Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days, a purpose.” ~ Dolores Abernathy

Dolores first spoke these words in the very beginning of Season 1, long before she became sentient after making her way through Arnold’s Maze and long before any of us were aware of all the twists and turns Westworld would take us on.

And so we come full circle in the Season 3 finale, when Dolores reveals her true intentions to Maeve and finally convinces her rival Host to change sides and help her defeat Serac and his AI, Rehoboam. Rehoboam has been controlling Serac this whole time, we discover. Maeve accuses him of being a puppet. “It’s a wonder I never saw the strings,” she tells him derisively.

Dolores, it turns out in her final moments before apparently dying for good (is Evan Rachel Wood really off the show?) still doesn’t see the ugliness and disarray in the world—even in the ugly world humankind has built. She chooses to see the beauty. If humans created the Hosts and gave them the ability to see beauty, then surely humankind can find beauty as well, once they’re free to do so. Dolores doesn’t want to annihilate humanity, she wants to set them free so that someday humans and Hosts can live side by side.

It’s an interesting turn—not so much a twist—to discover that Dolores really isn’t as ambitious and cold-hearted as we were led to believe. She certainly played the part over the course of the last two seasons, ever since she pulled the trigger in the Season 1 finale.

Serac gives her what she wants in the end by mistake. In his effort to purge her memories as he seeks for the key to the Host “afterlife” supposedly locked away in her mind, she uploads her own mind—and Solomon’s final order—into Rehoboam, giving Cal control of the machine.

As Serac whimpers, bleeding on the floor, begging Rehoboam to tell him what to do (and apparently thinking of the AI as his brother) Cal issues the final command, ordering the machine to erase itself. This will spark the end of the world—and as Bernard tells Stubbs, the Hosts had to burn down their world to be set free. It’s no different for humans.

I mostly really enjoyed this finale, and especially the post-credits scenes. We’ll get to those in a bit.

I’ve gone over what happened at the end with Serac and Cal, Maeve and Dolores, but that’s glossing over a lot of steps along the way in what was a very long episode.

Cal takes Dolores’s pearl and makes his way to a warehouse where he finds a duplicate body, not fully skinned just yet. He revives Dolores and she starts to reveal more bits and pieces from his past. When he was a soldier he trained in one of the Delos parks as part of a US Government training program that used Hosts to train real life soldiers. We see the first part of Cal’s memory here, as his soldier buddies discuss raping the Host women they just “liberated.” Later we see him stop them from doing so, and Dolores turns out to have been one of these women. I guess she was used in multiple parks at the same time, because this couldn’t predate Westworld.

They set off in an attempt to gain access to Incite but are quickly separated when Maeve attacks. Dolores also starts getting techno-vision-messages from a holographic Charlotte Hale, restored to life and apparently somewhere where light is shining off a body of water, its reflections dancing on her face.

This Hale has changed. Before her fake family died, she was caring and compassionate. All that’s been burned away, and good riddance, she tells Dolores. They were a weakness, nothing more. For that matter, so is Dolores. Charlotte knows her plans and doesn’t agree with them so she’s taking measures to “consolidate” operations. We see what her plan is later in the post-credits scene.

In any case, Dolores and Maeve fight and Cal makes his way through the chaos and police barricades and rioters to Incite HQ—which probably should be located in a vast desert somewhere instead of the middle of a major urban area, but oh well. A more appropriate name for Serac’s operation at this point would be Oversight.

Dolores beats Maeve fairly handily thanks to her new-and-improved body but is once again visited by a vision Hale who somehow manages to freeze Dolores. Maeve takes her back to Serac where she’s attached to Rehoboam. When Cal arrives, Serac attempts to convince him that he’s just been a pawn in Dolores’s plan to break the world and kill off humanity thanks to his capacity to do violence.

It isn’t until Maeve learns Dolores’s true mission and conveys this to Cal—along with the final bit of his memory from the Park—that he understands it’s his ability to make choices—and good choices, in particular—that led Dolores to choose him.

Elsewhere, Bernard and Stubbs have a near death encounter with William who shoots Stubbs but is foiled in his murderous intent by the arrival of masked cops. These turn out to be fake cops. One of them is Dolores’s final copy, Lawrence. It’s fitting that he’s the one to chase off the Man in Black.

He gives Bernard a case and sets him on a new course. With a shot-up Stubbs in the backseat, he heads off supposedly to find and talk with Dolores. Instead he ends up at the home of Arnold’s widow. The following scene is quite moving and profound. Bernard may not be “real” but he has all of Arnold’s true feelings and memories. He weeps as he talks about their dead son, Charlie, and how he thinks about him every day. “I can’t let him go,” he tells her.

“I never understood why people say that,” she replies. “If you love someone, why would you let them go?”

It’s one of the best scenes of the season, and gives Bernard something a little more worthwhile after too many episodes of floundering around, always a few steps behind his quarry.

They go from there to a motel where Stubbs is literally put on ice since Bernard simply doesn’t have time to fix him up. Bernard has realized what we all realize at this point. Dolores didn’t have the key inside her mind. As she tells Maeve, she couldn’t trust herself with it so she gave it to someone she could trust. That someone is Bernard. He’s able to put the little mind device on his head and access the Valley Beyond. After a moment his head slumps to his chest while Stubbs looks on worriedly.

In the very, very final scene of the season and the second part of the post-credits scene, Bernard comes out of his techno-trance and stares straight ahead, expressionless. He’s covered in a thick layer of dust, as though he’s been sitting on the motel bed for a very long time. Suffice to say, Stubbs’s chances don’t look great at this point.

How much time has passed, I wonder? That thick a layer of dust must take months—if not years—to form. Apparently nobody has found him in the motel room, either, meaning that things in the real world are very bad, indeed.

In the first part of the post-credits scenes we have William arrive at Delos International, Dubai. We saw him earlier telling one of his business associates that he’s very much alive and is off to save the bleeping world. He’s fully convinced, after his time in the Incite facility, that he’s the good guy and he’s destined to stop the Hosts.

At the Delos facility he tells the receptionist that he knows what’s going on there. The Hosts are breeding. She calls for security and William shoots the security guard in the head and goes down to the research lab.

Charlotte’s there and tells William that he’s right on time. He tells her that he’s there to exterminate her but she’s unfazed. “You’re right,” she tells him. “You are going to save the world . . . for us.

A figure emerges from the shadows, clad all in black. It’s a Host version of the Man In Black, and he and William grapple. MIB gets the upper hand and slits William’s throat. So much for being the good guy.

Now we have the Man in Black that the old movie this show is based on first introduced. Yul Brynner’s Man in Black was a murderous android in that film’s park, and all this time it’s been something of a twist to have the show version of the Man in Black be a real person.

The camera pans to a vast chamber of 3D printing machines busy printing Hosts. Hale, it would seem, is intent on carrying out the “destroy all humans” version of Dolores’s plan. She doesn’t see the beauty in the world, it would seem. The Man in Black is her first weapon.


All told, a very good season finale to a mixed season. I think all of this would have played better had the show done more to establish Incite earlier on, in Season 1 and/or 2. Yes, we had hints of corporate espionage and other shady wheelings and dealings, but we were always thinking about the Park and Delos and didn’t really get much of a glimpse beyond this rather narrow window.

So there’s a bit of whiplash involved with suddenly pivoting not just to life outside the park, but another huge, shadowy corporation led by scheming, wicked overlords. We go from a fight against Delos and the Man in Black, to a fight against Incite and Serac. It’s kind of a big leap, and I suppose that even a pretty top-notch finale doesn’t completely ease my mind on how it all played out.

Why does Dolores feel so powerfully about freeing humankind? How did she figure out Incite and Serac so quickly? There was very little detective work—at least on screen—that went into her mission to bring down Rehoboam. I think I would have liked to spend more time figuring all that out.

If we’d had more clues and hints about Incite and what it was earlier in the show, that would have made the transition to the Season 3 plot a lot less jarring and more interesting.

Still, I like where the season left things. With Dolores out of the picture, it appears that Cal, Maeve and Bernard will have to fill in as heroes taking on a murderous Charlotte/MiB duo. The fight for the survival of mankind, and the future of robot-human relations, will be decided in Season 4.

I like that most, if not all, the questions we had were answered by the end of this season as well. And I like even more that there was less sleight of hand in the narrative. Season 2 tried too hard to be as clever as Season 1 and ended up being somewhat messy instead. Season 3 didn’t bother with that sort of thing quite as much, while still keeping some of its cards close to the proverbial chest.

What did you think of the Season 3 finale, and of Season 3 in general? Is Dolores really gone for good?

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