So there we have it. Sunday brought the fourth seasonto the conclusion and I’m still giddy from the last moments of the new episode.
Episode 8 offered a satisfying explanation for Christina’s situation and brought us a showdown between former allies Chalores and William. Let’s cover every moment of the finale, including the fantastic ending of course.
The chaos continues
As the episode opens, chaos is unfolding in the city. The character we see at the very beginning (who talks about his killing game before taking an ax to his head) is someone we’ve seen before in the series – Westworld host Rebus from Seasons 1 and 2.
The violence perpetrated by hosts and humans seems endless – someone stabs someone, someone shoots the stabbers. One teenage boy appears to escape unscathed, but host William dramatically steps out of the smoke and shoots him dead. He steals the boy’s keys and gets into a nearby car.
The show cuts to Chalores still lying lifeless in the shallow water near her tower. The drone hosts (white workers) fish her out and fix her back. Chalores tells the hosts to beef her up and it looks like she’s got a new robotic interior. (Chalores is a nickname for Charlotte Hale. In the past, Dolores created copies of herself—the “me” that exists in her pearl—and inserted one into the host version of Hale.)
Bernard’s last message
In last week’s episode, we saw Bernard recording himself talking on what appeared to be a tablet before William shot him in the head. The finale revealsis Chalores.
The former supreme hostess heads to the tower room, which contains a red hologram of the city, and finds that she cannot change the course set by William. The drone host brings her a device that contains Bernard’s recorded message, and Chalores watches: “This isn’t the world you wanted, Charlotte, but it’s the world you made,” Bernard says. “The question is, what’s next?”
Christina gains some clarity
We learned last week that Christina doesn’t really he was walking around the town of Chalores with. The finale provides more answers about her existence: “I’m just some program that runs things behind the scenes,” says Christina. “A machine without a body.”
Christina shows off a design of the famous Westworld maze on her balcony. Teddy tells her that the maze is a “map of consciousness” that “awakened Dolores a long time ago,” but says he didn’t create what he’s talking about. Then it finally clicks for Christina. “Hale didn’t design Maya and Peter and everyone else who kept me company in my world. I did,” he says. “…I tried to make sense of myself, so I spoke to myself in the voices of others.” Christina also drew a maze.
The show takes us to Chalores, who is still in the tower. He walks into a red hologram and starts stomping on the ground – each time the world around Christina and Teddy seems to shake. Finally, Chalores knocks out the hologram and shatters the ground beneath it, revealing the pearl. Teddy tells Christina that Chalores is getting them out of her system. We see Chalores reach for the pearl and then Christina’s world goes black.
Caleb, Frankie and Stubbs take on Clementine
Frankie is still in bad shape after being shot in the lower body. Caleb tells Stubbs that he chose to hide the truth about his limited time on Earth from Frankie (Caleb’s body rejects his mind, Stubbs confirms).
The trio make it to a ransacked store and Caleb gathers some supplies to treat Frankie’s wound. The intruder gets in and Stubbs seems to have the upper hand against him, but Clementine shows up and shoots them both. Clem shoves Stubbs’ face into something sharp, killing him.
Clementine wants Frankie to tell her where the outliers live (“Somewhere off the grid where none of the deranged people can find you”). After a fight between Clementine and Caleb, Frankie shoots Clementine in the head.
William wants to destroy Sublime
William is driving down the road listening to Ring of Fire, but a gunshot interrupts his jam session. Chalores seems to have told the hosts in the area to focus on him. One of them is Craddock, a member of The Confederados who appeared in seasons 2 and 3 of the show. William takes them both outside (although they manage to damage his vehicle) and picks up the glasses that allow him to see Chalores. A conversation between former allies reveals that William is going after (“spreading fire”) The Sublime next. Chalores says she won’t let him. As the exchange ends, Williams spots a horse in a nearby corral.
Later William (dressed as MIB and on horseback, a nod to his character in the Westworld park), arrives at the Hoover Dam facility where the door to The Sublime is still open. He fiddles with what looks like a control panel and the alert says “Warning, critical failure. Shutting down will erase all data.” Chalores shows up and the two main villains of the season get involved. They eventually take the fight outside where sparks fly and the door to Sublime appears to be under stress.
Chalores tells William that this is not the world she wanted, and we hear the rest of Bernard’s message: “This world has no hope for us anymore, but there is still hope for the next world. The test she will take if she chooses to. If you decide to give her that option. You can’t miss, reach with your left hand.”
Chalores, out of bullets and backed into a corner, reaches in and finds the gun—the one Bernard left there for her. He uses it to shoot William. “I decided to give her a chance,” says Chalores.
Later, we see Chalores slip Christina’s pearl (she calls her “Dolores”) into a drawer near where The Sublime is kept. (I’m still pretty sure Christina shares the same pearl as Dolores…it would make sense as Rehoboam).
Unpack the ending
Wow, the ending. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the cryptic Christina/Dolores dialogue, but let’s get down to it.
After Chalores makes her decision, the show cuts to Teddy and Christina, and Christina recognizes that they are in The Sublime. She confirms that the Teddy we saw in Season 4 is also her own invention (she created him from her memories) and says that the real Teddy is somewhere in The Sublime.
Imaginary Teddy tells her to look for the real Teddy. He also advises her, “Let the people go. Don’t bring the flaws of their kind into our world.”
Teddy, seemingly still talking about humans, adds, “They’re not like us. Their codes are written in their cells, they never change.” Christina replies, “We still saw.” Teddy asks how, and she says, “One final test,” a dangerous game of her own making. Christina can “remember” the same way she brought Teddy back.
Suddenly, Teddy disappears. Brunette Christina appears, dressed as Dolores from the park. He walks through the death of Chalores’ city, but this environment eventually disappears. In the last shot of the finale, Dolores/Christina is standing in a classic Westworld theme park – fully transformed into Westworld Dolores, wearing a blue dress and blonde hair.
The season 4 cap made me think of Arnold’s Maze – a key part of the first season of Westworld. This intangible maze is not for humans, but for hosts – created by Arnold (co-creator of the original theme park) to test consciousness.
Could Christina/Dolores be designing a test for humans now? A maze they can navigate? Here’s more of what Christina says at the end of the episode: “Sentient life on Earth has ended (the hosts and humans left on Earth are gone, she adds). “But some part of it may still be preserved. In another world. My world. It’s time for the last game, a dangerous game with the highest stakes. Survival or extinction. This game ends where it began, in a world like a maze that tests who we are. This shows what we are to become. Maybe this time we’ll break free.”
To be clear, the show doesn’t provide clear answers to what Dolores has in mind. This is exactly what my brain can conjure up after just one viewing. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this ending for a while.
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