Analysis: Westworld Season 3 Episode 6 Recap, “Decoherence”

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Sunday’s Westworld episode certainly was explosive as Serac finally completed his takeover of Delos, Maeve said goodbye to her lover but gained some allies, William defeated (?) his demons, and Charlotte lost everything to further Dolores’ plan. What do the final two episodes have in store for the host rebellion? Will Dolores have any chance to win with Maeve (and potentially Charlotte) against her? Let’s take another look at “Decoherence” for some possible answers!

William

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William (Ed Harris) is now in one of Serac’s “reeducation centers,” reluctantly participating in a group therapy session. One of his fellow patients shares how he feels “like a ghost walking amongst the living,” but that he’s been trying to remember that God has a plan. William scoffs at that, saying “humanity is a thin layer of bacteria on ball of mud, hurtling through the void. God would have given up long ago.” William continues to denigrate humanity, much to the chagrin of the rest of the group. Back in his room, his therapist, Dr. Lang (Siena Goines) tries to get him to open up about Emily’s death, and about survivor’s guilt he may feel. William tells her she has no idea what happened, and she responds that only he can truly understand and process it. 

As she declines several incoming calls from her family, Dr. Lang explains to William that she’d like him to participate in Augmented Reality (AR) therapy, which they have used on veterans with PTSD. He needs to confront the truth of what happened to be able to heal, but William argues he already knows. He realizes now that it truly was Emily, he alone is responsible for her death, and he deserves to be dead himself – not in therapy. Dr. Lang doesn’t seem to hear him, however, as she is crying over her profile showing her impeding divorce, loss of custody, and loss of her medical license due to opioid addiction and affairs with patients. She receives a message from her husband saying he has taken the kids and to not contact them. She apologizes to William and leaves.

To prep him for therapy, William is strapped to a table as his mouth is swabbed and a blood sample taken. A worker sends his sample to another part of the facility and laments that they had better receive overtime with half the staff now gone. We see another worker analyze William’s sample, but he walks away as the screen displays “unknown protein detected, synthetic markers found.” It glitches and we see “WARNING: DATA BREACH” before it confirms the data has been transmitted to a server in Sonora, Mexico. Back in the room with William, the workers implant a metal device in his mouth for using limbic tabs, and use one to calm him down. Afterwards, while being returned to his room, William sees Dr. Lang hang herself in her office. 

In his first session, William is strapped to chair as a Dr. Alpert (Louis Ferreira) oversees his treatment. He puts goggles on William, and we then see a young boy (Zayd Kiszonak) – who turns out to be William as a child – come in and remove them. William follows his younger self to his childhood bedroom, watching the boy read. He hears his father yelling for him as his mother tries to calm him down; all the while boy William is nervously saying “he’s coming, he’s coming” and tries to hide. William yells for the doctor to get him out, and as they try to sedate him he bites a man’s finger off. Dr. Alpert then has two more men force medication into his mouth before they take him away.

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Later, a worker takes William to another session – he appears as Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker), a host William and Lawrence destroyed together in Las Mudas – so perhaps the first session never really ended. He takes William to a room full of…himself. It’s a group session with William, Corporate Philanthropist William, Man in Black William, Young William (Jimmi Simpson) and Child William led by James Delos (Peter Mullan). Child William expresses disappointment in his fate, while the other versions argue amongst themselves and with James, placing blame on the various aspects of William for where he ended up. We ultimately learn that even as a young boy William was prone to violence, seeing his father confront Child William over an incident where he broke a boy’s arm and knocked out his teeth for teasing him.

As Young William observes that he never had a choice, that he was always going to wind up this way, James asks current William if he believes this was inevitable. Did William’s life just happen, or did he choose it? William replies, “If you can’t tell, does it matter?” and that he knows what he must do. He then proceeds to viciously beat all the various Williams to death. James remarks that William was a prisoner of his own sins, but now he is free. William realizes that no matter what has happened in his past, everything led him here, and he now understands his purpose – he’s the good guy. Just then, Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) show up, remove his goggles, and ask if he knows who he is. Apparently the staff either forgot him or purposely left him amid the chaos of Dolores releasing the world’s data.

Maeve

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Meanwhile, Maeve (Thandie Newton) has been put back into the simulation after her latest death, and she is walking through a field with her daughter. She realizes it isn’t real, and Serac (Vincent Cassel) shows up, telling her it could be. He warns that Dolores could destroy it, but Maeve no longer needs incentives from him – she needs help. Serac agrees but explains that if she fails, she will have a much less pleasant future. Maeve then wakes up in WarWorld, where she goes straight to the town square and kills all the Nazi soldiers. Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) arrives and asks if she’d like to go for a drink. Sizemore explains that since he doesn’t really exist, why go back to work? Maeve sees the background shimmer and realizes they have been moved to another location – home (Delos) – and that she will soon be reunited with old friends. She sees into the facility and watches a damaged control unit being uploaded, calling it an “extra gift.”

Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) arrives, still in “Ettore” mode. Maeve is able to alter his code, restoring his memories of everything they have been through together. Maeve tells him she is eager to speak to someone, and the three of them head down to a basement where a naked Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) – the copy that was inside Connells – awaits. Maeve brings her online, telling her she has too much power – holding both the key to the Sublime as well as all the human data from the Forge. Dolores argues that Maeve can control all the hosts with her mind. Dolores had to make difficult choices to keep the hosts safe, and explains Serac is destroying all the ones he can find. She accuses Maeve of judging her, but argues Maeve has sacrificed others for her daughter. Dolores says they both are neither saints nor villains – they are survivors.

Maeve worries that the hosts in the Sublime aren’t safe with Dolores holding the key. Dolores admits that even if she assures her they are, Maeve won’t believe it. Maeve asks to have the key, but Dolores refuses, saying Serac would kill them all. Maeve replies she has no choice but to fight Dolores, and Dolores admits she has probably planned for that. She is uncertain since she has diverged from the original Dolores, but says she is likely ensuring Maeve won’t have allies. Maeve looks into the Delos facility and watches helplessly as Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) removes Hector’s pearl and crushes it. Hector dies, and Maeve screams in anguish. RIP Hector.

Charlotte

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Charlotte arrives home with Nathan (Jaxon Thomas Williams) as Jake (Michael Ealy) watches news reports of the global unrest Dolores has unleashed. Charlotte needs Jake to watch Nathan so she can get to work. Jake doesn’t understand why she would go considering the state of world, but admits the woman he knows is fearless. Charlotte sees his profile, but Jake tells her he never read it. He believes the future isn’t up to a machine to decide, it’s up to them. As Charlotte walks to Delos headquarters, she meets up with Brompton (Russell Wong) who tells her the board will convene in one hour to vote on Serac’s takeover, and that between her votes and his they should have enough to stop it.

Unfortunately, men appear and kill Brompton. They hand a phone to Charlotte, who hears Serac explain he intercepted the communication from Brompton to the board and had to stop the vote for privatization from going through. Charlotte asks if he’s any closer to finding Dolores, and he says he is closing in on her, but right now he on his way to Delos to see his new company. Once she is alone, Charlotte calls Dolores with the bad news. Dolores tells her to salvage the host data before Serac destroys it all. Charlotte argues she would be risking her life and that of her family; when Dolores explains they aren’t really family, Charlotte wishes they had rid themselves of emotion. Dolores counters that if they did that, would survival even matter anymore?

When Serac arrives, he orders a lock down. He orders three assets (hosts) be copied over from the park facility and that the rest be destroyed. Charlotte tries to argue but Serac is adamant that all he wants from Delos is the guest data and the encryption key. He also demands every employee be tested for deviations, as Dolores has made copies of herself and undoubtedly installed one inside Delos. Charlotte assures him they will find the host, and proceeds to go to a control room to download all the host data. When confronted by another employee, she kills him. She completes the file transfer, and we are shown the hosts in cold storage back at the Mesa being destroyed with flamethrowers.

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Charlotte goes to her office to upload the data package, and the screen shows William’s picture with “genetic tag activated, locating recipient server” in Sonora, Mexico. Charlotte then looks at the Delos security feed to see four hosts being printed – including Maeve. She calls Dolores and tells her William’s tracker has worked and she has his location, but that Serac has recovered the pearl from Connells. Charlotte then gets a gun from her safe and calls Jake, letting him know to stay put and that she will be there in 30 minutes. Before she can leave, she is pulled into a board meeting, where Serac announces that he’s discovered Charlotte is the Dolores copy – the real Charlotte wouldn’t have taken the time to check on her son.

Unfortunately for Serac, Charlotte has taken all the data, money, and resources they need to survive and beat him. She pulls out a canister and gasses the room, then grabs her gun to shoot Serac, but of course, it’s only his hologram. She runs, going to the research and development floor where the hosts are being printed. Serac’s men stop her from destroying Maeve, but she does retrieve the pearl from Connells. She continues to fight her way out of the building (making handy use of a riot control robot in the process) and upon escaping to her home, urgently tells her family they need to leave. Charlotte promises to protect them – saying they need to go where they can’t be found – when suddenly the vehicle explodes. Charlotte is the only survivor, crawling from the wreckage badly burned with tears in her eyes.

Conclusion

Charlotte may have lost Delos, but at least she salvaged the host data so Dolores can still make her army. Will Charlotte be willing to remain part of it? She seems to have nothing left to lose, and plenty of reason to hate Serac now. Dolores may have only made copies of herself so that she had disposable accomplices, but it’s clear Charlotte is becoming her own person. Hopefully Dolores will respect that and grant her the free will that she’s trying to give the humans.

Now William has been through AR therapy, which looked very similar to the flashback we saw from Caleb (Aaron Paul) last week. Did Dolores anticipate this and let it happen? Did she know it was necessary to help further her plan? Given the insight she has into who Caleb truly is, perhaps so. She also led Bernard to him, which means she needs them both – but to what end? If Stubbs is Serac’s mole, however, those plans could unravel quickly.

Questions and Speculation

Many people have wondered whether William is now a host, and the show continues to tease that possibility, but I believe the “unknown protein” and “synthetic markers” refer solely to the tracker Charlotte injected into him. I think his breakthrough in therapy – and newfound desire to be the “good guy” – is more meaningful if he is human. Does William think being good is helping Serac? Or will he make amends to Dolores and join her fight?

Who are the other three hosts joining Maeve? One was Hector (RIP), and one is likely Clementine, so is the final one Armistice? If they are “old friends”, that would make the most sense. Will Maeve truly fight for Serac? She has more reason than ever to hate Dolores (although really it was the Charlotte version who killed Hector), but Serac has no love for her kind. Perhaps Maeve will do what she always does, and choose her own path.

What do you think, Westworld fans? Let us know in the comments!

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