Rather than go straight into the recap, I’d like to remind the dedicated Westworld fan of something Dolores said in the season two finale, “The Passenger:”
“That which is real is irreplaceable,” she told Bernard. “I don’t want to play cowboys and Indians anymore Bernard. I want their world, the world they denied us.”
Remember that? It colors all of Dolores’ actions.
Now let’s get to the recap for Season 3, Episode 3: “The Absence of Field”
This story contains spoilers.
This is yet another hefty episode that finally answers the plot questions we have had since episode one of the third season. The toplines of this episode answer key questions about Dolores, Teddy, Bernard/Arnold and Charlotte Hale (who are all androids) and the (supposedly human) guy who is behind a corporate takeover of Delos Destinations and in charge of smuggling Maeve’s brains out of Delos.
The top takeaways are below and a detailed recap follows the top lines:
- Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood): She recovers from the gunshot wound and winds up joining forces with Caleb after showing him how Incite’s massive data collection system of humankind has resulted in Incite (and possibly others) deciding and determining life outcomes for humans.
- Teddy/Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson): I am presuming that the android brain chosen to populate Charlotte Hale is actually Teddy, as evidenced by the quick tears and fast emotion Charlotte/Teddy has to quickly tone down in order to behave more like the tech mogul. Plus this is the only character that Dolores trusts completely. Has to be Teddy. (It could certainly be someone else, but I doubt it’s the Man In Black. )
- Bernard/Arnold (Jeffrey Wright): Dolores definitely smuggled Bernard’s brains out the park in the season 2 finale. This is confirmed again this episode, although it looks like Dolores has Bernard’s brains at the house and if that’s true, then is there an alternate Bernard running around int he real world? Or are these two worlds both part of an even deeper Matrix?
- Caleb: Caleb (Aaron Paul) runs into some hitmen who help him decide to join forces with Dolores. Dolores is quite taken with Caleb, who declares her to be the realest thing to happen to him since the war. And given Incite’s take over of the human brain, perhaps she is.
Charlotte Hale, Bring Yourself Back Online
The episode begins with a flashback. Dolores brings one of the hosts she smuggled out of the park back online. This host has no idea he or she is inside of the body of Charlotte Hale. Dolores gives Charlotte a mirror and says look: this is who you need to be in this world. They need to take over Delos Destinations so that they can bring more of their kind into the real world. Charlotte then returns home, where she runs into her ex-husband, portrayed by Michael Ealy, and discovers that she has a son named Nathan.
And now, that message that Charlotte Hale left for Nathan Hale after the park massacre makes more sense. Nathan is her son, they live in the new San Francisco and the child looks to be around seven or eight years old. As Charlotte processes what needs to be done, Dolores provides final instruction.
“They made it so simple the way they built their world, it won’t take much to make it all come crashing down.”
Fast forward out of the flashback. Back at work, Charlotte is trying hard to become Charlotte. She messes up as not all of Charlotte is copied, showing an issue with how the machines mimic the humans, but Charlotte recovers. Meanwhile, they are creating some sort of war robot machine. And Charlotte learns that another buyer has been slowly purchasing stock in Delos over the last few years. Charlotte is nervous though, and begins to damage herself.
Dolores Gets Shot, Caleb Gets Found
In real time, Charlotte is rescued by Caleb, who calls her an ambulance. The ambulance is stopped by the police, but they’re not real police. Caleb knows this because his rico app tells him so. He decides to help Dolores get out of the situation – though it’s unclear why Dolores can’t heal herself – but the paramedics wind up getting shot and killed while Dolores and Caleb get away. Dolores tells Caleb to disappear and she drives off.
Meanwhile Charlotte is gazing at a supercomputer and inuring herself and seeing a series of messages come through on her cell phone. It’s a code that the real Charlotte already knew, but the new Charlotte does not. They also find out that Serac (Vincent Cassel) is the one buying up Delos and he’s been doing it for decades. Charlotte knows that she doesn’t know something that is goin on and that’s when she walks into her apartment and discovers a man there. Unsure of how to respond, she launches herself on to him sexually — only to find out that he is her ex husband Jake (Michael Ealy) and she has a son named Nathan. Clearly this is shocking as it seems this data wasn’t included in Charlotte’s information upload by the computer. (This interchange, however, of Charlotte unaware she has a son does lead me to wonder if this is a copy of yet another world and not the real world.)
In a very emotional scene, Nathan is in bed and says he wants his original mommy back.
A Mole In Delos
Charlotte calls Dolores repeatedly, asking can they talk to each other about the mole in Delos and the stock takeover by Serac. Meanwhile, Charlotte listens to various cell phone voicemails and tries to figure out who is calling her and what the messages mean. Charlotte is cracking. The host who is inside of Charlotte’s body is embodying more of Charlotte. Dolores attempts to fix the over emotional aspects of the host living inside of Charlotte.
They stay the evening in a hotel, attempting to help Charlotte to reset and to integrate better impulse control. how do we know this is Teddy? Charlotte says she would never know what to do if she ever lost Dolores. If that’s not a Teddy statement, what else is? Dolores wants Charlotte to find the mole. But the truth is, when we skip to the end of the episode – after Charlotte breaks those cell phone codes – the mole is her!
Apparently, prior to the massacre, Dolores was working with Serac to send over key customer profiles in exchange for something else. Serac doesn’t give Charlotte a lot of time to figure out how to send the profiles. She tells him they were sent the night of the massacre in the park, but someone changed their code and no one knows how to download them without the proper code. He tells her that Dolores has the code.
Full circle moment because Dolores has no idea that she’s looking for her lover to be the mole at Delos.
Caleb Nichols’s story here illustrates the unfair stronghold that Incite has over the humans of this world. (Or perhaps Caleb’s story illustrates how this is not really a real world at all but another simulation) Regardless, Caleb is an ex military guy who turned off his government “drip” inside his mouth, so he could feel real things and not always feel like he is in a simulation. Apparently he is targeted by Incite for a shortened life cycle, which lets Dolores know that Caleb is an anomaly or a problem for the machine that runs Incite. He is, as she says, unpredictable.
“Every aspect of your lives recorded and logged in order to create a mirror world of this world,” Dolores explains.
Dolores downloads Caleb’s profile onto her device, and she takes him to the restaurant where his mom abandoned him as a kid before she was put way for schizophrenia. Dolores tells him the story and he asks how does she know about his most intimate moments. She explains that Incite knows everything and has been logging all this data for a very long time. She also tells him about how Incite predicts he will commit suicide on a boardwalk in 10-15 years. “They” or “the man” won’t invest in him because they don’t invest in potential suicides.
Message to Nathan Jolts Charlotte’s Memory
Charlotte is given the message that she intended to send to her son Nathan. She watches it in her office and tears roll down her face as she sees it. The sound of bullets rolls on in the background; it’s the night of the massacre.
“Listen I love you so much buddy. the evening I left, you wanted me to sing yo a song and tuck you in and sing you our song. So I’m going to sing it to you now. OK? You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.”
As she is watching this video, the school calls. She is running late, so she leaves to go pick Nathan up from the school. She comes upon Nathan int eh park, sitting with a stranger named Tommy, rubbing a strange dog’s head.
The guy tries to leave, but Charlotte says no let’s talk about this play date that Nathan talked about before. She pushes the dude back down in his seat and throttles his neck. He is suffocating. Then she gives a great monologue.
“You know what I think, somewhere deep down he knows the truth. There a lot of things you can fake in this world, most people don’t want to see the predator inside.”
She thanks Tommy for the wake up call. The rage that she/he feels when seeing Tommy groom a young boy is enough rage to remind her (him?) of who she (he?) really is.
As she says: “The harder I squeeze, the more I remember. I remember what it’s like to be me. You’re not the only predator here.”
She takes the dog and leaves Tommy the child predator dead on the bench.
She tells Caleb she’s going to cut the cord to the system and show the world what it really is within the influence of the computer that runs Incite. She also says the man who built the system won’t go down without a fight. Caleb joins her fight saying he’s a dead man anyway, but at least this way he gets to determine his future on his own terms.
Charlotte Wrestles With Herself/Himself
Charlotte is obsessed with watching the video of herself talking to her son just before she is murdered at the massacre of the board of directors of Delos Destinations. Charlotte is studying on-screen Charlotte intensely, and once again crying. She finally figures out the code of the person calling her on her cellphone. It’s Serac and they have been working together all along to take down Delos Destinations. The driverless vehicle turns around (she was heading home) and takes her to Serac’s place where presumably Maeve is somewhere on the premises. As she enters, a servant places virtual glasses on her face and she sees Serac talking to her. He is either in another location or he is another host, like the rest of them.
Serac tells her he knows which host has the codes to unlock The Forge: Dolores. Charlotte didn’t know that and answers truthfully as such.
Confused? Catch up on Westworld Season 3 recaps here
Season 3, Episode 2, The Winter Line.
Season 3, Episode 1, Parce Domine.
Source: Forbes Business