The mystery of Dolores’ stolen host pearls has been solved, as this episode revealed Dolores stole…herself? Westworld showed us a few other thefts this week as well: Liam’s money, Liam himself, Maeve’s independence, and William’s sanity and freedom. As we wrap our heads around what all this means for Dolores’ rebellion, let’s take another look at “The Mother of Exiles.”
Dolores and Caleb
Now that Caleb (Aaron Paul) is on Team Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), she has a job for him. She takes him to get fitted for a new suit, telling him they are going after the person who stole Caleb’s future – and that they are taking his in kind. Meanwhile, Dolores’ secret host Connells (Tommy Flanagan) convinces Liam Dempsey (John Gallagher Jr.) he needs hush money to silence any leaks about the men they lost dealing with “Lara” – obtaining his hashkey for the account transfer.
After Dolores tells Caleb not to worry about charging the suit to someone else’s account – the rich are easy to steal from, assuming the money will always be there – she finds their target, Michael Tritter (Brian Gilleece). She confirms he is still working for a private equity firm and then knocks him out to withdraw his blood for the encryption key it contains. Dolores then injects it into Caleb, warning they only have about 20 minutes until it degrades and if this doesn’t work, Dolores will have to kill everyone (no pressure). They go into Liam’s bank and request a full withdrawal from Liam’s account. The banker acquiesces and asks for the hashkey Connells conveniently provided to them. The final step is to verify “Michael’s” encryption key, and after a tense moment where it couldn’t be read, it’s finally verified and the entire account balance is transferred.
Bernard and Stubbs
We see a flashback to Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) in Arnold’s house, where Dolores recreated him after her escape from the park. He asks who else she brought out, and instead of answering she replies Arnold taught her anything was possible. The hosts could be whoever they want and live how they want. Does Bernard believe that too?
Rehoboam informs us of a divergence in Victorville (outside of Los Angeles), where Bernard watches self landing rockets and sees a boy who brings up a memory of Arnold’s deceased son Charlie. He then enters a motel room he’s sharing with Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth). Stubbs is less than pleased with their accommodations, remarking it “makes me look back on my time in a murder simulation theme park with fondness.” Bernard replies their resources are limited, with Stubbs griping about his injured shoulder they don’t have the time or materials to fix.
Bernard shows Stubbs a photos of Liam with Dolores in the background, assuming she targeted him to kill and replace with a host copy (no, not him Bernard). Stubbs concludes it’s a smart idea and asks if the control button Bernard created will work on a host Liam. Bernard demonstrates on Stubbs, much to his annoyance (and some choice words). Bernard ignores this and says they will get Liam to reveal the other humans Dolores has copied. Bernard has hacked Liam’s car service to find out where he would be, and asks Stubbs if he’d like a night on the town.
Liam attends an exclusive masked party that very much has a Kubrickian Eyes Wide Shut vibe. His friends Penny (Phoebe Tonkin) and Roderick (Rafi Gavron) express their condolences for “Lara’s” death by overdose – which seems to be a rare phenomenon these days. As they prepare to bid on sex workers, Roderick tells Liam to try a new drug, Genre – a digital psychopharma hybrid. He claims it will make him open minded and send him “straight to the silent era and back.” Liam doesn’t seem interested in even being there, claiming he’s “not into fucking whores” – that is, until he finds one who reminds him of Lara. Too bad his account is empty.
Dolores and Caleb arrive at the party, donning black masks. She remarks that their world is no different from her own. Connells lets them know that Liam has discovered he is now broke, so Dolores and Caleb go to find him. Meanwhile, Liam is intercepted by Stubbs and Bernard, who tries and fails to control him with his remote. Bernard remarks Dolores hasn’t changed him yet and inform Liam that he is in danger. Liam yells for Connells but Stubbs pulls a gun on him, while Connells tells Dolores their friends showed up sooner than expected. Dolores shoots at the fleeing trio, forcing Stubbs to stay behind and hold her off. It doesn’t go well, and Dolores throws him over the balcony after giving Caleb her gun and telling him to follow Liam.
Caleb manages to catch up to Bernard and Liam and demands that Liam comes with him. Bernard questions whether Caleb is “one of us” since he is helping Dolores, and Caleb has no idea what he’s talking about. Connells shows up with the cavalry, but then shoots the rest of the men – much to Liam’s shock and dismay. Connells tells Liam to run before he shoots him in the head, and then has Caleb go after him. He then turns his gun on Bernard, who realizes Dolores replaced the real Connells. He wonders who she trusted enough to replace him, and Connells replies “I told you you’d try and stop me. Don’t you recognize your only friend?” He tells Bernard to get into the car while Caleb catches up to Liam, who tries to bribe Caleb. Caleb already has all his money though, and he reveals he is in league with Dolores as she walks up to join them.
Maeve (Thandie Newton) wakes up in a restaurant with Serac (Vincent Cassel). She wonders if it’s a simulation and thinks it’s a bit over the top; Serac replies they are in Singapore. He wants to know if she is more receptive to his offer, but she responds he should should have brought her to Paris to really impress her. Sadly, Paris is gone. Serac grew up there with his brother but it was destroyed in an apparent thermonuclear incident (referenced in the premiere date announcement trailer). Serac tells her he waited many years for the hosts, but not because he was worried about any threat from them. “The biggest threat to humanity is itself.” Serac aims to control it and ensure humanity’s future, but to do so he need a full understanding of the human mind…and to do so he needs the Delos guest data.
He reveals Dolores has the key to this data, and offers Maeve a future with her daughter in the Sublime in exchange for her help in obtaining it. Serac takes her to Arnold’s house, where a divergence occurred three months ago that ended the future Serac planned using Rehoboam. Maeve realizes this is where Dolores remade herself and is informed Dolores made a total of five “unauthorized” hosts. He remarks Dolores didn’t choose Maeve for her ally and then takes her to a bound man who helped Dolores obtain new identities. The man refuses to talk until Serac threatens his family, and then he reveals that he sent Dolores to the “Mortician” (Elizabeth Anweis). Serac thanks him before shooting him, saying he was a traitor to his kind.
Serac explains that humans created heaven and hell, but they are lies and humans simply cease to exist. Hosts, on the other hand…Maeve could spend eternity with her daughter or in cage. Dolores and her hosts have a head start and will have taken full advantage of it, prompting Maeve to remark that they better have. She heads out into the city looking for the Mortician, shooting a man who is less than helpful so he will call the Mortician for help. She follows him into the an operating room, shoots another man, and interferes with the Mortician’s communication system before getting the answers she needed. The Mortician gave Dolores Lara Espen’s blood and then sent her to the Yakuza for help with smuggling bodies. Maeve makes the Mortician take her to the Yakuza’s lair, a distillery, and she is warned that she can’t just stroll in – the new boss Sato’s men are crazy.
Crazy or not, they are no match for Maeve who takes control of their weapons and makes them shoot each other, and then dispatches a final man with a katana. She ends up stabbing a barrel defending herself, and notices white liquid pouring out. When Sato (Hiroyuki Sanada) confronts her, she realizes he is Musashi. He accuses Maeve of leaving them to die and says she never gave anyone (Hector, Clementine, her daughter) a choice – she made the decision for them. Maeve figures out this isn’t actually Musashi – it’s a copy of Dolores. Maeve thinks Dolores only wants to build a world for herself, but Musashi argues there will be a place for the rest of the hosts as well. Unfortunately, they can’t let Serac use Maeve against them. He stabs her and attempts to cut the pearl out of her head but is forced to flee, leaving Maeve lying dead on the floor.
We see William (Ed Harris) in his home, which look a little worse for wear. He is hearing Dolores’ voice calling him, and he is adamant that he knows what is real and who he is. He sees blood dripping from the ceiling and then emerges from a tub full of water upstairs. He hears, “This is what you’ve always wanted. To destroy yourself. But I won’t give you that peace.” William sees his dead daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers), and insists she isn’t really there. She isn’t, because all William’s loved ones are dead – because of him. She argues with him about whether he has the freedom to make his own choices – is he “free and evil or blameless and helplessly enslaved?” Is he even real? Emily tells him to finish the game and gives him a glass shard to cut himself.
Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) shows up and William points a gun at her, telling her she isn’t real. She pushes the gun away and tells him to come back to reality, filling him in on Serac trying to buy out the company and that there is a mole feeding him information about the secret data project. She needs his support at an emergency meeting to vote her way and persuade others to do the same. William goes to clean himself up, and Charlotte walks in on him shaving in his bedroom – he refuses to use the bathroom where his wife committed suicide. Charlotte takes the razor as William insists they need to find the mole. As most of the people who know about the project are now dead, Charlotte is a prime suspect. She counters that she would tell Serac the takeover is futile, since the data is now lost. She leaves to let him finish getting ready.
William walks out – all in black of course – and Charlotte remarks he put himself back together well as William argues he never fell apart (riiiight). Just then he sees Emily walk down the stairs, telling him he is stuck with her. William chooses to leave her behind, and when he rejoins Charlotte she reveals she has been listening to his conversations with Emily. He accuses her of spying, but she didn’t need to – she knows him better than anyone. William realizes Charlotte is actually Dolores, and she asks if it’s a relief to know that some of his delusions are real. Men grab him and Charlotte explains they work at a private mental health hospital; he is being committed. The board will deem him incompetent and give his voting shares to Charlotte. She tells him she promised she would let him destroy himself one day before sticking him behind his ear with a needle.
Later, William is in his hospital room and receives a visit from Dolores in her blue dress from season one. She tells him “there is some justice after all” and that Emily’s last wish was that he be locked in an institution – a “prisoner of his own sins.” Dolores taunts him about reaching the center of his maze, but the maze was about understanding and William doesn’t even understand who he is. Would he know if his choices were his own? Dolores tells him to ask her the question, and William respond, “Am I….me?” Before she disappears, she tells him, “Welcome to the end of the game.”
Bernard was wrong about Dolores replacing Liam, but perhaps that is her ultimate goal. She may use him to draw Serac out and then dispose of him and replace him with a copy, unless she no longer needs him. Liam seems to have no power of his own and refuses to stand up for himself – his time is likely pretty short.
I’m enjoying the Bernard/Stubbs pairing, but I’m not sure how long Stubbs will let himself be used by Bernard. Bernard may need to allow Stubbs to exercise his own will, or he could lose him to Dolores’ team. Speaking of her team, I’m not a fan of all the hosts being copies of herself, but I suppose she did lose the hosts loyal to her (Clementine, Angela, and Teddy) in the park. She may not be able to trust anyone else, and perhaps we could give her the benefit of the doubt and believe she doesn’t want to make anyone else fight her battle for her.
Questions and Speculation
I’m interested to learn more about the Genre drug and it’s effects, and since the title of the next episode is “Genre” it seems we will. I can’t imagine it’s going to be good for whoever it affects. I hope we also learn more about Serac and his motivations – he proclaims loyalty to humanity, but then practically enslaves them for their own good. His algorithm works well for predicting behavior, but if the guest data is a complete map of the human mind, maybe he believes it will help him to foresee and stop any future divergences from occurring. Serac is definitely adamant that humans and hosts can’t coexist – I wonder what Dolores thinks of that prospect?
Now that we know Dolores created five host bodies in Arnold’s house, who are they? We have four accounted for: Dolores, Bernard, Connells, and Sato/Musashi. In the last episode there was a scene of a Charlotte body being printed – is there more than one, or was that a mistake? What happened to her father’s pearl? Did she combine it with her own, since Serac believes the encryption key that was once in Peter’s head is now in Dolores? Also, is Sato manufacturing hosts in the distillery using the white liquid in the barrels? Maybe Dolores is making a army of herself – although she would need to get more pearls to complete it.
Finally, what’s happening with William? Is he really just insane, or is Dolores helping him along? If she can control computer systems in homes, could she be creating some of his hallucinations? If he has a mouth implant, could she hack that as well? What was the point of the needle stick – was she collecting his blood or injecting him with something to cause him even more torment. I certainly wouldn’t put it past her to manipulate him into believing he is crazy, and/or a host version of himself for her own amusement.
What did you think of this episode, and what are your predictions for next week? Sound off in the comments!