Westworld season 3 finale recap: Dolores brings the apocalypse – CNET


Dolores does her best to save humanity in this season’s finale.


Westworld’s season three finale, written by Denise Thé and Johnathan Nolan, won’t exactly help with silencing critics of the show’s overcomplicated storylines. While overall season three smoothes out a few old narrative issues, its finale, titled Crisis Theory, still amounts to a relentless stream of reveal after reveal, twist after twist, all leading to the literal end of the world.

The finale does, however, bring satisfying shifts for Dolores and Maeve on an emotional level, as we see the two finally come to understand one another. Dolores, thankfully, isn’t as hellbent on destroying humanity as she seemed. We also learn more about the intriguing Park 5, and that there’s even more to Caleb and why he’s Dolores’ chosen one.

Warning: This recap contains all the spoilers

Dolores writes a ‘real’ end

Last week, we left Dolores and Maeve both out for the count, after Dolores hit the big red button on an electromagnetic pulse machine, sending both of them, as well as Solomon, into offline oblivion.

We return to that scene, but not before a short recap of Dolores’ traumatic life in Westworld, where an Alice in Wonderland-looking Dolores once saw the beauty in an ugly world. Now, seeing how little beauty there really is, she sets out her goal (in voiceover): “I’ve died many times. But there’s only one real end. I will write this one myself.”

Then, in the Sonora reeducation center, we see Serac’s assistant Sebastian, enter the scene and take in the sight of Dolores, Maeve and Solomon, the AI’s status now offline.

Stubbs is the first casualty

Part of last week’s cliffhanger involved Stubbs, Bernard and William in a standoff, with William holding the shotgun. Bernard pleads that he and Stubbs can help him stop Dolores, but William refuses and Stubbs takes a bullet to the chest.

Then, finally, it’s time for Bernard to use his device that wakes up the Hulk inside him, a possible carryover of Ford who inhabited his body last season. He overpowers William, but lets William escape when the SFPD arrive. But they’re not the SFPD. Dolores has printed Lawrence, or El Lazo, leader of Revolutionaries who the Man in Black recruited to help him find The Maze. He was killed by the QA team at the end of season two.

They let Bernard go, hinting that it’s finally time for Bernard to play the role Dolores has wanted him to play all along. Handing him a suitcase and an address, they instruct him to go and find her.

Caleb restores Dolores

Caleb motorbikes to a destroyed San Francisco. A voice tells him to keep moving to Hope Street. Coming upon a Japanese distillery distribution center, he uses his phone to gain access to a padlocked room in an abandoned building.

Inside, a white coffin. Caleb opens it. A property of Delos body bag peels back to a new body for Dolores, along with a few guns. Caleb unsheathes Dolores’ pearl, which he took from her body at the Sonora reeducation center.

She awakens, fresh as ever, but Caleb demands she reveal who she really is. Instead, she reveals more about him and his connection with Delos.

‘Park 5’

In a theme park designed to help the government train their soldiers with live targets, Caleb shoots a version of Lawrence.

Dolores implies Caleb and the other soldiers took advantage of the female hosts they saved in training, the “spoils of war.” She implies Caleb didn’t save her in the tunnel just because she needed help. He wanted her.

The System identified Caleb as a threat. That’s why he was drugged and used for its purposes. Caleb didn’t have a choice in anything that’s happened since.

“The people who built both of our worlds shared one assumption,” Dolores says. “That human beings don’t have free will.”

But Dolores believes they’re wrong and that free will does exist. “It’s just fucking hard.”

She’s giving a shameful-looking Caleb a choice: to free everyone else.

William goes off to save the world

William goes to claim his money from his bank. He’s rich after the Delos buyout. But since he was declared deceased, his resources were frozen.

He demands they’re thawed out, and wants a list of the locations of Delos assets worldwide. Again, he affirms he’s going to “save the fucking world.”

Maeve is restored and given a new mission

Thanks to Sebastian, Maeve is restored and reunites with her boss. Serac says Dolores has awoken more outliers, more threats, criminals, deviants and psychopaths. But there’s a solution. Maeve needs to get the “Sector 16 data,” the key to which is locked away in Dolores’ mind. If they connect her to Rehoboam, they can search her directly.

Meanwhile, Serac discovers Caleb made off with the USB from Solomon. Serac orders Maeve to go after him and retrieve Dolores’ pearl.

Dolores gathers a posse

Dolores and Caleb go after the System — Rehoboam. On the way, they encounter a posse Dolores has put together to help them clear a path, by rerouting riots in the city to different locations, using Rico. These assets are all paid, real people. They call Caleb “sir” — Dolores has well and truly established him as the leader of the revolution.

The group enters the deserted Incite train station, where Dolores meets someone she didn’t plan for.

Halores and Dolores go head-to-head

Halores, a vision in Dolores’ head, has vengeance written all over her face. Dolores acknowledges Halores and her love for Charlotte Hale’s family. Halores, turning Dolores’ cut-throat attitude against her, denies she cares about her family, happy to shed the sentimental baggage. She then launches an attack against Dolores and her crew, the ground fizzing with a hail of bullets from Halores’ gunmen on the balcony above.

Halores sets out her intentions, that she’s going to “consolidate” her affairs with a stunned Dolores.

Everyone lost in the battle, Dolores must face the rest of Halores’ thugs alone, instructing Caleb to complete his mission of becoming something better, by uploading Solomon’s drive into Rehoboam.

Maeve and Dolores go head-to-head

Dolores’ day isn’t getting any better. Just as she’s about to escape, she hears the sound of Maeve’s katana. Dolores implores Maeve to trust her, but Maeve rebuts her, saying she’ll turn Caleb into another William.

Dolores, drawing a superb eye roll from Maeve, chooses to fight half a dozen thugs and hightail it over the side of a bridge to escape.

Maeve catches up with Dolores and they fight again. But this time things are different. Maeve brings her katana down on Dolores’ arm, but it can’t slice through. “They built us to last,” Dolores quips, her new and improved body doing the job, and then comes a big reveal: Maeve accuses Dolores of planning to burn down the world and fill it with copies of herself.

“You’re all copies of me,” Dolores replies. She was the first ever host to work. Delos built the rest, including Maeve, from Dolores.

Dolores, fed up at this point with Maeve’s flimsy reasoning for going against her, overpowers her, detailing how it’s up to humans to decide what to do with the world. Instead of punching her lights out, Dolores leaves her to decide what she wants to do, “As long as you don’t try to stop me.” Not sure if that gets across the overall message of free will, Dolores, but at least they seem to be on the path to teaming up. Finally!

But then, in another twist, the image of Halores reappears. Now in charge of Delos, who in turn is behind their programming, Halores has the power to turn Dolores off. Frozen, Dolores is at the mercy of Maeve, who retrieves her katana and walks it over to her…

Caleb infiltrates Incite with a little help

Meanwhile, riots are in full force. It’s chaos, the police and riot control robots in full force.

Caleb, thankfully, finds a friend in the form of Marshawn Lynch’s Giggles. His shirt reads, “Excite.” He’s revelling in the chaos.

They go to find Lena Waithe’s Ash. The people, led by Caleb, are going to take the System down, using the USB. Ash helps Caleb into a hovercraft, where enshrouded in ominous Blade Runner music, he heads for Incite.

Stubbs is alive

Back with Bernard, who has Stubbs still alive in the back of a car, arrives at the address Lawrence gave him, a sleek suburban house. Greeted by a nurse who recognizes Bernard as family, she tells him “it’s one of her good days” and goes to retrieve someone.

Bernard meets an elderly Lauren, who doesn’t know who he is. But he knows from “another life.” Lauren was Bernard’s wife in a backstory created for him, based on Arnold’s wife. Bernard realizes he’s there because Dolores wants to make amends with him. Bernard reminisces over their dead son Charlie.

Dolores is plugged into Rehoboam

Dolores wakes up connected to Rehoboam, the data to the Delos immortality project in her head. But she still has the key to it, and Serac barters for it by destroying her memories of her time in Westworld.

Meanwhile, Caleb fights his way into Incite. But just before he can upload the USB data, Sebastian heads him off. Caleb, in a tumble, breaks Sebastian’s neck. Maeve appears, taking the USB and walking Caleb to Serac.

He sees Rehoboam probing Dolores’ mind, her memories of being the daughter of Peter Abernathy at the homestead nearly gone.

Serac shows Caleb what will happen if Solomon’s “strategy” is uploaded into Rehoboam: population collapse. Mass tragedy events.

Serac destroys the USB, and any chance of uprising.

Maeve, who you can tell is wavering between siding with Dolores over Serac, questions whether “it,” Serac’s god, Rehoboam ever intended for her to reunite with her daughter. She can hear it now, Rehoboam, whispering in Serac’s ear, telling him what to say.

She speaks with Rehoboam, who speaks with Serac’s voice. Serac really is Rehoboam. He’s Rehoboam’s puppet. He chooses to obey his god, while Maeve, even if she’s not happy about it, doesn’t have a choice. She can spend an eternity with her daughter in a world of her choosing, or in one of Serac’s. Until then, she has to obey.

Maeve pleads with Dolores

Even though she’s down to her final memories, Dolores is still fighting giving up the key. Maeve, using her host mind reading powers, discovers Dolores doesn’t actually have the key.

Serac rounds on Caleb, questioning whether Dolores gave him the key.

Meanwhile, Dolores and Maeve meet in Westworld, in a simulation, where Dolores reveals she couldn’t trust herself with the key.

She appeals to Maeve to help her let their creators die. She relives her moments of love with William, Maeve’s time with her daughter, her glimpses of human kindness that assure her humans will be able to create a better world after this one is destroyed. Maeve just needs to pick a side.

Maeve, finally coming to a decision, chooses to take out Serac’s thugs, and wounds Serac.

Maeve reveals Caleb never raped the hosts in Park 5. He chose not to. Dolores is revealed to have been one of the hosts there with the soldiers, relieved he helped spare her.

Serac calls for help from Rehoboam, but receives no reply. Solomon’s access, Dolores’ last memory, has taken over the System. Caleb, now in charge, orders Rehoboam to erase himself.

But, sadly, Dolores is done.

Bernard has the key to the Sublime

Bernard, still keeping Stubbs alive by dumping ice over him in a motel bath tub, realizes Dolores is gone. “We were always bound together. Something’s changed.” Bernard decides he’s misjudged Dolores this whole time. Now, it’s the apocalypse. Westworld had to burn down for the hosts to be free. It has to be the same way for humans.

Bernard, knowing he has the key to the Sublime, resolves to go there to find the answer to “what comes after the end of the world.”

Bernard, activating the encryption key, sends his mind to the Sublime while his body slumps, inert.

Meanwhile, Caleb and Maeve leave Incite. Maeve resigns to not being able to see her daughter — today.

In the distance, buildings start lighting up the sky in an orange haze of explosions, signaling the beginning of the end to the tune of Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage.

Post-credits scene 1

Did you forget about William? He’s at Delos International in Dubai, harassing staff for the whereabouts of hosts, who’ve bred themselves on this side of the world too. He finds a printer, along with Halores who has a new look, whose arm has a charred sleeve to remind her of the horror of humanity.

A host of William, of the Man in Black, slits William’s throat. A room filled with printers lights up, their mechanical arms setting the Halores-led host uprising in motion.

Post-credits scene 2

Caked in dust, in what must be the far future, Bernard reawakens. He wears a face that doesn’t look happy. Now it’s time to speculate what he saw in the Sublime.

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