Major spoilers below for the Westworld Season 3 finale, so be warned!
As it goes with Westworld’s finales, the Season 3 capper wrapped up the majority of the previous episodes’ storylines while holding back on just enough to keep viewers in the dark until the next batch of narratives arrives. (HBO officially ordered Season 4, but it likely won’t bring itself online until 2022 or so.) Thankfully, enough happened to Dolores, the Man in Black, Caleb and everyone else to inspire lots of hopes and theories for the near future.
Below, I’m going to break down what happened with each of the main characters in the Westworld Season 3 finale, all while trying my damnedest not to completely disrupt the loop. Let’s start with the queen bee herself.
Though many viewers have gone all season assuming that Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores’ main goal was to completely eradicate humanity in order to give the Hosts a larger world to exist in, that wasn’t exactly the case. Instead, she wanted to give humans a chance to regain their free will, which she did in part by having Aaron Paul’s Caleb and Thandie Newton’s Maeve completely erase all of the data within Rehoboam.
For those wondering why Dolores picked Caleb as her Judas cow (a callback to one of Dolores’ scenes in the series premiere), it was because she’d actually crossed paths with him years earlier. Westworld dropped the reveal that the ever-mysterious Park 5 was actually used to run military training programs, which Caleb was part of. Dolores recognized Caleb’s ability to make non-monstrous decisions when he was the one soldier in his unit who spoke up against raping all the female Hosts that were “saved” in the training exercises. Yes, Dolores was one of those Hosts, and that was one of the moments of beauty that she chose to hang onto, as opposed to all the ugliness.
Unfortunately, the finale ended similar to how the penultimate episode did, with Dolores’ “dead” body. Although in this case, Dolores had all of her memory and other data stripped from her circuits, so it’s not clear what the character will be like when/if she gets rebooted by Caleb or someone else. Here’s hoping she continues seeking out the beauty in humankind, rather than honing in on the disarray.
Rather than losing his mind over everything like a normal person might, Caleb rolled with the punches and accepted Dolores’ explanation that he was to be a savior for the human race. Weirdly enough, Caleb’s brief ascension to being The Man felt very much like an extension of Fight Club’s Project Mayhem, with the paid-for-hire henchmen calling him “sir” and setting things up without his direct knowledge.
Caleb did kill quite a few people in the Westworld finale, but he still chose to realign himself with humanity after seeing that the final Solomon A.I. strategy would result in multiple mass-casualty events, eventually leading to civilization’s collapse in just a century, give or take a few decades. He didn’t want to go that far with the revenge plot.
Still, L.A. was in full riot mode by the end (though ahead of the post-credits sequences), with Caleb and Maeve standing together and watching explosions going off in skyscrapers across the city. I know I’m not the only one who picked up even more Fight Club vibes from that ending, with The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” replaced by Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage.” It’s not quite clear what Caleb’s next move(s) will be, though.
For the first chunk of the finale, Maeve just had the objective to find Dolores in order to get the data that everyone thought was in her head. She definitely wasn’t wholly on Serac’s side in all of this, considering their motivations weren’t exactly matched all the way. But things changed as Maeve came to understand Dolores’ actions, and also discovered that the O.G. Host didn’t actually have the key coordinates to the Sublime as was expected.
Near the end, Dolores gave Maeve the final ultimatum: to pick a side between the humans and the Hosts. Serac didn’t give Maeve that chance, using his override button on her after Dolores blipped out. Only Maeve got a little more powerful in that moment, blowing past Serac’s kill-switch so that she could do some killing of her own.
In the end, she was a bit less perturbed than Caleb to watch all of the explosions happening. And once more, Maeve is heading into a between-season hiatus with the promise of the Sublime on the horizon, but feasibly no closer to her reach.
Finally a step behind everyone else in this season, Vincent Cassel’s Serac was pushed to the brink in trying to gain possession of the Sector 16 data, fully turning Maeve against him in the process. As his plan was falling apart, Westworld finally dropped the big character reveal that fans have been theorizing about all season.
Serac has been a living human, and not some kind of hybrid being. However, he was indeed a puppet of Rehoboam in another big way, in that he had (presumably for years) been guided entirely by the program’s voice. Seemingly every word he spoke was provided to him, and every move he made was dictated by his predictive A.I. That reveal made me want to immediately go back and watch all of his previous scenes to pick up on that odd reveal.
It’s not likely that Serac will have any big scenes in the future; he was shot in the midsection after Maeve usurped his control. Even if the blood loss wouldn’t be what took him out, Serac would likely be in the fast lane to insanity after having to readjust to living with his own thoughts and making his own decisions without Rehoboam’s supervision.
The Man In Black
During the main runtime of the Season 3 finale, Westworld barely brought out the Man in Black. His showdown with Bernard and Stubbs was short-lived, with him getting a shot off on Luke Hemsworth’s Stubbs, and escaping once the local authorities arrived. The still-wounded William was later seen drinking extremely expensive whiskey and seeking his finances, which had been frozen after he was declared deceased.
After the credits rolled, though, Ed Harris got more time to play. He showed up at (presumably) the main Delos office on a mission to kill off any hosts in the building, but he was intercepted by a mostly re-skinned Charlotte Hale (Chalores), who had a different plan in mind. In fact, she had an entirely different Man in Black to show off.
The human William was somewhat pleased to come face-to-face with a Host that was willing to fight back in full, having long sought such a thing from the parks. However, it was an ego blow to learn just how easy it was to replicate his own basic-ass impulses in Host form. Not that he had long to think about it, since the Man in Black 2.0 killed off his predecessor by slitting his throat. That moment not only set up the character’s presumably violet path in Season 4, but it also gave quite a bit more context to the Season 2 post-credits scene in which an A.I. William meets up with a Host Emily (as portrayed by Katja Herbers.)
Having not been shot by the Man in Black, Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard was surprised to learn that the SFPD officers who arrived at the scene were more of Dolores’ minions. Kudos to creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy for bringing back Clifton Collins Jr. for this surprise cameo, since his character Lawrence/El Lazo hadn’t been seen since Season 2’s seven installment. He wasn’t the only surprise guest star, either.
Bernard was revealed to be the Host that actually had access to the Sublime, but before he took advantage, he was tasked with paying a visit to Arnold’s real-world wife Lauren, whose existence was finally confirmed, with Suits’ vet Gina Torres aged up through makeup. Lauren was in an assisted living home, and was clearly dealing with memory issues. Of course, she became lucid enough to have the emotional conversation about Lauren and Arnold’s dead son Charlie that Bernard needed to have in order to move forward.
Not that he did much moving when going forward. With the goal of discovering the answer to what comes after the end of the world, as a way of rebuilding the outside world, Bernard sat on the edge of a motel bed and sent his brainpower into the Valley Beyond. The very last shot of Westworld’s finale brought viewers back into that motel room, only it was obvious that a long time had passed in the interim, as Bernard’s entire body was covered in dust. (For me, it was one of the more disturbing images that Westworld has delivered yet.) That said, viewers have no clue how long he was gone, nor what he learned during his voyage.
As many viewers suspected, the revamped clone Chalores had indeed found a way to refabricate her skin after most of it was burned away. It appeared the vengeful Host also completely reneged on all of the emotional growth that she’d gained while getting attached the Charlotte’s human family. That love’s all gone now, at least as far as she was willing to admit to Dolores.
Beyond her newfound disgust and disinterest in humans, Chalores also seemingly tapped into some of Dolores’ powers. She appearing to the latter as a hologram that no one else could see, and she was also able to directly stall Dolores’ motor functions from a distance.
However, it wasn’t until the post-credits scene that audiences got a bigger idea of what Charlotte was up to. Along with crafting another Man in Black, Chalores was revealed to be building something of a Host army, with an untold number of new Hosts being printed in that Delos facility. Something tells me she’s interested in more than just repopulating Westworld and the other parks.
Perhaps expectedly, Stubbs didn’t get a big resolution within the Season 3 finale. He was initially shot by the Man in Black, but survived that attack, and reappeared later in the episode inside the motel room with Bernard, laid out in a bathtub full of ice.
With some booze at his disposal, Stubbs was left in the tub during Bernard’s trip to the Valley Beyond. He asked Bernard what he saw upon first gaining access, hinting at Stubbs' own interest in making that his fate, but Bernard powered down almost immediately afterward. It’s unclear by the end whether or not Stubbs is still alive when the dusty AF Bernard returns from his trip to the A.I. afterlife.
Ash & Giggles
Though they never transcended mere side character status, Lena Waithe and Marshawn Lynch were enjoyable throughout Season 3 as Caleb’s RICO colleagues Ash and Giggles. Thankfully, they did make reappearances in the finale, though both of them should have probably just stayed home.
As Caleb was making his way to Incite during the episode’s big riot scene, Giggles showed up to run crowd control, while Ash was handling demolition. Unfortunately, Giggles was shot by one of the riot cops, and though Ash stayed behind to keep tabs on him, he didn’t appear to make it. Not long after, Ash was seen being hauled off by the cops, so her future isn’t looking too bright either. That said, Caleb could always find a way to let her loose in Season 4, if the story calls for it.
With more than enough questions to keep viewers talking, Westworld Season 3 has now run its full cycle, though it can definitely be rewatched as many times as necessary via HBO, HBO Go or HBO Now. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for any news concerning castings or plot information for Westworld Season 4.