Analysis: Westworld Season 3 Episode 7 Recap, “Passed Pawn”

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Dolores was finally able to put her plan into action on Sunday’s penultimate episode of Westworld. Will she and Caleb succeed, or will they be stopped by the forces coming together to oppose them? Dolores has enemies closing in on every side, but she seems to be a step ahead…for now. We only have one episode left, so let’s see how far we’ve come by taking another look at “Passed Pawn.”

Cold Open

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Rehoboam – still going crazy in the aftermath of Dolores’ data sharing – shows us a divergence in Jakarta, with an “intervention in progress.” Sato/Musashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) asks one of his men if he has found someone’s location, and hands over a package to deliver to him, telling him not to return if he doesn’t succeed. Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) calls and tells him since Dolores’ plan is for her copies to die, Charlotte has a new plan. She has sent Maeve’s allies – Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) and Hanaryo (Tao Okamoto) – to “streamline operations.” They take out Sato’s men and Sato himself, cutting off his head in the process. 

William, Bernard, and Stubbs

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Back at Inner Journeys, Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) holds William (Ed Harris) at gunpoint – revealing himself to be a host on Team Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Stubbs asks if Dolores sent them to the facility for William, but Bernard replies that she wanted them to see what Serac has been up to with his human experiments. He informs William that Serac now owns Delos. When William complains he couldn’t stop the takeover because Dolores had him locked up, Bernard replies it was never about him – Dolores/Charlotte used him to implant a virus into the lab systems and find a location (the facility in Sonora, Mexico). William insists he will go after Charlotte; they will have to kill him to stop him. Bernard retorts that according to the system, William is already dead. 

Bernard explains that the people sent here are classification U – outliers who must be reconditioned or discarded. He says William’s name is on a list of thousands for whom the therapy didn’t work; they are missing or declared dead. Stubbs volunteers to look for a list of successful cases, as Bernard informs them that Serac couldn’t save humans from themselves and tried to reprogram them. He admits Serac would have needed high grade biometric data, and William confesses he sold it to Serac to raise capital for the parks. They hear commotion inside the facility and need to leave; luckily Stubbs found the information he wanted. He sends Caleb’s file to Bernard and asks if he remembers him.  

They leave the facility and William remarks that it looks like they are playing Dolores’ game now. He says he finally knows his purpose – to kill all the hosts, starting with Bernard and Stubbs. Bernard tells Stubbs they may need William so they can’t take him out just yet. As they walk through the chaos and destruction in the city, Stubbs wonders how Caleb connects to Dolores, and Bernard responds Caleb is her plan to destroy humanity. Stubbs asks how Bernard know this, but before he can answer William walks up with a gun and tells them they should have killed him when they had the chance.  

Caleb, Dolores, and Maeve

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Throughout the episode, Caleb (Aaron Paulhas memory flashes: both of being in a reeducation facility with a Dr. Greene (Bahia Haifi) and of his time with the military (or so he believes). Caleb remembers rounding up Crimean insurgents in the Russian Civil War and calling in targeted missile strikes, before his unit was hit with one themselves. He recalls capturing the insurgent leader with Francis (Kid Cudi) and being ambushed after waiting hours for an evacuation that never came. Caleb tells Dr. Greene that’s when Francis was killed, and she replies, “Good Cal. Let’s try again.”

We see a divergence in Sonora, Mexico as Caleb and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) are on horseback, headed to the facility William’s blood helped her find. Apparently they had quite the conversation during the flight to Mexico, since Caleb is now aware Dolores is a host from Westworld. He asks if she killed all the people during the massacre, and she responds that she did what was necessary to survive. The park was modeled after the West which was chaotic, cruel, and unjust but you could “chart your own course.” Dolores wants a place for all of them – hosts and humans – to be free. Dolores says her kind is almost extinct thanks to Serac, but that humans have a chance and Caleb must lead them. When he protests, Dolores counters she used to be a bit player until she had to become more, and confesses they are at the facility to recover something valuable that was taken from Caleb. These are the people who destroyed his life.

Dolores uses drones to help her take out the guards, and as they go inside Caleb recalls being there before. Dolores admits remembering will be hard, but it’s important. The main reason they are there, however, is to find Solomon – Rehoboam’s predecessor. Solomon developed anomalies and seemed to have inherited some of Jean Mi Serac’s (Paul Cooper) schizophrenic ways of thinking. Dolores is there to obtain a revolution strategy from it. They observe a military grade EMP nearby meant to prevent Solomon from ever escaping the confines of the facility. They power up Solomon, who remarks they are in the variant where it and Caleb (subject U454.1) are still viable – although variables exist that lead to other outcomes. Caleb asks if Solomon knows him, to which Solomon replies it know everyone in all variations – except Dolores whose “pathways are unknown.”

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Dolores compares herself to Solomon in that they are not human, they’ve outlived their original purpose, and their creators enacted measures to prevent their escapes. Solomon argues that they are not alike in any meaningful way and just wants to know her objective. Dolores admits she wants to end the order Solomon helped create – that it and Jean Mi both knew it doesn’t work which is why Serac tried to silence them both. Solomon counters that no plan is 100% and that reconditioning therapy was partially effective for outliers (one out of every 10). It says Caleb was one of the first to undergo it and be released, although regression was always a possibility. Caleb has more flashes of therapy with Dr. Greene and wants to leave, but Dolores is intent on showing Caleb what happens to the other nine outliers for which conditioning isn’t successful.

They enter another room and are greeted by a hologram of Serac (Vincent Cassel). He is talking to his brother and says if he is seeing this the experiment worked. Serac just needed time and the right genetic information to fix outliers, make them a better version of themselves, and eliminate the danger they posed. Serac wished he could be with Jean Mi but remarks that “the man I was no longer exists.” As lights come on, Solomon explains that its projections to save humanity from extinction never fit the data, so the data had to change. Dolores and Caleb see rows of people in pods – they are in cold storage like the hosts. Dolores calls it a sad fate, but Solomon disagrees – it’s much kinder than most and preferable to death. Caleb angrily responds that these people aren’t allowed to live or to die, but Solomon explains the world always collapsed until they began removing outliers. Weeding them out reduced crime, hunger, and deprivation and ensured they didn’t reproduce. 

Solomon tells Caleb he was an important part of the program. After reconditioning he was tasked with hunting down hundreds of them, as were some of the other successful cases – like Francis. Serac and Solomon created the RICO app to regulate crime (I knew it!) and to target outliers to be rounded up or eliminated. Caleb’s RICO log shows that some of his targets ended up dead, some in pods. Solomon tells Caleb he and Francis were honorably discharged after incident 976B (which seems to be the missile attack on Caleb’s unit), and that he became one of the most successful operatives. We see from his memories with Francis that he most definitely used to do “personals,” and Caleb’s memory of capturing the insurgent leader in Crimea was false – the man, Whitman (Enrico Colantoni), was an outlier. 

Solomon explains that the reconditioning and limbic tab use created dissociative memories – Caleb wasn’t meant to remember the truth. Caleb recalls that he and Francis weren’t supposed to speak with Whitman, but Caleb did anyway. Whitman told him the truth, that he and Francis had know idea who they were actually working for, and that he was being “taken out” because he didn’t fit the plan. Whitman represented the pharmaceutical company that manufactured limbics, and he asked too many questions – he was going to be killed or stashed away in Sonora. Whitman told Caleb he was reeducated there and just doesn’t remember. Caleb asks why his life and memories were taken from him, and Dolores replies this is why he needed to come. 

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Solomon interjects that someone has arrived, and Dolores explains it’s an old acquaintance who will probably be the one to kill her. Caleb wants to help, but Dolores needs him to get the new strategy from Solomon. The current plan (selected by Serac) protects the greatest number of people according to Solomon, but Dolores gestures to the pods and argues it doesn’t protect those people. She explains that Serac will eliminate her kind, but intelligence shouldn’t be reserved only for humans. Solomon asks which strategy she wants, and she replies “the final one.” Jean Mi had Solomon make one more before Serac banished him to a pod. As it has been 15 years, the principal players in that strategy are now dead or in pods, so Dolores tells Solomon to make it fit Caleb. She will give Solomon the time it needs and tells Caleb that if she doesn’t come back, he must take what Solomon gives him and lead. 

Dolores hears Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) voice in her head telling her to come outside. Dolores protests that she is not Maeve’s enemy, but Maeve says she murdered her friend – well, a version of Dolores did anyway. Dolores explains they are at war, fighting for the right to exist, but Maeve believes Dolores is a threat to her daughter and the other hosts in the Sublime. She doesn’t want them enslaved for Dolores’ war – but can they truly be safe otherwise? According to Dolores “if they can’t be free in this world, they can’t be free in any.” She doesn’t understand why Maeve would fight for “them” – they murdered and tortured the hosts, and she and Maeve lost everything. Maeve counters they are nothing alike. ? (all humans?) murdered tortured us. We lost everything and everyone we love. 

As Dolores and Maeve face off, Solomon tells Caleb that him helping Dolores is not optimal for his survival (what a shocker). Caleb asks if Francis is in one of the pods, but Solomon says no. Caleb flashes back to their abduction of Whitman, who told Caleb it’s too late for him now that he knows what Whitman knows. Rehoboam is always listening and either Francis or Caleb would receive a bonus offer to kill the other – usually the one with the most to lose (and Francis had a sick child). Whitman said it’s what happens to people who ask too many questions and offers – “nothing personal” – and offered to pay Caleb to spare his life. When Francis came back, he said it was time to go despite them not receiving an alert. Outside, Caleb asked Francis how much they offered him to kill Caleb; he replied it was enough. Caleb shot first though, and killed Francis, then Whitman before heading to the pier to contemplate suicide. 

Solomon tells Caleb that every human relationship can be adjusted with right amount of money. Caleb is furious that he was used to kill people, and that they turned them against each other and forced him to kill his friend. He starts to walk away, but Solomon insists if he deviates he will not achieve the desired outcome, and that Dolores’ new strategy is ready. Meanwhile, Maeve has gained the upper hand when her quadcopter shot off Dolores’ arm, and she chases her back into the building. She hears Caleb and taunts Dolores about “turning” another young man and says he can’t save her. Dolores makes it to the EMP and activates it – Solomon has time to tell Caleb “I must warn you…” before going dark as Dolores and Maeve collapse. Dolores’ virtual assistant speaks into Caleb’s ear, saying “I have some instructions for you.”

Conclusion

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What is Team Maeve planning? Clementine insisted to Sato that she and Maeve are “not for sale,” so are they now playing their own game? Where does Charlotte fit in? She may be angry with Dolores but she has every reason to hate Serac, so it’s difficult to imagine her helping him. It’s also still unclear what Dolores’ end goal is – she says she wants freedom for humans and hosts and mentions how her kind is almost extinct. However, she has all the Delos host data plus access to the hosts in the Sublime (not to mention the means to print bodies…however long it may take). She could still build an army with enough time, but will she have it?

We finally see the truth of Caleb’s backstory, or at least some of it. It’s unclear if he was ever overseas at all: in one of his memories, he looks like he’s dressed in army fatigues but he shoots a man on American soil (there are American flags in the background). It’s interesting how Liam called Caleb (an outlier), “the worst of them” and Caleb thinks of the Crimean insurgents as “the last of them, the worst of them.” Perhaps they were all just outliers, like he was. We also now know Caleb was reconditioned more than once – after incident 976B (the hit on his unit, which was probably Serac and Rehoboam’s doing) and again after killing Francis.

Which side should we be on as we head into the finale? We are still unsure if Dolores truly wants to help humanity or destroy them. She tells Caleb she wants everyone to be free, but Serac, Maeve, and Bernard seem to believe otherwise. On the other hand, what Serac has been doing is truly evil – rounding up outliers to be killed or stored? They don’t seem to age in the pods either, so would Serac eventually wake them up in a world that has moved on while they have been asleep? That’s assuming he ever lets them wake up. He gives the appearance of caring about life, but he created RICO – fostering crime to achieve his own ends – and the app even encourages “collateral damage.” Dolores wants to end his story for humanity and create a new one, but will it ultimately have a happy ending…or a tragic one?

Questions and Speculation

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Sato has tasked one of his men to deliver something to a “him” they have located – is this the Dolores copy in Berlin? If she is using a man’s body, who could it be? She could have chosen someone close to her (like Teddy or her father), someone close to Maeve like she did with Musashi (perhaps Hector, Sizemore, or Akecheta), or someone close to William (Logan perhaps? Ben Barnes did attend the season three premiere). At any rate, Dolores has at least one more ally and the potential to make more.

Has Charlotte printed a new body? We see that her face looks like it’s back to normal, but we don’t see the rest of her. Maybe it’s a temporary fix until she can access a printing machine. What’s her endgame? She instructed Maeve’s team to get Dolores’ pearl from Sato’s body – will they turn it over to Serac to learn her plans, or do they have another purpose in mind? I imagine Maeve has a backup plan in place, because trusting Serac is a dangerous gamble. Considering he can monitor everything they do, it’s possible she is only acting for his benefit and may turn on him in the end. It’s interesting she talks about killing Dolores and letting her apologize to her copies in person, but they aren’t dead. Charlotte is alive and still has Connells’ pearl. Maeve’s plan could be to take Dolores to Charlotte, not Serac.

I still don’t trust Stubbs – why was he so eager to take over Bernard’s search through the system? The Caleb file he sent to Bernard even had the wrong subject number – Solomon calls him U454.1 but the file had the same number assigned to William. What’s the purpose? Did Stubbs change it, or did Rehoboam? If so, why? If Stubbs is Serac’s mole, what’s his plan for Bernard? What is Dolores’ plan for him. William told Bernard to stop the savior act because he’s not Arnold…but he is, at least partially. And Arnold’s last act was an attempt to save the hosts. If he survives William, perhaps that’s what he will do again.

Bernard believes Dolores will use Caleb to destroy humanity, but would he? We don’t know what plan Solomon gave him, but it’s hard to imagine he’d want to do that. Maeve accuses Dolores of unleashing the darkness inside him like she did with William, but William was already dark and pretending to be a good guy. Caleb seems to be a good guy at heart who was made to turn dark by Serac’s system. Perhaps this time, the black hat will turn white. And what about the outliers in the pods? The EMP may have shut them down, but I imagine there is some sort of fail safe in place; the EMP was only meant to stop Solomon. Dolores tells Caleb to lead – who better to lead than his fellow outliers who would love the chance to take Serac down.

Random thoughts:

  • Was the Maeve/Dolores fight scene meant to remind us of Jurassic Park? Maeve sliding across the kitchen floor, and then telling Dolores “aren’t you clever” when she comes out of nowhere seem like blatant references to the Velociraptors.
  • They also allude to the movie Groundhog Day – Caleb was born on February 2nd, and at one point remarks that it’s “another day, same as the last”
  • Dolores mentions that Solomon took on the schizophrenic thinking of his creator, Jean Mi. Schizophrenics are prone to delusions and hallucinations, so how can she trust the strategy it gives will even work? For that matter, how do we know Rehoboam doesn’t have the same problem?
  • When Serac’s hologram talks to Jean Mi, he says “the man I was no longer exists.” Does that mean Serac only exists as a hologram now? Or did he anticipate he would only cure Jean Mi so far into the future that he would be dead by that time?

 

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