(We’ve got all the major spoilers ahead for the Season 3 of HBO’s “Westworld” through the second episode)
It’s a weird time to be alive, what with a global pandemic rampaging and folks in the government arguing over whether regular people or big corporations are more deserving of a bailout. The arrival of the third season of “Westworld,” then, is pretty timely. We’ve got extra time to formulate fan theories about it during quarantine, and also this is a show that has a lot to say about regular folks being screwed over by The Man.
At first glance, it kind of feels like “Westworld” creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are playing it more straight with the narrative than they did in the very complicated Seasons 1 and 2. But after watching the premiere and second episode a couple of times, we can assure you that Season 3 is once again full of weird mysteries.
That said, let’s jump right into the questions we have after Episode 302.
1. Which host is in Charlotte Hale’s body?
Dolores may have returned to the real world in the robot version of Charlotte’s body, but now she’s back in her own body while Charlotte is now running Delos. Episode 3 confirmed that it’s one of the pearls that Dolores smuggled out of the part in season 2, but the episode very rudely declined to say which character from past seasons it was.
2. Where are the other pearls, and whose minds are they?
We only know who one of those pearls was: Bernard. The identities of the Hosts inside the other four pearls remains a mystery. Dolores had another pal in a new body in the premiere episode, with a new Host copy of Martin Connells, a higher-up at Incite who Dolores killed near the end of the episode. But we don’t know who is in that Connells body, or what Dolores has done with the last two pearls.
3. Does Season 3 have multiple timelines going?
So far it feels like, for the first time, “Westworld” is just telling the story in order. But we should all know better by now that things are never what they seem on this show. We don’t have any particular thing to point to as evidence that they’re doing multiple timelines again, but we’re definitely going to be suspicious about it until the show confirms that it isn’t. But the fact that we’ve got multiple parallel stories going that don’t really intertwine with each other, our spidey sense is tingling that Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are trying to pull a fast one on us again.
4. What in the world is going on with Bernard?
Bernard, having apparently been rebuilt by Dolores, is in hiding after being the scapegoat for the massacre at Westworld and the other Delos Destinations theme parks. He’s having diagnostic conversations with himself and has a little red button that triggers some kind of personality shift by some means.
And then he heads to Westworld to find Maeve, but she’s not there. So he uses the park’s tech to try some more diagnostics to see if Dolores messed with his code, and now he’s seeing some of Dolores’s memories too?
So what’s up with literally all of that?
5. What were those cryptic white screens about?
A few times during the premiere we see white screens with a weird 2D representation of the world on them, coordinates for some location, and some kind of alert. For example:
Anomaly detected: Los Angeles, USA
Minor irregularities. Analysis required.
Focal Point: 34.0522 degrees north, -118.2437 degrees west
Our guess is that these are essentially the “thoughts” of the giant supercomputer we saw at Incite headquarters, Rehoboam. But what do these messages mean?
6. Whose empty chair was that during the Delos board meeting?
We had a scene early in the Season 3 premiere episode in which the Host version of Charlotte is leading a meeting of the Delos board of directors, and she’s looking to get started building more Hosts, but needs approval for such a move. And she gets the leverage she need from an AI that was left to vote in the stead of an unknown board member who is not present. The only clue we’re given is that it’s a man.
All the previous folks who held leadership positions within Delos are dead now, save for one: William. That’s the best guess for now. So, where is William?
Whether or not he’s the missing board member, we know William is out there somewhere because he was still alive at the end of Season 2. But we didn’t see him in the premiere at all. He was gravely wounded the last time we saw him, and he’s not exactly a spry guy at the peak of his physical prowess, so he may very well still be in recovery. Or he may be off doing some new weird things.
7. What is Serac up to?
This other big company, Incite, is officially run by Liam Dempsey Jr., who is the son of the co-founder, Liam Dempsey Sr. But during the premiere he reveals that he’s just a figurehead, and it’s the other co-founder who has the real power. In that same episode, the unnamed person makes a power move against Liam, locking him out of everything, essentially, including what little access he had to the Rehoboam supercomputer.
Then at the end of the second episode, we meet a man named Serac, played by the great Vincent Cassel, who wants to sic Maeve on Dolores, and who makes an offhand comment about how he created “the system” that runs society in 2058. And this guy has been playing a long game to take over Delos, with the real Charlotte Hale before she was killed, but we don’t know why
8. Does this guy have other simulations running for other Hosts?
When Maeve finds her own pearl in Episode 2, we see it’s hooked up to a big server, in a room full of servers, and they all appear to have many pearls hooked up to them. So the questions is: do these pearls belong to the hosts that populated the simulation that Maeve escaped from, or are there other simulations going as well? Say, one for Hector and Maeve’s other pals from before?
I don’t know what the purpose of other simulations would be — given that Maeve’s had a very specific purpose and there wouldn’t be any point in trying the same thing with the others. But the Serac character is such a wild card at this point that I couldn’t begin to guess what else he might have going on.
9. What is U.R.E.W.?
According to one of those white screens we mentioned up top, London is no longer in the United Kingdom, but rather in a country called U.R.E.W. We can’t even begin to guess what that acronym stands for, but obviously it means there’s been some kind of major shift in the European geopolitical landscape before 2058. We’ve seen “United Realms of England and Wales” suggested, and that seems to be a pretty solid guess right now.
10. Is everything on this show inside a computer simulation?
We actually kinda thought this would come up last season with the introduction of the Matrix-esque Cradle simulation inside Westworld. And now, we have a character straight up just theorizing that yes, this is all a simulation. We don’t have any evidence for this one, but that brief conversation feels like Chekhov’s Simulation. As in, there has to be something to this because why else drop such an idea on us?
11. Did they just casually introduce another new park?
So I know everybody is freaking out about the cameos by “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, but I’m more concerned with everything else going on in that scene. Specifically, the idea that one of the remaining two unidentified parks on the island with Westworld is some kind of fantasy-themed situation.
12. Is Lee Sizemore going to get a new body?
Yes, the real Lee (Simon Quarterman) is dead, but now there’s this approximation of him living inside Vincent Cassel’s computer simulation. Over the course of the second episode, he basically went through the entire awakening process that we saw hosts undergo many times over the first two seasons, so it feels like they have to bring him back for more. Plus, Quarterman is still billed as a series regular this season, so he must have, ahem, a sizable role in the remaining episodes.
We imagine he has a pearl, and it was among the others that were plugged into the simulation’s servers. But if we see more of him, will it be inside or outside the simulation?