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Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched Westworld's "The Mother of Exiles."
Across its first three episodes, Westworld introduced fans to the real world through Aaron Paul's Caleb and Evan Rachel Wood's deadly Dolores, while also keeping viewers invested with the park's situation through Jeffrey Wright's Bernard and Thandie Newton's Maeve. Not to mention the introduction of Vincent Cassel's Serac and the return of Luke Hemsworth's Stubbs (and some Game of Thrones cameos). But it took the fourth episode to finally address two key questions viewers have had ever since Season 2 ended: what happened to Ed Harris' Man in Black, and what were those host pearls that Dolores smuggled out of the park?
Thankfully, both of those questions got answered in pretty comprehensive ways in Episode 4, titled "The Mother of Exiles." Join us below in diving into both the Man in Black's current whereabouts and the identities of Dolores' Host pearls.
What Has The Man In Black Been Up To?
The last time Westworld fans laid eyes on Ed Harris' William, known to many as the Man in Black, he was in a presumably futuristic scenario in which a presumed Host version of his daughter Emily was asking about his fidelity. (Lots of presumptions to make there.) But here in the show's present-day timeline, William is definitely going through some things, and is far beyond being emotionally and/or mentally equipped to handle anything. Neither the outside world nor the inside world were very welcoming for the husband and father in his constant state of mourning.
Before Charlotte Hale arrived and caught William in the midst of his delusions with Katja Herbers' Emily, his fractured life was fully on display. He easily proved himself to be in no shape to join an emergency shareholders meeting for Delos, which was supposedly what drove Hale to visit him. However, viewers soon learned that the true purpose of her visit was not only to call him out for hallucinating Emily, but also to get him committed to a mental institution. Not only does that physically imprison the man who caused her so much pain as a Westworld Host, but it also forfeits William's shares in Delos back to the company, which factors into Dolores' business battle against Serac.
Thankfully, Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores got to appear to him in her signature blue dress one more time, as opposed to only having the Dolores-influenced Hale interacting with William. Speaking with Deadline, Wood spoke about William's psychological condition, and what she thinks the true tragedy is concerning their decades-long relationship, as it were. In her words:
Yes. I think the Man in Black could be seen as somebody who was a sociopath or a psychopath in that way. And a lot of times, those people can seem really normal on the surface, but obviously when you put them into a setting where nobody’s watching, and he can be who he really is, this other thing is unleashed. I think what’s so tragic about the relationship is that she really did come alive with him, and he knows that, and he knows that it was real, and he has no idea how to get it back, and that’s why it’s devastating for him. And I think what’s so devastating for her is not only did he become this abusive nightmare to Dolores, but I think he’s convinced himself that it wasn’t real, and she knows, deep down, that it was, and it’s just wells of grief and sorrow with those two.
In just about all the ways, William's never-ending obsession with Robert Ford's creations is what drove him off the ledge, and put him in a position where he doubted his own humanity, along with that of those around him. It's a never-ending cycle with him, which possibly makes it irrelevant whether or not he's actually a human or Host.
Who Were The Host Pearls That Dolores Smuggled Out Of Westworld?
As soon as Dolores made it clear she was vacating Westworld with a selection of different Host pearl core brain things, viewers went into hard-theorizing mode on what Hosts would be joining Dolores on her real-world quest to subdue humanity. (Teddy was a frequent guess, and one that I fully expected.)
Episode 4 even brought back Hiroyuki Sanada’s former Shogunworld Host Musashi, who was revealed to be in the real world and serving as a Yakuza boss named Sato. He got into a fight with Maeve and left her for dead as Serac’s crew closed in. It was quite meaningful that he didn’t just quickly slice through her skull and pop her pearl out, considering who Musashi really is at this point.
As it was made clear before the episode drew to its close, Dolores didn’t take pearls from a variety of different Hosts. She took Bernard’s orb, and then a selection of her own nefarious Dolores pearls! (As well as one other pearl that remains unidentified, as far as I can tell.) So Tessa Thompson's Charlotte Hale, Tommy Flanagan's Martin Connells, Musashi and Dolores herself are all rocking different pearls that feature Dolores' vengeful personality. Because when all she needs are the best soldiers, who would better serve in her army than a group of Doloreses?
There are some questions that still need to be answered when it comes to how all this plays out. Such as whether or not Charlotte Hale (a.k.a. Hale-ores) is 100% Dolores' personality without any of Hale's, even as Hale is dealing with various elements of the human character's personal life. The only way I see Martin Connells going back to his former personality is just being annoyed with Liam, which is already how Flanagan is playing it, so it's a moot point.
In her talk with Deadline, Evan Rachel Wood shared the visual clue that could have tipped viewers off about Dolores' other Hosts:
She’s in Musashi, she’s in Connells, and she’s in Hale. She’s all the pearls that were copies of her. And if you’ll notice, Connells’ tie is this blue that matches the blue dress, and Musashi is also dressed in blue. They all have these little hints of blue in there.
Did the big reveal "blue" your mind? Or were you more shocked to learn about the Man in Black's new existence as the Inmate in White?
Here’s hoping we learn more answers when Westworld airs Sunday nights on HBO at 8:00 p.m. ET.