Westworld season Three is taking part in out, to place it in screenplay phrases, like an Act 3. There’s been no affirmation from HBO that that is the final season of Lisa Pleasure and Jonathan Nolan’s sci-fi epic, however the paths of hosts Dolores, Bernard, Maeve, plus the company entities entangled of their awakening, are all coming to a head.

In contrast to seasons 1 and a pair of, there appear to be fewer mysteries to resolve, and extra moral dilemmas to confront. Is Dolores the hero or the villain of the story? Can Bernard preserve his bicameral thoughts regular sufficient to stop her apocalypse (if that’s one thing he ought to even do)? And now in episode 2, “The Winter Line,” an identical query lands on Maeve’s lap: does she must be Dolores’ buddy or foe with a purpose to reunite along with her daughter?

The large questions preserve the motion transferring at a thriller’s tempo. However that is Westworld, and Pleasure and Nolan are specialists at making us look a technique so we don’t see the sleight of hand at work within the different course. Is there a giant reveal ready to occur in season 3?

“Reveal” may in the end be the incorrect phrase, however after episode 2, viewers could also be questioning how the present is as soon as once more toying with perspective. Or to place it in one other approach, the present continues to choose at a key theme: “Have you ever ever questioned the character of your actuality?”

[Ed. be aware: this publish accommodates main spoilers for Westworld season 3, episode 2. Whereas HBO supplied Polygon and different press with the primary 4 episodes of the collection, we solely previewed episode 2, with a purpose to preserve spoilers for future episodes out of episodic protection.]

Explaining the entire simulation factor in Westworld episode 2

Photograph: John P. Johnson/HBO

Pleasure and Nolan dedicate the complete hour of episode 2 to catching up with Maeve, who’s now trapped in Battle World. After reuniting with Hector, she realizes that is all simply one other loop she should break with a purpose to discover an escape route. Lee Sizemore, having one way or the other survived season 2, finds her within the Delos restore rooms, and directs her to The Forge, the place all of the reminiscence cores have been saved. That is her probability to lastly get her daughter again, Maeve thinks … till she doesn’t.

Midway by means of the episode, a glitchy Sizemore helps Maeve notice that this new loop is bullshit. Her escape from Delos is bullshit. All the things is bullshit. Her expertise, as she comes to grasp, is a simulation conjured by an unknown power who needs to know what Maeve is aware of. However having a grasp on her un-reality offers Maeve the higher hand, and she or he escapes her digital jail by means of brutal drone power. She hacks the system, controls a drone in the actual world, busts her core out of containment, and goes on a full assault towards her captors. COVID-19 pressured No Time to Die to relocate to November, however fortunately, the creators of Westworld gave us a mini James Bond film within the type of Maeve infiltrating the layers of a digital actuality. Give Thandie Newton an motion franchise, you cowards.

Although gunned down throughout her escape, Maeve will get yet another shot at existence, courtesy of a shadowy new antagonist named Serac. Performed by French actor Vincent Cassel, the businessman admits that he suspected Maeve was behind a latest string of murders, and hoped absolutely simulating the truth of the Westworld park would get her to interrupt. The plan clearly didn’t work, but it surely additionally didn’t matter! Serac is conscious of Dolores, and now needs Maeve — rebuilt in the actual world — to assist him search out the renegade AI. She doesn’t comply, and Serac freezes her, flexing his energy over her pc mind. She’s not used to that.

Maeve in the real world in a real white dress in Westworld season 3

Photograph: John P. Johnson/HBO

Although the episode doesn’t provide a lot context, we do know what function Cassel’s character performs within the larger image of Westworld season 3. In keeping with HBO.com, Serac (first identify, Engerraund), is a “shadowy determine with huge assets,” and “one of many architects of Rehoboam,” the tremendous intelligence created by Incite to algorithmically place each citizen of the planet on a optimized path. Dolores is at present searching down Incite bigwigs. Serac needs Meave to place an finish to it. Who is aware of what’s true or what’s not — when you might have “shadowy” in your character description, there’s no telling what you’re truly as much as.

The season Three premiere launched us to Liam Dempsey Jr. (John Gallagher Jr.), the son of Incite co-founder Liam Dempsey, who additionally invented Rehoboam. Maybe Serac is one other figurehead on the enterprise, hoping to bump Junior out for nefarious functions. As a devoted viewer of Westworld, I really feel like I can’t even say with authority if Serac is an actual individual or not. After two seasons of taking part in quick and free with timelines and information-delivery, Pleasure and Nolan are hammering residence the concept no matter we predict we’re seeing on display at any given level could possibly be a simulation — whether or not it’s a park, an individual, or existence itself. The one factor I imagine is that I don’t belief any of what I begin to imagine.

Who and what’s actual in Westworld?

Right here’s what we all know after episode 2:

  • Ashley Stubbs, having by no means been an actual individual, is conscious of his host-ness, and now on Staff Bernard
  • Lee Sizemore undoubtedly died, however was recreated by Serac to idiot Maeve
  • Meave’s core was retrieved by Incite, plugged right into a simulation, then recreated as a bunch within the “actual” world by Serac
  • Everybody has the flexibility to create new lookalike hosts and completely new realities, so all bets are off.

After the season Three premiere, I went lengthy questioning if Aaron Paul’s Caleb was dwelling in his personal simulated actuality — not less than on the facet. The ex-soldier and blue-collar employee dabbles in petty crime because of an app that appears straight out of a online game. Perhaps a bit too very like a online game. The premiere additionally has a personality bluntly postulate the likelihood that the actual world is a simulation, in a dialog we’ve all had too many occasions with intoxicated friends. The scene was a sign that Pleasure and Nolan may be as much as their outdated reality-bending methods once more. Episode 2 establishes that it’s extraordinarily doable for any consciousnesses saved in cores to get plugged right into a Matrix-esque universe. Incite needs us all to dwell in a utopia designed by AI, and now we all know they’ve the capability to construct worlds complete fabric — who is aware of the place that expertise actually ends within the confines of this narrative.

For now, Westworld has positioned itself as a brand new type of Blade Runner, a Maeve-vs.-Dolores showdown that received’t finish effectively for robotic or human alike. However I’m nonetheless on the sting of my seat ready for yet another twist. Episode 2 as soon as once more performed with the side ratio to point planes of existence. Episode 1 might have been having enjoyable with costumes. Westworld is all the time hiding data within the margins, ready patiently to talk the bigger fact. Something is feasible now, even because the story winds right down to a grand finale.