With the recent news that Westworld has been renewed for a fourth season, the penultimate episode of HBO’s blockbuster sci-fi leans heavily on Caleb as we learn more about his past in this episode. Featuring a twist surrounding his true nature and what the future has in store with a purposeful Caleb now in the driving seat, the episode itself ultimately moves the pieces around but does so with the issues of this season starting to become more prominently displayed.
Episode 7 of Westworld begins in Jakarta with Musashi receiving a call from Charlotte. She has a new idea for the future which involves shunning Dolores’ plan and playing against her. She leaks his location to Maeve’s allies – a new and improved Clementine and Hanaryo. Clementine proceeds to single-handedly kill the entire group with pinpoint accuracy but misses Musashi from close-range. However, Hanaryo’s stabbed by with a samurai sword and left for dead.
Meanwhile, Caleb relives memories of his time with Francis in combat, including his unit being attacked by insurgents that bombed his whole squad. He and Francis caught the leader of the insurgency and proceeded to wait for support…only this isn’t actually what happened. Set against the backdrop of Dolores riding through Mexico with Caleb in the present to a re-programming centre, she leads him inside where they come face to face with an AI construct known as “Solomon”.
This slightly crazed cousin of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000 speaks to Caleb and Dolores about this variation of the world and Caleb’s part in this. Much like William, Caleb was used along with 1000’s of others as an Outlier. These genetically altered men and women had their memories changed to fit with a new-found narrative. Dolores however, wants Caleb to shatter this facade and rise up as the leader of her revolution against humanity.
Solomon tells Caleb they used different Outliers to round up the rest and weed them out, which happens to be exactly what he and Francis were doing on their missions. Francis didn’t die in the war and his visions of this happening are part of the construct; a glittery facade of lies to keep Caleb in check. The truth is Caleb was forced to kill Francis as they both received messages to kill the other in the middle of their mission, only Caleb got there first.
Meanwhile, Stubbs holds a gun up at William while Bernard uses the computer to try and figure out what Serac is up to. As they too learn the truth about William’s role in this world and how he was an Outlier, William realizes what he needs to do next and vows to wipe out every single host in existence. He tells them to kill him before he kills them but Bernard refuses, telling Stubbs they may need him in the future. This is inevitably the wrong move as William gets the upper-hand at the end of the episode and holds them up at gunpoint.
While Caleb pleads with Solomon to help him find a future where he still leads and this doesn’t end in disaster, the new and improved Maeve arrives at the facility. Dolores promises to buy Caleb some time, heading outside to confront her. The two super-powered hosts fight around the building until they arrive in the open, where Dolores loses the fight (and her arm) and is forced to retreat.
Solomon appears to side with Caleb and gives him a drive that may help change his fate while Dolores presses a button labelled “engage” which sees a system-wide black-out, including her and Maeve dropping to the ground. As Caleb walks away, the episode closes out leaving things wide open for the future.
Aside from the fact that everyone in this show appears to be a really poor shot (honestly, how many clear headshots have been conveniently missed?!) the truth about Caleb finally sees the show move into more traditional sci-fi territory. While enjoyable and certainly given a lavish coat of cyber-paint this year, there’s no denying that Westworld doesn’t really feel like Westworld any more.
While that sounds like a blanket statement, and there’s still enjoyment to be had here, going back and watching the early episodes of the exquisite first season and returning to this feels like a big contrast. The biggest problem though surprisingly comes from the reveal that Westworld has already been renewed. Knowing that the show will continue on completely dissipates any tension for most of these characters. We know a lot of them will survive into next season and with only one episode left to wrap everything up, it seems increasingly likely that this will end on a cliffhanger.
This season has been a bit of a topsy-turvy ride and while I’ve personally enjoyed the show and have admitted numerous times to being a huge fan of Westworld, it’s hard to look past some of the problems the show has at the moment. Dolores and Maeve are the biggest culprits and when you present two god-like Mary Sues into this world, it’s hard to really get behind them. That’s before even mentioning how little Bernard has had to do this year.
Charlotte is actually the most interesting character right now and the easiest to empathise with, especially after her existential crisis this season. She’s ultimately going to be the wild card for the fight ahead but quite what will happen in the finale remains to be seen.