The third season of Westworld ended in a flurry of action and monologuing about either the beginning or end of the world, depending on how you look at it. In “Crisis Theory,” Maeve and Caleb combined forces to destroy Rehoboam, freeing humanity from its predetermined shackles in the same manner that Dolores Abernathy did for her kind back in Westworld. Bernard held the key! Serac was defeated! William was killed by himself! In typical fashion, Westworld ended with a lot of sound and fury, while leaving a few big open questions for the already-announced season four — although the biggest question of all right now may be when exactly that season will be able to go into production. Luckily, Westworld fans are used to long stretches between seasons, and we’ve been given plenty to ponder in the interim, beginning with …
What did Bernard see in the Sublime?
The finale revelation that Dolores never had the key, and it was with Bernard all along, answers one of season three’s biggest questions: Why did Dolores even keep Bernard around? Turns out she needed someone to keep the “Holy Grail” of this season and knew she couldn’t trust herself with it. So while Stubbs bleeds out in a tub, Bernard looks into the Sublime and has quite a magical moment before shutting down. What did he see there? And why did it basically freeze him in space and time for who knows how long? (See next question).
When does Bernard wake up in the final shot, and is it really him?
After the big William action scene — we’ll get there — Westworld throws another log on the message-board fire by going back to Bernard, still in the room where we left him, but covered in dust. Two questions here: How long has Bernard been there? And did what just happened in the basement at Delos with William “wake” him? Here’s something else to consider: Did he come back alone? If we buy that Bernard can put on a nifty headset and visit the Valley Beyond for what looks like a damn long time, might that even not be the actual Bernard coming back into that host form in the final shot? We’re getting a headache.
What exactly happened after the credits?
In an echo of the controversial post-credits scene after the season-two finale, Westworld once again returns to William’s arc after the episode has “ended.” We see an angry William go to the Delos facility, which already raises the most constant question on this show: When is this happening? We last saw Maeve and Caleb looking at the chaos of a world in a state of revolution, but things look pretty normal at Delos, right? In fact, most of the people there don’t seem to know what’s going on in the basement. William does, though. He finds his way to the research lab, where he sees Charlotte working on a big project that includes … a host version of The Man in Black! William fights his evil twin, and it would appear he loses. This casts new light on the second-season finale, making it even clearer that the William who sees his daughter in the flooded Forge is a host. So is the human William really dead?
Who are the hosts in the other room?
After William’s conflict with his host version, we see a big room filled with host-creation units. It would appear that Charlotte is building an army, but for what purpose? Are they all based on real people like the William host — and if so, should we expect the return of any familiar faces? Or could they be entirely new creations?
Wait, how exactly did Charlotte make the William host?
Replicating a human being in a host body is not exactly as easy as just hitting print, so where did that William host come from in the post-credits scene? Has Charlotte accessed the data from the original Delos project to create her vicious version of the Man in the Black? Or is there more to it than that?
Where exactly has Lawrence been all season?
It’s finally revealed that the last pearl copy of Dolores was put in Lawrence, who shows up in the confrontation between William, Stubbs, and Bernard near the beginning of the episode. Seeing Lawrence is cool and all, but what has he been doing all season? Just hanging out and making friends at the SFPD? Waiting for his cameo?
Have we seen the last of Dolores?
The answer here is an obvious no given how much Evan Rachel Wood is the face of Westworld, but it’s interesting that the episode ends with her in a pretty dire state. Bernard even notices that he’s no longer connected to Dolores, and it’s not like she stumbles out with Maeve and Caleb. We probably haven’t seen the last of Dolores, but it’s natural to wonder if this is a major turning point. Perhaps the better question is, how do the writers find a way to bring her back?
Does the end of Dolores free the other hosts?
Dolores gives a speech about how all the hosts were really based on her, and Charlotte seems pretty independent both in the episode and the post-credits scene. And with all of those hosts in the other room, it feels safe to say that even the “Dolores clones” are now independent thinkers, freed from their origin. The Charlotte host may have been built from Dolores, but it feels safe to say that she’s thinking and acting on her own now, spurred on by the death of her family. Maybe we should stop calling her Charlores?
What role will Serac play in a world he can’t control?
When Maeve and Caleb headed off to have their Fight Club moment to end the season, Serac was injured badly but not dead. Characters this major don’t die off-screen, so we’ve probably not seen the last of Serac, but how he fits into the narrative going forward remains an open question. Will he return as the big bad again? He’s still a major figure in the world and still has a controlling share of Delos.
In the end, season three of Westworld felt something like a bridge, a transition from the theme park world of the first two seasons to the revolution of the entire human race. So what now? The rubble and dust on Bernard suggests a long time and a lot of chaos, but the relative normalcy at Delos suggests the opposite. Have parts of the world returned to Delos–led control? After all, freedom from one controlling force often just means dominance by another. It feels like there are dozens of roads that the writers could take through a fourth season of Westworld. Let’s hope they’re given the chance to do so soon.