lingering questions

Who Actually Died in That Westworld Finale?

Photo: John Johnson/HBO

Spoilers follow for the fourth season of Westworld, including season finale “Que Será, Será,” which aired August 14.

Have you heard that Westworld is fun again? It is! And the fourth season finale, “Que Será, Será,” encapsulated many of the reasons why. Charlotte Hale wearing her own variation on an all-black-leather Blade outfit and snapping at the spooky flesh robots who are upgrading her skeleton to leave her face alone: thrilling! Dolores and Teddy finally making out: good for them! Jonathan Tucker coming back for a five-second reprisal of his gunslinger host character from seasons past: I screamed!

There’s still a lot of prolonged “What is reality?” philosophizing, but the tone is lighter, the murder and mayhem is more comedic, and the video-game plotting easier to follow. So straightforward, in fact, that I think some characters actually die at the end of “Que Será, Será,” which sets up a potential fifth (and final?) season spent in robot Heaven, a.k.a. the Sublime. Am I being tricked? Possibly. Let’s consider who could really be dead, who is definitely not, and who might be brought back someway, somehow, if we return to Westworld.

Seemingly definitely dead: Charlotte Hale and William

Shoutout to these two co-workers-turned-archenemies, a very natural progression for a couple of megalomaniacs whose vision for the future was never really as synergistic as they might have hoped. (Aside: Are these two just running the most unnecessary startup you’ve ever seen? Like, a buggy app that immediately crashes your phone? Discuss.) Westworld used Charlotte and William this season to pointedly explore what would happen if the worst person you know became indestructible, and the result was fascinating. These characters never really wanted the same thing for the hosts and the humans, but they chafed against the same restrictions and limitations, and their shared hatred of being controlled made them seem like allies.

By the end, their ideological differences were too great, but kudos to Charlotte for accepting Bernard’s help and letting her belief in a future, no matter how bad or good, empower her over William’s desire for no future at all. I’m going to go ahead and say that Charlotte crushing William’s pearl and then crushing her own, coupled with Host William killing Human William, means these characters are off the board for good. Tessa Thompson is booked and busy and Ed Harris has made enough “WTF am I doing for a paycheck?” faces for a lifetime, so let them go and be free. At least we’ll always have this delightfully awful moment when Westworld joined HBO’s human-furniture collection:

In limbo: Stubbs and Cal

I know that Bernard gave Stubbs that somber good-bye, but note that Clementine just stabbed him in the eye during that pharmacy fight — she didn’t take out or damage his pearl, and that means there’s hope for the future. Luke Hemsworth spent three seasons standing around and frowning, but who knew this man was capable of such comedic timing and solidly sarcastic line deliveries? Give us more of that! Let Stubbs be goofy, I say!

As for Cal, is Westworld really just going to leave Aaron Paul standing on that pier? That is unacceptable. Get my man the 280th version of his body and let him live! He reunited with daughter Frankie, who is seemingly going to be okay now that she’s sailing off to the Undying Lands or wherever the other human outliers are going, and he knows that his wife Uwade died from cancer while he was being held hostage. He’s wrapped up his human ties, so get him a new host body and let him join the revolution in the Sublime or whatever. Don’t he and Maeve deserve a better ending than what they got?

Maybe alive in the Sublime: Maeve and Bernard

Speaking of Maeve, is that really it? She and Bernard got shot in the head by William and that’s … all? We knew from the conversation in the Sublime between Bernard and Zahn McClarnon’s Akecheta that Bernard had run through every simulation to try and figure out a way to save this world, and that devastation and collapse came up over and over again. It’s not that Westworld wasn’t priming us for an outcome in which everything goes to shit, but it’s pretty anticlimactic for William and Maeve to just languish outside the Tower, given that we see the flesh robots are able to retrieve Charlotte and make her as good as new. So if William didn’t actually shoot all three of them in a way that destroyed their pearls, I am assuming that means some version of Maeve and Bernard might remain alive, somewhere, and maybe they make it to the Sublime. If I don’t see a pearl get crushed, which we don’t see for either of these characters, I’m going to hold out some modicum of hope — especially because Thandiwe Newton’s ferocity has been so integral to Westworld for so long.

Definitely still kicking: Christina, now back to being Dolores

This one is no question, although I don’t quite grasp all the particulars of what Charlotte was doing with Dolores. Was Delores’s Pearl in the Tower just for safekeeping, and Charlotte was allowing Dolores to live in her own imagined world as Christina simply to … pass the time? One of those little games that Charlotte likes to play, I suppose? Mine are Wordle, Actorle, and Framed, but who am I to judge others! Regardless, Christina’s minimalist wardrobe and brown hair revert back to Dolores’s blue Western gown and blonde hair when she ventures into the Sublime, so I think we are back to a self-aware version of the character now, one who is ready to run her final test on — humanity? Consciousness? I really cannot explain this show anymore. But it sure is entertaining!

Who Actually Died in That Westworld Finale?