WESTWORLD (S3E6) “Decoherence”: The End Is Near & Everyone’s Hurt

With only one episode left before the finale, the third season of Westworld begins to put all the puzzle pieces in place and set the endgame in motion this week. All the power players try to race one another; Maeve (Thandie Newton) is recruiting allies while Robo-Hale (Tessa Thompson) does most of the heavy-lifting for Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), all told in an action-heavy episode. Though it’s still not as great and exciting as the first four episodes of the season, ‘Decoherence’, in the end, manages to get the job done while still sustaining the show’s philosophical exploration of identity and the nature of free will.

The future is female

Last week, we saw Dolores put her masterplan in action by revealing all Rehoboam’s predictive trajectories to every human being on the planet. And this has since put the world in the brink of apocalypse. People are killing each other and themselves. Everyone is in panic mode, afraid that the prediction will come true. While the prime Dolores and Caleb (Aaron Paul) are currently going AWOL in I don’t know where, Charlotte hustles to finish what Dolores set out to do at Delos; collecting all the hosts’ data before Serac (Vincent Cassel) gets it first. But Serac is not far behind. He even takes advantage of the chaos to get where he needs to be even if it means killing innocent people. Who last week was a sympathetic, misunderstood man trying to control the world because of the trauma he experienced as a kid, he has fully emerged as a villain, a role that Cassel inhabits brilliantly.

WESTWORLD (S3E6) "Decoherence": The End Is Near & Everyone's Hurt
source: HBO

At this point, Serac still has no clue that Charlotte is a host with a copy of Dolores inside of her. But knowing howDolores has been two steps ahead, Serac has a suspicion that there might be a host inside of Delos. He assigns Charlotte to find that host and destroys all the park’s data except the one which he needs the most. While pretending to do what Serac assigns her, Charlotte makes a last-minute gambit; she downloads all of the data that Serac wants to destroy, in which one of his men catches her off guard. But in the end, what reveals her to Serac is not one of his men, but rather one small error: calling her ex-husband and son to pack their things up and get ready to escape the city. “The real Charlotte wouldn’t have taken time to check on her son,” says Serac. “You’re kinder to your family than the person you’re imitating.”

As we can learn from the third episode, this host version of Charlotte has been struggling to make sense of her identity. One part of her is as cold and ruthless as Dolores because, well, she is practically just a copy of Dolores. But another part shows vulnerability. She loves her son and wants to protect her family at all cost. Early on in the episode, Charlotte asks Dolores why she didn’t strip this emotional cognition when she clones her conscience to Charlotte’s body? Though her answer that it would make Robo-Hale more believable as Charlotte is making a lot of sense, it feels more like an error in her part. Charlotte eventually manages to escape Delos and Serac in a thrilling action sequence that resembles Atomic Blonde. And Thompson’s physical performance is simply terrific.

Parallel to Charlotte, Maeve is also doing some heavy work. But it’s all happening in a simulation created by Serac. Maeve tells Serac that if he wants her to help him win the war against Dolores, he should let her recruit allies. And that’s what she does in the simulation; she goes to Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), hoping that they’ll be able to help her. Though it’s always delightful to spend time with Newton, most of her character’s arc this episode doesn’t feel really progressive. She’s still a couple of steps behind Dolores, and there’s no new insights besides the different ideologies that these two women have, and how it has led them to two opposing sides. Cool as it is to see Maeve singlehandedly killing a lot of Nazis, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessary for it to happens in the same scenario that we have seen before in episode two.

WESTWORLD (S3E6) "Decoherence": The End Is Near And Everyone's Hurt
source: HBO

To be honest, it’s getting worrisome to see how Maeve’s arc will end this season. But if there’s any consolation, the tragedy that happens to Maeve near the end of this episode, and how it mirrors the devastating end of Charlotte and her family, will only mean that both of these characters — aside from having nothing to lose — is gonna be really integral to what will hopefully be an epic war against Dolores. Yes, the endgame of season three is still cloudy, but at least we know that it will be centered around the three main female characters, who also happen to be the most interesting part of the show.

Man in Black and his delusion

Elsewhere in Mexico, William (Ed Harris) is struggling to adapt to his new home; a psychiatric hospital where Charlotte committed him in episode four. At first, it seems like William has no motivation left to live or to be better except to annoy the other patients with his nihilistic view of life. While two of the hospital staff are taking him to VR therapy, William witnesses his therapist is committing suicide, and everything is in chaos, meaning that what Dolores did in last week’s episode has also infiated the hospital. We don’t know if William knows anything about it, or what Dolores’ actual plan for William is. What we do know, however, is another unnecessary backstory.

While inside the VR therapy, William is visited by a number of familiar faces; the kid version of himself (Zayd Kiszonak) who admits that he’s abused by his father, his younger version (Jimmi Simpson) whom Dolores fell in love with, his early days as Man in Black, and even James Dellos (Peter Mullan) roleplaying as his therapist and his number one nemesis Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker). It’s also during this moment that it’s revealed William had actually never been abused as a child, and that he’s been a problematic bad guy all along. The episode manages to provoke some question about nature vs. nurture, but it doesn’t feel compelling at all because to have a backstory of an old character this far into the show is just pointless, and even feels contradictory to how kind the younger William was.

WESTWORLD (S3E6) "Decoherence": The End Is Near And Everyone's Hurt
source: HBO

Ed Harris’ performance throughout the episode, however, is phenomenal. His expressions really inform the conflicted feelings that he has for himself. At one moment he’s disgusted at how he’s been, and at another, we see his regret, as well as determination to be better. What’s really important about William’s arc this episode happens after he kills all of his visitors, and before he’s randomly joined by Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) — a metaphor that William is finally free of his past and ready to move forward. He even says that he is actually the good guy as of that moment. Though it sounds delusional at first, it’s actually saying a lot more about how William finally demonstrates his free will. He chooses to be the good guy, not because it’s predetermined. And the question of who he thinks is the bad guy will be interesting to answer in the next episode.

Welcome to the endgame

Everyone now has found more personal motivations to get involved in the big war between two sides of humanity. Maeve, along with Lee Sizemore, seems faithful to be on Serac’s side, especially after the tragic death of Hector in the hand of Robo-Hale. But the fact that she’s nothing more than just a pawn for Serac, can also lead her to switch side. Charlotte, on the other hand, is on Dolores’ side. But the tragic car crash that kills her ex-husband and son this episode could also mean two things; either she blames Dolores for putting her family in danger, or it will only fuel her desire more to destroy Serac. And not to mention William, Bernard, and Stubbs, whose allegiances remain unclear.

Every character is basically a wild card as of now, and that’s for the better of it. Whether they will go against Dolores or work alongside her in the end, let’s hope that the endgame will be as grand and epic as possible.

Which host do you think Maeve is building at the end of this episode? Let us know in the comments!

All six episodes of Westworld season three are available to stream on HBO GO and HBO Now.

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