The following contains spoilers for Westworld season 3.
Vincent Cassel is a fascinating actor. Born in Paris and blessed with angular features, he has an unmistakable allure of mystery and the exotic about him. He’s been sparingly seen in mainstream movies and TV shows in recent years, seemingly because if you’re going to bring Cassel aboard, you’d better find a suitably mysterious and exotic role for him.
Well Westworld season 3 has that in spades for Mr. Cassel! As teased in season 3’s first episode (and spoiled by IMDb and HBO’s website), Cassel is indeed the enigmatic Engerraund Serac at the center of this season’s mystery. But who exactly is Serac and what role will he play going forward?
Serac was one of the predictive supercomputer Rehoboam’s two creators alongside Liam Dempsey Sr. Now, he is the only man on the planet who has access to the inner workings of Rehoboam, with current Incite CEO Liam Dempsey Jr. locked out. According to one of Delos’s employees in season 3 episode 3, Serac is likely the richest man in the world, since there is a “negative space” of approximately $1 trillion in the world economy.
While Serac makes his first physical appearance at the end of Westworld season 3 episode 2, “The Winter Line,” much of what we know about him can be gleaned from some crucial moments in episode 1, “Parce Domine.” Whether or not we realized it at the time, Serac’s presence looms large over many of the events of the episode. He is frequently referred to, even if not by name.
When Dolores wants to know who has control of Rehoboam, Liam says “If I was going to tell you, I’d already be dead just like my dad. Rehoboam would tell him.”
This confirms that Serac is the one person who has full control of Rehoboam. It also suggests that Serac killed his former business partner, Liam Sr.
By all appearances at this point, Serac would appear to be the main antagonist of season 3. Killing people, after all, is generally frowned upon and manipulating world events through a massive computer is just Bond villain type of stuff. But of course, morality isn’t so simple on Westworld. Dolores has killed quite a few people and she remains our lead. Perhaps that’s why Westworld gives Serac a chance to articulate his modus operandi in “The Winter Line.” At episode’s end, when Maeve has finally successfully escaped from her alternate reality in Warworld, she gets to meet with the enigmatic business titan.
Serac is wearing all white, which is interesting imagery given the show’s relationship to the concept of “black hats” and “white hats.” Recall that in Westworld, guests are given the opportunity to choose which hat they want to wear upon entrance to signify the morality of the choices they are about to make. The character we now know as William (Ed Harris) was known as only “The Man in Black” for much of season 1. By adorning Serac in all white, is Westworld casting him as William’s foil?
If nothing else, what Serac tells Maeve reveals that he sees himself as one of the good guys here. Serac says that humanity is at war, whether it realizes it or not and he needs Maeve’s help to win it.
“If things continue on this path, there is no future. At least not for my kind,” Serac says.
As the man in control of Rehoboam, Serac has access to just about every bit of information in the universe. Not only that but as we find out in episode 3, he has bought up the majority of Delos’s shares via shell companies and has been using Charlotte Hale as a mole to access the inner-workings of the company. He even reminds “Charlotte” that he predicted the massacre at Westworld. But even controlling Rehoboam, Delos, and his own holdings isn’t enough for his mission. For as he also tells Maeve, his job isn’t to predict the future like an oracle, but to create it rather. That is in line with the goals of Incite – the company supposedly shepherding Rehoboam. Incite creates a clear path for everyone in its service. It removes the guesswork from day-to-day life.
And Rehoboam has been working just fine until something unexpected came along to stop it. At first Serac thought that Maeve was the fly in the ointment – that her sudden sentience was a variable that Rehoboam couldn’t account for. But then he realized that there was another host who gained sentience in Westworld: Dolores. Now Dolores seems to be on a mission to destroy Rehoboam and the hold it has over the world.
When Maeve asks why she would possibly consent to help Serac save humanity after what they did to her in Westworld, Serac doesn’t deny humanity’s flaws.
“For the most part, humanity has been a miserable little den of thugs stumbling from one catastrophe to the next,” Serac says. “Our history is like the ravings of lunatics. Chaos. But we’ve changed that. For the first time, history has an author.”
That author is Serac, with the help of his powerful machine, Rehoboam. Throughout Westworld’s first two seasons, someone was always pulling the strings of the events at the park, whether it was Robert Ford, the technological ghost of Robert Ford, or Bernard. Of course, that’s to be expected, given Delos’s park’s ultimately fictional and scripted nature. But here we are now in the “real” world and that sense of string-pulling persists.
It’s one thing to control a closed-world like Westworld, it’s another thing to control the real world and its billions of inhabitants. From what we’ve learned about Engerraund Serac thus far, it would appear that he is the real man behind the curtain – the one person authoring all of this.