These Violent Delights Have… Poor Ends
Westworld doesn’t feel like westworld anymore. I’ll admit that I’m one of the few that actually really enjoyed the second season and loved the intricate convolutions and trying to piece everything together. Sure the ending was a little rushed and the season lost its edge over the excellent first, but it still felt like a tight-knit puzzle box that needed to be solved. This season strips away the complications to deliver a flashy, beautifully produced cyberpunk world that’s brimming with unfulfilled potential.
In a way, this season feels like the equivalent of riding a brand new underwhelming rollercoaster. You wait so long for a big pay-off, a last-gasp twist or a big set piece that makes the hype worth the wait. Only in doing so you fail to notice how surprisingly average the whole affair was. I’ll admit I’ve certainly been one to get caught up in the excitement this season and at times there have been glimmers of brilliance dotted along the way. William’s group therapy session, Dolores unveiling her clones and Charlotte’s existential crisis have all been big moments that have certainly helped raise the game of the show.
Unfortunately this ending only accentuates the problems that now lie deep in the framework of Westworld, leaving things wide open for a fourth season and a fan-base that’s dwindling, likely to look back on this season with more unfavorable eyes than that of season 2.
The season 3 finale of Westworld begins with Dolores vowing to write her own end this time, as we cut back to the present and see the machine switched off and Dolores bleeding out on the ground. Caleb meanwhile races away while William makes his move and fires at Stubbs. This prompts Bernard to “remember himself” and beat William down to the ground until SFPD arrive. However, this is actually another of Dolores’ copy and apparently Bernard has the most important role to play in this upcoming battle.
With the help of Solomon, Caleb makes his way to a warehouse and uses a pass-code to hack his way in. A white coffin inside shows another Dolores shell, one that Caleb inserts the pearl into to bring back to life. She tells Caleb he has a choice over whether to free everyone else or not and he’s left contemplating what to do.
William demands his money from the Delos investors in an effort to save the world while Serac learns about Caleb leaving the facility with Dolores’ pearl, immediately setting to work trying to recover it. This sees Maeve return and confront Dolores, pleading with her to let her into her mind and uncover the secrets hidden within. Dolores decides to run instead and fights her way through a whole squad of soldiers while Caleb slips away too, intending to get to Incite to take the system down.
Dolores and Maeve fight but despite Dolores getting the upper-hand, Charlotte’s ghost haunts her and freezes up her motor functions. This unfortunately causes her to be captured.
Bernard arrives at his destination, where he finds himself face to face with Arnold’s wife Lauren. They talk about Charlie and Arnold himself, where she talks about fighting and preserving the light again. It’s a really emotional segment and one of the stand-out moments from this 70 minute finale.
A captured Dolores is taken to Serac, who has her hooked up to a machine with wires, using those to extract and delete each of her memories one by one. While she struggles to keep hold of her sanity, Caleb makes it to Incite but unfortunately Maeve gets there first and stops him in his tracks. When he’s brought before Serac, he learns the truth about this revolution.
As Maeve soon learns, it turns out Serac is simply a puppet boss being controlled by the AI Rehoboam. Upon learning this, Maeve tells him she can’t find the key inside Dolores while Dolores herself causes a power surge, one that sees Maeve enter her mind and talk to her about beauty and picking sides. Maeve makes her decision in the aftermath of this and decides to turn on Serac. With the united front of Caleb and Maeve working together, while Dolores is still hooked up to the machine, Caleb executes the final command and brings about the end.
While they do, Bernard talks to Stubbs about the coming apocalypse and how there’s still a chance to change things. Bernard decides to find an answer to what comes after the end of the world and hooks himself up to a machine to do just that. The final scene shows Caleb and Maeve walking together and deciding they can be whoever they want to be, while explosions begin around them.
During a post-credit sequence, Charlotte is back at Delos working in the research centre. William arrives but is killed by a host version of himself, left for dead while Charlotte prepares for what comes next. The final scene of the season shows a dust-covered Bernard awakening from his slumber.
It’s hard to know where to start with season 3 of Westworld. It’s so frustrating because the individual pieces of the season have actually been quite intriguing but now that the full picture is presented, this ultimately serves the purpose for building up a fourth season and failing to resolve anything. Most of the big plot points are drowned out by the sound of gunfire in a myriad of different action sequences that do little to further the plot.
Given how poor the shooting has been for a number of different characters this season, it’s a consistent trend that only exemplifies how pointless some of these sequences have been. Then comes the unanswered questions from this season. Why is Charlotte working in the Delos basement? Why has Bernard spent the entire season running around trying to find Dolores with no purpose? Why didn’t Serac just kill Caleb when he was captured? And just why has the whole season hindered on Caleb saving the hosts while back-dropped by this Maeve/Dolores fight? When Caleb started to remember his past, why didn’t he see Dolores in park 5?
There’s so many questions being raised here that completely kill the enthusiasm for season 4 and it’s something that’s likely to manifest over time as more people dissect the season as a whole.
I love Westworld, as I loved Game Of Thrones before it. HBO’s puzzle-box should have remained a one-season wonder but the longer this goes on for, the more issues show up with the writing and narrative choices being taken. It may be a new and improved cyber-world out there, but it’s certainly not the same Westworld we all fell in love with.