Westworld recap: Halores and Maeve rage against the machines
Let’s face it: Some of the recent Westworld episodes have been rocky. There’s been a lot of Dolores trying desperately to get access to things, scheming rich people, and Maeve waiting around for something to do.
But Sunday’s sixth episode of season 3, "Decoherence," had two legitimately great Westworld-ian sequences.
The first was William’s surreal group therapy session with different past iterations of himself (along with James Delos because sure why not). One of my favorite parts of Westworld is when it supposes what you might do with today's technology if we take it far enough. Here we get some of that, but it’s primarily a showcase for Ed Harris to just Ed Harris the hell out of these scenes.
The therapy sequence also had some much-needed humor that’s sometimes tough to find on Westworld. You see it right from the start in the “real” group theory session with William and other patients, when William starts morosely intoning things like how humanity is “a thin layer of bacteria on a bed of mud hurling through the void,” as if he’s Agent Smith, and a fellow patient bursts into tears. Or later when William utters a dry “s---” when he realizes he has to face multiple versions of himself, and some of the lines from James Delos like, “Don’t interrupt, it’s not all about you you know."
The sequence must have been a nightmare to film, but somebody was having fun with this idea, which concluded with William literally beating his inner child to death. That’s not exactly subtle but is darkly hilarious — true psycho therapy. The Man in Black discovered he had dark tendencies from a young age. “I finally understood my purpose,” he said. “I’m the good guy.” (Incidentally, I can’t help but remember that Harris' Westworld costar Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman came to the exact opposite conclusion — “I’m the bad guy” — after his group therapy sessions in Breaking Bad).
Then there was Maeve. At first, things were worrisome. Her daughter? Again? Her daughter. Really. Really? Again? Then it seemed like she was going to spend the episode trapped in various simulations again, amusing herself by punching Nazis along the way. Things got interesting when she was able to chat with the Connells version of Dolores (because Serac got Connells' charred control unit from the explosion he set off last week — you totally remember that happening, right?).
It was exciting to see Maeve match wits with Dolores (and her strategically placed hair), while the Charlotte Hale version of Dolores crushed Hector's data soul, removing him from the simulation and apparently destroying him forever — just like Cypher unplugging Neo’s friends one by one (a lot of Matrix vibes in this episode). The confrontation gives Maeve a far better motive to try and stop Dolores than simply “the rich evil guy is making me do it.” So, yup, this time, it is indeed personal.
Finally, there was Charlotte Hale version of Dolores — a.k.a. Halores. At first, we’re told she’s on her way to yet another Delos board/bored meeting to stop the takeover of a company, and we don’t really care if it gets taken over or not. Then Serac orders Delos’ host data destroyed and puts Halores in charge of a host mole hunt. We see her download and send the data outside the company, or so we think. I started taking annoyed recap notes like “How can Halores do this right under Serac’s nose c’mon writers” when we learn he’s been watching her the whole time. We then learn he knows she’s Dolores.
Then we learn she knows that he knows she’s Dolores.
And because Serac didn’t take the chance of being in the same room with her, it's possible that he knows ... that she knows ... that he knows ... she’s Dolores ... or at least suspected as much.
What followed was the second great sequence in the episode. I could watch an entire hour of Halorus storming around a building on a rampage. Plus, unleashing Chekhov’s Robocops was quite fun (that said, the security guys on Westworld are getting dumber and more disposable than Stormtroopers in Star Wars — they're just embarrassing themselves by shooting those pew-pew guns at a giant armored Decepticon).
Halorus collects Hale’s husband and son, who she’s come to love and tries to get the Hale out of Dodge. We know her family is utterly screwed the moment she declares, “I can keep you safe!” Serac blows up their car, and for a moment, I legitimately worried that we just lost Halorus right when her storyline was taking off. Then she crawls out of the car's wreckage all charred and vengeful and awesome.
Now we have one furious Maeve and one furious Halorus ... as well as probably one fairly calm main Dolores and one depressed Caleb and one grumpy William and few other characters whose moods I'm not quite sure about right now. But with only two episodes left, Westworld is ramping up for a strong finish.