Warning: Full spoilers follow for Westworld Season 3.
Westworld’s third season wrapped way back in May of 2020 with the episode “Crisis Theory” (read our Season 3 finale review), capping off the HBO series’ journey to the “real world” of the futuristic where theme parks are populated by robot “hosts.” Or so we thought. But now, trailers for Westworld Season 4, which debuts on Sunday, June 26, continue to feature what at least appears to be a world outside the parks. Of course, with Westworld, one never can tell…
Westworld of course stars Evan Rachel Wood as the host Dolores Abernathy, who, having gained sentience over the course of the previous seasons, left the Delos park where she lived for decades as, essentially, a slave, now on a mission to take down humankind for the sake of her fellow ‘bots. Or so we thought…
A lot happened in the Season 3 finale of Westworld, so let’s delve into some of the key points and try to figure out how they might play in Season 4.
Westworld Recap: Is Dolores Dead?
Year three told the story of what happened to Dolores after she had escaped the Westworld theme park at the end of the previous season. Setting up shop in a near-future LA, she created a bunch of copies of herself, or more specifically, copies of her mind, but in different bodies, all as part of her grand plan for the season…
But did Dolores Prime die in the Season 3 finale? She seemed to be gone by the end of “Crisis Theory,” even if she sacrificed herself in order to achieve her true mission. After being captured by Vincent Cassel’s tech genius Serac, Dolores had her mind probed by the uber-AI system known as Rehoboam. It was looking for the key to accessing the “Sublime” (the Valley Beyond artificial reality where many of the hosts escaped to last season). The thing is, Dolores didn’t actually have the key — she had hidden it with Jeffrey Wright’s character Bernard (more on that in a second) — and so as Rehoboam dug deeper, deleting her memories as it went along, it found nothing… except for a trap.
Dolores managed to hack Rehoboam while it was hacking her, and gave control of the AI to Caleb (Aaron Paul). In so doing, Caleb, with some clutch help from Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her samurai sword, commanded Rehoboam to erase itself, which it did and which would now allow for humankind to live out their lives by their own accord — for better or for worse — instead of under the guiding influence of Serac’s ultimate computer. The last thing we see before the credits roll is Caleb and Maeve watching as the city around them burns. Yes, Dolores’ true plan was to free humankind. “This is the new world,” says Maeve, while “Brain Damage” from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon plays. “And in this world, you can be whoever the f**k you want.”
So which Dolores will we be getting in Season 4? When the Season 3 finale dropped, showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy insisted that the Prime version of her was done, telling Variety: “Dolores is gone. We’re not yet discussing publicly the direction the show is taking, but the fun thing about This show is, you know, from the beginning Lisa and I wanted to make a show that constantly reinvented itself, that could be a different show every season. after all — to mark the occasion with Dolores. That version of that character is gone. We love Evan Rachel Wood and we haven’t started talking publicly about exactly what the show looks like going forward.
Her mind had been wiped last we saw her, a lifeless husk laying on the platform beneath Rehoboam’s giant orb. Still, we also know that Dolores duplicated her mind in other hosts in Season 3, creating divergent Doloreses, if you will. Most of those were seemingly destroyed throughout the season, but at least two remain: The Dolores inside a Charlotte Hale host body (Tessa Thompson) who had turned against Dolores Prime by the finale, and seems set to be an antagonist in Season 4. And then there’s also Clifton Collins Jr.’s host. He had been a recurring character named Lawrence (aka El Lazo) in the previous seasons and popped up briefly in the Season 3 finale under the guise of a cop, although Bernard figured out that his body was housing another copy of Dolores. Surely transplanting the Lawrence host’s pearl (brain) into a fresh Evan Rachel Wood body wouldn’t be too much effort, even though she wouldn’t have the same memories from Season 3 that Dolores Prime did.
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