Who Am I?
There’s a moment in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina where our main protagonist questions his humanity. He gets a straight razor blade and cuts his arm wide open, trying to determine if he’s real or not as blood gushes from his open wound. As he looks up at the mirror, he punches it and stares at the distorted fragments of his own reflection.
This scene is particularly key here as Westworld delivers a mirror shattering episode, one that peels away these shards to reveal a shocking and ugly truth underneath. While delivering these bombshells, episode 4 of Westworld does an excellent job cutting under your skin and asking big questions around who we really are and, more importantly, who Dolores has working with her.
As we return to the world outside our robotic theme park, William has gone completely off the rails, hallucinating and hearing voices. Even worse, he feels his daughter’s hand on his shoulder and as he turns, she questions whether he’s even real and whether he’s been changed into another machine.
“Finish the game” She tells him as William awakens in a crumpled heap on the floor. The blurred outline of Charlotte arrives and she updates him on the situation. There’s an emergency shareholder meeting later than night regarding the Serac situation and in order to sway the opinion of the board, she needs William there to lend his support.
After getting dressed and shaved, William prepares to leave despite continuing to be haunted by the ghost of his daughter. She tells him she’ll be waiting as he steps outside and readies himself for the helicopter.
Meanwhile, Bernard has his own set of hallucinations as he questions Dolores and asks just whose pearls she’s taken with her into the outside world to formulate her plan. We’re in Victorville, USA where this narrative properly begins as Bernard and Stubbs track Dolores down and prepare to infiltrate Dempsey’s party as hired help.
Dolores and Caleb prepare for that very same party too, deciding to financially cripple Dempsey. Dolores does what she does best, knocking out one of the guards and extracting his blood, which holds the key to encryption, and injects it straight into Caleb’s forearm.
Together, they head up to the bank and start the process of transferring funds. After a nervy couple of minutes, one that sees Dolores finger the gun in her purse, the biometrics work and the money is successfully transferred.
Serac brings Maeve back online in Singapore and they talk about the world as it is now. Although we only see flashes of it, Serac is clearly haunted by memories of Paris. Now reduced to a nuclear wasteland, a single shot of him looking at the blast as men wearing hazmat suits ward him off is enough for him to decide never to return.
Serac tells Maeve he’s trying to control humanity and in order to do that, he needs Dolores’ mind to help him create a bigger picture. Coincidentally, Maeve’s motivation comes from the chance to really see her daughter again and the key to unlocking that world also lies in Dolores’ mind.
Serac and Maeve follow their breadcrumb trail to a man who holds key information about Dolores’ whereabouts. After some persuading, he gives up details surrounding the Mortician and “five witnesses”. This last point is particularly important as it confirms Dolores has smuggled out five pearls who are all working for her.
Sensing that Dolores has taken full advantage of this, Maeve finds the Mortician, who confirms Dolores was helped by the Yakuza. Together, they visit their hideout where she requests to speak to Sato. After single-handedly taking out a whole squad of people, she makes her way inside where she finds what she’s looking for.
At the fundraising event, Dolores and Caleb arrive with masks on. High above, Serac and the others spy what’s happening as Dempsey realizes he’s been hacked. However, before Dolores and Caleb can get to him, Bernard also happens to be there too and these two narrative clash together in a chaotic shoot-out.
Bernard scurries off while Stubbs and Dolores fight. She’s too strong for him though and eventually she throws him off the balcony. Outside, Caleb finds Bernard but Connells arrives and dispatches a whole slew of guards infront of him. Pointing the gun at Bernard, he tells Dempsey and Caleb to leave.
As all these storylines collide toward the end, the truth comes crashing down as it’s revealed that Dolores has simply taken copies of herself to use as clones to carry out her plan. As Dolores herself confidently proclaims, “If you need a job done right, do it yourself.”
On the back of this, William realizes that Charlotte is being controlled by a Dolores clone and he slips back into an incredulous flurry of rage, screaming that she’s not the real Charlotte. Dolores is wise to this though and plays the part of Charlotte well, who confirms William is being taken to a psychiatric hospital. Because of this, his shares are automatically transferred to Charlotte.
As the episode closes out, version 1.0 of Dolores finds herself face to face with Dempsey while Sato realizes Maeve has been tracked and subsequently leaves before Serac and his men can show up.
In hospital, Dolores appears before William and talks to him about the maze. “Welcome to the end of the game,” She says as we pan out and seemingly see the last of William.
With a big twist at the end and all of our storylines converging together at Dempsey’s party, Westworld does an excellent job this week capturing what made Westworld so mysterious and intriguing when it first started. The big reveals and mystery box hanging over the whole season has been opened and with it, some big home truths too.
Maeve’s motivation makes sense and this should set up a nice conflict between her and Dolores as the season progresses. Could we perhaps see her in a Terminator-esque role relentlessly hunting the different versions of Dolores before reaching the real one?
There’s a lot of material here surrounding William’s existential crisis too and this ultimately spirals out to consume the rest of the characters in the season too. Seeing all of our characters converge together is a nice touch and going forward, it’ll be interesting to see just how Dolores’ robot revolution plays out. Could we see a double-turn here and flip the roles so Dolores is the antagonist?
Only time will tell but for now Westworld delivers a fantastic episode, one that’s easily decipherable and should now start to bleed into a singular focus on this robot revolution.