Westworld seemed so linear and straightforward in the first few episodes of the season, but any question of whether the showrunners have lost their taste for mind f***ery is put to rest with “Decoherence.” This is some classic “What just happened?” Westworld right here.
You may recall that Charlotte-Dolores (Tessa Thompson) had the Man in Black (Ed Harris) forcibly institutionalized to further her plan of privatizing Delos and thwarting Serac’s (Vincent Cassel) hostile takeover? And that Dolores-Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) released everyone’s Incite files to them? Well, the latter act has created a great deal of chaos for both Delos and William.
Dolores told William he would be a prisoner of his own sins in the institution, and maybe that would have been true– if her subsequent data dump hadn’t driven most of the facility’s staff to leave or commit suicide. Instead, he gets abandoned in an Augmented Reality therapy session, where he’s confronted by four versions of his younger self– including the William (Jimmi Simpson) we knew in Season One– while James Delos (Peter Mullan) observes and comments.
Who knows how long the Man in Black struggles with his selves before deciding that the only way forward is to beat all of his past selves to death. As soon as he deals the last blow to S1 William, James Delos asks if he knows who he is, and a bloodied and tired MIB declares that he’s the good guy.
Just then, Bernarnold (Jeffrey Wright) and Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) wake him from his trip and ask again if he knows who he is. He’s dazed and clearly confused by having two park buddies show up after being trapped in his own mind. They comment that he could have been there for ages because of the chaos reigning outside, and they take him away.
Meanwhile, as Charlotte-Dolores is on her way to an emergency board meeting to finalize her Delos plans, some of Serac’s thugs appear and execute her colleague in broad daylight. The chaos will cover an additional disappearance, and now his hostile takeover is secure. She returns to HQ, where the company’s new owner declares that he has a few Host units he needs, and then he wants all of Delos’ data wiped and all of its assets literally burned. He’s also determined that there’s a Dolores copy hidden inside Delos and orders testing to determine which employee has deviated from their Rehoboam-defined norms recently.
Charlotte-Dolores calls her ex to tell him that she’ll collect him and their son in 30 minutes, then quickly moves to download all the data Dolores-Dolores wants before Serac can delete it. She kills one Serac man in the process, then gets called to a new emergency board meeting, where Serac outs her as the Dolores copy. Her concern for her son was unlike real Charlotte’s behavior and gave her away.
Of course, she’d anticipated this. She discretely detonates a gas canister in the room, rendering all the humans present unconscious (probably dead), then shoots Serac– who turns out to be a hologram projected from another room in the building. He dispatches all of his security forces to capture her alive, but she escapes with the help of her pet Riot Control robot.
In the course of her data capture and departure, Charlotte-Dolores found the new Hosts being built via security camera. One was a Dolores, being built from the damaged and recovered Martin Connells copy’s pearl. She stops in to recover that pearl, and she’s interrupted before she can stop all three of the other Hosts from being built.
When she reaches her family, she loads them foolishly in a car and tells them forebodingly that she’ll keep them safe. The car explodes, and Charlotte-Dolores is the only one to escape, hairless, nude and with blistering skin that’s still on fire.
Who blew up the car? A man. Who does he answer to? Who knows? What happened to the Connells pearl? Presumably it is ruined.
The Hosts in production back at Delos are a new Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her chosen team: Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro). Maeve has told Serac that if she’s going to succeed, she needs what Dolores has– help. To her, for some reason, this doesn’t translate to a bunch of copies of herself, but rather the two Hosts she trusts most.
She’s returned to the War World simulation to recruit her troops, for some reason, and as soon as she perceives that they’re in the process of being reborn in the physical world (which means she has her powers back, but also she could use them in the simulation this time?), she restores Hector’s memories. She also sees the Dolores being built, and she leads her crew into a simulation of the question basement favored by Bernarnold to talk to an unnecessarily nude Dolores.
The two most powerful Hosts try to find common ground, and for some reason Maeve goes along with Dolores’ characterization of Serac as Maeve’s “ally” instead of “captor.” Maeve doesn’t disclose that Serac has limited her physical abilities and threatened to permanently kill her if she fails to deliver Dolores. Maeve asks Dolores for the access key she’s hiding, and Dolores declines.
Dolores reveals that although all the copies of her were once identical, their separate paths have changed them. This explains why Charlotte-Dolores is so emotional, and in this instance it is used to explain why the Conners-Dolores can’t speak with certainty about Dolores-Dolores’ plans. She can hypothesize that her main self is likely to do something about Serac building foes for her, and that’s when both Maeve and this Dolores perceive Charlotte-Dolores entering the build room to mess with the pearls.
Charlotte Dolores grabs Hector’s pearl and crushes it, killing him permanently. She’s attacked before she can get Maeve or Sizemore, so her Connells pearl is the only other one she touches, and when she takes it the Dolores in the simulation slumps to the ground.
Maeve and Sizemore are reborn as physical beings, though, and now they have a real score to settle with the Doloreses…