Westworld spoilers abound below, so be warned before you keep reading!
It took nearly two years, but the Delos Host uprising is once again in full swing, with Westworld's third season finally making its highly anticipated debut on HBO (during a free preview, no less). Nearly the entire runtime was spent outside the parks' universes and completely in the "real world," where it's been three months since the Westworld-destroying events of Season 2. Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have introduced a variety of new characters to join Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores and Jeffrey Wright's Bernard in keeping things mysterious as Season 3's The New World kicks off.
Considering Westworld isn't a show where viewers are expected to understand everything from beginning to end, the Season 3 premiere was appropriately flummoxing. (Even its title, "Parce Domine" is an enigmatic, comma-free use of the Biblical phrasing, translating to "Spare Lord.") While we could spend the next week formulating questions about every bit of minutiae on display in the futuristic world, here are our biggest inquiries about Westworld's premiere.
What Should We Learn From The New Opening Titles?
With its first two seasons, Westworld set a high bar for opening credits sequences, setting its unsettling theme to a series of initially indecipherable images, and Season 3 is no different. For one, the piano-playing "skeleton" is closer to a human form than it was previously, and it looks like we're going to see a robotic eagle entering the fray this season, though it might not fare well. Beyond the imposing presence of Incite's big ball of information, the opening titles most often showcases a plain Host mold breaking through water's reflective surface, and in a way that suggests the current versions of Hosts will be usurped by something more advanced.
What's Dolores' Endgame, Besides Just Killing Everyone?
With enviable abilities comprising many different skillsets, Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores could easily become the world's most deadly and prolific serial killer or mass murderer, assuming her entire goal was just to decimate the human race. Instead, her crosshairs are focused tightly onto the company Incite and its employees. Clearly, she wants all of the personal information that Incite has been compiling about, but to what end? And how does it all connect back to the park and Hosts taking over the world? Is she developing the world's longest kill list, or will there be a more nuanced outcome?
What Kinds Of Horrifying Information Does Incite Have?
Dolores knows a thing or two (million) about the monstrous behavior that human beings are capable of, and that's just from the things that were done to her in Westworld over the years. The argument could be made, of course, that acts committed inside of the Delos parks were done with the knowledge that none of it was real, as it were. The only thing more valuable than human atrocities in a fictional world, then, would probably be humanity's most egregious sins outside of the parks, right? How many dirty deeds are up for discovery within Incite's data banks, and how many familiar characters will be responsible?
What Kinds Of Implants Do Cal And Other Humans Have?
When Aaron Paul's military vet Cal is visiting presumably his mother in the hospital, Kid Cudi's Francis can be heard asking if Cal thinks about getting his "implant turned back on" in order to smooth out life's rougher edges. But it's precisely those hardships that still feel real to Cal, so he doesn't want to. But what are these implants? Are they basically mood stabilizers that replace prescription medications, or are there other uses? The more ominous question, perhaps, is whether or not those implants can be compromised by Dolores or other A.I. beings.
What's Up With Charlotte Hale And The Delos Board?
Westworld viewers are well aware that the human form of Tessa Thompson's Charlotte Hale was killed off in the Season 2 finale after she'd murdered Shannon Woodward's Elsie. As far as anyone knows, Charlotte 2.0 has one of Dolores' cores inside her, giving the character far different motivations as Delos' director of the board. In particular, she dismisses the Westworld massacre by saying that Delos engineers and board members made up most of the body count, and wants to take the company private while producing a new wave of hosts. The board vocally disapproved, but after Charlotte was able to mute one member electronically, I started wondering how many among them are like Charlotte and Robert Ford's electro-shareholder, and how that will affect things.
How Many New Hosts Has Dolores Made?
In the Season 3 premiere's cold open, Dolores told the murderous Incite retiree that she was the last of her kind, which was quite the loaded comment, considering Bernard, Maeve and other sentient-leaning Hosts were still out there. By the end of the episode, we see that she'd also created a Host version of Tommy Flanagan's security goon Martin Connells. (Might he have the core from James Marsden's Teddy Flood inside his head?) Plus, other A.I. humanoids appear to exist elsewhere in the world, so could Dolores being "the last of her kind" mean that she's putting copies of her own core into every Host she makes?
Where Is Bernard's Story Going?
When Season 2 ended, the narrative set up a Dolores vs. Bernard scenario as an overlay for the Dolores vs. Humanity conflict, with the idea being that Bernard would continue reverting to his faux-human instincts. Jeffrey Wright's on-the-lam Host got recognized by a couple of obnoxious coworkers, and Bernard's only course of action was to flip back into survival mode and take those cretins out, after which he embarked on a boat ride back to Westworld. Before that, viewers watched Bernard flip between personalities using a button that was likely created in order to keep his go-to Host persona hidden from actual humans. Bernard has still been making sure Dolores never found them, though. But now that he's been discovered, what's next?
What Was Maeve's Post-Credits Scene About?
The final post-credit minutes of Westworld's premiere at last brought Emmy winner Thandie Newton's Maeve into Season 3. It was quite the heightened moment, with the smartly dressed Maeve waking up inside a fancy bedroom holding a gun, only to discover a dead body and a bloodied German man tied up in the next room. Her bloody knuckles offered clues about the bloody German, but the situation got far more serious when she looked outside and saw Nazi flags and citizens being rounded up by soldiers. It was already revealed that Season 3's new park is influenced by the fascist-heavy Italy during World War II. But how will that lead Maeve to Vincent Cassel's Serac (as seen in the trailers), and how will the Nazi regime play into the Season 3 narrative?
With some of these answers and more coming in during the next seven episodes, Westworld airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9:00 p.m. ET. Let us know in the comments your answers for the questions posed above.