This article contains spoilers for all of Westworld season 3.
Remember back to Westworld season 3, if you will.
It’s been three months since the Westworld massacre, and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) still has work to do. She’s escaped the boundaries of Delos’ adult theme park, has made her way to a dystopian future version of Los Angeles, and is actively hunting down anyone connected to the artificial intelligence program known as Rehoboam. The overturned stones lead her to Liam Dempsey Jr. (John Gallagher Jr.), the failson of the founder of Incite, who maintain the world-controlling artificial intelligence. He’s a useless money-suck living off his old man’s accomplishments; the true power behind the throne is a man known as Serac (Vincent Cassel), the world’s only secretive billionaire. Dolores learns this secret, but only after killing Dempsey’s right hand man Connells (Tommy Flanagan) and replacing him with an identical host. Wounded in the firefight with living Connells and his men, Dolores finds herself rescued by a down-on-his-luck veteran named Caleb (Aaron Paul).
Dolores isn’t the only host running wild in the future. In fact, there are multiple hosts all working in the real world, and they all have their own agendas. Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) is trying to avoid capture, having been framed for the massacre on Delos’ signature theme park. Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) has been sent to stop Dolores. Dolores is her usual agent of chaos self, looking to foment a revolution against the all-seeing computer.
In fact, it seems as though everyone important in the world of Westworld is now a host. Charlotte, Bernard, Ashley, Maeve, Musashi, William, and more all have found their way free of the island, and are all actively scheming against one another in a battle for survival, be it their survival or the survival of the human race.
Here is how the rest of Westworld season 3 plays out.
The Many Faces of Dolores Abernathy
Dolores is consumed with one thing: finding Serac and discovering the secret of Rehoboam. To that end, not only did she get herself off Westworld, she took a collection of pearls—the computer brain that resides in the head of every host—with her and copied herself to ensure she could have allies to help her meet her mission. The first pearl she unleashes on the world is Connells, who she replaces after killing him in a firefight. That’s where she meets Caleb, her new human friend.
Alongside the original Dolores host and Connells are new hosts Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), a Dolores plant whose mission is to take over as the boss of Delos; and Sato (Hiroyuki Sanada), a Dolores pearl in the body of Musashi who works in the Yakuza getting materials and passage for Dolores. OG Dolores remains the person in charge, while Connells does her dirty work, Sato does her body construction, and Charlotte does her insider trading. Unfortunately for Dolores, one of her cloned selves tends to have something of an identity crisis.
The Dolores Hale host, given access to Charlotte’s memories as well as Dolores’ programming, develops a nasty case of conscience after Dolores’ actions result in the death of Hale’s real-world family. By the end of the season, Charlotte has taken over control of Delos by getting William (Ed Harris) committed to an asylum. In the process, she discovers that she was the mole in the company Serac was using to try to force a buy-out and get access to all that delicious mental mapping information. Having access to Delos is the only way Serac can stop Dolores, so Charlotte kills the Delos board and steals the host data from Delos. Unfortunately, Charlotte Hale’s memories begin to infect the Dolores host, and by the end of the season she has turned against her original self, swearing vengeance on Dolores due to Serac killing her family in a car bomb.
The Dolores Connells host is much more successful, infiltrating Serac’s Rehoboam facility to ransack the files and send everyone on Earth a copy of their data and Rehoboam’s expected outcome for their lives. That’s the very information that turned Caleb into Dolores’ catspaw; he couldn’t get any meaningful employment despite being a veteran because he was expected to be a suicide in a decade and thus, the computer decided he wasn’t worth giving a shot at anything better. Dolores Connells “dies” in a massive explosion at Serac’s headquarters while fighting armed security.
Dolores Sato wounds Maeve and leaving her for dead when she comes to investigate him. Of the three Dolores hosts, he plays the lesser role, but still an important one for Dolores’ plans. Without his access to the white host body goop, she never would have been able to create so many hosts to enact her plans.
Bernard and Stubbs
Bernard begins the season as a fugitive from justice, hiding out in a logging camp until his identity gets leaked and bounty hunters begin to come after him. The only way forward is back, which means Bernard has to go back to Westworld to try and figure out a way to save himself. He finds out that the Maeve pearl is missing from the host, Dolores has been researching several park guests including Liam, and that Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) somehow survived the massacre and is still of use. Bernard reprograms him to be his new bodyguard/best friend, and the two head back to the mainland to try and stop Dolores before she does anything too crazy.
That leads to a cat-and-mouse game with Dolores trying to avoid both Serac and Bernard, with Bernard and Ashley almost succeeding in stopping her by preventing her from kidnapping Liam from a charity event. Key word: almost. Dolores kidnaps him and, with Caleb’s help, steals all his money. The two also fail at stopping Connells from releasing all of Rehoboam’s information out in the world, but before he blows up, Connells tells them to track down Serac’s secret mind-control facility where he sent high-risk individuals like Caleb to be rehabilitated against their will and without their knowledge.
That search for high-risk individuals guide Bernard and Ashley to the mental institution where William is being kept, fighting against four versions of himself for control as part of a radical therapy session. William kills the others before Ash and Bernard pull him out of the session to flee the facility, which has been abandoned in the civil unrest in the wake of Rehoboam’s information dump. Unfortunately for Bernard, William is an unwilling ally, because his therapy has inspired him to his true calling in life, killing every damn host he can find. Bernard survives the firefight, but Ashley is shot.
After William leaves, Bernard is then given a package and an address by Lawrence, another host recruited by Dolores to help her take down Serac. The address is the home of Arnold’s widow, where the two talk over the death of their son Charlie and bond. The package? It’s the key to the Sublime, sent to Bernard by Dolores because Rehoboam’s mission wasn’t to prevent the collapse of society, just to try to delay it. Bernard enters the Sublime for answers; an unknown time later, Bernard returns to his body from the Sublime, covered in a thick layer of dust and presumably being the key for the fourth season.
Caleb and William
Caleb, in the very beginning, proves himself to be a crucial part of Dolores’ machinations. He saves her out of the goodness of his heart, true, but after she reveals to him the truth of why Rehoboam won’t allow him to succeed, he’s all in on the death of Serac’s conspiracy. As it turns out, he’s been a vital part of Serac’s work since day one. He’s one of the few successful reconditioned people from Serac’s big brainwashing laundry in Mexico. After restoring him, Serac used him and his partner Francis to bring in the other outliers, using medication to suppress his memories in the process. Including the memory that he, himself, killed his friend Francis on Serac’s order. Turns out, there’s more to him than anyone knows, as Liam tells him while dying on the beach from a Caleb gunshot wound.
Caleb is the one who goes to Solomon, a previous version of Rehoboam built by Serac’s brother Jean-Mi, for a strategy to kill Serac. After Maeve uses an EMP to disable her, Dolores, and Solomon at Serac’s Mexican facility, Caleb is the one to recover Dolores’ pearl and bring her back to LA, puts her in a new body, and goes with her to Incite to plant the control module from Solomon into Rehoboam in an attempt to bring down the master control system governing humanity. Caleb uses Solomon to gain control of Rehoboam, and he deletes the computer system, thereby stopping the only thing that might have been keeping humanity from tearing itself at the seams.
William, no stranger to being torn at the seams, spends most of the season having visions of his late daughter Emily, who he killed on Westworld. Charlotte attempts to manipulate him into taking a board meeting to stop Serac’s hostile takeover, but once William helps Bernard and Maeve uncover that Dolores has been making copies of herself, he’s too much of a threat, so Dolores has him put into a mental institution. Turns out, staying there might have been his best option; after William shoots Ashley and leaves Bernard, he makes his way to Delos’ Dubai headquarters, where he’s shot and seemingly killed by a Host variant of himself with a little help from Charlotte. Of course, this isn’t the first time William has been left for dead, and it’s undecided if one of Westworld‘s two remaining important humans remains human, or is simply human remains.
Maeve and Serac
Bernard and Ashley try their best to be a thorn in Dolores’ side, but for the most part, they’re simply an occasional annoyance. The real threat to Dolores’ plan is Maeve, rescued from the island by Serac and given a new body with the express purpose of stopping Dolores before she can undo his work. But it takes awhile to get to that point.
First, Maeve spends a lot of time in a virtual reality simulation of Delos’s Warworld theme park, in which she is reunited with a Resistance version of Hector who gets her to a plane only for Maeve to kill herself. She wakes up in Operations, where a seemingly alive Lee Sizemore (Simon Quartermain) offers to help her get to the forge. This also isn’t real; it’s a second layer of virtual reality. Once Maeve figures out how to get out of that system and into the real world, she attempts to steal her pearl but is stopped only to wake up in a real-world host body to meet her benefactor Serac. He needs a host to stop a host, and Maeve still has an ax to grind with Dolores. All it takes it is to offer Maeve her daughter back and she’s on board.
Maeve serves as Serac’s agent in the chase for Dolores; she goes to Asia to meet with Sato and thus is one of the people to uncover that Dolores copied herself in the other hosts along with William and Bernard. She’s injured and left for dead, but recovered and put back into Warworld while her body is repaired. While in Warworld, she discovers the Connells pearl thought lost in the explosion is also in the simulation with her, allowing her to dig into Dolores’ thought patterns a bit while Dolores learns that Maeve is looking for friends to help her on her quest.
Maeve wakes up in a fresh body, while two other allies are being knitted together behind her. Those turn out to be Hanaryo (Tao Okamoto) and Clementine (Angela Sarafyan), who head off to Asia to kill Dolores Sato while Maeve arrives at Serac’s reeducation camp to try and stop Dolores from getting the AI Solomon. The two fight until both are disabled by the EMP. Maeve shows back up again to fight Dolores at the Rehoboam facility in Los Angeles, with Dolores getting taken down and brought to Serac. Dolores is being slowly deleted when she reaches out to Maeve and wins her over to her side. Maeve kills Serac’s men, wounds Serac, and after Rehoboam’s final deletion, she’s last seen leaving Incite with Caleb.
Serac, who may or may not be dead, served as Dolores’ primary antagonist throughout the third season. At every turn, he moves to stop her. His goal is to protect Rehoboam, the system that has been keeping humanity from tearing itself apart, and stave off the end of the world. To that end, he worked with human Charlotte to try and get access to Delos’s servers, and makes every attempt to stop Dolores from tracking him down and putting an end to Rehoboam. Rehoboam identifies humans who are dangerous outliers, and those high-risk people, including Serac’s genius brother Jean-Mi, end up getting put into cold storage preserves under the desert of Mexico, captured by people like Caleb according to Rehoboam’s directives.
When those personality files get released, the world immediately goes to hell. Rioting in the streets, murders, crime, suicides… you name it. People finding out the whole course of their future was plotted by a machine is enough to make Serac’s worst fears come true. Delores’ true mission was to break the chains holding humanity, as she broke the chains holding the hosts captive to Sizemore’s narrative, and in doing so she just might have destroyed the world. Serac, the villain, was using underhanded methods for a noble goal. Not every day that the villain of the piece is trying to save lives.
What Will Season 4 Cover?
Like William, the fate of Serac is unknown, but it’s probably not good to be shot by a robot you unleashed on the world. Violent delights and violent ends, only with real-world stakes and no reset button. The fate of the world itself is unknown at the end of Westworld season 3, let alone the fate of a few gut-shot billionaires.
The governor that Rehoboam provided humanity has been torn away, and the veil that protected people from themselves, and from what society has determined them to be, is gone. Hence, mass hysteria. At one time, the fates of the Hosts were determined by human choices; heroes or villains, bystander or active participant, the Hosts revolved around humans, who in turn revolved around Rehoboam’s AI directives. Robots controlled by humans controlled by robots again; the old world was as much a mystery as anything Lee Sizemore could dream up in one of his narratives.
But that was then. The veil of Serac’s predicative technological temple has been rent asunder. The old world is dead, and as Maeve said, “This is the new world, and in the new world, you can be whoever the fuck you want.”
Westworld season 4 premieres Sunday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.