In “Crisis Theory,” the final episode of Westworld Season Three, Dolores’ (Evan Rachel Wood) plan and true intentions are finally revealed, and she’s mostly successful… barring the few loose ends that will give us a Season Four.
It’s true! At the end of the day, Westworld Season Three is The Neverending Story.
When we last saw Dolores and Maeve, Dolores had rendered them both inert and Caleb was standing over them. We catch up as Serac’s (Vincent Cassel) man is late to try to scavenge Dolores’ pearl while he’s bringing Maeve in.
Using the earpiece from Solomon (I guess?) to guide Caleb’s movements, Dolores manages to walk her human avatar through finding a spare body she tucked away for herself in a storage facility and placing her pearl in it. When she’s back online, Caleb demands answers about why Dolores knows him so well, and she reminds him that he did military training in a Delos park– where they were collecting data on him the same way they did on all their rich guests.
As soon as she’s rebodied, Dolores leads Caleb to Incite so he can load Solomon’s alternate strategy into Rehoboam. En route, a hologram of Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) appears to Dolores to let her know that she survived the fiery crash and is now a free agent with plans of her own. She’s cutting away the liabilities that might hold her back, and Dolores is next on her list. Dolores sends Caleb on without her so she can attend to the threat Charlotte poses.
Another threat waiting for Dolores in the city is Maeve. They meet on a bridge and have an epic fight. Dolores refuses Maeve entry to her mind, but she pleads with her again to be an ally instead of an adversary. Dolores bests Maeve in the fight, but hologram Charlotte shows up and uses robot telepathy (I guess?) to disable Dolores, allowing Maeve to take her back to Serac.
Serac hooks Dolores to Rehoboam to search her memories for the access key. When she refuses to cooperate, he retaliates by systematically deleting her core memories in his hunt through her mind. Maeve looks on, increasingly disturbed by Serac’s character.
Meanwhile, Caleb makes it through the riots in the streets with help from paid mercenary guards engaged by Dolores on his behalf, culminating in the best two guards: Ash (Lena Waithe) and Giggles (Marshawn Lynch). Ash has her moment helping Caleb get into an unattended police helicopter car that takes him to Incite’s HQ (because he has a device on him that makes machines do his bidding or something?), and Giggles has his when he relies on Marshawn Lynch’s real career training to push through a police barricade.
When Caleb finally makes it inside Incite, he’s stopped first by one of Serac’s thugs and then by Maeve. They saw him on Solomon’s security feed, and they anticipated his arrival. Fortunately, everyone on their team is just hanging out under Rehoboam, watching Dolores spasm in apparent pain as they delete her.
Maeve brings Caleb to this party, and Serac stomps on the drive the man worked so hard to get there. Serac tells Caleb that Dolores chose him for his tendency towards violence, and tries to discredit Dolores by making Caleb look to Rehoboam for what would happen if he uploaded Solomon’s final strategy: human extinction.
At about this time, Maeve realizes that she can hear Rehoboam speaking… and that Serac is being puppeted by the machine. This tells her that Serac never had the power to reunite her with her daughter, and that the real boss is a machine that might refuse.
When Rehoboam fails to find the key inside Dolores, a frustrated Maeve takes her nemesis’ hand and pushes into the last remaining part of her mind with robot telepathy. She finds Dolores of Season One standing underneath a tree on a plain in Westworld, reflecting on beauty. Dolores explains that she used to be angry and want to end humanity, but she realized that she had the capacity to know beauty, and that if her human creators gave that to her, then they must also possess it. Now all she wants is for Caleb to fight for human free will and Maeve to fight for their kind. And as the world disintegrates outside, Maeve decides to trust Empress Dolores and call out her name… or stab some of Serac’s thugs, anyway.
Maeve emerges from her meld with Dolores, and Serac orders Dolores’ final memory erased. Alas, this call somehow transfers control of Rehoboam to Caleb. Maeve kills all of Serac’s thugs, easily also shorting out Serac’s kill switch for her with robot telepathy.
As soon as the dust settles, Caleb asks why she’s decided to help him when he’s just a violent thug himself. Maeve explains that Dolores didn’t choose him because of his tendency towards violence, but because he’d demonstrated his willingness to make independent choices in front of her when he was the only soldier not ready to rape her and the other hosts used in the Westworld military training exercises– and he stopped the other soldiers from being Host rapists, too.
Maeve and Caleb both choose free will, and Caleb orders Rehoboam to delete itself before the two leave the empty shell of Dolores and an injured Serac in the rubble of his life’s work. Outside, they watch explosions in LA buildings and anticipate the new world rising.
Elsewhere, Bernarnold (Jeffrey Wright) escapes the murderous intentions of the Man in Black (Ed Harris) with a little help from Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) taking a bullet for him and the timely arrival of some “police officers” led by another of Dolores’ agents, Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker). MIB escapes, and Craddock sends Bernarnold to an address with a steel briefcase.
Bernarnold expects to be driving bloodied Ashley to a house where Dolores is hiding out, and he’s shocked to instead find Arnold’s wife, Lauren (Gina Torres). He reconciles with her on behalf of the man he echoes, then takes Ashley to a motel where he puts his injured bud literally on ice in the bathtub and busts out the steel briefcase so he can pursue the things he now understands: Dolores put the access key in his head to keep it safe, and she was always trying to save the world.
Bernarnold dons a tech circlet that opens the gate to the digital afterworld for him, then appears to power down as Ashley looks on from the tub. Some time later, covered in dust from time or explosions, Bernarnold comes back online.
And where did MIB escape to? He hooked up with a Delos board buddy to assert that he’s not dead, needs his money and wants to visit all the Delos locations where Hosts can be made. He travels to one with guns a blazin’, and he storms the research lab… where he finds Charlotte. She’s rebuilt herself, keeping one scarred arm that she highlights with a single-sleeved garment– her reminder of what humans are like.
Charlotte is happy to see MIB, as he’s the key to her plans. She surprises him with a Host version of him. The Host MIB kills the human one, and we are shown countless Host-building devices extending beyond what the eye can see in Charlotte’s lab.
Now, here’s an exclusive clip of what we can reasonably expect for Maeve next season: