(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Sunday’s episode of “Westworld.”)
Lee Sizemore came back from the dead on tonight’s episode of “Westworld” Season 3. Well, we thought he did, at first. And when Simon Quarterman — who played Lee on the first two seasons of the Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy-created HBO sci-fi series, before he was shot to death on the Season 2 finale — found out he would be returning for Season 3, he also believed Lee had been somehow resurrected, at first.
“I got a call from Lisa giving me the good news I would be coming back, but she didn’t let me know in what capacity or how — so I was left there for months working out, you know, how on Earth I’m gonna show up in Season 3,” Quarterman told TheWrap. “And just before we started shooting, we were just about to go into rehearsals, I got pulled into a meeting with Lisa and she sat me down and she explained the deal and what was gonna happen in the episode, ’cause I hadn’t had it yet. And, needless to say, of all the different things I’d thought how I’d survived, I did not in any way have any inkling that this was gonna be the case at all.”
As Episode 302, titled “The Winter Line,” reveals, Lee didn’t survive being shot half a dozen times by his fellow Delos employees while trying to help Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) escape. The way he returns is inside Maeve’s mind, or rather, inside a simulation of Delos Destinations in which Maeve’s mind has been placed. It doesn’t take long for Maeve to realize she’s been put inside a digital version of the parks and that’s actually thanks to the way Lee treats her, which is like he a man in love with her — not a man who loved her as a friend, like the real Lee did.
“So the main thing, which I think was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was the fact that he was in love with her, not in a platonic way, but obviously in a sexual manner,” Quarterman said. “And this was the thing that really allowed Maeve to see through the whole thing and see through to the simulation. So playing it, I just had to play exactly that, just these new set of rules that were given for Lee so that he was indeed in love with her. And I think at the end of Season 2 there was indeed love there between him and Maeve, but on a completely different level. And that’s really what triggered Maeve, really.”
It’s not long after Maeve finds out she’s inside a simulation, and that Lee truly is dead, that she tries to snap the digital version of Delos’ head of narrative and design out of thinking he’s the real Lee and get him to help her break out of her digital cage.
“The next pivotal scene was in his office, he’s not fully grasping he’s a simulation,” Quarterman said. “It takes the sculpture of Maeve, which she throws and it pauses in midair — and I think that’s the moment it does click for Lee. So within the simulation it felt, as there is with all the programming of all the Hosts, there is this wiggle room for sentience, for a deeper understanding of a situation. That was the real scene that really cemented where Lee was and what he now is, which is no longer alive and part of a simulation.”
He added: “We played a lot in that scene with him trying to figure out what was real. Because everything around him felt real, he feels completely real. She felt real to him and it was only when she threw the statue that he realized this was indeed the truth, you know, that she was giving to him. So I think there was a journey for Lee in this episode from denial and confusion and then moving through into what we find at the very end is acceptance, I think.”
But should fans accept that Lee is now gone from the story or will he be back, seeing as Quarterman is listed as a series regular for the season?
“There’s very, very little I can tell you, I’m afraid. Just going to have to tune in to find out,” he said to us. “Listen, I think there are snipers around looking at me right now. I can’t say a dang word.”
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.