lingering questions

7 Big Questions About This Week’s Westworld

Photo: HBO

The title of the sixth episode of this season of Westworld, “Decoherence,” feels pretty accurate for a chapter in which almost no one is on solid ground in terms of location or even identity. Maeve is in a construct, which she has some control over and from which she can see parts of the real world. William is being experimented on in a manner that allows him to see old versions of himself. (What’s up, Jimmi Simpson?! We missed you!) Charlotte isn’t even really Charlotte but still has some of Charlotte’s emotions. Even Serac isn’t in the room where it happens. So the overall question of “Decoherence” is, what’s real and what matters? But there are other more exact questions embedded within that general WTF dynamic, like …

Who is Maeve making in her final scene?

Let’s start at the end. After watching Hector die again, Maeve makes her way out of the virtual construct and ominously walks up to a host-construction chamber that’s finishing its process. Who is she making? Hector’s pearl is gone. Is she using that final mysterious pearl from the end of season two? Really, at this point, it could be anybody. Maeve doesn’t have a ton of allies in this dynamic beyond Hector and Sizemore, but Akecheta would likely fight by her side. But why would Dolores take that pearl? And isn’t he in the Valley Beyond? Speaking of people presumed dead and gone, what about Teddy? Could Maeve resurrect him somehow to get to Dolores emotionally? Nobody knows. We’re not even sure the writers do at this point. (Just kidding. Sorta.)

Was Caleb in the same program that William is in this episode?

This is kind of a multi-episode question/observation. At the end of last week, there was a flash of Caleb strapped to a chair wearing goggles and all white, clearly in pain and being experimented on. It looked a lot like what we see William go through in this episode, didn’t it? Questions about Caleb’s past and identity are likely to dominate the last two episodes of the season, but it feels like whatever they were trying to do with William this episode has been done to Caleb already.

From left: Photo: HBOPhoto: HBO
From top: Photo: HBOPhoto: HBO

What is the unknown protein in William’s system?

When they go to test William’s blood in the facility, the screen says: “Unknown Protein Detected.” Now, it could just be the tracker that Charlotte’s put in his system, or it could be something else entirely — yet another hint that William is not exactly what we think he is.

Why would they keep the original human emotions?

This is more of a question for the writers, but what value is there in keeping Charlores’s human emotions in a manufactured host version of Charlotte, other than to make this episode feel a bit more dramatic? Charlotte even asks Dolores this question, but she kind of blows it off. The answer arguably is that it would make these versions of Dolores more believable and make it easier for them to fit into the roles they have to play, but it also feels like the kind of human vulnerability that the Queen of the Host Rebellion would recognize as more of a weakness than a strength.

How long has William been in his own mental construct?

When Bernard and Stubbs find William at the end of “Decoherence,” they mention that the doctors must have forgotten him in all the action, implying he’s been beating on the old versions of himself for ages. The timeline here is a bit funky. Charlores plants the blood tracker in William and sends him off to the facility, but when exactly did that happen? It can be hard to tell — as usual on Westworld — and may have happened before the other action of that episode. As the world has descended into chaos (timely, right?), William has been stuck in the facility, fighting with himself, but for how long?

And how exactly did Bernard and Stubbs end up there?

The journey of Bernard and Stubbs feels increasingly fishy. They keep popping up exactly where they need to be, whether it’s the event at which Dolores kidnapped Dempsey, or the end of this week’s episode. Is this just thin writing that drops them into places they shouldn’t know exist? Or is something deeper going on here? We’ve suspected that these two are an unwitting part of Dolores’s plan. If that’s the case, why did she want them to find William, and only after he’s been psychologically tortured?

Is William “the good guy”?

This is more of a deeper, thematic question, but it could really matter to the arc of the final two episodes. After laying waste to his old identities, William says he’s figured out that he’s not the enemy of this saga, he’s “the good guy.” Is that delusion or truth? Could the Man in Black really be the key to the human race? Is Ford’s final twist to turn the enemy of this story into its hero?

7 Big Questions About This Week’s Westworld