The following contains spoilers for Westworld Season 2.
Charlotte Hale had one of the most sneakily fascinating arcs in Westworld Season 2.
For large chunks of the season, Charlotte Hale wasn’t even Charlotte Hale. As the season two finale, “The Passenger,” revealed: Charlotte Hale (played by America’s favorite acting and celebrity prospect Tessa Thompson) was actually Dolores in disguise for much of the season.
Hale, the Executive Director of the board of Delos, was “herself” during one timeline of Westworld Season 2. This timeline, which spanned several episodes in a linear yet still confusing fashion, consists of everything that happened prior to Bernard waking up on the beach.
Charlotte meets up with Bernard, travels with him for a bit, then becomes separated from him and meets up with Ashley Stubbs. Charlotte then leads the defense of Peter Abernathy (or the information in his head) from the host of hosts led by Dolores and after that she spearheads the “infected” Clementine’s charge through another group of hosts who just want to get to Robot Heaven in the finale.
The “past timeline” comes to an end in the finale when the real Charlotte Hale dies. Yes, dies. After Hale kills Elsie to keep her quiet (a tactic that usually has a 100% success rate in keeping people quiet), Bernard realizes that he has chosen the wrong team. Humanity is much more cruel and imperfect than he realized. So he hatches an extreme plan. Bernard takes Dolores’ consciousness from the body he just “killed” moments ago and in absolute record time he constructs a perfect robotic facsimile of Hale.
In the bowels of Westworld, Hale is having a cigarette over Elsie’s barely-even-cold yet body when she is approached by a naked version of herself. Dolores/Charlotte shoots real Charlotte in the head. And just in case a bullet to the brain isn’t enough confirmation of Hale’s death (you never know with this show), Thompson confirmed as much with The Hollywood Reporter after the finale aired.
“I mean, it’s her end, but it’s still a pretty fantastic end — and relative to the ways in which people can die on this show, it’s not so bad,” Thompson said. “She went out pretty instantly. She was killed by herself, so technically no one really one-upped her. She one-upped herself! (Laughs.)”
Another fun bit of information from that interview is that Thompson knew about her character’s dual nature sometime around episode six and took to calling the new version “Halores.”
Hale’s death shortly after she kills Elsie in the “past” timeline, or “Timeline A” as our own David Crow has dubbed it, means that she never actually appears in any scenes following Bernard’s awakening on the beach. Bernard has wiped his own memories to keep his secret plan a secret from absolutely everyone. He’s not even aware Hale is really Charlotte until the last moments of the timeline in the finale.
The Huffington Post did the Lord’s work of compiling clues that Hale wasn’t really Hale throughout the season and surprisingly there are not a lot. As far as big reveals go on Westworld, this one didn’t leave behind many Easter eggs. Unless you absolutely knew something was up when Hale whispered in Bernard’s ear once.
While it’s not particularly exhilarating to go back through season two to look for signs of Charlotte’s true nature, looking to the future is a bit more fun. At the end of “The Passenger” Dolores makes it off the island in Charlotte’s “body.” Then, somewhat confusingly, we are treated to a scene in the real world and not only does Dolores have something resembling her old body back (a.k.a. Evan Rachel Wood is still on the show), but her old Hale vessel is still walking around, assisting her.
So, uh…what gives? This is where the real fun conjecture can start. There are a lot of potential options for why Charlotte and Dolores both exist simultaneously in the real world.
The first option is that Dolores has split her consciousness between two bodies. The human and host consciousness is so expansive that why couldn’t it inhabit two vessels? Maybe Dolores inhabits both bodies simultaneously or just split her consciousness in two. Perhaps Dolores actually resides in the Dolores form and her old alter ego Wyatt resides in the Hale form or vice-versa.
That seems unlikely though given general common sense and another Thompson quote from her Hollywood Reporter interview.
“The truth is, Hale is just gonna be another skin,” Thompson said. Hale can be used in any which way. I hope that I have the chance to get my Tatiana Maslany on!”
Tatiana Maslany is of course the Emmy-winning actress who portrayed multiple identical clones on sci-fi show Orphan Black. Thompson seems to be implying, or just wishing, that many different personality will inhabit the Hale “vehicle/vessel.”
Notably Dolores escaped Westworld with five pearls, I.e. the data blueprints for five hosts. It seems likely that one or more of those hosts has been granted Hale’s body as a holdover until they can get their own body.
Or maybe one of the five hosts just wants to inhabit Hale permanently. Who wouldn’t want to be Tessa Thompson?