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Westworld Season 3 Ending, Explained

May 4, 2020
8 min read

HBO’s ‘Westworld‘ raised the stakes of its science-fiction premise in its third season. The acclaimed series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy has been considered to be one of the best science-fiction television series of all time. The third installment of the HBO show sees the story move out of a futuristic theme park, onto the real world. To be clearer, the third season focuses on Dolores’ attempt to end human civilization. Throughout the entire season, she is depicted to be hatching a plan to free the world of the predictive AI machine, Rehoboam, and defeat its founder, Serac. The season finale sees her plan reach its final stage, as the world riots. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Westworld Season 3 Episode 8 Recap:

The episode begins with Dolores remembering how she was taught to see the beauty in the world. Then, the scene switches to William pointing a gun at Bernard and Stubbs. He shoots Stubbs. Bernard tries to fight, but the police stop him. However, when the “police officers” take off their masks, it is revealed that one of them is Lawrence, and probably another copy of Dolores. Lawrence gives Bernard a briefcase and an address.

Caleb breaks into a building and finds another host body of Dolores. He puts Dolores’ pearl inside the body to revive her. Dolores reveals that Caleb and a few other soldiers had been trained using hosts and their behavior studied. She tells him that that’s why she chose him and that free will does exist.

Serac sees Caleb accessing Solomon using CCTV footage. He sends Maeve to get Dolores. Meanwhile, Dolores has gotten more manpower but is approached by a projection of Hale that only she can see. Hale tells Dolores how she sees her as a weakness now and has hired some men to kill her. Dolores manages to ward them off by paying the sniper more money and asking him to kill the others.

Dolores asks Caleb to go to Rehoboam to upload the drive from Solomon. Then, Maeve appears. The two fight again, and Dolores defeats Maeve. However, she spares Maeve’s life and starts to walk away but malfunctions. Hale appears again, telling Dolores that she ensured she had a way to stop her. Meanwhile, Ash and Giggles meet Caleb and make him sit in a flying car to get to Incite.

Bernard reaches the address given to him by Lawrence. It turns out to be the home of Arnold’s wife, who tells him that the memory of her son keeps her going. Dolores is tied to Rehoboam by Serac. Serac wants to find the key to The Sublime, which is in Dolores’ mind, and orders his men to access and destroy her past memories. Caleb reaches Incite but is stopped before he can insert the drive into Rehoboam. He is taken to Serac, who tells him that Dolores lied to him.

Serac makes Caleb read the consequences of putting the drive into Rehoboam, on Rehoboam: end of human civilization. Serac breaks the drive.  Maeve “speaks” to Rehoboam and realizes that Serac is controlled by it. Serac orders his men to erase every memory of Dolores. Suddenly, Maeve finds herself talking to Dolores at Westworld. Dolores tells Maeve that she chooses to remember the moments of human kindness (“the beauty in the world”). She also tells Maeve that she doesn’t have the key and that she gave it to someone she trusts.

After that, Maeve proceeds to go after Serac, but Serac freezes her. However, Maeve is not affected by it and fights off Serac and his men. She tells Caleb that Dolores chose him because of his ability to choose. It is revealed that Caleb had convinced the other army men with him to not rape the hosts as spoils of “war” during their training. Dolores was one of the hosts.

However, Serac is still not dead and orders Rehoboam to call the police. But, Maeve tells him that Rehoboam will only listen to Caleb now. Caleb orders Rehoboam to “erase itself.” Then, it is revealed that Bernard was the one with the Sublime key. He uses it to enter Sublime to find out what comes after the end of the world. Maeve and Caleb leave Incite and talk on a bridge. As the buildings in front of them burn, Maeve tells Caleb that a new, freer world is about to start.

Post-credits: William forcefully enters the Delos building in Dubai and goes to the basement. There, he meets Hale, who has a burnt arm (from the car explosion). She tells William that he will save the world for the hosts. A host, which is the clone of William (in his man-in-black attire), kills the real William. Then, a large collection of host vats are depicted. Bernard is shown “waking up.”

Westworld Season 3 Ending Explained:

The eighth episode of the third season of ‘Westworld’ proves to be an engaging conclusion to a riveting season. The final scene involves Maeve and Caleb talking on a bridge as the city burns. The scene signifies how something needs to be destroyed for the creation of something new. Apart from that, the scene also signals the triumph of free will.

The ending of the third season signals the beginning of a “new world,” free from the constraints of Rehoboam. Rehoboam is a direct reference to predictive analytics and how the system of capitalism has become so pervasive that it practically dictates the kind of lives each one of us will lead. Hence, the ending, in many ways, turns out to be extremely positive despite the destruction. It also sets up the next season, which will be set in a less dystopian future.

Furthermore, Maeve also tells Caleb how she can always search for her daughter some other time. Hence, viewers can expect Maeve’s search to continue. However, Maeve’s search signifies something much more than an attempt to be reunited with her daughter. It carries forward the philosophical debate of the nature of self-consciousness and identity. What makes you “you?”

The ship of Theseus, a philosophical thought experiment, is something that perfectly summarises the above-stated debate. Imagine a ship at sea whose planks begin to rot. Each rotting plank is replaced one after the other till every plank has been replaced. Now, the philosophical question is this: if every plank of the ship has been replaced, can the ship still be considered to be the same ship? Or can it be considered to be a completely new entity? Similarly, if our bodies constantly change, which version of us is the real us?

When it comes to Maeve, the memories of her daughter is what anchors her and makes her her. One school of philosophy believes that it is one’s relation to others that defines one’s identity. Hence, Maeve telling Caleb about her daughter indicates that she is still in search of her true identity. The ship of Theseus debate can also be observed when Dolores’ memories get erased by Serac. Does this mean that Dolores stops existing? That would probably also be discussed in the future seasons.

Post-Credits Scene Explained:

The final episode of the third season of ‘Westworld’ can be said to have two endings because of the post-credits scene. The scene ends with the revelation of a collection of host vats in the basement of Delos’ Dubai office. This sets the stage for the fourth season of the show, which will see Hale and William be the main antagonists.

In many ways, the post-credits scene sheds light on their plan. Firstly, the two of them are obviously hatching a plan for the hosts to dominate the planet. Hence, they would be seen making multiple hosts for their plan. One of the ways that the two can go about doing so is by making “clone” hosts of notable humans. For instance, Hale makes a copy of William to replace the actual human William. Similarly, she can replace humans in influential positions with hosts.

Apart from that, the post-credits scene also shows Bernard “waking up.” Before accessing The Sublime, he is shown telling Stubbs that he wants to know what happens after the end of the world. Here, the end of the world means the destruction of the current world order, which is achieved in the final episode. Hence, Bernard probably realizes what Hale is up to and will now want to stop her.

Read More: Where Is Westworld Filmed?

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