‘Westworld’ explained – season three episode two: Enter Serac – the sci-fi epic’s brand new big baddie

Westworld returned to our screens last week to taunt us with a world where you can not only actually leave the house, but also play real-life GTA.

Season three episode one was a welcome change of pace, taking place outside of the Westworld park for the first time and introducing new characters played by Aaron Paul, Lena Waithe and others. We ducked back into corporate overlords Delos’ scandal-ridden facility in episode two however, as Bernard attempted to liberate Maeve and enlist her help in fighting Dolores.

Westworld can get complicated like no other show on television, especially when it’s been away for more than a year and you’re still trying to recall what happened in previous seasons while also taking on board new plot information. But no need to freeze all motor functions and put your brain into diagnostic mode, we’ve got the episode’s major events covered:

Was that a Westworld Game of Thrones crossover?

It sure was (they kept that one quiet in season one and two). This week we saw Bernard and Stubbs swing by the lab for “park 4”, which appears to be medieval-themed.

This was no subtle nod to HBO’s most famous show – it literally had a guy playing the Game of Thrones theme on a lute. Moreover, you may have recognised the two support workers as Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. “These techs are just waiting to see if they get laid off,” Bernard said as Weiss prepared to take a chainsaw to a host version of GoT’s famous dragon, Drogon, which was possibly a nod to how the final season of the show wasn’t very well received.

It was surprising that Westworld gave over an entire park to this meta gag, but don’t expect to return to it much – this is probably just a bit of fun.

Westworld season 3 episode 2
Thandie Newton as Maeve in ‘The Winter Line’. Credit: HBO

What is Warworld and is it a real place?

Technically possible, but doubtful in the long run. There was another new park in episode two, one not-at-all problematic which offered guests the chance to visit a Nazi stronghold. Set amid World War II’s costly 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, Warworld turned out to be a simulation designed to trick Maeve into revealing the location of the “hidden world” (that’s the digital cloud-based utopia you may remember her daughter and a ton of other hosts escaped to during the season two finale).

With a little help from a returning Lee Sizemore, Maeve managed to break out of the simulation by overloading its system. You would think this would be quite the feat, but it turns out all you need to do is confuse a few Delos bots by asking them the square root of negative one – and then confound a few Nazi droids by putting them on a fake spy hunt. Easy peasy.

Is Lee Sizemore dead?

One of the biggest shocks of this week’s episode was the resurrection of former head of Narrative and Design at Delos Lee Sizemore. It seems Lee was indeed a real human but died in the park when he was gunned down last season. He wasn’t brought back as a host but as a figment in a simulation. Obviously, Delos retained Lee’s data. So the door has been left open to bring him ‘back’ in some way, should the showrunners want to.

Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton (Maeve) and Rodrigo Santoro (Hector) in ‘The Winter Line’. Credit: HBO

Is Ashley Stubbs host or human?

Just when you thought every single character had been outed as a secret host in Westworld, Stubbs popped up in a Delos warehouse, malfunctioning and leaking battery acid. It turns out he was a robot all along, which goes some way to explaining why he knowingly allowed fellow host Dolores to escape the park at the end of season two.

Bernard self-servingly changed Stubbs’ core directive to “protect Bernard Lowe at all costs” in episode two, which will presumably extend as far as helping Bernard when he returns to the real world next week (his new destination).

Where was Maeve in the final scene – and who is this Serac guy?

This is Westworld, so it’s entirely possible Maeve is on the head of a pin or a secret 80th moon of Jupiter, but it seems we’re to believe she has finally made it to the real world.

Maeve hacked a robot and commanded it to retrieve her synthetic brain module from a lab where time moves more slowly (this show!) but the surrogate was gunned down by Delos heavies. Nevertheless, she later (if the apparent timelines are to be trusted) awoke in what looked like a high-end hipster co-working spot, where she met her liberator/kidnapper, Serac, who is played by Vincent Cassel.

Serac was the name that Dolores learned at the climax of episode one, the head of a strategic planning AI called Rehoboam. We learned that Serac uses this system to accurately predict our actions and make various adjustments (thereby effectively writing the future), but that Dolores poses a threat to this – a variable they can’t control. Serac wants Maeve’s help in overcoming Dolores, and will take it by force if necessary. What leverage he has remains a mystery – perhaps the coordinates of the hidden world that Maeve’s daughter currently lives in?

‘Westworld’ season three episode two airs at 2am on Mondays on Sky Atlantic. It is repeated at 9pm

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