Now that Westworld season four is chugging along, we have a slightly better idea of what the characters are working toward and what they’re uncovering. Some storylines seek answers, another seeks world domination, and there’s a growing sense of dread as even the most independent characters face an inevitable fate and find themselves back at the beginning. But hey, we get a taste of a new theme park! Is that shiny enough to distract you from the robot uprising? Westworld’s villains sure hope so.
First, let’s tackle the seemingly standalone Christina story. We pick back up a few days after the events of the previous episode in Christina’s world, with the death by suicide of a man named Peter Myers looming over her. She ditches work to investigate a mental health clinic listed in Peter’s obituary, confirms that she did indeed create an NPC that matches what happened to him, and finds something curiouser and curiouser when she gets to the clinic in New Jersey. The “Hope Center for Mental Health” has been shut down for years and is under construction to be converted into apartments, and Christina finds a plaque designating a memorial wing for Peter Myers. That’s impossible for a man who died only the day before, right?
My working theory is that the original Peter Myers, whom the wing was named after, was replaced with a host who got trapped in something resembling a loop written by Christina. But a lot of the pieces are still missing. Over the phone, Maya tells Christina to come home. When she hangs up, Christina notices some leftover drawings of a tower — the same tower that a man on the High Line has been ranting about and sketching. That man complained about a song with no sound, like a hum, that only he and the birds could hear.
Is something up with Maya? Signs point to probably. I thought her being too hungover to go to work was a lovely detail, indicating to us that she does have a life outside of giving Christina pep talks. But I don’t know what she wants, and she was a little too quick on the draw pulling up Peter Myers’s obituary and a little too blind to the red flags that Christina discovers on her excursion. I also appreciate how she discourages Christina from pursuing this mystery without saying she’s crazy or overreacting. It’s supportive but maybe also sinister.
Next, we catch up with some characters we haven’t seen in a while. The last time we saw Clementine Pennyfeather, very briefly in season three, she was working with Maeve in Jakarta and managed to escape a Dolores copy placed inside the host body of Musashi from Shōgunworld. At the beginning of the episode, Clementine is living her very best life surrounded by people who wear brightly colored outfits. However, William is waiting for her when she arrives home, and she doesn’t escape this time. He demands to know where Maeve is and then stabs her. The next time we see Clementine, she’s working for William, killing members of the Secret Service, throwing shade to men from the Justice Department, and wearing the most depressing shade of gray.
Host William and Halores, the Dolores copy housed in a robot replica of Charlotte Hale’s body, seem to be launching a multi-pronged attack on humanity while keeping the real William on proverbial ice. Surprise! He survived! He’s just hooked up to a Darth Vader-y device in the basement of Delos HQ and under Hale’s total control. Everyday people may think the war between man and robot has been over for years, but it’s simply gone underground.
Quick check-in on Hale, since it has also been a minute since we’ve seen her. Her body was created by Bernard in season two, and her mind is a copy of Dolores that was implanted in season three. She was supposed to report to the prime Dolores and gain control of Delos by masquerading as Charlotte Hale. But when Hale’s family was murdered and she realized that the prime Dolores was disposing of her copies, she took matters into her own hands, replaced William with a host, and is now pulling the strings on the robot invasion.
William is replacing members of the United States government with hosts left and right. We see him replace a senator played by Jack Coleman (of Heroes fame) and his wife with hosts via flashback. He also replaces, presumably because it happens off-screen, the vice-president.
The aforementioned man from the Justice Department, however, meets a different fate. Jim Navarro, the deputy assistant attorney general for counterterrorism, is frantically trying to pursue Delos’s operations and put a stop to a potential national security risk. Clementine zip-ties him to his car in a parking lot where Hale meets with him. She reveals that replacing humans with hosts is not, in fact, their entire plan. “I want my people to be able to grow; flourish; find their own identity,” she says. “I have plans for your kind.” She leaves him in a car with those freaky flies again. Based on how the fly attack worked out for the guy in Nevada in the previous episode, Jim Navarro is in serious danger.
This brings us to Maeve and Caleb, who are on a road trip to find William. They start with the senator, finding the host replacements and the results of Hale’s “experiments” on the human senator’s wife in the barn. She’s not acting normal, delivering messages from William, and unsurprisingly surrounded by flies. Why is it always flies?
They then follow a tip from the zombified Mrs. Senator to the opera, where a trap door leads them to a bar (cool) that’s actually a train to a new Delos Destination park modeled after the 1920s and 1930s Chicago. No matter how hard Maeve tries, she can’t escape the cyclical nature of her narrative. She says as much by repeating her “new world” monologue to indicate to Caleb where they’re headed. Her programming has become her fate. But this time, she gets to experience the park from the guest’s point of view.
Even the opera they’re supposed to be seeing, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, is apropos. The titular character in Don Giovanni famously descends into Hell at the end, requiring most productions to have a trap door with a lift. It’s the perfect, deliciously thematically-appropriate apparatus to transport Maeve and Caleb’s way down to the new park.
For my Delos Destination heads out there — and I count myself as one of them — it’s not initially clear whether Temperance or “The Golden Age,” or whatever this jazzy new park is called is a new park on the island. My guess is that this park was built on the Nevada land that William seized in the season premiere. William mentions that Delos Destinations has “expanded its footprint” in his big opening speech. It would explain why he needed the Veep on his side. It also doesn’t seem like the train went underwater after leaving Los Angeles. The only thing that gives me pause, and makes me wonder if this is a rebuilt Park 1, a.k.a. Westworld, is that the host on the train asks Maeve and Caleb if they have visited Westworld before, not the Raj, Warworld, Shōgunworld, or even just Delos Destinations in general.
When Maeve and Caleb step off the train, they are presented with the infamous hat choice. The smile that escapes Maeve when Caleb refuses the choice entirely is telling. He’s still one of the good guys, for now, but these parks corrupt people. They corrupted William, bringing his darkness up to the surface. They didn’t corrupt Caleb on his first visit as a soldier in training, but he may not be so lucky a second time.
• I think that Temperance is supposed to be the name of the town in the park, a.k.a. the “Sweetwater” equivalent, not the name of the park itself, as they’re both liquid-themed.
• As you may have picked up from Maeve’s scowl, we’ve seen the host who greets Maeve and Caleb on the train, Sophia (Lili Simmons), before. She was brought in as a replacement for Clementine in season one as Maeve was questioning the nature of her reality. That’s why Maeve isn’t exactly thrilled to see her and quips that she got a “promotion.”
• Did you spot guest star Liza Weil (Gilmore Girls, How to Get Away With Murder) on the train?
• I find it very interesting that the host William compares himself to Ernest Hemingway and says that he and F. Scott Fitzgerald were “friends in the way that the weak are drawn to the strong” and that Hemingway said, “the world breaks everyone.” It’s reminiscent, in a reductive sort of way, of William and Logan’s relationship when they were younger. But if you remember back to season one, William would have seen himself then as Fitzgerald, not Hemingway.
• Maeve and Caleb make a great team as investigators and an undercover fake married couple. They’ve built a lovely rapport between seasons two and three in the intervening fictional years. It’s making me miss the Westworld season 3.5 we never got. What the heck happened at the Lighthouse?! I know we’ll probably find out soon, but it’s compelling.