(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the Season 3 premiere of “Westworld.”)
“Westworld” Season 3 opens with Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) part of a whole new world — our world, actually. It’s just that this version of Earth is set in the year 2058 and carefully crafted by the HBO sci-fi series’ co-creators, husband and wife team Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
And the very first thing we see the Host, who was so desperate to get into the “real world,” do during the Season 3 premiere is take a dip in a pool at the home of Jerry (played by Thomas Kretschmann). He’s a very rich man who had done very bad things to her when he was a guest in Westworld, and he has access to valuable information that Dolores wants from a company called Incite. (By the way, Dolores knows this after reading his file inside the Forge at the end of Season 2.)
So while she’s going freestyle, she’s also tampering with all the tech in his very modern home to torture him into giving her what she desires. She’s also draining his bank accounts ’cause the girl needs some cash to survive in the real world.
“We went back and forth about that opening scene and actually shot it last up,” Nolan told TheWrap. “Because it’s so exciting and there were so many different ideas and things to engage in here where, on the one hand, we were excited to experience the outside world, you know, her swimming in the pool and enjoying one of the unique modern conveniences and her fascination with the outside world.”
After Dolores takes that quick dip and delivers a long speech to this man about what he has done to her and his ex-wife and forces him to relive those moments, he gives her the data she desire. And then she kills him. Before doing this, Dolores says she really didn’t want to hurt him, as she’s already hurt so many people (Season 2, anyone?), but she *knew* he’d hurt her if she didn’t hurt him.
“Right out of the gate, we want her dynamic, driven. She has a plan and she’s gonna raise holy hell down on the people who have taken advantage of her in the past,” Nolan said. “There’s not really anything personal about it, it’s about using them to accomplish her goal, and one of her questions for the season is, well, what really is that goal? And Bernard’s (Jeffrey Wright) assumption is she’s gonna destroy the world. What she’ll tell Caleb (Aaron Paul) is she wants to liberate the world.”
“But liberation means many things,” Joy added. “Right, it’s a word that is often unique to the ‘liberators,'” Nolan said.
Now let’s get some more insight into Incite, the tech company that Dolores so desperately wanted information from that she killed Jerry for it. We soon see that Dolores has taken on the identity of “Laura,” and found her way into dating Liam Dempsey (played by John Gallagher Jr.), the man who currently runs Incite.
Liam’s father co-founded the tech company, which tracks personal data, and co-created its biggest asset: Rehoboam, a giant globe-looking supercomputer that can “think” on its own and strategizes the best “paths” for every human. And humans have accepted this tech as part of everyday life at this point and many, at least those who benefit from it with *good* paths, find it to be helpful. (Caleb, who Dolores meets by the end of the episode, is not one of these people.)
“Her ultimate goal depends on whether you think Dolores is the protagonist or the antagonist, the hero or the villain,” Nolan said of Dolores’ intentions with getting close to Dempsey and Incite.
“But if Dolores is coming out into the world, regardless of her intentions, she is looking for the vulnerable points,” he said. “And we’ve seen lots of stories in which the protagonist wants to take out the human species and sort of nuke it from orbit. We wanted to do something that focused a little more on the idea that you could take down humanity on a more tactical level. Something less messy, a less crude way. Or, in fact, that it wouldn’t actually be that hard.”
Here is where Joy noted what Dolores is attempting to do with Incite is “the mother of petards,” with Nolan adding, that “when you hoist someone with their petard you blow them up.”
“That’s what she’s doing,” Joy said. “She’s using their own technology against them, potentially, by hoisting them on their own petard.”
Readers can find our post-mortem interview with Paul, in which he talks about Caleb’s first interaction with Dolores, here.
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.