It wasn’t just the hosts liberated from the park in Westworld season 3 but the show itself, which hugely benefited from a trip out into the wider world.
The new batch of episodes had its ups and downs, but on the whole it was more enjoyable than the second season, retaining the philosophical discussions of AI ethics that fans expect, but presenting them in a less self-serious way.
Hopefully you’re not feeling as confused as you may have been after season two’s convoluted finale, but here we’ll aim to clear up any question marks that may be outstanding.
Westworld finale: A thoroughly open ending
What was perhaps most surprising about season three is how ultimately self-contained it was, given this was our first foray into the show’s ‘real world’. The finale actually tied things up quite neatly, with Serac and Rehoboam defeated and a new chapter in human history beginning.
In spite of the fact that death is rarely an endpoint in Westworld, it seems we are to believe that Dolores and Caleb successfully wiped the Rehoboam AI, eliminating its control over the human population’s futures. It’s possible that Serac backed up the AI, but it does feel as though he was ultimately a one-off baddie rather than a multi-season-spanning ‘Big Bad’.
As such, when we return next season, expect to see a new figure emerge as the main threat to the hosts’ continued existence.
Was Serac Rehoboam all along?
For all intents and purposes, yes. Though Serac and his brother built Rehoboam, we learned that the slippery Frenchman had subsequently since chosen to “listen” to and “obey” his creation. We saw him wearing an earpiece through which Rehoboam was feeding him dialogue.
Westworld loves to blur the line between organic and artificial life and this was a new way for it to explore the theme, the human Serac essentially giving over his mental faculties to a machine with superior processing power.
Does Westworld have an ‘ArmyTrainingWorld’?
It looks that way. Westworld has parks coming out of its ears, apparently – earlier this season we learned of a Game of Thrones-style park, and in the finale we discovered that Caleb visited a different never-before-seen park for an army training exercise.
Appearing to be set during modern day America, it wasn’t clear however whether this park is entirely for military use, or if it was simply hired out by the US army and is usually yet another pleasure dome for rich visitors.
Who was the old lady that Bernard visited?
That was Lauren. You may remember Bernard having video calls with her back when he thought he was a human in season one. I’d previously assumed that Lauren was just a fabrication created by Ford, but it seems she really exists along with Bernard’s “son” Charlie.
The purpose of all this was similar to Hale-ores’ interactions with Charlotte Hale’s husband and son. Both hosts were fully aware that their “families” are not really their families at all, and yet still feel warmth to them, serving to show that hosts are very much capable of human emotion, or at least something close to it.
Is Dolores dead?
Well, here we are again… The season three finale saw Dolores hooked up to Rehoboam, a foolish move by Serac as she used the connection to grant Solomon access and take control of Rehoboam. But, this was not before Serac “wiped her clean”, leaving Dolores nothing more than a mass of circuits and motherboards carrying no data.
The showrunners could absolutely find a way to bring her back if they wanted to, but, if the narrative is not all pre-ordained, then this decision probably comes down to whether they think fans are desperate for more Dolores, or if they’re happy for Caleb to take over as the de facto protagonist for a while.
Where did Bernard disappear off to at the end?
While Stubbs convalesced in a motel bathtub, Bernard donned a piece of wearable tech and disappeared into the Sublime.
“The key to the Sublime, it was never in her mind, it’s in mine,” he said, shortly before beaming himself off.
Crucially, he claimed that he’s heading there to find “an answer to what comes after the end of the world”. You’ll remember the Sublime was a kind of primordial utopia – all rolling fields and total lack of terraforming – so it makes sense that Bernard would use it as a sandbox, a place to run tests and figure out a more healthy way to structure societies.
In the finale’s post-credits sequence, Bernard woke back up in the hotel under a thick layer of dust. This means two things are true: one, he spent a hell of a long time looking for answers in the Valley Beyond, and two, that motel really doesn’t get a lot of bookings.