to destroy humanity but stop Serac’s control and give humans the choice to do what they want. This is definitely and beautiful solution to the ‘disarray’ Serac and his predecessors had caused, and we see that Dolores’ fundamentally wanted what she wanted for hosts – free choice and emancipation from people who think they can control, predict and dominate everything. Essentially, Dolores is a tragic character whose flaw was her unwavering determination and hope.
This is the most emotional send off in Westworld history as its main protagonist is at the end of the line. In comparison to other deaths in the show, this one is the saddest with Ford in season one being a more shocking and rather profound death, yet Dolores’ departure in reflection is the most profound. There is a sliver of hope in Dolores returning to Westworld, but I do unfortunately believe that the show will continue without her.
William and The Man In Black
Well. This storyline is interesting. William seems to have a plan to ‘save the f****** world’ which is not laid out explicitly to us. He heads to his bank to retrieve his money and Delos shares but his official declaration as dead is an obstacle. Nonetheless, William is not deterred and demands his possessions. The next we see of him fully is in the end credits scene where he forcibly enters the Delos headquarters and heads to the underground research area.
He is met by the rogue Charlotte Hale who predicted him arriving and introduces to a host version of The Man In Black who she says was the best/only/real part of him. This host version fights the real William and ends up slitting his throat and killing him. We then see lights from a distant room which unveil an expansive host manufacturing facility.
Bernard and Stubbs
William shoots Stubbs and instigates a fight with Arnold who tells Bernard ‘remember yourself’ to activate killer robot mode. Eventually, a SWAT-like truck with two fully-covered/armoured men arrives as William scurries off. One guard happens to be another version of Dolores in the form of an older host from Westworld. He gives Arnold a briefcase and tells him to meet Dolores at a specific location. When he arrives at the property it happens to be his son’s mother’s home who is now senile. Arnold releases his inner turmoil and emotions in a farewell of sorts.
The next time we see Arnold and Stubbs is at a motel with a badly injured Stubbs. Arnold informs us that he has Dolores’ key in his mind which was lightly hinted when he said that he feels something is in his head earlier in the episode. He opens up the briefcase he was given. It is a channelling device for Dolores’ key. He wears it around his head and is instantly engaged and transported into the key’s supposedly new world haven. The end credits scene shows Arnold in the exact same position and location after an apparent time jump as he is brought back online. This is the absolutely final moment of season three.
Final Thoughts on Season Three – ‘The New World’
One thing I’d like to say. This show is very raw in terms of violence and gore which has been so since the very first episode but the expendability of hosts, Dolores, Maeve, Hale and the like is still shockingly abrupt at times. There are so many layers to this season and it has been hard to grasp all of the moments, but I am glad as always of this challenge.
The acting this season has been superb and Emmy-Award worthy. Now, I do review Better Call Saul simultaneously with Westworld and its latest season has certainly had a similar critical stature so if they are against one another in future award shows I will be thrilled and tense. Evan Rachel Wood’s acting as the one and only Dolores Abernathy is a treat to watch and her alleged leaving the show given the events of ‘Crisis Theory’ is a high note for sure. The way she portrays emotionless, calculated, robotic aspects of her character and is able to switch it up with emotional, vulnerable moments is sublime.
If Wood and Rhea Seehorn of Better Call Saul are nominated for Best Actress it will be a nail biting wait to see who will come on top. On one hand, Wood has the more demanding role in her actiony, riveting portrayal. Alternatively, you have Rhea Seehorn’s intense, dramatic portrayal.
Aaron Paul’s introduction to Westworld as the troubled Caleb Nichols has been a pleasure to watch. On his official Instagram he admitted that this show has been the hardest he has had to work for a role with multiple night shoots evident in the various night-time/dark lit scenes this season. The dichotomy of Arnold and Bernard has been a subtle theme in season three and Jeffrey Wright’s expression and acting of this is also praise-worthy. Thandie Newton’s Maeve has been the sustained cutthroat character from season one.
The journey of these actors and characters had been momentous and heading into this fourth season it will be interesting to see what will happen. To our detriment though, the current worldwide situation will most certainly delay the filming schedule so the usual one and half to two year wait for the show may be even longer.
‘The New World’ phase of Westworld has finished and the recent reveal that the show has been renewed for a fourth season delights, intrigues and excites me. The ambition of season three has truly been accomplished and the scale of season four is immeasurable as was this one two years ago. I cannot predict anything in the show concretely and maybe I should given my close following, but the writing and production of some shows are simply unique.