lingering questions

5 Big Questions About This Week’s Westworld

How long has Dolores known about Caleb’s importance to her plan? Photo: HBO

The penultimate chapter of this season of Westworld, which is only running eight episodes, is naturally designed to answer more questions than it asks — honestly, if the writers of this show weren’t starting to wrap some things up at this point, it would be a problem. And so “Passed Pawn” provides us with some answers to our previous questions about Caleb Nichols, including confirmation of something that has been suspected for a few episodes now: He’s one of those outliers that Serac spoke about, the people who could destroy the predictable world the mad Frenchman is trying to control. So he may not be a host, but it seems like he is to humanity what Dolores was to her kind — the key to freeing it. This being Westworld, though, that revelation naturally leads to some new questions. Drumroll please …

How long has Dolores known about Caleb’s importance to her plan?

At the end of the season premiere, it seemed like Caleb basically stumbled on an injured Dolores, making him just an innocent player in this crazy game, but that always seemed a little suspect. After all, Dolores knows what’s going to happen next most of the time, doesn’t she? And it seems now that she must have known how important Caleb would be to her plan to free humanity from the same control the hosts were once under in Westworld. So did she orchestrate that meeting to make it seem like Caleb was her savior that night? Have his actions all really just been a part of the predetermined revolution she had planned? In the third episode, Dolores revealed she knew Caleb’s past and future, from the formative day in the diner to his suicide in ten years, but the fact that he seems to be a major part of her endgame this week implies that she put the pieces in place to make sure they would be partners on this trip to Mexico long before the night they met.

What was Solomon going to warn Caleb about?

The crazy AI that has been left at the base in Mexico finishes granting Caleb’s request for how to end everything and puts that information on a flash drive while Maeve and Dolores fight it out. Just as Dolores hits the button on an EMP that basically turns her and Maeve off, Solomon says, “I must warn you …” And then the lights go out. So what was he going to warn Caleb about? And where will he guide him now?

Will Dolores’s poetic sensibility sideline her from the finale?

Could the season finale actually not include the two biggest characters on Westworld? That EMP that Dolores engages lands her and Maeve on the floor, and the episode cuts to a conversation with Bernard, Stubbs, and William. Bernard reminds us all of Dolores’s “poetic sensibility” and mentions that “She won’t destroy humanity, he will,” referring to Caleb. Just then William pulls a gun on his traveling companions, implying that the final showdown may not be, as we long suspected, between our two female host protagonists, but between Caleb and William, two outliers in the human condition — a mirror of the two hosts who sparked the revolution in Westworld.

What about that opening scene?

Admittedly that’s kind of a vague question, but it accurately sums up the many minor questions embedded in the prologue. It would appear Charlores has switched sides after the explosion that killed her husband and child, now aware that Dolores is basically going to burn the inferior copies of herself, and so she has aligned with Maeve. She calls Musashi just before he’s attacked by Clementine and Hanaryo! WTF. So it seems like Maeve has an army now, one that includes Charlores, Clementine, and Hanaryo. And now what role will that wacky trio play in the endgame of season three?

Are there others like Caleb, and might we even know a few of them already?

Follow us here down a Westworld rabbit hole. Caleb is a human being who Serac discovered, through his work with his brother, could throw off their plan for a predetermined future. At the same base in Mexico where his brother is now kept and where the initial AI is sitting like a quarantined version of HAL, they reprogrammed outliers, letting some back into the world, and even turning ones like Caleb into mercenaries sent to eliminate the variables in the timeline of humanity. While a lot of the outliers are now in stasis at the base, it only makes sense that there are more people like Caleb out there, doesn’t it? And we’ve probably met at least two. Lena Waithe’s Ash and Marshawn Lynch’s Giggles use the same app that Caleb has used to hunt people down — were they, too, part of Serac’s reprogramming? And could Caleb now free them to join his cause? Beast Mode!

5 Big Questions About This Week’s Westworld