Few shows are as challenging to watch as Westworld. Between rarely knowing who’s a Host and who’s human, what timeframe the show is using, and secret plots behind secret plots, it’s hard enough to keep track of everything when you’re watching it, let alone when you last saw it in 2020. So, before season four premieres on HBO Max this June 26, we thought we’d give you a bit of a crash course in where Westworld left everybody. Hey, it’s a lot quicker than rewatching season three again.
If there’s anything you need to remember from Westworld season three, it’s that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is dead. For real, at least according to co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan, who said unequivocally that the Dolores we’ve followed since season one is gone after her mind was erased by Serac (Vincent Cassel) in his hunt for the key to the Sublime, aka the Valley Beyond. But her sacrifice was not in vain, as she managed to inspire Caleb (Aaron Paul) to destroy the world-controlling super-computer Rehoboam and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) to betray Serac and hopefully lead a co-revolution of humans and Hosts. Of course, Evan Rachel Wood is still very much a part of the series — and supposedly playing a new character named Christina, who seems to be a writer living in the big city — and there are a few of the copies Dolores made of herself running around, including the one in Lawrence’s (Clifton Collins Jr.) body and the degraded, human-hating one in Charlotte Hale’s (Tessa Thompson) body (but more on her in a second). Given how good Dolores was at planning ahead, whether she’s really gone for good is anyone’s guess.
Maeve had quite a wild ride in season three; first, she was stuck in a simulation of the 1940s, Nazi-occupied Europe of the Warworld park, only to end up employed by Serac to hunt Dolores in exchange for finally getting to reunite with her daughter in the Valley Beyond. Alas, Serac also had physical control of her body, but once Maeve discovered Serac neither had the intention or ability to send her to the Sublime, she developed the power to hear the Rehoboam supercomputer and discovered it was controlling Serac just like it controlled everyone else and managed to override his power. As a result, Maeve finally switched sides to Team Dolores, stabbed Serac, and left him for dead. Her current goal is unknown.
The new protagonist of season three, Caleb really went through the wringer. He learned that his life had been dictated by the Rehoboam supercomputer down to his eventual suicide, that he had killed his best friend (in self-defence) but had been brain-washed, and that Rehoboam wasn’t actually saving humanity but only delaying its downfall. He also was forced to watch Dolores getting erased — but not before she gave Caleb control over the world-dictating program. Caleb ordered Rehoboam to delete itself, effectively returning free will to people and Hosts alike, and was last seen with Maeve entering that new world.
Despite playing a major role in seasons one and two, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) was weirdly sidelined in season three. However, the final episode revealed that Dolores had given him the key to the Valley Beyond, coveted by the villainous Serac. When Bernard realised this, he put on a headset that allowed him to access the Valley. We didn’t see what happened, but in the season three finale’s second post-credits scene, Bernard woke up — covered, along with the room he’s in, in a thick layer of dust. There’s no telling how much time has passed, but it seems like a lot. Is a time-jump in Westworld’s future? (So to speak?)
William/The Man in Black
God, where to even start with this guy (Ed Harris)? We have to go all the way back to the end of season two, when someone who appeared to be his daughter was testing him for fidelity, which would make him a Host. But is that the same Man in Black who spent much of season three in a mental institution, hallucinating people from his past? Who then gave himself a mission to “save the world” by killing all Hosts? Who then travelled to Delos’ Dubai HQ, only to get his throat slit by a Host version of himself as Charlotte Hale watched? We may get an answer in season four, but I wouldn’t count on it — especially since I’m not convinced William’s wound was fatal.
First, let’s remember that the real Charlotte Hale is dead. And this Host, while in Charlotte’s body, is actually a copy of Dolores — one that went rogue after Charlotte’s memories started bleeding into her own, Serac had Charlotte’s family killed, and the real Dolores abandoned her. The new Charlotte ended season three by having William seemingly killed by a Host replica, clearly planning on Killing All Humans to make the world safe for Hosts in season four.
If Bernard was sidelined in season three, so was Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who ended up being Bernard’s sidekick. Together, the two Hosts rescued William from the mental institution he had been trapped in, only for William to inform them of his newfound mission to Kill All Hosts. True to his word, William shot Stubbs and escapes, forcing Bernard to stick him in their motel bathtub with a bunch of ice. But when Bernard returned from his virtual (and apparently lengthy) trip to the Sublime, Stubbs (or his corpse) was long gone. What happened to him in the interim is anybody’s guess.
Poor Teddy (James Marsden) wasn’t in season three, having committed suicide in season two in horror that Dolores had reprogrammed him to help her in her then-mission to Kill All Humans. However, early this month, it was revealed that Marsden would be back for season four. Is someone bringing him back as a Host? Or will he be connected to Evan Rachel Wood’s new character Christina?
The main antagonist of season three, Serac essentially ruled the world through the Rehoboam computer, which dictated the lives of basically everyone on Earth — including Serac himself, to maximise his success. Unfortunately for him, Caleb destroyed Rehoboam, and Maeve stabbed him with her katana. It could have been a fatal wound, as there’s been no word that Cassel is coming back for season four… but if he is, he’s still the majority shareholder of the Delos company, which could mean all sorts of trouble.
Almost the entirety of season three was spent outside of Westworld and its associated parks (Shogunworld, Warworld, and the Raj). There’s no telling what has been happening there since season two ended, especially if there’s a time-jump between seasons three and four. However, the new trailers sure make it appear that the Man in Black returns to Westworld for another visit. More importantly, there seems to be an all-new park, set in the 1920s and themed around gangsters, that at least Maeve and Caleb will be visiting. But why?
Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.